I have recently done a total redo on my 5.5 gallon AGA tank. In its past life, it looked a little like this
. That crypt wendtii green in the back left eventually turned into a monster, reaching the surface of the water and it had probably 30 leaves. The dwarf sag didn't last long before I moved it to my big tank. At the end of its life just imagine a few more plants and a ton of algae. All kinds of it. Everywhere
That little stump had about as much hair algae as moss, the humongous crypt and the plants I had added were infested with brush algae, and the glass was covered in that type of algae that tends to grow on glass. I added an Otocinclus sp. to at least try to clear the glass, which he accomplished in a mediocre fashion. I had chosen to put Fluorite substrate in the tank, which I didn't like at all from the moment I started washing it. The tanks only inhabitants, aside from the aforementioned Oto, were a small group of cherry shrimp.
What I took from this experience was that if I didn't create something I liked, I was less inclined to take care of it, and after accumulating so much algae, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it without much hassle.
So I decided to redo the tank. All the shrimp and the Oto lived in a five gallon bucket, complete with a Hagen Elite Mini and small heater, for about 10 hours. The Fluorite was thrown away. The plants were thrown away. Pretty much everything but the tank, light and filter was thrown away. After scrubbing one side pane of glass with paper towels and water, I remembered hearing about using vinegar. That stuff cuts through algae with hardly any effort, and it makes the glass nice too.
Anyhow, I went out and bought a bag of Eco Complete, as I've used it before and like it. Also purchased were a couple neat rocks and plants. One pot of HC and one of Dwarf Hairgrass - the acicularis, not parvula, unfortunately, so I have those little "dots" on the tops of the stalks. I also got a can of black Krylon Fusion and painted the back of the tank. After a few hours of setting up and planting, with a meal thrown in there, it now looks like this:
That was a week ago. Sorry for the picture quality, my cell phone doesn't deal with the light very well...but I'm getting a decent camera for X-Mas so I'll be able to post better ones then. One thing I did add was a small sponge over the intake after I found a few shrimp bodies chopped up on the bottom the next morning
I never used one before, but I guess the extra plants and algae gave them something to hide in. Also I put in another Oto, but I think I'm going to move him into the big tank soon.
Here are the specifics and my questions for you guys.
5.5 gallon AGA with the rims because I like being different
Home Depot Special
Aquaclear 50 HOB - makes a nice current and not too strong
Nothing currently. I have Excel and Flourish, but I don't really know how much to dose. I may also get a manifold for my pressurized Co2 setup later when I get more growth if it seems like the plants need it.
So my questions. First, I think I want to add something to hide the filter inlet and heater a bit, especially since now the filter inlet has a big white chunk of sponge on it. Maybe something grassy or bushy that will grow about 5-8" tall. Also, fish. I'd like a few in there, but I'm not sure on what type. I was thinking some CPD's since I saw some for cheap at an LFS, but after reading I think my tank is too small and they would not like the plant set up of an Iwagumi-inspired tank. I really like the looks of the Dario dario, but I've never seen them around here.
Also, please post your thoughts. I'm pretty sure I want to stay away from wood, and I know my substrate sloping is kind of bad, but let me know what you think!