Ok... I give up, I'll do one
I've been wanting to do a journal for a while now, because I have been so discouraged by the inhabitants of my 55 gallon tank (I chose fish before I knew anything about having a tank in general. When I found out I could have live plants in the tank too, I jumped at the opportunity and shortly after found this place.
This is not going to be a typical journal (I think), because I start off WITHOUT live plants and slowly transition to real. But I'm TRYING!!
I'm a gardener of produce, I don't do well with making things look pretty, but I can make a functional garden outside. But, I thought I would give it a shot. I went to the only 2 pet stores close to where I live that had fish. Their plants looked AWFUL and were ridiculously expensive... I even found plants that were not aquatic plants being sold as aquatic plants!!! Who could DO such a thing to unwitting customers!? Anyway, I looked and looked and finally found something listed as "Amazon Ferning plant". I thought it looked need and it was on clearance, and was in decent shape, so I thought "What the heck, lets get it". After some research I think I ended up with a Java Fern, but I liked it, as basic as it was. I stuck in in my tank and all the fish pretty much just left it alone, so all was well in the world of "planted tanks". I had a 5" Java fern in my 55 gallon... No, this didn't work for me... it looked too diminutive, I had to find something else. I happened across this awesome forum (no names mentioned *cough* Planted Tank *cough*) where people were GIVING AWAY AWESOME PLANTS!!! And had tons of others for sale!
As embarrassing as it is... Given my financial situation, I can't afford to purchase the nice plant packages I see around here. The are GREAT deals, but I just can't justify the expenditure. So, I began looking around, reading up on things, upload a few pictures of my tank (that i'm including below)... Then I discover RAOK, the magical kindness of others giving their goods to people who are interested. I'm a complete newbie at all this now, fish tanks... planted tanks... EVERYTHING. I try to win a couple to no avail, but finally win some wisteria and cardimine. The stuff looks cool, and the guy had a TANK FULL... and wanted to share. I send payment, and I get an envelop in the mail with several large 20" pieces of this plant and some bacopa too. There are SO many awesome tanks out there, and I tried my best to set up my tank to have some semblance of coolness like these tanks to little avail. But I'm happy, the wisteria is happily sitting in the corner of my tank, the fish are enjoying swimming through it and all is well. 2 days later I wake up and there are little pieces of wisteria floating every where and there looks to be much less than there should be based on the original size of the thing. I frustratedly ignored it for the moment, grabbed some coffee and went back to check things out. That's when I noticed some of the fish I purchased (on clearance at the Petstore) was eating the bacopa like pacman eating those little circles and some others were nipping at the floating wisteria, taking chucks of it in at a time.
I then did some research on the fish (I should have done this BEFORE putting the plants in) and found out that Silver Dollar fish eat plants and Rainbow fish will sometimes eat plants too.
Well, the 12" pleco I had was swiping up the plants with it's tail, and all the other inhabitants were happily enjoying their never ending meal. Overtime, I tried a few other things that I thought could be ok in the tank with the fish... but found Dwarf water lettuce was the only thing that could truly survive the onslaught aside from the Java fern.
I eventually got tired of my attempts being bashed at every turn and found a second tank for SUPER cheap, it turned out to need A LOT of work on the frame, and some extra bracing before I could use it... So I settled for creating a makeshift 3 gallon tank out of a sterilite container. The plants I had saved, and some new ones I found all went there, and were growing! to my surprise, they were doing well... This went on for a couple of months until my wife bought me a 29 gallon for Christmas!!! (she's so awesome
Needless to say, I chose the inhabitants more carefully this time. Only guppies, neon tetras and some ghost shrimp. I put in some pool filter sand (i already had some left over) some Cholla wood (found at a Hobby Lobby for $1) and a piece of burled oak I found laying around my parents farm as some drift wood. I placed this with the plants I saved over time into the 29 gallon, found a few more plants/mosses I was looking for and got those planted as well. I received some root tabs too, that have come in very handy. I could see growth on ALL of the plants the next day, I was SO excited. it's been a little over 2 weeks now and I'm pleased with how the little plantlets are turning out. This has brought my hope back, that I CAN raise plants in a tank. I plan on letting them grow out a bit more (maybe even move the DIY CO2 generator to the 29 gallon), and hopefully find a few more things to fill the tank out a bit and rescape. I kind of just stuck everything in there without much planning because I wasn't expecting much.
But now, I'm all fired up again, and ready to get a decent planted tank going. Once I get this one where I want it, I plan on finishing up the other 55 gallon tank I found (that cheap one I mentioned earlier) and move the non-plant friendly fish out and have a BIG planted tank. I CAN'T WAIT!!!
I will add more pictures soon, I will try to take some of the 29 gallon tonight. But for now, here is what I have.
What the 55 looked like when we purchased it from a friend...
What it looked like after we altered it a bit...
After getting the Wisteria and Cardamine (I'm still so sad these are gone, I loved these things). The only live plants in the 55 gallon from here down are Java fern, Wisteria and Cardamine. (unless otherwise stated)
Closeup of big Wisteria
Closeup of the smaller wisteria plants
Big wisteria with some cardamine on the right
Smaller wisteria with the Java fern and another cardamine plant
Aftermath when I discovered the wisteria (for the first time) was destroyed and the cardamine was almost all eaten....
I stopped taking pictures, but two days later... I was left with practically NOTHING plant wise, except the java fern....
Here is the only plant remaining in the 55 gallon, unless something is hiding somewhere
FINALLY 29 gallon pictures!!
The whole tank... for now, let's call it "Jolly Green Giant's Toilet"
Wish I had taken some before pictures of most of the plants, so you could see the difference in growth. But here's a closeup of some Christmas moss, guppy grass (all pieces of which were about 1/2 inch long before), bacopa australis, bits of subwassertang and riccia loosely sitting around, some cabomba in the back and i think even a bit of hornwort
Here's a nice piece of cabomba, small amazon sword right below it, blyxa japonica to the right of the large snail, more guppy grass in front of the snail, a java fern plantlet to the right of the grass, and I think those little thing hairy looking things at the bottom of the picture are small dwarf hairgrass hijackers from the riccia, in the middle is a rock with riccia tied to it, bottom right is micro swords, big java fern in top right and a bunch of little loose bits of subwassertang and riccia O_o...
Finally my homemade mossball (with java moss), more bacopa, and the driftwood I mentioned in my above rant, that has a bit of fissiden glued to it.
I'll make a new post when new pictures come. There are some things I'd really LIKE to do, and some plants I'd like to acquire to fill in some space, but for now i may just let these grow in a bit and see how they do. I have more Riccia that I'm going to try to make a carpet with and I'd like to gather the subwassertang and lash it to a rock or put it in a net or something so that it stays together. I love the look of the stuff in a large mass. I guess only time will tell how it all works out.
THANKS FOR LOOKING!!!