Well it has been awhile since I had a planted tank, and I just can't stand it any longer!!! About 3 years ago I had my 55g set up as a planted tank, but due to Health, Money and a BBA outbreak I tore the tank down and went back to a African Peacock Tank with 100+ pounds of Holey rock. Well I had it going since then, but I grew tired of looking at White rock, brown gravel, and NO PLANTS and decided to get back to the Greener side of Life!!!
So removed the Holey rock, took the few peacocks I had left and put them in one of the Aquariums at my wifes Vet Clinic she works at , and am getting the planted tank set back up again!!!
So far I have moved the 18-20lbs of Cheap-o gravel to the front of the tank and put the Florite I had in the last planted tank back in behind it. When I tore down the planted tank from before I removed and rinsed out the florite and stored it in the shed in buckets with lids. While I was rinsing it out I removed and BBA I could find and threw that florite in my flower beds around the house. The cheap-o gravel is actually very large sand blasting "sand". It is probably 2-4mm in grain size and somewhat smooth, and $12 a 50# bag at local fish stores. Cory cats love digging in it and it is smooth enough not to hurt them! Anyway when the florite had been seeded by the old gravel I will remove what I can and mix the rest with the 20+ lbs of florite I still have in a bucket, or I might just leave it all in there to make sure my gravel bed is deep enough for the swords and other various rooted plants I will probably put in!
I still have 2 65w PC retro kits installed in the plastic light covers that came with the Aquarium, and the bulbs are only about 5-6 months old from when I replaced them from the old planted tank, so I think I can get 6 more months out of them before I have to change them again!
AS for filtration I will be using the Fluval 204 I have had on the tank since I bought it. I mainly use it as Mechanical filtration with bulk filter floss I get from Big Al's, and I put it in all 3 baskets, and keep a bag of Bio-balls in the top basket covered with the floss. I also still have me CO2 reactor I built from a water filter cartridge to use with my pressurized CO2 tank, and in the last tank I ran it with a power head and had a spray bar along the back bottom of the tank to release the CO2 rich water evenly along the entire tank. I will probably build another similar spray bar, as it seemed to work very well last time! It also helps keep any detritus from building up at the back of the tank!
The main thing that will be different this time is I will be using TAP WATER not R/O water! When I had the tank setup last time I was in a different suburb of Waco, and the watter was very unstable, but now We have bought a house and constantly receive our water from Lake Waco, and its PH ranges from 7.8-8, and my tests can't pick up any Nitrites, Nitrates so I HOPE it will be OK! I didn't hook up my R/O unit when we moved into the house as the Cichlids didn't need it, and even though I have replacement filters and carbon block I don't know if my 100GPD TFC membrane is still any good, and I don't want to spend the $100+ to get a new one! SO I PREY the tap water will be OK!!! I need to replace my Hardness kit, so I am unsure of the hardness, but I will do that ASAP!!! And before I start injecting CO2.
I am unsure of exactly how I want to setup the tank, but I all ready have 15 Golden Pencil fish to put in it once I get it up and going!!! They are pretty small now with most being around .75" and a few around 1". all of them already have red in their fins, but the bigger ones are getting red in their body's too!!! They are in my QT for now and it has a few Java ferns and a Mirimo Moss ball along with a few rocks to keep them happy! I don't know what other kind of fish I want to put in it either! I have a 5yo Albino Cory Cat that will go in it, as he deserves a nice planted tank and to get out of the QT! He is a TROOPER!!! I love the Peppered and Panda corys and most all tetras, Rainbows, Rams, and certain platys and Sword Tails! Even though I have NEVER had either Platys or Sword Tails in over 28+ years of Aquarium keeping!!!
Most people don't believe me when I say that, but I never had a place for them even when I had 10+ tanks setup! I have only kept Guppies once or twice!
Well anyway I will be posting Pics as I go threw and setup the 55g again, and as for plants right now I bought what my LFS had, and that wasn't much! Their supplier stopped selling plants in other than large box quantity's and they only have a very few ever ask! So I got some Fox tail, Java ferns, and a couple of Mirimo Moss Balls (SP?), but I do have some trimmings coming from a few people here that I bought in the swap and shop section, and when I receive them I will go from there, and get some more ordered!
So THANK YOU for reading, and ANY tips or info Yall want to give, good or bad, feel free! This will only be my second attempt at a TRUE PLANTED AQUARIUM!!!
Yall Take Care!!!