Over the past year I've been fooling around with a low-tech dirt 10g, testing plants and farming algae as I waffled over how I wanted to set up my first attempt at a planted display tank. I've been stuck in a loop of reading forums and planning for a while now, but the gift of a de-rimmed 20g long from a friend provided the impetus I needed to actually get moving.
The goal for my 10g was "keep plants alive underwater", and as that's been a (qualified) success, I'm going to try and take this tank one step further and attempt some organization beyond a random mix of whatever manages to stay alive.
With that out of the way, here's the setup I'll be starting with:
Standard 20g long tank (30x30x75cm)
3x13W CFL bulbs in hanging shop lights (only 2 generally turned on)
Dirt substrate with fluorite cap
Anubias nana (regular+petite)
Narrow leaf java fern
Setting up the substrate contours:
Filled with dirt (+ a couple sticks I was using to get a feel for the proper slope)
The substrate arrangement actually changed quite a bit from this, but I forgot to take a photo--it will be obvious later
What little standing water is visible in this image was removed, the tank was saran-wrapped and the lilaeopsis was left to grow as a dry-start for 6 weeks.
6 weeks later, time to add the rest of the plants and some water
The victims--E. quadricostatus and the anubias are cuttings from my other tank, the others are from the LFS. Not really sure if I want the hygro, but I needed one more plant to get 25% off the lot so it was basically free. If nothing else it can help at the start and I'll rip it out later
Everything else, using a small brick to hold the wood in place for now.
Filled with a mixture of water and fluorite dust