I had this tank sitting around with nowhere to put it until I was at work one day and thought I could stop myself putting junk on this bench as well as make it look a sight nicer if I set my tank up there. Itís a 4-foot tank thatís pretty old. It has scratched glass, and the stand has seen better days, but it just fits on the bench, so Iím going to give it a go.
I donít want to be heating this one, so itís a cold water setup. I find trying to research plants and fish for Ďcold waterí is frustrating. One reason is what many people call cold water is room temperature of a house with air conditioning (around 20C). In winter, my shop can get to 10C some nights (even some days). Looking at the lists of Ďcold water fishí, one can find a fair range, but when you look further, a lot of these fish arenít comfortable under 20C. Being in Australia, a few more species were of the list because they arenít allowed in. I have another cold setup with White Clouds, so I didnít want them. Again with plants, itís tough to find information about people planting cold water tanks. I wanted a dense planting.
I visited a lot of aquarium shops looking for things, again without much luck. I found a place that does mainly pond plants. They had a section with plenty of plants that were suitable for aquarium planting. They also had a sound system of classifying them into suitable conditions. About the same time, I came across some empire gudgeons in an LFS. I had never seen them for sale before. They are pretty widespread down the east coast of Australia, not quite as far south as Melbourne, but they occupied rivers I knew were cold. Given I had found these beauties, I decided to go with all native plants too. I selected quite a few that were cold hardy and Australian native.
The next week I also came across some red-fin zebra danios. I had never seen them before either, and I loved them. So I decided to get them too. They are definitely not native Australians, but whatever. Iím glad I did, though. They are lively and never stop swimming. A massive contrast to the gudgeons. I mean, they have personality, but they are a fair bit more timid. Before I put the danios in, the gudgeons were rarely seen swimming about. Now, they are out in the open a bit more.
I found a piece of wood that was pretty well perfect for the tank, so I went and boiled it to speed up the process of waterlogging. I found some excellent clay soil at a farm dam that was being excavated, and so I mixed that with some sand and peat moss for my growing medium. I poked some old rusty nails under the clay that I meant to put in first. If I did it again, Iíd probably add some marble chips too. I put two wifi controllable, LED floodlights in, set up my filter and filled the thing.
Later, I got some valisineria, Limnophila sessiliflora, and elodea because they were readily available and put them in. I figured I could always get rid of the elodea and ambula later if I wanted to stick with Australian species. I ordered the other plants, but with COVID etc. I didnít get them for a while, so Iím glad I got some plants.
You can see the water was cloudy to start. That was just the clay I disturbed filling the tank. Also, it's quite yellow. That's just tannins from the log. I like it that way.