I started this tank way back in October, and now, a week into cycling it, I've decided it's about time I start my tank journal.
I decided to use a dirt tank (Miracle Grow Organic Choice) capped with black diamond sand to save money on substrate... which I promptly spent getting Seriyu stone.
I wanted to go for a minimalist carpet look so the only plants I started with are dwarf hair grass and HC.
I had read about dry start and after watching my Dad's HC melt away into nothing decided that it was worth a shot (and it certainly has been).
After realizing that I did not have enough plants I added more DHG and some AR mini for a little bit of red.
Initially I had some growth... (the AR did not last in the top corner as water only wicks up so high)...
...but the HC only grew so much and everything started to turn yellow(the photo above was in the middle of November) under the light that I had, and so as a Christmas present to myself I upgraded from a crappy tube light to the Finnex 24/7. As you can see below (photo is from January after swapping lights), neither the HC nor the DHW was doing that well, especially considering that at this point I'd been doing dry start for over two months...
However, I was starting to notice a disturbing amount of slime mold growth under the new light, and was also running out of patience with my four month long dry start, and so I flooded the tank at the start of Febuary (excuse my ugly thermometer that fell down as I was taking the shot)
and here it is today (2/10/17) as you can see the HC has become green again (now that it's underwater)
Here's a closer look at each side:
and a photo with my stand:
Hydror inline heater (300 Watt)
20lb CO2 tank (my regulator is ATZ Plus and definitely not fine enough for a planted tank, but it does the job as long as you set the bubble rate and then never touch it)
Diffuser was $15 on ebay, isn't that great, and will hopefully be replaced by a DIY Cerges reactor once I have the parts / time.
Pipes are JARDLI, can't say I'm super impressed, but they were cheap and are far prettier than the stock Fluval in/out-take
(Fun fact - using Fluval ribbed hosing with non Fluval adapters leads to a lot of leaking and a trip to the store to buy clear 5/8th hosing)
150 lbs of Black Diamond Blasting Sand
1 bag of Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Soil
70 lbs of Seiryu stone (s/o to Mrbluepanda for his rock selection)
Dwarf Baby Tears
Dwarf Hair Grass
Current plan for livestock is Trigonostigma espei
, Cherry and Amano Shrimp, and Nerite snails, which hopefully I'll be able to add once my nitrite spike ends.