Ok all here I go! First a little history....
This all started when my wife said to me... "are you gonna clean up that tank?".. And after about the 5th time she asked I had to actually do something before the unpleasantness of the algae and poop filled tank started to raise tensions.. "Yes" I said but inside I really didn't care for the fish tank anymore. The tank is a 29 gal with plastic plants and lame ornaments.. It was fun for a while but over the years I just lost interest. It just wasn't fun anymore. So I basically neglected it and let it run on autopilot. The guppies seemed just fine to keep on reproducing and loving their no fuss lifestyle. Get up eat and then go to bed. Not a bad life I figure...
Well I went online and started with buying a new filter to replace the old one and got a new hood. The current one was just full of hard water crystals, and the old filter just made too much noise... So I got the new filter and put it on the tank. My intention was to just vacuum the gravel and clean off the algae... But to be honest I would be right back in the same position a few months later with... " hey clean up that tank or get rid of it!"...
So one day I was surfing the internet looking for something new for the tank. Maybe a nice fake tree or something? I hit the search button for "aquarium tree" and I saw the wonderful image of a lone tree on a hillside with fish swimming in front of it. And the ground was covered with beautiful green grass and mosses... I couldn't believe my eyes! How could this be? How did he do that?!!... So I spent the better half of that day researching something called "Aquascaping" which I never knew existed, then excitement started to slowly build inside me.
I have had a fish tank for years, yeah it was cool but only marginally interesting... I also was into Bonsai and I loved that hobby. However after many years of trying to grow trees indoors and a few outdoor ones I slowly drifted away from it. It was mainly due to the fact that I just didn't have the room in my condo to grow the nice healthy trees I really wanted to. I did have a deck but I could only do so much with that space. Then it happened...another hobby came and took over.. I fell in love with Astromomy. So now I spend my time with a telescope rather than the fish or bonsai trees. The fish tank was neglected and I sold off all my prized trees on Craigslist... It was sad to see them go but they would be much happier with someone else who was excited about them... I had a few trees in my care for over 20 years... That says something about persistence.
So back to Aquascaping...I have spent all of my spare time in the last 2 months reading and absorbing all that there is to offer out there on the internet. I have purchased a few books and have been reading them cover to cover. It has been a blast so far just seeing what everyone is able to do in an aquarium... And how they actually do it...Why didn't I find out about this hobby before?
So my goals are the following:
1. I want a low light low tech aquarium that is easy to maintain. I don't want to have to resort to injecting Co2 yet... Just the Seachem Flourish Excel stuff if I need it. Along with trace fertilizers...
2. I want an Aquascape that resembles a wonderful old tree sitting on a nice slight hill. And I want to plant the tank in such a way to inspire peace and contemplation.
3. I want this tank to be something I can be proud of and want to show off to people who visit and say...Holy @&$# how did you do that? Much like my feeling when I first saw that tree Aquascape on that hill..(it was by Filipe Oliveira)
Now that you are all caught up I am just about to get my new fish tank going... I currently have a 29 gal tank with plastic plants, lame ornaments and quite a few guppies. I am going to change to, what I hope to be, a wonderful planted aquascape masterpiece... Well that's the goal. So to start this off here is the current tank.
I will tear this down and replace with a 37 gal version and hopefully get all the fish slowly transferred when the new tank is ready for them. I plan on using the old 29 gal as the temporary home while I get the new 37 gal up and running which will occupy the the current location of the 29 gal. This will mean I will have to move the old tank to the floor for as long as I need to get the planted tank cycled and ready to receive fish. This way I can take my time and hopefully do it right.
I have been accumulating all my "stuff" slowly and now I am ready to start on the first item... The TREE! I will keep you all posted on that as I think this is enough to report for now....
The "stuff" I have are the following...
37 glass aquarium
Full hood (plastic) which I plan on modifying to accept the LED fixture.
Current LED Satellite Freshwater Plus light fixture 24"-36"
Fluval 206 canister filter
150 w heater
Python siphon hose ( to make water changes easier)
Active Flora (black) on order as my substrate.
Seachem water conditioners and fertilizers.
My reading so far has been.
Ecology of the Planted Aquarium (Diana Walstad)
The 101 Best Aquarium Plants (Mary E. Sweeney)
Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants (Peter Hiscock)
Greg Watson's Guide to Dosing Strategies (Greg Watson)
The Beginners Guide to Planted Aquariums (Brent Boettcher)
Web sites: The Barr Report and here The Planted Tank. With specific focus on low tech low light plants, fish less cycling, lighting, substrates, and all that fun stuff.
Wish me luck and I hope you share this journey with me as I take my first try at a planted tank.. Success or failure... I will post my progress...
And of course I welcome any and all tips and comments as to my choices so far.. This is gonna be great!