Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West coast of the east coast of the USA.
An all natural planted soil tank
Well after reading a post of mine in another thread a member asked me to start a thread about my natural tank so here goes.
It pretty much started with an ad in Craigslist. I've been keeping and breeding tropicals since 1980 so when I saw the ad for a Metaframe tank and stand for $30 it was a no brainer. Anyhow, these tanks are notorious for leaking so I set it up on the porch of my workshop to test it. After 2 weeks still no leaks. But I didn't have time to tear down the 29 in the kitchen and set up the "new" 55. So I threw in 2 bags of Big Box Store top soil. Went to Nolans and got some plants and put them in. Some Cabomba, temple, Amazon Sword, (that threw out 3 pups in no time), and a bunch of others I can't remember. They all grew like weeds. Trimming, replanting, trimming again. And on and on. Finally the time came to move the tank. Went to the Big Box Store and got a 35 gallon pond. Threw in another 2 bags of top soil. Added all the plants from the 55 and unloaded the dirt and put it aside. Things got delayed as life happens with a 2 year old. soil dried out. It rained and then dried out again. Finally the 55 was setup and soiled with a gravel cap. It has a Penguin filter and a bunch of gouramis. Needless to say the cabomba in that tank is gone.
So where does the natural tank come in? Right about here.
Nature abhors a vacuum and I hate another empty tank. So the 29 went on the back porch. I added in some of the top soil and a few plants. Well Florida is the capital of many things. Lightning being one and mosquitos are the state bird. The porch is screened but after 11 years it has many areas that are uhm, toast. (Yeah I've since rescreened it.) So in went some livebearers. The tank has no filters on it at all. The plants do it all. It also helps that the bioload is really low. The platys have had quite a few fry and are doing great. It can keep my son's interest for a full 5 minutes. When I get a chance I'll get some pictures of the 55 and the 29. The water in both tanks is clear. I have no idea what the water parameters. Don't really care. The fish are doing well as are the plants. Now with the sun lower in the sky the 29 isn't getting as much light so the cabomba is dying off. That's OK though since it's thriving in the pond and I'll replant it in the spring. Oh. There's no lid and it gets no light other than what it gets from daylight. I replace water lost from evaporation and when I think about it I do a water change.
I've attached a pretty ratty picture I just took with a P&S. It's mighty dark out there.