This tank exists because I found kick-butt rocks for eight dollars at a bonsai store in Japantown. I also wanted to do another 'scape with UG.
I've used UG in the past to varying degrees of success, but I never created a hardscape that did the plant justice as I feel that a carpet of UG looks best on slopes.
So, with my eight dollars worth of rocks and a bag and a quarter of Amazonia Powder, I created my hardscape and slope.
Initially, I filled the whole tank to help me remove some Duckweed that snuck in during planting,
and to fully saturate the substrate.
Here's what it looks like now, drained.
There's too much water in the front, I know, but I'm leaving it there initially until I gauge how quickly the top portions dry out.
This tank will dry-start for the first two months. After that, I may or may not fill it. (I probably will.)
If the UG takes to the dry-start, I will probably not add CO2. This means I'll use a HOB filter and about twenty-eight watts of CF from a fixture that is dim-able -- I got it years ago from Sharper Image -- and turn the light down to the equivalent of twenty-two watts. A reasonable light level for a tank this size without CO2, I'm thinking.
Speaking of HOBs, anyone have a recommendation for a Mini-M? I like the idea of a HOB as they allow for more oxygen exchange than a canister, resulting in, presumably, a more robust bio-filter. (I'm currently on a bio-filter-kick as I feel they are the unsung heros of a fish tank.) However, I've fallen in love with the Eheim 2211s and may get one of those if you guys think the benefit of a HOB is minimal.
Also, any tips you have for keeping the upper portion of a slope saturated is much appreciated. I've got a spray bottle, but if you got better ideas, I'm all ears.
Anyway, welcome to my fifth journal in less than a year.