Some preface. Planted aquariums have been in my home on and off for the past eight years. None have ever been at the level of many of the better aquascapers but overall they have been relatively algae free with decent growth. More recently my workplace has setup tanks and created aquarium related products because of the owners interest in the area. We have 5*2*2 and 3ft tall planted as well as a 4*2*2 marine setup in the office.
My home has been tank free for well over three years at this point (the aquariums at work were spawned by my desk cube setup) but looking after the ones in the office have left me wanting more at home.
The idea of a lower maintenance tank is appealing. Without the hassles of CO2 or frequent dosing, which are already present at work. Also due to space restrictions in my current living arrangement I am attempting do this unfiltered. Plant wise this rules out things that need frequent trimming which is less of a concern on low tech but something to keep in mind.
If forced to select a tank that has inspired me in the past several years it would be Toms Bucket of Mud. The low maintenance and aesthetics are awesome.
50*40*35 Custom low iron glass aquarium. From MS Aquariums for those in Sydney. Competitive prices and they will build custom tanks.
Ikea Besta Stand. This is a temporary solution as I am planning to move in the next 12-18 months so should be sufficient until something more suitable is sorted.
Initially water circulation was to be provided by a singlhttp://www.amazon.com/Tunze-USA-5024-040-Compact-Water/dp/B00H6YVWZ0/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428044798&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Universal+pump+Mini+5024.04.
Then decided that 300L/h was not enough so ordered a pair of [Ebay Link Removed] 12v pumps[/URL] off [Ebay Link Removed] One of these was given a DIY spraybar using acrylic tubing.
A few days after setup the main downside of these pumps was discovered. The intake on the base is directly below the impeller and small fish cannot escape if they swim close. The Tunze on the other hand has grille inlet all over the bottom except below the impeller, expanding the intake area significantly.
So the tank ended up having the Tunze and one of the ebay pumps with a pad of foam installed underneath it.
Lighting is provided by a Licah CitiiAqua LDP-500
dimmable fixture. This was a bit of a gamble as there are few reviews of this brand. Because the tank is quite small penetration is not a problem, however deeper tanks may have issues with the 0.5w LEDs on this unit. Blue and red mix was opted for (customisable by contacting the seller prior to purchase) but the default setup has too much red, giving the tank a hideous pink hue. In hindsight two rows should have been replaced with whites - instead masking tape was used to black out the offending rows.
Dimming is provided by an extra additional controller unit and the setup will be more than enough at 50% power for how the tank is intended to run. The overall build quality is decent for the price and if anyone is interested in a more indepth write up please leave a post or PM me.
Substrate is 3mm sand. Originally a compost layer was going to be added but without a filter and having never used similar before it was dropped and osmocote and root tabs added in its place. The two main rocks (purported to be ying shi) are positioned using triangular slabs of hard foam.
Echinodorus “Nile Queen”
But the bulk of the plants are an unknown type of crypt that is my favorite. They are regularly available from my LFS. Will post up some pictures for ID when they have grown in.
Currently the entire water surface is covered with some sort of floating plant from my garden pond.
Four spotted blue eyes are the tanks inhabitants currently.
Here is a fts and rock detail a week after setup. The floating layer has been removed.