Hello everyone! I've actually been out of the hobby for a few years, but this is an aquarium that I've wanted to do for years. Yes, years. Depression and loss have kept this from being more than an empty aquarium sitting in my bedroom for too long, so in honor of my fishless cycle being complete, I'm starting a journal and inviting everyone along for the ride complete with ramblings, bad pictures and hopefully triumphs.
With this tank I'm going to try and incorporate leaves and plants for hopefully a forest stream/pool look.
This is the original hardscape done over a year ago and how it still exists now. The wood is manzanita and the rocks are maple stone. The substrate is simply Quikret construction sand. I really like the look of that sand and after testing it previously, mulm stays on top and there is no anaerobic activity that I'd have to worry about. I thought about doing a mineralized topsoil, but as I'm not sure where plants will look best, I avoided it in case I need to move plants. The back and sides have been painted with latex paint.
Also from last year and how it looks flooded. The mesh intake was a failure. I'm using a Rena XP3 as filtration, but i wanted low flow. The mesh intake restricted the flow too much to be functional. My filter was blowing bubbles within a day. It has since been changed to a large Aquarium Co-Op sponge. The scape could probably use improvement, but I'm terrible at that sort of thing. This is the first design I came up with that didn't leave me completely frustrated. I actually liked it, although if anyone has suggestions, I'm open. I do want to try to hide things like the stupid blue intake and where some of the ends of the manzanita are present.
Same scape, although I was testing out a different type of rock in the front that I had gotten from my friend @Serendipity
. I really like the color, but there wasn't much height to them, so couldn't figure out how to use them instead. Have plenty though, even if I can't remember what they are called.
I also have unused maple stones, but wasn't wild about there shape.
Using API Quickstart and ammonium chloride I've done a fishless cycle in about a week and a half. I was skeptical of the bottled bacteria, but it worked amazingly well. Would have worked even faster if I had added more baking soda at the start to help with my super low kh.
Still to be added are a new light (a Fluval Plant 3.0 that was kindly suggested by @Seattle_Aquarist
two years ago) and C02. The goal is actually a low light, low CO2 system which I've had good results with in the past. I need to search the forum and see where to roughly adjust the light. CO2 will be delivered by a GLA IDEAL regulator and a 20" Rex Grigg style reactor from NilocG. That's assuming I can find a source that is open to get my CO2 filled. A heater is needed, but I'm undecided on which kind to get.
My assortment of botanicals from Tannin Aquatics, that I plan to incorporate. I don't plan to use all of these since I want to keep tannins low but enjoy the look of them.
For plants, I'm aiming for slow-growing Asian species. I really would like to keep some uncommon Crypts, Buces and Java ferns. Other types like Piptospatha, Homalomena and Aridarum are definitely under consideration. It's all just a matter of finding. I am pretty open to suggestions though. For a floater I'm thinking Salvinia due to the short roots.
Stocking hasn't been entirely finalized. I definitely want to keep Pangio semicincta, Boraras brigittae, and Sundadanio goblinus. I know it looks best not mixing too many species, but with these all being so small I may actually have room for another species from the same sort of habitat.
That's probably enough rambling for now, so thank you for reading and if you have any thoughts let me know.