My name is Joe, and I have a bad case of MTS: Multiple Tank Syndrome. Last winter I bought my 2 year old daughter a 15g tank that houses a single betta as a Xmas gift. This did me in, as I was now bitten by the fish tank bug! Never did I think a year later that I would have 7 different tanks, along with a fish and plant obsession. I'm a full on junky. This will be my fourth planted tank, my previous tanks have been successful in growing plants, and a tremendous learning experience, but I'm never satisfied with anything I do! I want to improve on what I've learned and see what I can come up with. I'm definately no Takashi Amano, and I'm still a planted tank rookie, but I'm having a ton of fun in this hobby.
The tank I'm using is a 46g bowfront, and was found on the side of the road with a FREE sign attached to it. It's black silicone, glass top, and black stand, and when I got it was hard to tell if it was ever filled with water. It was mint.
It's been collecting dust in my small fishroom I have in my backroom/laundry room space. Here you can see it with my other tanks.
Anyway, I have a 29g tank in my living room that I'm just sick of. I would show you a pic of it but it's not worth it. It's not big enough for the Rainbow fish that are in it, it has no aquascaping at all, and I'm just tired of looking at it, hehe. It's mainly just filled with java fern, a medium sized Amazon Sword, and some small Crypt Wendtii Bronze plants. I have been slowly accumulating equipment and all the fun stuff you need to set up a new tank over the past few months, because I'm saying adios to the 29 and setting up the free 46!
The plan is to have a simple driftwood based aquascape, using the existing plants I have in the 29 gallon, and a few more I have in this little 10g growout tank I have running.
Basically I want four or five species of plants in this tank, to keep it very simple: Java Fern, Amazon Sword, Crypt Parva and Wendtii, and Anubias Nana. I may do some Jungle Val in the background. Java Fern is one of my favorite plants, I love a nice thick dense bush of Java Fern. Big Amazon Sword leaves swaying gently in the current can put you in a trance watching them, they're another one of my favorites!
Fauna will also be coming from my 29g, as I'm hoping my Rainbowfish will appreciate their upgrade to bigger accomodations! I haven't decided if I'm going to add any other fish, but if I do it will probably be a school of Cory Cats, or a Pleco or two. I would like some kind of bottom dwelling fish, and Cory's are pretty cool when they school around with each other.
For filtration I'm keeping it simple with a HOB. A few weeks ago Amazon had a sale on a Whisper 60 HOB filter for 21 dollars, so I snatched that up. I'm a Whisper guy, I like their filters, and have them on all my tanks.
I'm using roughly two bags of Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix, which I have used in 3 of my other tanks, and I'm pretty comfortable with it, and happy with the results I get. I will be adding clay to the dirt as well for an added bit of Iron.
The soil always comes with lots of wood pieces and sticks, and I don't really like that, so I usually screen that debris out. This time around I used a plastic tub, and an old hang on tank fry refugium that I had laying around. It worked awesome for screening out the big pieces of wood. Scoop up the dirt, shake it, and you seperate the soil from the wood chips!
After you're done, you're left with a much cleaner dirt, and it cuts down on any wood pieces floating up in the tank after its full.
I filled the tub with some water and I have basically have a soupy mud now. I'm going to let the mud sit for a day or two and skim any other wood pieces off the top, along with the excess water, until I have a nice thick workable mud.
For driftwood, I wanted something pretty bold and tall. My LFS has Malaysian driftwood, but it's upwards of 100 dollars for the big pieces. I'm on a budget, so I scoured eBay and found a pretty sweet piece of driftwood for 25 bucks including shipping. It wouldnt sink on it's own, so I used some stainless lag screws, and some slate I had on hand to help it sink. A masonry bit made drilling a hole through the slate a breeze.
It still didn't want to stay level in the water when I filled up the tank to test it out, so I drained it, dried it out, and used some silicone to "glue" it to the bottom. I'm letting the silicone cure as I type. The tank is still in my fishroom until I move it into the living room, and I couldn't get a shot of the driftwood in the tank without massive glare on the glass.
The dirt is going to be capped with play sand, and various size gravel. I have a few larger rocks to add to the scape as soon as the dirt and cap is in.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading...!