Hi all! Recently read about Amano-sensei's work, and immediately fell in love and decided to setup my own tank.
This was my first setup, shortly (~24 hours) after filling it for the first time:
Aqueon QuietFlow 20
about an inch of black sand, and then an inch of gravel on top
golden jennies in the back (can barely see them), New Zealand microsword in the front right, dwarf hair grass in the front left
T8 15W Floramax tube on a timer, about 8 hours a day
a few ghost shrimp that I put in after I left the tank cycle for a day or so (you can see one swimming on the left side). To my great dismay, they all died within 36 hours. I suspect the water just wasn't there yet. I should have been more patient.
I received some great feedback about splitting up my plants when planting them, and the lighting being probably too dim. I also really didn't like how the scaping turned out.
So last week, I emptied out about ~80% of the water, got some better rocks from my LFS (shoutout to Aqua Forest Aquarium in San Francisco), and rescaped everything.
Here's the new setup:
Aqueon QuietFlow 20
Varzea beginner set, 1 bubble per second
about an inch of gravel on top of a varying amount of black sand (for the slope)
golden jennies in the rear right side, New Zealand microsword in the front right, dwarf hair grass in the front left. Much more spread out now - I'm hoping they'll carpet nicely.
Nicrew 11". I don't quite like it - too short for my (20" long) tank, and the illumination is not quite there. I ordered a Finnex 24/7 to replace it.
none for now.
Definitely learned a lot so far, and am much happier with the overall design. Current water parameters are Nitrites/Nitrates/Ammonia at 0, and pH at around 6.5. Temperature is 75F/24C.
I will be going to my LFS tonight or tomorrow to get some ferts (thinking ADA Brighty Step 1 and ADA Brighty K). I am also thinking of adding 4-5 red cherry shrimp to add color and movement to the tank - hopefully the tank is established enough at this point.
When the plants are more grown out (really hoping the DHG carpets nicely), I'd like to add a group of small shoaling fish. Perhaps some 8 or so neon tetras? Gotta to do more reading on this.
I'm not a huge fan of my filter: it's a bit noisy, it's large and ugly, and if the water isn't covering the outflow at the surface, it creates way too much current. For now I'm just topping off my tank every day or two to make sure the remains level with the water, but at some point I'd like to switch to a better filter that will allow me to use nice glass inflow/outflow pipes (probably the Eheim 2211).
Thanks for reading- would love any feedback, tips, or advice!