1/4/2017: This tank has changed a lot in the time since I first set it up in 2011. I will try to edit this first post to reflect the equipment used in the current iteration & keep it relatively up to date as changes are made.
My 55 gallon tank is currently set up with a MGOPM/black flourite mix capped with Black Diamond blasting sand as the substrate.
Eheim 2217 canister filter
Coralife Aqualight T5HO dual lamp 54W x 2: running Giesemann Midday x 1 & Aquaflora x 1.
The hardscape uses the same two original pieces of driftwood.
The plants are a mixture of your typical lowlight plants plus a variety of stems and a bunch of random Cryptocoryne species.
The stocking is currently Red Cherry Shrimp. The goal is to have a RCS colony, a few Amano shrimp, a Nerite snail or two and a huge school of Ember Tetras.
So feel free to sift through all the history or skip ahead to like page 9-10 when I moved cross country and swapped the substrate out to the current set up.
Original post from 8-21-2012:
So I haven't wanted to make a journal for this aquarium until just recently. I set this tank up in April of 2011, it was my first planted tank. I have definitely learned a ton about keeping plants happy and healthy. I am by no means a pro at this yet, or probably any time soon. I truly love it though. Since I started this tank I have kept as many as 3 other planted tanks going along with this one. I have recently moved to a different house and condensed down to only this 55 and a 20 long, leaving a 10, 20, 20L, & a 45-60 cube packed into my storage shed.
I purchased this 55 gallon with stand off CL for $80 after an extended(8 year) break from the hobby. As I started to set up everything up I realized I wanted to do a planted tank. Just a partially planted tank, right.... I didn't want to have to buy fancy substrate or lights or different filters, or fertilizers or etc. Well, that slowly turned into wanting more plants, so everything was slowly upgraded...$$$....ugh. If only I had done it correctly right off the bat! Oh well, you live and learn!.
So here is what I've got!
Basics: 55 Gallon Aquarium & stand-boring!
W/ Fluval E300 heater, 2 x Fluval U4 filters
Substrate: 60lbs of gravel, dark natural & black. 15lbs of Red Flourite
Lights: Coralife Aqualight T5HO dual lamp 54w x2 & Deep Blue SolarMax T5HO dual lamp 54w x2 w/ 8 LED moon lights (2 x 6700k & 2 x 10000k)
I will have to go through and make an accurate list of plants in this tank as I move forward with this journal. I have tried all sorts of plants out, grown some and traded them for others with the LFS, some I really like, some I've murdered plain and simple. lol.
I've currently got:
tons of Java Fern, couple different types at least.
Anubias- one big ole Coffee, nana, nana petite
Dwarf Sag.-suffered big time during a recent period of neglect followed by a move and replant. slowing coming back.
Cryptocoryne Balansae- more on the way!
Cryptocoryne Wendtii- Green, bronze/red, and just recently added Florida sunset! more red on the way!
Cryptocoryne willisii x 'lucens
Swords- one reg. amazon sword and just added a Radican Marble Queen
Aponogeton longiplumulosus- I used to have several, down to just two that are slowly coming back
I also got on the way some Cryptocoryne Becktii
The current list of fish in the tank are as follows:
Cardinal Tetra x 8-maybe
Neon Tetra x 6 maybe
Black Neon Tetra x 6
Zebra Danios x idk a few? used to be more.
1 Pleco that I do not recall, size small-stays that way too... I'll get a pic!
Amano shrimp x 6-9 probably
Red Cherry Shrimp X unknown, probably just a few
Ghost Shrimp x 1
I am planning on getting rid of the danios, black neon tetras and neons if I can catch the damn things! I am going to add more Cardinals!!
My current goal with my aquarium is to get a small group of German Blue Rams and hopefully end up with 2 pair of breeding GBR's! To do this comfortably I am trying to add more areas to hide, hence the large sword I added today and the tall plants- C. balansae also on the way.
The first picture is pretty old- featuring Mondo grass and all... LOL
The second was taken today with only half my light on. My plants suffered a lot from a recent move that was preceded by a couple months of neglect!