This is my first fully planted tank and I have immensely enjoyed researching and learning over the last 3 months in preparation of setting it up. I believe I have set myself up for success but time will tell.
- Tank: 29 gal; 30"x12" base, 18" height
- Substrate: Topsoil capped with Fluorite Black (1-2mm particles)
- Lighting: Single 24" Aqueon full spectrum T8, 17 watts; supplemented with 2 13 watt spiral CFLs over the left half of the tank
- CO2: none
Plants are listed in a picture below, but here they are in text:
- Limnophila indica
- Hygrophila difformis (Water Wisteria)
- Crytptocoryne, Wendtii (Bronze)
- Nymphaea zenkeri (Red Tiger Lotus)
- Vesiculario Dubyana (Java Moss)
- Microsorium pteropus v. Windelov (Lace Java Fern)
- Hemianthus Callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears)
I started the setup with a single piece of Malaysian driftwood that had been the center-piece in an old 10-gallon, but was too small to be used this way in the 29g:
I knew what I wanted for a piece of larger driftwood but was reluctant to drop the $30-60 it would have cost. I kept my eyes on the ground for a few weeks and eventually came across this branch of London Plane (Platanus × acerifolia) in a brush pile:
I loved the arches and knew I could make it work in the tank. I brought it home, exposed it for about 6 weeks, stripped the bark, cut it, and started soaking.
With everything else ready to go, I ordered the plants from aquariumplants dot com. The day before they arrived I poured in the substrate and set the hardscape:
Friday Jan 17 the plants arrived and I got to planting! I was quite surprised at how many plants I received. I purposefully ordered a jungle's worth, but I got bonus specimens of many of the plants, including 2 Red Tiger Lotus bulbs when I'd only ordered one. The Crypts were massive. I shouldn't have any algae problems for a while, and I should be able to easily weather the melt back that happens in every new tank.
The main risk I'm taking with this tank is attempting to grow HC without CO2. Forum user i4x4nMore provided me with fantastic advice for growing HC without CO2 in this thread
, which I am following faithfully (except: I believe my lighting may still be too low, and I've not added a powerhead since the HC is positioned directly under the filter output. We'll see)
I weighed my options and decided to take the risk, knowing full well I may fail. I do NOT want to inject CO2 into this tank because I don't want the plants to grow fast and do all the maintenance that comes with it. Also, HC is literally the only carpeting plant I like, so I owed it to myself to make the attempt. The other common foreground plants in the hobby really don't appeal to me and if the HC dies I'll probably just leave the substrate bare.
Here is the tank just after set-up:
The green netting is holding the moss in place.
There is some white string holding the Java ferns to various spots on the wood.
There are 2 bricks in the tank holding the wood down. It still floats and I would have soaked it longer but the plants arrived so what was I gonna do? I hope to take them out in a month.
Here is a view from the left panel, showing the HC and Lotus:
I'm really excited/nervous for the next 4 weeks to see how everything does. I plan to post weekly pictures and keep everyone updated.