Hi all, thought I would start a journal here as I have been lurking for a while trying to soak in as much information as I can
I recently started out with the hobby and bought an 80L Corner tank on impulse and not really doing any research into planted tanks prior. The tank is an all in one type, with the lighting and filter housed in the hood. The tank came with only 22w of lighting and after doing some reseach that I should have done sooner realised this just wasn't enough. I had to make a few cuts and modifications inside the hood to get single 55w power compact tube (duel 6500 & 10000k) and ballast fitted which seems to be ok.
I also decided to use a canister filter (Eheim 2213) and not use the filter housed in the hood as the powerhead and intake tube took up too much space and looked a little intrusive. So I made some modifications in that area to fit in some moon lights, and there is some room for additional lighting if required.
I also gave the back / sides of the tank a coat with some black spray paint for the background.
I decided to go with DIY C02 (yeast etc) and ADA aquasoil for the substrate. I went hiking in my local area and found some nice driftwood and suitable rocks which I treated / soaked for a month. Below is my initial hardscape setup prior to filling with water.
When I was happy with the setup I got planting! I put in (from memory) HC, Dwarf Hair Grass, Lilaeopsis, Ludwigia, Anubias nana petite, Anubias bateri, Amazon Swords, java moss, java ferns and some other fern type plant I dont know the name of. Below are some pics of the tank just after filling after planting.
After the initial setup the tank was going ok, I was monitoring the water and hoping the cycle wouldn't take too long. I was getting pretty big ammonia spikes and after doing a little reading worked out the soil will leech for a while and this is normal. I kept up with water changes but was having some issues. The ludwigia pretty much melted away, and there was not much sign of plant growth and some snails that hitchhiked on some plants had a population explosion, I'm assuming due to plenty of rotting plant matter for food.
The HC then started to melt and there seemed to be a lot of particles in the water that the filter just couldnt keep up with.
The filter is graded for an 80 to 250L aquarium but it just wasn't cutting it so I decided to spend a little more money and upgraded to the Eheim 2215. I also decided to keep the 2213 going as well for some extra flow.. maybe an overkill im not sure, but it seems hard to get a good flow in a corner tank, not that I would know as it's the only tank I have :P
At this stage I ripped out the plants that weren't doing that great - ludwigia, amazon swords, anubias bateri and the java moss and replaced them with some rotala green, wisteria, fissidens and some xmas moss.
I also spent a little more and upgraded to pressurized c02 which seems to be making a good difference. The parts of HC that survived have started to carpet along with the dwarf hair grass. The java ferns has been having some good growth and I have managed to propigate a few new little ones.
I had some initial problems with some brown algae that the snails seemed to control. I don't mind the snails, but there are just too many so I plan to get a few Dwarf Loach (Sidthimunki) to help with population control. I am also getting a little green spotty algae on the glass, hopefully some oto's will fix that also. I am dosing a little bit with excel and flourish.
The tank hasn't quite cycled yet, the ammonia has dropped right down and the nitrites have spiked.. so hopefully it's doing the right thing..
Below are some pics of the tank currently.. sorry about the crappy photo's..