Current tank shot Jan 2021
Anybody remember this attempt I made? Third time's a charm. It's up and running!
It's a 45g I'm keeping in my basement hallway niche. Started off just part full, because I didn't have a filter with capacity for the entire water volume yet, but wanted to get it going and put the cories in there so they could have the bigger footprint already. So I had it set up with fifteen gallons of water, a 50 watt heater and three filters running on airlines- my 20g capacity corner filter stuffed with media taken from the 38g's canister, and my two small extra sponge filters (10g capacity each). These came straight out of the 10g quarantine tank, and all the contents went in here too- plastic plants, driftwood sticks, rocks, fake decor (pipe, bridge, clay arches).
Lighting is just the simple LED strip that came with the kit. I'm keeping it low tech and sticking to low-light, really undemanding plants. Especially since the tank is tall, I don't know how much would reach the bottom anyway.
Leaf litter is new- I sorted (to get the cleanest) oak leaves from the yard, boiled them twenty minutes, soaked in dechlor water with carbon for twenty-four hours as prep. I hoped with all that stuff carrying over good bacteria on its surfaces, I'd get an instant cycle, and I think it worked again. I've been testing daily and the tank has zero nitrite, zero ammonia, 5-10 ppm nitrate steady. Started with handful of ramshorn snails as inhabitants and test subjects. They did fine. In fact, I found an egg case already, ha. (More on the snails later).
I also put in a lot of expired fish flakes tied in a pantyhose to provide ammonia, and have been dropping in daily fresh food equal to the amount I'd feed the first fishes I want to put in here (brochis splendens- emerald catfish): one algae wafer, two or three shrimp pellets. Of course this means the snails are multiplying but the plan is for them to be food to the fishes, anyway. (Perry is getting fed some of the extra little ones, for now).
On to the plants! Perry's tank donated a few rocks and small sticks, and this one free-floating vallisneria. Which is now lightly tied down to a fragment of driftwood, and seems happy enough. It's grown a bit in the few days been in here.
I thinned a bunch of plants out of the betta's tenner. Various anubia, including a large cutting off this one barteri that has been obscuring the skull cave (the tenner doesn't look much different except now I can see the skull more, and the shrimps are easier to spot in the background).
Most of the anubia lanceolata, congensis and afzelii.
This smaller anubias on the left, is one I grew from an inch rhizome piece. It still has a long way to go!
A few bucephalandra tied onto rocks.
Leaf litter! I am planning to keep this tank more or less bare bottom- with a layer of oak leaves. Next time I prep leaves I might cut them into smaller pieces, though. I know the fishes will kick them around, the plants should more or less stay in place (most are epiphytes on rocks)
I've tucked subwassertang into a few corners- even though I know it probably won't stay there.
I used to dislike using this corner filter for the annoying blub-blub sound. Fixed that. Had to remove a bit of the media- I think I stuffed it too full at first (this was several days after setup) so I threw away the wad of flake food that was getting stinky in the pantyhose, and loosely tied the media I took out of this filter in there, instead. Also helpful to rinse when it seems to slow, and take care to work all the air pockets out- that's tricky- before replacing in the tank. But what really silenced it was sticking a folded bit of mesh into the output pipe. It breaks up the outflow into finer bubbles.
So at that point my part-filled tank looked like this:
and then two days later it went to this:
Because a friend of my husband was tearing down his last tank (retiring) and gave me all these plants, and some driftwood. It had algae that cleaned off easy with a bit of scrub, and got a soak to boot.
I put the additional anubia lanceolata or whatever they are with the others in front to make a denser group. I like it.
I'm really pleased with the java ferns- here in two different kinds of lighting. Java fern never does great in my other tanks, seems to need more nutrient so I feel a bit dubious how it will do in here. But perhaps it will get something from the breakdown of the leaves?
And then I realized my 50-watt heater wasn't keeping up with the volume. It was on constantly. I had to fill the tank already to put in my 200-watt heater instead. My fishkeeping friend loaned me this MUCH larger sponge filter. I kept the two small ones in the tank, just sitting around- but now with this puppy running and the 20g corner filter- I feel good about it for now.
Here's the final look. Hornwort floating is bright and even pearling- I don't like that it gets pushed all to the center, but intend to get a canister and then shift the media from the three smaller filters into it... Also the largest anubias is fairly dead center- but when it grows, new foliage will extend to the right, and when I move that sponge filter out, can shift the driftwood over too. I'm more pleased with it off the bat than I really expected to be. (I was going to keep it very minimalist- but seems I can't help putting plants and plants in there!)
It just needs a tangle of sticks now. And then some fishes. (The cories got adopted before I got this far, so for now it is one big snail and a bunch of little ones).