Hi everyone! Like it says, this is my first time with a high tech planted tank. I decided on the fluval spec v as it's a pretty cheap deal for an attractive little tank. My intention is for this tank to be a learning experience, in preparation for a larger display tank. I'm planning on planting an Iwagumi style tank. I grow a lot of bonsai and have been painting a lot of Bierstadt studies, so that's clearly the right idea - bonsai mountain range.
Looking for some inspiration, I'm drawn to these tanks:
Now, my first thought was 'what makes these work?' First thing I see is lots of different, lush grasses. There's a wealth of color shades and textures that add to the design, creating a symbolic depth. The moss can be read as grasses, the larger stem plants as trees or even continuations of the cliff. Rocks are exposed promontories or cliff faces.
It's a first tank though, so maybe I need to scale back my ambition.
Perfect! Four types of plants! Let's do that!
First thing to do was purchase an upgrade to the light and a heater. Fluval aqua life and plant multi spectrum LED seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Hope I'm not wrong on this count!
This is where I am now. I've ordered some rocks from online, in my opinion they have the character necessary to carry the composition of the tank, while also being cheaper than say unzan stone. Someday… someday…
I'm planning on making a DIY CO2 reactor out of a Voss water bottle, painted black, and fertilizing with Flourish Excel. I've started reading up on fertilization schedules, and I gather that it's much more stringent than simply dumping some fertilizer in once a week (if anyone can recommend threads to read, I would really appreciate that!). My substrate is Fluval stratum, and I do not currently have any tabs or anything in the substrate.
In terms of plant life, I would dearly like to do dwarf baby's tears, but understand that these are difficult to grow for beginners. I'm looking to set myself up to succeed, so will change my plans to utilize either Riccia or Marsilea as the foreground plant - recommendations appreciated. Highlights will be created using Lilaeopsis in and around the rocks. The background will be made from dwarf and regular hair grass. If any of this sounds unrealistic, please say so.
In terms of stocking, I'm planning on keeping celestial pearl danios. I have a good source from the local fish store. I'm worried though that these fish may feel very exposed in an Iwagumi set up, and would rather forgo fish than needlessly stress animals out. The LFS said that I could keep 10 CPDs in the tank, but this seems like quite a lot. 5 will still be a good school and may not crowd them as much. A few amano shrimp will serve as the cleanup crew, as well as perhaps a juvenile otocinclus. I'd like to shoehorn a few pygmy corydoras cats into the tank, but will take your advise, helpful reader, as to whether I should include them or not. A friend has a 55 gallon tank and has been meaning to buy one, so the oto will be only a very brief resident, if and only if I find that I have trouble with the algae.
Edit: Current tank shot!