I've created a photo album of a tank I have that's been "set up" for around 20 years
. Here's the basic timeline.
1997: I set up the first iteration of this tank in a loft apartment I was renting. The tank was originally set up in a 55-gallon tank and it had a DIY 4 bulb T8 hood and DIY substrate heating that I made with silicon tubing and some kind of a DC transformer I got at an electrical supply house. The substrate itself came from Pets.com. I shipped it to everyone on my floor at the apartment building and got about $400 worth of Flourish substrate that way. Pets.com crashed later in the original dot-com crash. The pants came from someone named Quackenbush and were delayed because the plane they were on was hijacked at the Atlanta airport. It was a FedEx plane. I learned all I know from the original APD (Aquatic Plants Digest) that was later shut down by a defamation lawsuit.
2000 I moved out of that house into a duplex and dumped all the plants and fish into a newly setup pond in the yard. The plants and fish lived out the summer without any help from me. I later moved the plants back into the house in to a low tech setup where they just about survied the winter.
2001. I bought my house in June and moved the plants into the 55 and left them in the backyard for the summer under a tree while I worked on the house.
winter 2001. I bought a new 75-gallon tank and moved the tank into my house. I put the pumps and co2 injection int he basement and set up the tank to drain and fill automatically via a dedicated line controlled by an automatic lawn sprinkler control. The tank was pretty high tech running most of that time of a 4 t5HO setup and for a while even had automatic fertilizer via a repurposed medical peristaltic pump. Around 2005 I added Dupla substate heating. I use "turface" substate as the original flourish was too nutrient loaded
Several times between 2001 and 2015 the tank was decamped to a 40 breeder I kept in the backyard for the summer when my interest in being in the house is low. The plants and fish always do great outside. I bring the back in during the fall.
2015 I ordered Cryptocoryne Parva, Staurogyne repens, Cryptocoryne Retrospiralis, Cryptocoryne Undulatus to make the tank lower tech so it would take less maintenance and lower demand for me. I got rid of fish entirely and switched to cherry shrimp.
Around this time I got a Red Octopus DC pump which is dead quiet and I love it.
2017 I cleaned out the tank a couple times trying to kill off the java moss, but the Anubis is original, the same one that came from Quackenbush. It's what ties the whole thing together. I never dumped everything and started totally over. I recently got a Planted 24/7 SE and love it. Plants are doing well and I just adore the light cycle. I recently got some white cloud fish.
I am at a point where I can grow plants and am not at all interested in maintenance. I may try and up the notch a little on aquascaping but it looks pretty good. I was never able to get rid of the java moss and now I have it growing in my filter, which is just a sponge filter. Interestingly this tank has never run a filter at all. I still run the co2 injection but at very low levels.
It's a pretty night light and makes the living room a nice place to be. Having the pump and hardware in the basement is great.