My first planted tank!!
Hi guys! just want to share my first try on a planted tank. i've quit the hobby around 10-12 years ago. at that time, big fish was the craze here in the philippines, and i've kept mostly large and predatory fish from arowanas, snakeheads, oscars and different species of bichirs. all i can say was they grew large and was very messy. it was a pain to maintain them, since i was still a student then. electricy was costly and things were getting expensive so i quit.
then a year ago i decided to check out having an aquarium, since i still have a spare 15G (24x12x12) tank. i kept seeing this planted tanks in the internet, and i decided to do my research. I was hooked and found out about this forum. i lurked in this forum for 8 months. i have to say that all of you helped a lot. i never posted a single question in this forum. the search bar was my best friend. there were tons of information that i went through all those months and i thank all the members for sharing them.
now as i lurked here in these forums, i found posts by fellow filipinos who also have planted tanks and found where they went to purchase their equipment, plants and livestock.
i liked the hi-tech tanks, the dutch style, CO2 tanks. but after doing all the research, i eventually leaned towards the low-tech, dirted, less expensive and less maintenance tanks. and this time i would go for smaller fish. the goal would be not bigger than 3 inches. the Walstad method intrigued me.
the first iteration of my tank was a disaster. my plants were crypts, something that looks like a hygrophila and anubias that was tied down on drift wood. i started it around 2nd week of december 2015. the plan was a dirted tank capped with a black sand that i found in a garden store. turned out the sand i got so compacted. the plants did not thrive (the crypts). when one of the plants got uprooted it has this rotten smell. i check the other plants and they were all the same. not only that but they did not have any root growth even after 2 weeks.
i decided to restart in 01/04/15, i decided to use pea gravel as a cap. it's been 2 weeks now and so far everything is stable.
Tank info 15 gallons (24x12x12):
Substrate: Organic garden soil/compost: we dont have those type of soils that come in a bag that states the contents. it just comes in a small sack with lettering saying compost. i went around the garden centers here until i found a seller who knows what their talking about. apparently the soil/compost i got were sold by students from a known university and said that it was all organic, no chemicals and no pesticides. 2 weeks now and i haven't loss any fish, so i think she is telling the truth. the compost is 1 inch deep and capped by 1 inch pea gravel.
plants: i wanted low light plants. cause i dont want to pay to much for electricity. Also i need help to ID some of the plants.
1.Cyptocoryne sp., i read that is is low light, might melt but will be able to survive. the ones i got were called "crinkles". but i do think they are crypts that grow wild here in the philippines. some of the leaves melted but i can see new growth, but slow.
2. Anubias nana "petite": the stores just call them anubias, but after comparing them from other pictures, i feel they are the petite version. feel free to correct me if im wrong. a good sized rhizome cost $2. i got 2.
3. bacopa: i really did not plan getting them but i like them because they can grow emersed.
4. unknown grass. grows around 5-8 inches.so far survived in low to medium light. i'll show a picture and hope someone can ID it.
5. unknown fern: i have this floating at the moment because the roots seem so fragile. the store i bought it from said it was java fern, although i know its not. i bought 2 for less than $1. need help to ID. it is growing new leaves.
6. Hygrophila sp???: i think it is a h. polysperma. but not sure. just got 2 small stems, survivors from the previous mistake.
7. floating plants: i have salvinia and azolla.
water parameter: i dont know what my parameters are. i dont have any test kits, they are expensive here. my water now has tannins due to the drift wood and dirt. i know i'll gt some flak for not testing my water but i will accept the criticism.
Livestock: most of my livestock came from Cartimar. this place is known for the stores that sold different pets, including fish. but i'm sorry to say that the animals for sale were not taken cared for really well. i can say 1 or 2 that were responsible enough but dont have the fish i want. i bought quite a number of each species that i want since i expect losses due to the condition that i found them. i know im overstocked. but cant help it.
1. Trigonostigma espei or Lambchop rasbora x9: came from the first setup a month ago. orignally there were 10 but lost one on the way home.
2. Neon tetra x8: orginally was 10, lost 7 due to bad condtion of the store i bought them from. a week ago i saw a better store near our house and bought five. so far so good.
3. Kuhli Loach x4: bought 4, and still going strong. very hardy fish. came from my first setup that went wrong.
4. Zebra Danio x2: pink ones that i adopted from a nephew whose dad dont want a tank, even if it was only a 6G tank.
5. Otoinclus 3x: just got yesterday. i thought it was not available here, but was surprised to see a seller in facebook. they just stripped a slice of cucumber in around 5 hours.
6. RCS 13x: fun.
Filter: Got a top filter from the same nephew who owns the zebra danios. it was rated for 650liters/ hour or around 171 gallons/hour. now im not really sure if that is true. but i can say it is decent enough and it has s sort of blowhole underneath that gives decent water circulation. not too strong, the espeis love the current and were "riding" it. got filter floss on top, activated carbon in the middle, and ceramic bio media below. the wife wants the water clear that is why i placed the carbon there, but peronally i wanted the blackwater look.
Lighting: A desklight with a 12 watt LED bulb. i read in the hardware store that a 2.5 watt bulb is equivalent to a 7 watt bulb. no expert here but so far i can say i have medium lighting in the tank. light open 6 hours a day.
No ferts except the dirt. Fed fish with Tetramin and microworms.
please fell free to comment.