I have been a "watcher" on this great forum for some time now, but today I thought it was time to show off my little "treasure" (to me any way).
About 3 months ago I decided to get back in to aquaria after a lengthy break away. I used to keep reef aquaria and had a huge, money hungry, reef system. With electricity costs in Australia climbing steadily, I found my electricity bill was around $4k per year, half of which could be attribute to the reef tank!
To cut a long story short I installed a solar electricity system and cut my usage down enormously, with the aim of eliminating my electricity bills all together. Unfortunately the reef tank had to go because it was my number one electricity drawer, so I broke it down and sold it off.
After a number of years I began to really miss having an aquarium. So I decided to look into possibly starting a small freshwater planted tank with the aim of creating a beutiful tank I could enjoy with minimal running costs. But it would need to be a setup that would draw as little power as possible away from my solar system.
After months of research I have set the following system up:
- a cold water planted tank of around 80 litres. No heating saves lots of power.
- energy efficient 12W LED lighting
- an eheim internal pickup filter, using 3.5W of power, and using seachem matrix media
- a variety of plants, rocks and driftwood. Plants include: anubias, crypts, Hemianthus callitrichoides, Lindernia rotundifolia and Cardamine lyrata. All plants are doing very well and pearl up beutifully. This was a little trial and error however. Some plants did not like the colder water (obviously) and wilted. These current plants are thriving in the 13-20 degrees celcius.
- Fertilisers are added weekly and include seachem products: iron, nitrogen, flourish, potassium
- Substrate is a 1 inch layer combining seachem onyx and flourite with a 1 inch layer of white quartz sand over the top
- CO2 is via DIY: a 2 litre drink bottle, sugar, water and yeast. Diffusion is through a glass diffuser. This works really well for me. Each batch lasts 2 weeks or more.
- Liverstock is light: 4 white clouds, 2 zebra danios, 2 cherry shrimp
- Maintenance involves a weekly 50% water change and regular glass cleaning
To say I am enjoying this tank is an understatement. It brings a smile to my face each time I see it. It's positioned right in the middle of my main living area and is viewable from every side. It's like having a living garden in my kitchen, family and dining rooms.
And as far as power goes, it only uses 0.204 kWhrs per day, or around 4.7 cents per day. Therefore no more than $20 per year! A big reduction from the $2000 bill my previous reef aquarium used to cost.
Anyway, here are some pictures (courtesy of my iphone 4s, SIRI approved). Thanks for looking!