my wife came up with the name for this tank. in her words, "i think it breaks every rule of a conventional fish tank". its a 55 gallon for which we decided to throw out every conservative limitation that we knew of.
ill explain: first, we used mostly composted cow manure, mixed with a bit of kitty litter, as a substrate. it is capped with an inch of paver base. a bit ambitious.
second, we decided to go with a light we had no experience with. i dont recall the brand, but it consists of 3 10,000K 48inch T5HO bulbs and 3 12,000K T5HO actinic, for a total of 324 watts, or about 6 watts per gallon. it was made for a reef tank. maybe not such an odd choice, but i have never received a recommendation for such a light, so i listed it.
third, we went with DIY CO2 for what is pretty obviously an over lit and over fertilized tank. we started with a two liter, a three liter, and gallon bottle, all linked in series, but had to pull the gallon off as it gassed our shrimp(lost a few).
and fourth, the oddest part, we never turn the lights off. the tank has been set up for about two and a half months, with complete 24/7 lighting for all but a few hours of it.
i think it has progressed quite well.
this is the tank shortly after we set it up, taken 24 September:
a few days later. as expected, brown algae/diatoms/cyano took over. i view this as a new tank issue and not an indication that i need to turn my lights off/dose antibiotics/ any other craziness. i just wait it out. at this point we were still waiting for the new lights to come in and simply had 4 t8 bulbs from walmart on it. a few days later we got the new lights. 29 September:
25 November. under 24 hour lighting, the plants had finally reached the stage that i had been waiting for, rapid growth. they always seem to follow that pattern for me when i set up a tank for 24 hour lighting. algae, slow growth, then a few weeks later they shoot up like rockets...
all of the new growth on the red plants is showing some nice colors. 05 December:
this is the last plant my wife decided to add to the tank. it was added about a week ago and is showing great potential...
there are only two fish in the tank, both bristle nose plecs. the rest of the inhabitants are lots of cherry shrimp and various snails.
so, we experimented with the substrate and the lighting. i have been running the ridiculous photo-period for years now, so it wasn't really an experiment. and i have used cow manure for a while now, just never made a substrate with so much of it in it.
this is the same tank that i have the scaped algae in, which you can see on the driftwood.