Long rambling post ahead.
Hello everyone. I often follow this forum and love the tanks many of you build and maintain and it has inspired me to upgrade my (meh) planted tank to a beautiful plant tank.
I am from India where many high tech stuff are quite rare and expensive. I am also quite short on money. Make that very. So most of the work I have done for the upgrade is DIY (also like it) that I hope comes close to creating a rich environment for the plants and fishes.
Aims of new tank-setup:
Low cost, DIY setp with a few purchases like driftwood and expensive fish
It comes close to mimicking a god natural environment in which fishes and plants thrive
Low power consumption in day to day running (keep total consuption around 20W/h)
Beautiful underwater garden/similar set up
Easy weekly maintenance
Tank dimensions: 30" length, 12" breadth, 18" height, 30 gallons
Lighting & Hood:
Earlier, I had a 8W LED bulb with 250lm that was equivalent to a 40W tungsten bulb. I placed it in the middle and although the tank was bright, plants like Heteranthera Zosterifolia http://forum.aquascaping-store.de/op...d/PICT1904.JPG
, Eleocharis Parvula http://socav.com/wp-content/uploads/...s-parvula1.jpg
, Myriophyllum_tuberculatum http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/im...rculatum.e.jpg
struggled. The last one even started becoming green. I read that this could be because of low light or high levels of Nitrite. Cabombas really thrived.
Before, I had made a hood out of plywood that completely covered the top with a few holes on the side. The bulb was situated in the middle. I read that if the hood is covered, the exchange of oxygen between the water surface and the air will be greatly reduced. So now this is my newly designed hood (Picture 1), made out of a plastic pipe generally used for plumbing. The caps that are used to cover the ends have been glued to the ends of the pipe and sit on the glass, like a stand. On either ends of this hood, bulb holders have been fitted (Picture 2).
PAR measurements go over my head. I read somewhere that multiplying the gallon size by 1.5 should give you a very rough idea of what amount of watt to use. So, now I am going to buy two LED bulbs of 5 watts each that are in total equivalent to a 50W tungesten bulb. Also, the light will now be more spread.
Filration & Current: I read that creating a current in the tank is good for the fishes, the plants listed above thrive on it and it increases the surface area for oxygen absorption. So I bought a 6W internal power filter the pushes a healthy stream of water inside the water surface. I have created a crude spray bar by attaching a old plastic bottle to the end of a sponge filter (picture 3). While it does not actually spray, the water drops at different points every second and breaks the surface and creates small waves. Also, maybe a bit unecessarily (but cool), I attached an old computer fan that is solar powered, to the middle of the new hood. This fan on it's own disturbs the water surface, but does not break it.
Substrate: I have gone for a dirt subtrate which is nutrient rich, topped of with white sand (which I am told is harmless). The black/brown substrate that many of you guys buy is expensive here, but if it makes a huge difference, I could be tempted.
Carbon: I have put a piece of charcoal along with the sponge inside the power filter.
Like a kid at a candy shop, I want to have many of the beautiful planted setups I have seen on the internet. I have borrowed ideas to come up with design, but am also awed by an alternate design.
Picture 4 is the current state of the aquarium while I wait for another 10 days to receive my pay and go on a big trip to buy driftwood, plants and fishes. Picture 5 is annotated to help you give a rough picture of what I am hoping to acheive: a live snapshot of a cross section of an forest stream.
However, I came across this picture and now I am really tempted to create something similar: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/yo...&n=Luminescent
This tank is larger than mine by 10 gallons. I am also concerned that a castle like that would take up valuable space. However there is no denying the beauty of this "run down castle being crowded out by forest" picture. Perhaps I could create a smaller version? However, this guy has a raised red/brown pebble/substrate that looks a bit complicated.
I love tetras, but in my experience the neon ones disappear one day at a time. Also, big fishes have a bit of character. So, even though a 30 gallon is really modest, I am looking to buy 4 discus fishes, a group of rummy nose tetras, a pair of Ram chichlids, some corys and a few other fishes. I understand that discus fishes would require weekly water changes of about 1/4th of the tank.
So I am still toying with the aquascaping idea. Your ideas/suggestions on this and other things are welcome. If I am doing somethign terribly wrong, do let me know.
I have been waiting for a while to build this. Hopefully, I will be able to come back here and post pictures of the final aquarium.
Note: No direct sunlight comes through the window.