I am thinking of remaking my current aquarium to a low tech NPT. My goal is to make it self filtered
(plants will purify the water and get their nutrients from it), heated and inhabited mainly with invertebrates. I have been reading various forums and I am getting close to a plan, but Iíd like to know if it is viable or if I am missing something. Iíll go through my thoughts so you can see where I am and ask my questions last. So this is what I am currently thinking of:
The tank is about 15liters (4 gallons), 30*22*22cm (12*8,5*8,5inches) approximately.
Sifted supermarket soil for vegetables, layerís thickness about 2-3cm (1inch), topped with the same thickness of fine gravel, granularity 1-3mm.
Marsilea crenata or Eleocharis acicularis
I was thinking of planting cuba, but Iíve read that it needs extra CO2 and a lot of light, which might not be available if I end up using surface plants. Not planning to inject CO2 either...
Anubia nana (or Anubia nana petite), cryptocoryne wendtii (already got some), Bucephalandra sp. 'Red'. Other decoration will include pieces of drift wood and/or a rocks for the Anubia and the Bucephalandra. And of course my two marimos
I have to look up Microsorum pteropus, if it is a nano variant of java fern or not. I doubt there willbe enough space for it though...
Bacopa caroliniana, Limnophila sessiliflora (for a green background) and Ludwigia palustris (for a red background)
Salvinia auriculata. Not sure about this one, perhaps Limnophila sessiliflora will grow to become a surface plant on its own. I wonder if the surface plants will hold too much light, which will prevent the carpet to grow well and the Ludwigia palustris to be red.
Desk lamp with a led light bulb, 15cm (6 inches) above the cover (clear plexiglass). Current led bulb is 5,4W 5000K 600lm (ikea Ryet). I had a 7W 6500K led 560lm bulb, but I prefer the 5000Kís color.
The livestock I already have; an amano shrimp (maybe add more, plus some red cherry), a nerite snail and a betta.
a) Viability and allelopathy.
Is the above combination enough for the aquariumís self purification
? I read that I need fast growing stem plants, which is a reason I chose Limnophila sessiliflora (beyond liking its looks). I am not sure if Ludwigia palustris is such fast in growth, is it possible that Iíll need more fast growers? For example hornwort? I am hesitant about hornwort, because Iím afraid it could take over the aquariumÖ Do the above plants do well with each other in terms of allelopathy?
b) Long term growth and maintenance.
How could this setup evolve long term? I d like to avoid heavy pruning as a maintenance, so could any of the above plants cause a problem? I am looking for a neat look, not the abandoned jungle type. So Iíll need to have a balance between prunning maintenance and decent looks. Am I asking too much here? I expect the Limnophila sessiliflora to need a weekly maintenance and the Ludwigia palustris every 2-3 weeks. Does this sound right?
c) Light; natural and artificial, balance of light for the plants
Does the light supply sound good enough? The tank is in a corner room with an eastern and a southern window. It is not directly lit by sunlight, but there is generally plenty of light in the room until midday. Is the above combination of plants, carpet and rest likely to do fine, or would I need more artificial light?
d) Hiding places, shaded spots.
As long as the betta lives and dominates, all shrimps will need hiding places, as he is quite territorial. Actually the betta will need some shade too from time to time. Will the plants provide with such hiding places, or is it better to make a DIY half-coconut cave? Maybe I could put the Anubia or the Bucephalandra
on top of itÖ
Feel free to make any suggestions beyond what I have asked so far. Thanks for your time!