I've been floating around looking at posts and (hopefully) absorbing some of the wisdom of everybody on the forum over the last few months. I have wanted to have a bigger tank for quite some time as my fluval edge doesnt allow the fish choices or the opportunity to aquascape and grow plants as I would like. Finally I won an Ebay auction for a tank instead of getting outbid and the tank selling for £5 more than I was able to bid!!
Got the Fluval Vicenza 180 with cabinet and Fluval 205 external filter for £130 in the end ... a good price I think
Anyway, I hope to show a tank log here and get feedback. So please offer suggestions and advise. As I type the tank is now cycling, So I hope that soon I can order some plants and start that side of the venture, as well as putting my cherry shrimp in there.
One note however ... I am doing this on a budget ... so I know there will be some things I could have done better (eg: better substrate), but alas, having a tank is better than simply not being able to afford it I reckon! Please bear this in mind if some of the decisions seem a little tightwad!
Any way ... progress so far:
1) Buying a tank:
This was how it was advertised.
Once collected I thought a small clean and away we go... however, the tank was in quite some state.
Much scrubbing was done and then I almost hurled when I tried to clean the filter. So bad I had to chuck all of the media as everything was gunged up with algae and slime of various greens and blacks *cry*
I also flipped the doors round so it is now all light oak.
2) Putting the tank in place ... followed by the cat deciding to jump in.
Sadly she has not tried this once water has been in the tank. After the urge to put the lid and lights on and leave it, the cat was removed....
3) Filling with substrate and wood
Took a day for the wood to stop floating, which isnt bad. It's a combnation of Redmoor root and bogwood. Yes I know tannins will leak, yes I quite like that look .... besides boiling the wood or waiting forever, just isnt gonna be able to happen.
Substrate is Molar clay (AKA Cat litter ... yes, seriously). After much research I settled on this. Cost £10 for it all. Sadly I cannot afford the £60-£90 for proper substrate.
However, I hope to dose the water column with fertilisers which this inert and highly absorbent stuff should suck in and hold. Much of my research indicated it was very similar to eco complete in that respect.
Well, here's to hoping anyway!
4) First attempt at aquascaping.
I thought it would be easy with the wood I had. I love the redmoor root, the other bit complements this and the big bogwood is a kind of sweeping shape.
This was my first attempt. I was not happy with it and what's worse, neither was my wife. "its too clumped up at this side" or words to that effect. It nearly killed me to admit it, but she was right ... as usual.
5)Second, third and fourth attempt at aquascaping:
Thinking more on the matter I decided that the levels/heights were too one dimensional also; and the intake and outlet pipes were in clear view and ugly. Not to mention they prevented many ideas about placing wood on that side of the tank as they got in the way.
I tried so many ways, but was not happy. Then it occured ... why does the bogwood have to stand up and sweep away or towards the root wood? A cunning blackadder plan was formed and the wood now provides a dam to allow a higher level of substrate around the intake/ outlet pipes.
I think the woods now flow quite well and I hope I can hide some of the pipe work with plants.
Well an order has been paced and I should be getting some Arcadia Reflectors to go on the 2 x 24w T% HO bulbs. They are currently Fluval Power Glo, but I will change the back to a Life Glo I think as these are supposed to stimulate plants better.
I will also start dosing fertilisers to try and make the substrate absorb some before planting.
I currently have carbon in the filter. Should I remove this once I go planted or before using ferts, I dont want to neutralise any beneficial stuff??
So... what do you think? Suggestions and ideas are very welcome.