I'm really trying to take my time with this tank and plan out as much as I can. The tank itself has been passed around a bit. My uncle gave it to my brother who threw out the canister filter that came with it. Now that I have it I'm planning on going low tech with it. The dimensions are 24"w x 12"d x 20"h. I'm planning an Asian-ish biotope (I'm not going to be too geographically picky on the specifics). Here's a picture of the tank with the branches I'm putting in, before they were cleaned and soaked.
The branches have been soaking for a few days now and after 3 hot water changes the water already looks pretty clear.
I've also put a reflective film on the back of the tank. The top of the tank is going to be a bit tricky. I'd like to plant the top wells and grow plants immersed through the opening, and possibly have some of the ends of the branches through this space as well.
(Please ignore the bookshelf explosion) The wells in the back are shallow, ranging from 2"-3" deep. I'm planning on cutting out spaces to put planters in. I'm going to have a pump running up to the back left corner. The water will flow to the other side then trickle down the branches. I'm also thinking I'll keep the water level a few inches below the rim, to better observe the floating and immersed plants, which I guess would make it a Riparium. For the substrate I'm planning on 1-2" inches of dirt capped with about an inch of play sand.
The fauna I'm planning on housing are 6 to 10 sparkling Sparkling Gouramis, 8-12 Dwarf rasboras, and something on the bottom. I'd really like a fish like a small goby or darter, that just scoots around on the bottom. I've mostly ruled them out because the darters are hard to come by and need live food and the gobys that do well in fresh water are known to be jumpers. I'm also thinking about Kuhli Loaches, but I've also heard of them jumping. I may just go with some type of cory, but I'm very open to other suggestions if anyone has any. Once the tank becomes established I'll probably get some otos to help with clean up.
Plants will have to be mostly be low light. The room has lots of windows that get all of the afternoon sun, and there are two 15 watt 18" florescent tubes in the front of the hood. But I'm not sure if plants in the back and bottom of the tank will get much light because of the shadows from the branches and plants between them and the light. I'm hoping to put lots of tinny plants and moss along the branches, and possibly some small to medium sized ones in spots where the branches meet. I have some great moss I found in the woods by my house, it pearls when it gets enough light. I put some of it in my 10 gallon to see how it does in warmer water and if it fairs well for a while I'm hopeful to use quite a bit of it in this tank.
(Its the moss on the left, on the right is java moss) Does anyone have any suggestions of how long I should observe it to be reasonably sure it will make it in warmer water? so far it's been in there a week and is doing great. I'm hoping to begin a dry start sometime in the next week or 2.
That's all I can think of for now, I'll update as things progress. Any suggestions, questions and/or concerns are very welcome.