So here's an official big sexy update. I planted the tank and added a dwarf guorami. I love the way this fish looks & acts. I like how I placed the plants, I still want to add some moss, cholla wood, maybe some s. repens, etc. But at least we're making progress here!
I'll be getting more plants next week, I'm doing a fish-in cycle, which I REALLY hate to do, especially with this fish (I want him to live- we've bonded). I was going to cap my sand with pool filter sand, but the vegetation has seemed to calm the water jet hitting the sand down. I want to add a piece of moss-covered cholla wood on the right in front of the rock and have that be my shrimp hotel. I want to cover the left side of the left rock with moss because 1) moss is awesome & 2) the left side has that weird sickly gray to it. I am going to make an expert level conceptual mock-up of what I have in mind (a feeble attempt) and post it in a bit, to give a general idea.
I got 2 lil baby otos. (I will get a third. Or maybe 3 more and make it 5, so don't worry.) They are super cute, I've fallen in love with them. They looooove that brown diatom algae. If they aren't careful I might run out! Need to buy some zucchini for them. I was going to have a school of neon tetras in this tank but now that I look.... I think that doesn't really fit in. I'm considering black neon tetras, or another small low profile schooling fish, any ideas?
Well, my dwarf gourami has shown signs of ich. I immediately quarantined him, but I don't know whether the other fish are affected or not. I can't afford a UV sterilizer right now, so all I can do is hope for the best.
I've been giving this tank longer photoperiods (on accident) consistently and it is handling it extremely well. No algae. (Poor otos.. I wish I could grow some algae on purpose) And my plants are growing like crazy! My 5g never grew like this. Visual growth in only a week. Awesome. On the other hand, my room is full of crane flies and a few mosquitos. I don't understand, maybe they just got sucked in by my air conditioner, but I keep wondering if it's coming from my tanks. I looked in them thoroughly and saw no larvae of any kind, and both have good current to them, even on the water's surface. I'm not sure if this is the cause or not. Dwarf Guorami looks better but I haven't been able to get a heater so I don't have too much hope.
Update! I have seen so much growth that I can hardly believe this is low tech. My dwarf gourami is doing well. I don't have a heater, but my room has been swelteringly hot- I have one of those A-shaped rooms that are basically an attic, and mine has no insulation and about 2" between the wall and the actual outside of the roof. So as it's been hot outside, it's been REALLY hot in here. And the tank the gourami was in was around 80F, I suspect long enough to beat the ich out of him. Lucky accident I suppose. Anyways, here's a picture.
There are still some plants I want to add, but I'm very pleased with the growth I've had. My 2 lil otos are growing, my gourami seems well, and my tetra is miraculously alive.