As a kid I kept a couple of aquariums. In hindsight, I was doing _everything_ wrong. About a year ago I was inspired to restart an aquarium, and picked up this ten gallon off a friend. So we tossed some gravel, a few plastic plants, and a rock. While it was nice, it definitely didn't have the "natural" look I was seeking. I started researching, and decided to give plants a shot.
I am currently working on a 55 gallon, but in the meantime, we decided to convert our established 10 gallon into a Walstad-inspired planted tank.
So, I netted our three Zebra Danios, drained the tank, and we set to work. We first sifted the soil through a cheap colander to remove the large pieces of sticks/bark/debris.
We poured the sifted soil into the bottom of the tank and added enough water to make a thick milkshake-like consistency. The dirt is approximately 1-1.5 inches deep.
I added a gravel cap (again, approximately 1-1.5 inches deep, a nice piece of driftwood found at our LFS, and got planting.
Here's a (crappy) shot on setup:
Lighting is the hood that came with the aquarium doctored up with some 3M foil tape to direct the light into the water more efficiently.
Bulb is a GE 15w "daylight" T8 6500k
I've been testing the water daily since set it up. I used the mature media from the HOB filter and about 50% of the water drained from the tank. So far the parameters have remained stable. I will continue to test the water daily, monitoring for an ammonia spike from the soil decomposition.
This morning I was checking out the tank a bit, and noticed what appeared to be eggs sticking to the leaves of the Cabomba.
I watched the fish a bit, and it appears as if they are spawning! In the three months that we've had them, they have never spawned. I don't really think any of the fry will live (the filter, the cannibalistic parents...), but if anyone has some suggestions, I would love to have a few more Zebras for when we set up the 55 gal!
If anyone is curious, we don't plan to keep the zebras in this little tank. I think they'll be happier in the 55gal, once it's set up.
Today I took the charcoal out of the filter cartridge so that the DOC stays in the aquarium. I know this tank will be hazy for a bit. I didn't soak the driftwood. From my understanding, it is not dangerous to the fish, but purely aesthetic. I did one water change (yesterday) to help dissipate some of the haze.
I got a few better shots this evening with our "real" camera.
I plan on getting a black background (the LFS was out the other day!) in the near future. I'm also realizing that I should have added clay into the soil when I set it up. Would it be okay to "plant" some small pieces of clay into the soil now?
Please share your thoughts, especially regarding what I can do if I'd like to keep a few of eggs (is it too late?)
Also, I'm curious about what those of you low-tech/non CO2 people do as far as lighting (siestas, in particular).
Broad Leaf ludwigia
Three Zebra Danios (seemingly, 2 males, one female)