I've been lurking on this board for a few months and have learned a lot and been very impressed with all the inginuity and knowledge on display here, so I've decided to get more involved and post my first tank jounal retroactively.
The original idea with this tank was to make it a divided tank to house two bettas I've had in bowls for a couple of years and add a lot of plants and some new friends. I told my LFS what I wanted and since I had a little cart that thought would make a good stand I chose a twenty gallon that would fit it. I quickly decided I didn't like looking at a divided tank and now after some time elsewhere one betta resides in the twenty again, I've bought another super delta betta and the two remaining have their own five gallon planted tanks.
The day I walked into the fish store to get started I would have bought anything they told me I needed having watched some inspiring videos on youtube like this:
But all they sold me aside from their basic aquarium kit was as flourite clay substrate (which I mixed with cumberland pebbles) and a floraglo 15w bulb. This is what the tank looked like shortly after removing the divider. You can see how the plant choices and layout were initially influenced by the separate halves.
The two big pieces of wood are from the same root of a Kentucky Coffee tree I had in my backyard which I screwed into some rocks. The plants are Amazon Sword, Filligree Frill, Rottala Wallichii, Christmas Moss, Anubius Broadleaf (I think) and it's hard to see but there is some Dwarf Babytears. And impossible to see are three diamond tetras, three hatchetfish and two Ambrocius Cory Cats.
After doing some reading online about lighting I realized I didn't have enough to do what I wanted so I built my own two 15 watt bulb fixture. It was still not enough to do what I wanted as I would find out but not before I bought and killed more plants. This picture is a screen shot from a video I made at this time so it is a little blurry.
Since then the puffers died and so did the four leaf clover and dwarf hairgrass and baby tears. I bought more hairgrass, some watersprite, other plants I don't remember and rearranged things to look like this:
Then both swords died and so did the Rottala Walichi so a drastic rearranging was in order. The LFS had a good deal on microsword so I thought I'd give it a try. I decided that the two stumps were still dividing the tank creating two focal points so I brought them together to create a little oasis on one side and lot's of swimming space on the other. Here I also tried to add Hygrophia kompakt and narrow leaf chain sword. All of it died quickly but it looked cool while it lasted:
At this point I had set up two five gallon betta tanks and one of them just wasn't doing it for me so I temporarily dismantled it moving the betta, java fern, a lilly, and an ozelot sword over to this tank. It looked like this:
This is the last photo from the coffee tree era. I have since found a cool piece of of arched malaysian drift wood to replace the two sticks. In my next post I'll show you the tank as it is now with a complete list of fish and plants. Thanks for looking.