typically i would shove anything green leafy rooty with a rhizome into the dirt... but i think it depends on how much maintenance you want to deal with. i mean you can go along way with a low- med tech planted tank.
i'm only dosing excel and dry ferts and i find myself trimming every 7-10 days ontop of weekly water changes. that unto itself is alot of work but can also be rewarding. everybody is different, some people plant and forget some people are constantly rescaping, some people go minimal and just grow one species, but grow it very very well.... it all depends on you.
the good thng about my 20L is its
manageable in size. you can get as tedious and meticulous as you want or not, still manageable either way. downside is also its upside... its 12" in height. stems can reach the top in no time, can't really keep tall large plants like spiralis, vals, swords etc.. yet its easy to plunge your hand in for maintenance and its easy to achieve a high light condition in a shallow tank (cheaper lighting).
fir fish however, i think you need to be more conciensous. not all species will do well in a small tank. especially if you plan to overstock. i would give aqadvisor.com a shot to help you figure out some possible combos.
since your in college its definetely something to think about. if your fish decide to breed lol.
After reading through your thread I was very tempted to just forget about my (loose) biotope goals and obtain a huge variety of plants! I can see why maintaining several different species would be fun, but for now I really want to stay committed to my fish for as long as I can resist all of the plants. I want this tank to be natural and comfortable for them and I don't want to overgrow their house! I am glad to see how successful you've been by simply dosing excel although I am tempted to get a small canister and generate my own co2 gas.
I actually do have hopes that I may be able to breed both the corys and the tetras eventually, plus it will give me another reason to start a new tank! I felt pretty comfortable about my stocking plans until the aquaclear filter arrived in the mail today and let me tell you it is so much smaller than I thought it would be. This thing is tiny and I'm not used to having such a small filter on a tank!! It's rated for a 50gallon tank and the flow rate is 10x turnover per hour but still...
Thanks for your help so far !
If you want to simulate this habitat, you'll have to forgo your original plant choices in favor of floating plants, but it will be a very easy tank to maintain and the dense floating plants will help remove nitrates from the fish.
I would recommend a substrate of fine sand, a few rocks and nice pieces of driftwood, fallen leaves if you want them (but not tons). and a dense canopy of floating plants. Eichornia and Pistia get too big for a 20L, so I'd go with Salvinia natans.
Wow thanks for finding that information! Salvinia Natans is beautiful and would look really neat floating on the tank with the roots hanging down, I'm sure the fish would appreciate it too. I want to do more research on their natural environments as I'm sure they don't only live in small ponds like the ones collected in the article you linked to. Perhaps I can find them somewhere with some more beautiful plants that will root in my substrate!
Well the components of my tank are quickly coming together. The 100 watt hydor Theo heater came along with the aquaclear 50 HOB. I got a 50pound bag of pool filter sand from a local pool supply place, a small rickety table from goodwill, and managed to set it all up with water! I've got one 15 pound of flourite ordered that I'm going to mix with the sand. Anyhow, here are some pics! Sorry that they suck and are from my phone, as soon as I have livestock to photograph I'll do a better job!
I got this table for less than $8 at goodwill. It was very rickety but I took it all apart and reassembled it with better hardware and wood glue, adding supports into the design. Now it is absolutely solid, I danced around on it just to make sure and I weigh a good 170.
I then took it outside and refinished the entire thing in plastidip, waterproofing the entire table in a coat of rubber and helping it match the color of the rest of our furniture.
I hung a power strip as well as a digital light timer on the back of the stand to keep all of the cords out of view and just when I finished setting up the tank, sand, lights etc. the UPS guy walked in and delivered my filter and heater. I hooked them up and before I tidied up the cords I snapped this pic of lights on. The background is krylon fusion black and blue that I did this morning.
Lastly I filled the tank with water, placing a plate on the sand to help keep it all in place. Even after spending thirty minutes rinsing the sand outside today I still get this cloud!
Well my roommates and I are excited to see it lit up and in its place in the living room. I hope that being next to a cold window doesn't present a problem but it's the only place it could go!
I am running the filter and heater to help dial in the temperature and make sure that everything is working. I am going to place some detritus from my 2.5 into this tank to hopefully help seed it, in a few days Ill add some plants after I test the water. Then over the next couple weeks I'm going to try to stabilize the ph using some peat in the filter to see if I can get it around 7.0 or lower.
Once the flourite comes in the mail I'm going to distribute that throughout the tank, then go searching for good pieces of slate, as that's the only thing that I can find around here without buying lfs stock.
Hopefully within four weeks if everything is looking great then I can get my hands on some corydoras bilineatus and introduce them into their new home. We shall see how everything pans out.