In the past 8 months I have kept a 2.5g tank on my desk at work. The setup doesn't allow much more space so this tank is about as big as I could get. To allow low maintenance and appropriate stocking, the tank will only have CRS and snails.
Here is the tank as it was originally set up:
We stocked it with two false amanos (unknown type), one tiger nerite, and eight CRS. The substrate was eco complete. Filter is the Dennerle corner filter and the light was the Cobalt plant light that came with the rimless 2.5g tank. It had a piece of malaysian driftwood, monte carlo carpet, a hardwood leaf, s. repens planted on the wood, and a anubias nana petite. The shrimp never thrived. We had two females become berried and then fail to hatch out the eggs. Over time they were dying off, I believe due to failed molts. The pH was not where it should be for CRS and so they always struggled. The plants also did terribly. The monte carlo barely grew 50% in 6 months. the s. repens grew maybe 25% in that same time. The anubias did not grow at all. The plants all became covered with a stubborn algae, which contributed to their poor growth. With all of those problems the tank started to look pretty poor. The plants weren't very green, and the few shrimp that did survive were always hiding behind the large driftwood. I was dosing excel daily and flourish from time to time.
So, it was time to start from scratch learning from experience. Starting with new substrate. Due to price and availability, I went with Fluval Stratum as a buffering substrate. Same tank, same light, same filter. I plan to stock it with the same livestock. CRS and snails. This time I went with less hardscape to allow the shrimp to be more easily seen. Plants will just be the same monte carlo, flame moss on the wood, and marsilia hirsuta as the background plant. I set it up and planted on Saturday night. I put API root tabs under each plant throughout the substrate. This time around I will not be dosing excel at all, and will be dosing Select Aquatics Rapid Grow Fertilizer. I have begun using it on my 40g and have been pretty impressed so far. I am the type that wants an all-in-one fertilizer and it seems to be a pretty good value and is working well for me. I think many of my issues before were nutrient deficiencies.
Here is the tank. Don't worry, I thoroughly cleaned the filter prior to adding water. Water is still cloudy and plants need to grow in. The wood also needs to soak for a while to sink.
The shrimp are sitting happy and healthy in their 10g with the snail, waiting for the tank to mature some and to cycle again. Seeding from cycled filters to speed the process up. I look forward to this tank growing in and bringing it back to my desk at work for everyone to enjoy.
Since I keep nano fish I have often been tempted to add some, but decided not to due to the increased maintenance and complication. As a work tank I want it to be as low maintenance as possible.