I have had my 55 gallon tank for about 9 months now. It used to house 2 oscars which were ~9 inches each. Very fun fish, almost like pets - I was able to train them to eat out of my hand which always got oohs and aahs when I have people over. I always liked the look of a planted aquarium whenever I saw one in a petstore so I decided to give it a try. However, with the oscars it was pretty tough as they tend to dig up anything you plant. This I realized after about 50 dollars wasted on various plants. No way to really stop them, a 9 inch fish does what it wants they dont make fish handcuffs (do they? Gotta check ebay...)
Anyway, I managed to find a new lucky owner for the oscars on craigslist and set off to do some research on how to start a planted tank. Wound up here - great site, really learned a lot during the past week just researching.
OK onto my current setup -
- 55 gallon all glass aquarium from walmart with a wooden cabinet. Pretty good deal for ~$200. I probably could have gotten one from craigslist but I'd rather have one new. I live on the 5th floor in an apartment, I'd rather have the safety of mind knowing it's a new tank. Note to self - look into renter's insurance!
- 200 watt heater
- Aqua tech 30-60 filter (carbon/bio). This came with the walmart kit so probably the next thing I am going to replace. I looked up this filter on google it is supposed to push out 300 gph so not too bad for a tank my size.
- 2x 15 watt bulbs. Yeah I know way too little. That's why I just ordered a 2x 6700k 2x 10000k from catalina (the one for 140 dollars). Cannot wait until it gets here end of this week.
- Substrate - bottom layer of peat moss (just a light sprinkle, presoaked). 2" of Turface and then another 1" of Fluoride.
Today was a busy day. I managed to find Turface MVP, got it for 14 dollars at a nursery in Long Island. This after almost buying Eco-Complete (80 lbs) for 130 dollars total. Personal victory for me here as I tend to overspend a lot. Gotta stop doing that, especially with the markets bottoming out. I also picked up the fluoride at the LFS and some peat moss at home depot. Kind of peeved - they wouldnt let me just take a handful of the stuff, I had to purchase the entire 50lb bag of peat moss for 7 dollars. Useless to me as I live in an apartment. Maybe I will use it for some potted plants, and give the rest to my parents they just bought a house in long island they will need it more than me.
Next 3 hours was spent washing out the damn fluoride. Not an easy task without a hose. Tedious task but got through it somehow, Notre Dame game was on to distract from the boredom. Oh forgot to mention - while this is goin on I am boiling wood. House smells like an armpit. I am planning to put a rather large piece of driftwood I picked up from a lady on craigslist in my tank. Actually in its current form it might be too big for the tank - let me know what you guys think from the pics. I might take off ~6 inches off either side. Just have to make it natural. I really like this particular piece though, it has lots of nooks and crannies which I imagine some fish will make their home in a few weeks.
OK so the tank is running in its current state. Water's pretty cloudy as you may notice from one of the side shots. I have NOT cleaned the filter! So how long do you guys think it will take for this to cycle? Does anyone have some links to good articles on proper cycling? I want to do this right, no room for error. And there's a lot of material out there on the topic, I was hoping someone could point me past the junk.
Here's some pics (check out the Hyuuge driftwood)
Side shot - cloudy water
Lights - this is only 30watt. Can't imagine how bright this will be with the 240watt fixture that is heading my way!
Turface mixed with Fluoride. I kept the Fluoride on the top - color matches pretty well. 2.5" up front, 3.5" toward the back.
Dirty filter. Will this be enough for the tank to cycle? Or should I get some ammonia?
Driftwood! Too big for my tank? Not sure yet...
More driftwood - pretty interesting one