It was time for me to scratch my itch and run CO2 again, so I broke out my collection of miscellaneous aquarium goods and pieced together enough to determine I could set up a standard 10 gallon tank with minimal extra expenses.
: Brand new 10 standard gallon 20"L x 10"W x 12"T - actual water volume 35L measured by exact weight during initial fill + top off.
: Eheim 2213 with Fluval intake skimmer.
: RedSea Paintball CO2 Kit into an Ista inline reactor - Will target 1.1 - 1.3 drop in pH.
: DIY hood with 2 x 23 watt compact fluorescent bulbs mounted horizontally. I am planning to add some LED's mostly for some blue's and red's + whatever extra PAR that will give me.
: RO water with 55% weekly water changes. 35ppm Ca (Ca Gluconate + CaSO4 + CaCl2), 12.5ppm Mg, 1.0 dKH based off 19.5L. pH is still settling out / calibration was not the greatest on my pH pen = 7.3 degassed but it's likely 7.1 or so from previous experience. I will target 6.0 from CO2 to start.
: 10ppm NO3, 3ppm PO4, 15ppm K front loaded based off 35L - Will likely mix up some micros with the latest recipe and dose 3x weekly at 1/2 strength.
Crypt lutea 'Hobbit'
Ludwigia Super Red Mini
Hygro Poly Sunset (on the chopping block)
Future Flora Wishes:
Cabomba pulcherrima 'Purple'
Cabomba furcata red 'Red'
Chili rasboras x 10 or 15
Oto cats x 3 or 4
Amano Shrimp x 4
Neo shrimp colony (most likely yellow or blue rhili / carbon rhili, not sure yet)
As to substrate, I went with something completely new to me that I've always wanted to try, just never had "the right" tank to try it on. Lawn Top-Dressing Soil + Calcined Montmorillonite Clay + Sand capped with coal slag. I used a mix to achieve a physical structure of my liking. 3/4" - 1.0" of soil capped with an equal amount of coal slag.
Here is the soil after initial wetting with a sprinkle of NPK + micros 12 month slow release formula:
Still lots of lumps / wood, so I strained + soaked in a pail and skimmed off the surface floaties:
Added the Calcined Montmorillonite Clay to give it's CEC a pre-charge, left out in the sun to begin mineralization:
Back into the pail for another soak:
I repeated this 3 or 4 times, soaking and then baking in the sun, removing any large material I could find during each step.
Finished product with sand added to reach the structure I liked, and dumped into the tank:
Spread out evenly:
Moved away from the visible edges of the tank:
Capped with coal slag:
RO water checks out as good:
Filling the tank VERY slowly:
Initial planting, the bubbles on the front glass are from a water change I performed just before taking this photo:
Filter + Reactor setup:
Tank has been running for 4 weeks now, none of which the CO2 was running. Ammonia was present at 0.25ppm pre-water change, so not as much as I had expected. I will monitor this before getting into livestock, I haven't been testing for 2 weeks now. I'm planning on getting the plants thriving and a good routine down before buying animals for this tank. Hopefully it will keep me occupied while I save up / plan for the main display tank
That's all for now, CO2 is up and running, initial plants are looking good / pearling, a few more weeks and I should get an idea of how this tank will play out!