New Year's day I was feeling energetic and 'broke down' my 30 gallon that has been set up since 12/3/2009 (9+ years). During that 9 year period I did several re-scapes and one major clean up in 2016 but the substrate and equipment remained the same until I replaced the 2X39W Power Compact with and LED fixture in 5/16.
I decided to reuse the 9 year old montmorillonite clay substrate (Soilmaster Select) and all the other equipment so, without further ado, here is my 30 gallon 'old skool' which I am going to stock with plants from countries that surround the Bay of Bengal!
Day 1, Immediately after filling
12 hours after filling
Not quite so milky
24 hours after filling
Almost perfectly clear, filtration is a Marineland 160 gph canister filter and the underground filter (yes, this tank has a UGF). Water parameters were: ph=7.2 (de-gassed); dKH=3.0; dGH=2.0; Nitrates=0 ppm
4 days after filling
On Day 3 I turned on the CO2. On Day 4 I attached the Microsorium pteroptus 'Trident' and 'Windelov' to hardscape, added Ceratopteris thalictroides, Limnophila chinensis, Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Green Gecko' (TC), Pogostemon erectus (TC that I waited 2 weeks to plant), Hygrophila polysperma 'Sunset', Rotala 'Vietman / H'ra' (TC), Nymphoides hydrophylla (aka 'Taiwan'), Hydrocotle tripartita, and a few non-Indian Ocean plants just to fill in some spaces temporarily like Ceratopteris cornuta, Nymphaea micrantha, Helantium tennellum, Ludwigia inclinata 'Pantanal', I still have some Limnophila rugosa and some Hygrophila serpyllum that I am growing emerged to add to the tank this week. After dosing fertilizers the water parameters were: pH=6.2, dKH=15, dGH=21, nitrates 10 ppm (Yes, I badly overdosed my dKH and dGH booster). The drop checker with 4.0 dKH indicator solution reads approximately 48 ppm of CO2.