I've been keeping aquariums for about 11 years or so. But I haven't really been active online for a long time. I think I need to reboot my aquarium hobby and catch up on some things.
So just to fill everyone in, I though I'd post everything I've done so far.
My first serious aquarium I set up around '03 or '04. This was my initial setup:
29 gallon tank, just the lights that came with the hood. Everything fake and plastic. I bought the stand from a Goodwill that seemed just perfect to put everything on.
Here's the inside at the time:
I took out the inside shelf and cut a rounded square on the left hand side of it to fit my Fluval 204. Drilled some holes in the back to run the input/output tubes, etc.
This is a close up of when I first had it going:
As you can see, all fake plants, fake wood, etc. I kept this tank for about a year or so before we moved across country.
When I got here to College Station, the water parameters were just crazy compared to Virginia. Super high KH and PH. Just astoundingly high. So I said, "Screw it. Let's go Rift Lake."
I silicone all the rocks in place, added some sand, glued a few stalks of plastic plants in there just for affect, and changed out the internal power filter. You can see it in the top right. A Fluval something or other. I don't remember what model it's called.
This tank worked really well. The fish loved it and I raise several groups of fry. Those that survived at least. The vast majority were eaten of course.
But then we bought a house, so I gave away the fish and tore everything down.
Once settled at the new house I was primed to go fully planted. I wanted everything as natural as I could get it.
So real plants, real wood, etc.
So I put 130 watts over it (Two SunPaq 65w 6,700 K & 10,000 K Daylight bulbs), got a CO2 tank which I tried to put into the water by running it into the bottom of that internal fluval power filter with an airstone (I don't think it ever really worked that well), and got a ton of dry ferts from Greg Watson back in the day.
I knew that I could never keep up with always mixing in RO water with every water change. Sure, at first I'd be gungho, but as the months would roll on I would get lazy about going through that much work and the fish would suffer. So I tried to go with the normal tap water.
Didn't really work. All the plants died no matter what. Finally some plant nodule piggybacked home with me when I bought a plant and that turned out to be the only plant I could keep alive. In fact, I don't think I could kill this thing if I wanted. It doesn't seem to care about the ferts or CO2 injection, it just keeps growing.
Anyway, this is what it looks like now.
I've had this current setup running for about 5 years now. And I'd like to spruce it up. If I could even find one or two more types of plants that could live in my tap water I'd be thrilled.
I think I'd also like to hear any ideas for a better way to inject CO2.
Substrate is Fluorite. About 3 inches deep or so.
So what'd you say, guys? How can I make this better?