FIRST PLANTED TANK: 20 LONG
This is my first planted tank ever. It is a low tech, low budget setup. Previous to this I had a 10 Gallon, fake plants tank I set up for my step daughter. It housed 10 Neon Tetras. Ouickly though I was interested in moving on to a bigger & better tank with real plants. After 4-5 months of planning, researching, slowly buying 1 item here & there, and most of all, being patient, I was finally ready to go. I set this tank up on August 1 & it has been up & running for a month now. I decided to make a journal to track progress, get feedback, and to try to help other rookies out, of which, I am deffinatly a member.
TANK: 20 gallon long (Got at Petco for a $1 a gallon sale, so $20)
LIGHT: Hagen Glo Single Bulb 24watt T5HO with 6500 Life glo bulb (Amazon on sale with shipping $50. Bulb was $17 from LFS)
FILTER: Aquaclear 50 (Petsmart on sale $30)
HEATER: Eheim Jager 75watt (Amazon on sale with shipping $25)
STAND: DIY all from Home Depot (About $100 in materials. All red oak)
SUBSTRATE: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia (LFS $40 for 9 liter bag)
HARDSCAPE: Malaysian Driftwood (LFS $5-10 per piece)
BACKDROP: Foam Presentation Board (Michaels for $5, tapped to back)
At Home Depot I also bought a $10 Vinyl Mat & cut it to size of tank & put it under tank to support weight. I bought a $12 Surge Protector to plug all equipment into. I also bought a $7 timmer for light. I didnt know where to place the Surge Pro where there wouldnt be a bunch of cords & a big eye sore. So I bought some $4 Velcro tape & put it on back of stand & back of Surge Pro. After I let the tape's adhesive sit for a day I slapped Surge Pro on back of stand & BOOM! you dont even now its there. I bundled the excess equipment cords with Zip ties behind aquarium & then wrapped them around each other so it look like one cord going into Surge Pro... A little effort & money makes a BIG cosmetic difference.
10 Paracheirodon Innesi (Neon Tetra)
2 Caridina Japonica (Amano Shrimp)
Fish & Shrimp have only been in tank for about a week. I gave tank 3 weeks to establish & I used my other 10G tank to 'seed' this tank. When I transferred over Neons from 10G tank I also transfferd over Bio Media Bag from 10G filter into the 20Gs filter. Neons have been hiding like little punks since they came over to new tank but they are slowly coming around a little more each day.
Anubias Barteri Var Nana
Cryptocoryne Wendtii 'Floida Sunset'
Cryptocoryne Wendtii 'Red'
Echinodorus Parviflorus (Dwarf Sword)
Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern)
All my plants seem to be doing well. The Crypt Retospiralis has only been in tank for about 1 week & the Hygophila Corymbosa has only been in tank for 2 weeks. Everything else has been in since day one. I had a Hygophila Corymbosa 'Stricta' but it just died after about 10 days. I dont know what happened. But 9 outta 10 plants are still going so Im happy. The Crypts went through a bit of a melt. The Wendtii 'Red' only lost a couple of leaves but the Wentii 'Florida Sunset', which I split into 2 plants, melted big time. Both plants were down to a single leaf but after 10 days or so they were both back up to 3-4 leaves each & now are going strong. Ive been rough on my Swords. i didnt really know where I wanted them to go & they both have been moved 2-3 times. But they are doing surprisingly well for the stress Im putting them through.
Im guessing by all the new leaves & roots growing on the back of the large Java Fern leaves that I must be doing something right
RUNNING SETUP & MAINTENANCE
LIGHTS run 6 hours a day but I will soon be increasing that to 7 hours now that it has been a month.
HEATER holds at 80 degrees.
FILTER has a Foam block, Water Polishing Pad (cut to size), and 2 Bio Media bags (One that came with filter & one from my 10G tanks filter).
WATER is 100% RO water that I remineralize. I live 5mins from a water store that specializes in selling RO/DI water & I pass it everyday to & from work. I also live in Arizona where the tap is 'liquid rock'. So to me it is easy & makes sense to go with RO water.
WATER CHANGE is 50% once a week.
FERTILIZER my LFS sells Brightwell Aquatic line of products, similar to Seachem, so I said what the hell & went with that. Right now I have a Trace/Micros bottle, Potassium bottle, and a liquid Carbon bottle. I only dose each once a week after water change at HALF the recommended dosage.
FOOD i feed my fish is New Life Spectrum .5mm pellets & bloodworms occasionally.
PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS
Right now I have no real problems or concerns. My one plant died but that just opened a space for my Sword. Fish & Shrimp are all still alive & acting normally. Plants are all growing & showing no signs of defficiency. I dont see any signs of any algea. The only thing I would say is kinda poblem right now is my Driftwood is growing this white fuzz almost cotton like growth. According to my LFS & researching the Web it is some sort of mold or fungus but is harmless. And both LFS & Web says it should run its course in a month or two & go away.
FUTURE GOALS & ADDITIONS
Plant wise I would like to get some small forground plants to fill in the foreground. Obviously I cant grow a carpet like Glosso or HC but I was thinking of getting maybe some moss on some rocks or Crypt Parva. Not sure. Have to see what LFS gets in. Fish wise I would like to get a 2nd Tetra school like Bloodfins or Lemons.
Hopefully things keep going well & I can post updates here & there with positive news.