So I started my very first dirty tank today! I found a 10g on Craiglist for $30 that included Crribean sand, 2 filters + cartidges, a wave maker pump, a automatic feeder and a Current Nova 18" t5 fixture. I've been wanting to set up a Betta tank and thought I'd try my hand at dirty so here it goes!
Current Nova dual T5 Truelumen 12k and 460nm Actinic (will change out the actinic eventually)
MGOCPM capped with Black Diamond blasting sand
Penguin 100, biowheel removed
Egeria Densa, Vallisneria Americana, Bacopa monnieri, Pistia stratiotes, Taxiphyllum barbieri, Azolla caroliniana
I bagged the sand and set it aside to donate to someone and cleaned all components and tank thoroughly.
Ready for dirt!
Added MGOCPM and pushed away from front edge
Got me some of this
And capped off the soil
Filled her up nice and gentle using a sheet of baking parchment to protect the cap. I used 3g from my established 10g as well as shoved some old filer media into the new filter. I planted with my wild collected plants
Mounted the light fixture about 8" above the tank with shelving brackets
And cut up a stainless steel sink drain to create the beginning of a planted HOB
Wait did I say wild plants?! Yep! I went hunting for some daphnia for my Dario darios and found some plants that I just couldn't pass up. These were in a canal that drains from Lake Okeechobee. My understanding is the concern with collecting wild plants is a) introducing unwelcome hitch hikers and b) introducing fish disease. I figured I'd start these in a tank without fish that still needed to cycle and see how it went. I cleaned the plants in 3 different water buckets then meticulously picked off any snails, limpets, etc. I then rinsed them under a decent stream of tap water and blew off any remaining dirt and hopefully hitch hikers. I cut back the Val to where there was no algae present on the leaf and then did a 2 day black out on everything to discourage any remaining algae. Haven't seen any hitch hiker yet!
Val at the edge of the canal