Well, I have finally decided to throw myself into the thick of things and give this planted tank thing a shot. Although I am a broke graduate student, I decided having a beautiful planted aquarium would be my guilty pleasure. This of course being a much better use of my money than say, perhaps buying food or office supplies.
Anyway, I have been lugging around a 20 gallon hexagon aquarium with me since I worked at an aquarium store in highschool. This thing has been everything from a brackish tank to a goldfish tank to a breeding cichlid tank. This time, however, I decided to take a more challenging approach and choose planted. Although I have quite a bit of experience caring for fish, plants seem to be an entirely different entity.
I stumbled upon this forum in the hopes to find someone who has kept a planted hexagon aquarium. Alas, the ones I have found were much bigger than mine. The main reason for my searching was to find an answer to the surface space problem I am having. The light system I have fits a 15" bulb... a whopping 14W for my 20 gallon tank.
I could spend a fortune and buy a coralife 20"quad lamp, but 96W is a little excessive as is the $150 for the light. So I have settled on a 24" coralife 65W light and will just have to deal with the fact that I'll have 2 inches of bulb hanging over the side of my tank. It won't be pretty, but I can't expect picture perfect on the budget I've got going on.
On to dilemma number 2: I cannot for the life of me find a glass canopy for my 20 gallon hex. I am convinced they just don't make them. In a scrappy attempt to find a substitute, I took the glass from a larger picture frame and am using that as a stand for my light. Again, not the prettiest thing, but it is what it is.
So here is my current situation:
Things I have: plants in a good substrate (caribsea floramax), fish, good water quality, a piece of mopani driftwood
Things I am waiting on: my 65W light (being shipped as we speak), my DIY CO2 system (I've ordered CO2 tubing and a couple of parts to make it easier to construct.. but again, being shipped), a CO2 glass drop checker (thank you planted tank forum and ebay!), and for my mopani driftwood to stop leaking tannins.
Bringing me to dilemma number 3: my stupid driftwood won't stop leaking tannins. Ok, so I've been soaking it for about 5 days in my bathtub, draining and refilling the tub about 2-3x/day with scolding hot water. I don't have a pot big enough to hold it (its kind of branchy and awkward shaped), so I thought the tub was brilliant. So here is the thing about tubs and Mopani driftwood; Tubs are white and the tannins that leak out of the driftwood are a pukey brown color. Needless to say I now need to invest in some serious chemicals to fix my tub once my driftwood is good to go.
Although this is the start of my adventure, I have already had some major challenges, epiphanys and a few tears. Stay tuned as I am sure to encounter hurdles, mountains and monsters on my journey with a my planted hexagon aquarium.
So it begins...
oh, p.s., that is a fake red plant in the background. It and the ornaments my boyfriend insisted be in the tank will be MIA upon the next update. Muahahaha...