Hello everyone! I'm a new guy to this forum and the world of planted tanks. I used to keep all sorts of reefs back in the 90s (had 8 at one time), and used to set up salt tanks for businesses (and one movie set) however I got out of the hobby when my diving career started. Now that I'm back (having a little one is a great reason to "give a science lesson", I've decided to steer clear of salt (for environmental reasons) and give plants a shot.
Budget wasn't huge (little one), however I was able to convert a old AGA 20H into a nice little tank. Albeit not as impressive as some of the others on this forum, however I'm happy with it thus far so I figured I'd share.
Equipment, 20H, Aquaclear 50 HOB, DIY CO2, Flourite/gravel mix (for cool look), 3 x 23 watt 5000k CFLs from Lowes, and one chunk of Mopani wood.
Here is what I started with, along with a closeup of the gravel. I tried Floramax but it spiked my dKH and PH badly, so it's waiting for another purpose and the Flourite mix went in. Frankly, I feel like it worked out because I much prefer the look of the mix.
It was time for some plants and a couple of fish to cycle the tank with, so I headed out to my LFS and saw what they had. I picked up 4 glowlight tetras (love those little guys), some Dwarf Hair Grass, some watersprite (I think?) and a couple freebee (because they're in bad shape) pigmy chain swords (again I think?) (anyone feel free to straighten me out on the plant species)
As you can see, I ended up putting the light on a couple strips of wood, so give it some air space for cooling. Also, the Mopani wood went in after being boiled 11 times (no orange water!). Most importantly I started up my DIY CO2 (this is where the "science" excuse comes in). As a makeshift reactor, I just stuck the tubing into the intake of my Aquaclear and have had great results. In fact, I picked up a little Elite submersible power filter as a "improved" reactor but found it caused too many distracting bubbles, so I updated the HOB method by inserting the bubble line into the side of the intake tube. With this method I find I have consistent 25-30ppm (based on PH and dKH) day and night; far better than what I got with all those bubbles. And since the intake interface is only 2" below the surface, I have no DIY back pressure (or lack thereof) issues at all.
I then did the unthinkable and bought some more plants at Petco (I know, I know) The sad thing is I'm not really sure what they are (corals I know, plants, I am still clueless). I do know that they arrived 3 days prior, and seem to be doing EXTREMELY well. I think I've got bacopa, hygrow of some sort and a couple of swords. (positive IDs would be helpful)
I have no clue what this is (below), but I dig it!
I use two 5 hour photoperiods per day, with an airstone running in the dark periods. I'm dosing Flourish Comprehensive, and just put in root tabs. I seem to have complete consistency (for now) with CO2, and my plants are pearling and growing at an alarming rate. I'm actually shocked how fast they are growing. The sprite has grown 4 inches in 2 days and one of my swords has a new 5 inch leaf in a day and a half!!!!!
Thanks for reading! As things progress, I'll keep this updated as well as continue to pick everyone's brains for tips and hopefully share some successes.