Thanks to those of you who answered my questions in the other forums. Things have finally settled down enough to formally present my tank (problems and all). It took a year of dreams, but I finally set up my first tank almost three weeks ago. The first picture was taken the day after I put the fish in.
My only plan was to try a variety of plants, and attempt aquascaping later. I had originally wanted to do an Amazon biotope (I used to live there and miss it a lot!) but it was too limiting given the plants available at the lfs. As a newbie, I chose ease of startup over authenticity. My fish are S. American, and the plants are mostly American (I stuck the Rotala in on a whim). I hope to do an Amazon biotope with angles, hatchets, knifefish, and others in a larger tank once I get the hang of things.
My tank has had some adventures in the last three weeks:
1) Diatoms (briefly, until algae took over)
2) Slight ammonia readings for two days, and the algae started
3) No more ammonia, but slight nitrites for two days
4) No more nitrites, but one week after purchase one glowlight tetra got sick (white fuzzy eye) and died within 12 hours, possibly Columnaris. I noticed one other fish with a bite-sized piece of fin missing, whitish edge, but fin has since grown back in.
5) When the glowlight first got sick, I added 2 Tbs. aquarium salt to aquarium, but the algae went bezerk. I changed water to get rid of salt over a couple days, "weeded" out the algae, added more plants (Cabomba, Egeria, Hornwort) and the Hagen natural CO2.
6) Algae continues to thrive (mostly green hair) so today I bought 4 Ottos and 4 ghost shrimp, and ordered ferts (from Gregg Watson) and phosphate and nitrate tests. Maybe low CO2 is allowing the algae, but ferts will help me figure that out.
7) I’m still spinning from it all….
Oh yeah, the current "look": I’ll work on the aesthetics when things are running smoothly and I know how the different plants grow. It reminds me more of Amazon forests than the waterways. I'm definitely into the "wilder" look, but I don't have a definite scape in mind yet.
And my current nemesis, before I pulled a lot of it out:
If anyone has any comments on anything about my tank, I’d love to hear them. I’m definitely hooked on freshwater planted aquariums, and I hope it doesn’t interfere with school too much!
55W AHS compact fluorescent (6700K)
27ºC ±1º (80ºF ± 2º)
pH=6.5-7, KH=5º, GH=3.5º, ammonia/nitrates zero
Hagen natural CO2 with bubble ladder
(names given by LFS or my best guesses)
Bacopa caroliniana, Cabomba caroliniana, Egeria densa, Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Sagittaria chilensis, Sagittaria subulata var. pusilla, Echinodorus major, E. osiris, E. blehri, Ludwigia arcuata, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Myriophyllum scarbatum, Rotala indica
4 Corydoras triliniatus
4 Glowlight tetras
5 Black skirt tetras
4 Ghost shrimp
2 pieces of driftwood