Background: This is Foo the Flowerhorn's fault. Let me back up: I had a fish-only aquarium as a kid and have considered getting another one at various points in my life, but never pulled the trigger, usually because I couldn't convince myself I had the time or money to do it right. This was probably a good call.
Foo's videos reignited my interest again, and now I have a stable adult life. I also have an advance degree in horticulture, so doing a planted tank was obvious. I bought "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" on advice from a friend, did a bunch of internet research and decided that a tank like Foo's would be too hard for a first tank, so I set up a 20 long dirted tank with a filter in early April. It looks like this:
The system is working well overall and I've learned a whole bunch. One of the things I learned is that I still wanted to try a tiny Foo tank. I thought my spouse would take the reasonable approach and tell me that I just got one aquarium and getting a second was overboard, but instead he said I could put it right on the kitchen counter and then got me a UNS 5N tank for Mother's Day. (I know!) So here we are.
Tank: UNS 5N, 4.65 gallons (I'm going to call it 5, but it's not quite)
Lighting: NICREW clip on, 7 watts
Substrate: Miracle Grow Organic topsoil + some of my native red clay, sifted together
Cap: mostly Caribsea Peace River, with a little Gemstone Creek
Hardscape: a small manzanita branch, very simple
Filter/heater/CO2/ferts: none. I'll add something to circulate the water if I have to, but I'm trying to not have anything to plug in other than the light if I can get away with it
- Eleocharis pusilla, harigrass - using DSM to start this as a carpet.
- Egeria densa, anacharis
- Hemianthus micranthemoides, pearl weed
- Bacopa caroliniana
- Vesicularia sp., mini Christmas moss - glued to the hardscape
- Salvinia nutans (floating plant)
Except for the hairgrass, these are all beasts in my 20 gallon and should be able to hit the ground running in this tank.
- Microsorum pteropus, java fern 'Windelov', possibly another cultivar I have
- Cryptocoyne wendtii 'Green Gecko'
- Vallisneria spiralis
- Marino moss ball
Again, I have all the plants already in my 20 gallon and they are all converted and growing great, but I'm not sure if the slower growing plants (java fern, crypt, moss ball) are going to be overwhelmed with algae in the new tank. I would love to have the crypt and java fern to be more prevalent in the long term if they can just hang on in the initial months. I have heard that val grows much shorter in low tech setups, but enough to fit in a tank this size? I love the texture and look of it, so I may just try a single plantlet and see how it goes.
- Zebra nerite snail
- Amano shrimp x 2
Possible (but not all together):
- Some flavor of Neocaridinia shrimp
- Male endlers or some other teeny nano fish
- A betta, if I get a heater
Tomorrow is 2 weeks into DSM and here's what it looks like (yes, that's the manzanita right next to it on the right):
Here's a close up comparison of the hairgrass at day 6 (top) vs. day 13 (bottom):
It's not on the kitchen counter yet, but I'll move it when it gets flooded. I would like to keep growing this carpet for about 6 more weeks, but if mold shows up to the party tomorrow at least the root system has grown enough to anchor the plants into the substrate. In the meantime, I'm focusing on keeping everything in my 20 gallon healthy so I can cut as much as I want to get the new tank the beefiest plant mass from day 1. Wish me luck!