Sup guys! So I've been lurking around TPT for about a month now, and have finally decided on a set-up for my first tank. I was looking for something small that would easily fit on my desk, and found a great deal on eBay for an Aqueon Evolve 4. Its not much to look at yet, but hopefully by this time next week it'll have changed a lot!
I decided to try something similar to the Walstad method for the substrate. I flooded Miracle Gro Organic Choice potting soil to allow the lighter debris (wood, leaves, etc) to float to the top and scooped them off. After several sessions of mixing the bucket and allowing it to settle, I drained off the excess water and the dirt was ready. I capped it with some Petco black aquarium sand and then used some airline hosing to SLOWLY fill the tank, letting the water drip down the driftwood. Five 50% water changes later, and I finally have clear water!
I seeded the filter on this tank with some ceramic bio rings from my African Cichlid tank to try and speed up the cycle a bit. Plants have been ordered and will hopefully come this week
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Red'
Sagittaria Subulata (Narrow Leaf Sag)
Echinodorus tenellus (Pygmy Chain Sword)
As far as livestock, I have two assassin snails coming with the plants to take care of any surprises that may be hiding with the shipment, and I plan on stocking a small colony of Neocaridina shrimp, most likely RCS (since it's my first shrimp tank as well).
Thanks for reading, if you have any questions of recommendations I'd love to hear them!