First, I'd like to say, I'm excited to get this 55gL NPT going. I'm withholding the urge though, of just dumping all this dirt into the tank, capping it, filling it with water and waiting for a miracle to happen.
The plethora of info I've taken in the past 3 months I had this 55 sitting here is amazing. From different people's experiences, to the educated conclusions they've conclusively led me to.
Here is what I've ended up with thus far:
I have 2 bags of MGOCPM soaking in a Rubbermaid container outside as we speak. I have already filled the container with water once over night, came back to it with a hand hoe and stirred it all around breaking up all the big chunk. I siphoned the water out and filled it back up with water, and now all that is floating is the little wood chips. I left it like that over night again and I'm just about to pull all the floaties out, strain all the water again, then lay all the dirt out in the sun to dry up.
Target Pool Filter sand is all I could find where I live. I looked for Black Diamond Blasting sand, and other cheap caps instead of going to the LFS, but this is what it shall be. I was expecting very white sand as I've read, but I'm actually happy to find that it's got a darker tone to it so it should look a little more natural, to me.
I have plants from my 29gL that I have grown apart from, probably mainly due to the tank being my starter tank and me not having a clue what I'm doing. The whole tank has no structure and it kinda looks like a hot mess at this point, so I really I'm not too attached to these plants. I may just float them in the 55 when I fill it so they eat up most/all the spikes ASAP. But I am planning on getting a new selection of plants.
I did just read about how much people are regretting putting duckweed in their tanks.....? Now I'm afraid to just get anything.
Also a variety from my 29gL that I'm breaking down once this 55 is set. Tetras, Danios, Grouamis, dwarf cichlids, Red tail shark, and a little cat.
Now, my main question of "To be, or not to be?"
I see everyone dirting their tanks, and having the substrate flat. Can I not have hills towards the back or anything like that? I know the idea is to keep the dirt at about 1-1.5" and the cap about the same. I got the idea from reading around that the more dirt I put down the more the chance of these areas becoming anaerobic? I really like the look of hills and valleys.
I have 2 filters - 1 for the 29, and a bigger one for the 55. Can I not seed the 55 with the 29, and then use it on the 55 to further progress the culturing of live bacteria in my new setup? Or will all the ammonia from the dirt kill everything in my newly seeded filter?
Last but not least, so far! DHG! I really like having a carpet in my tank but was never successful with the 29 as I read they are typically high light plants. Will they grow better in a dirted tank? I have a total of 79W of T5HO's at 10000K to move from the 29 to the 55. I've read of people growing carpets no problem, and I've also read of people saying you need all these other high tech (co2, more light) things that I'm not really into a dirted tank for. I want this to be as low maintenance as possible.
I'll stop bombarding you guys with questions, and we'll see what else arises as we go.
Thanks in advance