When I set up an experimental tank, I usually do not like to post pictures until the 3-6 month period as I find that the true test of how well a tank does comes around the 3-6 months. IME, tanks usually start out doing really well, then one of two things happens. They continue to do well indefinitely or succumb to serious algae issues after 3-6 months. I am not talking about diatom green dust, or even green spot algae which is typical of most planted tanks. I am talking about Blue Green Algae, Black Beard/Brush Algae, hair or thread algae. I decided to post photos of this experimental tank prior to the 6 month mark. This tank of my latest experiment and has been up for only 3 weeks. It is a 3 gallon tank with 14 watt 6500 K compact fluorescent bulb with ADA Aquasoil II as a substrate, mini elite submersible filter, daily dosing of Seachem Excel for Carbon. Plants include: cardamine lyrata(floating), dwarf aquatic lily,java fern, anubias nana and coffelia, a rotala indica, Ludwiga repans, pygme chain sword, and Cryptocorne Wendtii(red). The green mesh in the background is my attempt at a java moss wall. I don't know how well it will do as I generally do not have any success with java moss(it turns brown and dies on me after a while; this is my 4th attempt at growing it). I have not put any fish in yet. I am waiting for the plants to get fully established and water parameters to test normal. The last thing I want to do is add fish/shrimp early on, only to find that I have to tear the tank down as it is turning into a dog's breakfast, I am not dosing ferts given the high nutrient value of the sediment and doing 50% weekly water changes due to ammonia leaching. My goal when water parameters test stable is to either put in a Zebra Nerite Snail/Amano Shrimp and or White cloud minnows. For anyone familiar with ADA Aquasoil, it is considered the cadillic of substrates and used by many hobbyists. Tom Barr who is well known in the Planted Aquarium world has set up numerous tanks with a variety of substrates and this is his substrate of choice. The only thing is that most have used Aquasoil have used it with pressurized or DIY c02 and high light. Few have experimented with it on a low tech, low light set up, so I decided to. I want to thank Tom Barr(AKA: PlantBrain) who was kind enough to give me suggestions on how best to proceed with this setup. I take no credit for the approach. Tom Barr further discusses his approach here:
I was initially going to try a combination of Tom Barr's emersed method combined with this method or the hybrid method that he describes in the link above. I decided against it as there were too many unknowns with how well the plants that I was going to use would grow emersed and survive the transition back to submersed.
We will see how well, she does. So far ludwiga and rotala have shown explosive growth, the pygme chain sword has sprouted 3 runners, and much to my surprise the cryptocorne Wendtii has not undergone a melt. Here are some photos. No further updates until April 09. Comments and feedback welcome, but please keep in mind that this tank is not an exercise or experiment in aquascaping but an experiment in aquarium plant growth.
Go to last page for Mar 09 update and pictures.