So, I got my tank set up over the weekend! Everything is looking pretty good, although I did run into a few snags here and there. I feel like I could have kept tweaking my hardscape, but I couldn't wait anymore. The plants arrived and I needed to put them in the tank, so Friday night I was gluing wood to rocks with the cigarette filter trick like a mad man. Then, I put my pond soil in the tank and worried about if I got the depth correct or not. And finally I put the black sand in to cap the soil. I went for about 2cm of each, in some places with deep rooting plants I went to about 2.5cm for each. My soil was a bit granular as I wet it down when I got it and it has high clay content, so I figure it might settle down a good bit. Putting the sand it was a bit harder than I thought, since it moves around so easily as the tank is being filled. Unfortunately a good bit of it rolled down off my hills and into the lower parts of the tank, where it was already deep enough to begin with. I'll try to address this over the course of the next month during water changes by either spoon scooping these back to the top or vacuuming some of the sand out.
Then I got to the plant Xmas I had been waiting for: Opening a box of 50euro worth of plants! I quickly realized that I bought probably 2-3 more than I needed and there was no chance I was going to use all of them. I started with the Monte Carlo, which I found rather difficult to plant. Hard to tell where the roots are on such a little plant, so I more or less just stuck some little bunches in the sand and hoped they would take. Other plants were a bit a easier, especially stems. Heteranthera Zosterifolia gave me some trouble as well and I was left feeling like that one was definitely going to die. After it was all done, I filled'er up and waited.
Next morning, everyone was looking pretty good EXCEPT my Hornwort which had almost completely melted down. Not sure if this is just new tank melt, due to water params, or because I planted it in the substrate. Last night (Day 2) I fished some hornwort out of a trash bag to leave floating at the top of the tank just in case, although this morning it looks like its also melting..... In any case, most of the remaining plants seem to be doing well. At the beginning of Day 3 here I can see some new grow on the H. zosterifolia, the rotala, the tripartita and also maybe the S. repens. Monte carlo is also looking OK, although I'm betting it will turn out pretty stringy under my Nicrew Classsic LED plus. My S. subulata and crypts seem to be struggling the most, but that could just be because they are heavy substrate feeders and they need some time.
I did a 30% water change yesterday and am planning to do another on friday of this week, but so far so good! Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!