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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First attempt at a tank where I pay attention to things like parameters, substrates and ferts.
Plan is a dry start for the slower carpeting plants, then add faster growing stems when water is added in a few weeks.

Substrate: Tropica soil 1" capped w Estes black sand 0.3"
Light: Finnex stringray clip-on. 12 hours on during dry start phase
Plants: carpet- Bacopa monnieri and S repens
Background -Alternanthera reineckii

Made a wetter area in front for the tiny dwarf lily that will probably die but was struggling in the sand tank for months anyway.

Anyone have experience w curly bamboo?
Also, does the AR seem like emersed growth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
1 week of growth, took the plastic wrap off the top as one of the S repens started showing fungus at tips (where it was injured on receipt). The dwarf lily still seems to be alive. Added a couple little water sprite plantlet pavers, although I may regret that later 馃槀 Wired up Mr tipsy bamboo

All plants except bamboo/sprite were tissue culture in gel. Now wondering if I should have split them even further into single plantlets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
16 days in, Bacopa doing great, dwarf lily alive, S repens and AR picking up some dried leaf tips even with saturated foreground. Curly bamboo still looks like scraggly crap, considering to remove it.

To deal w dried tips cut light down to 9 hrs and installed 75% cover on top, hopefully fungus doesnt return.

Id like to change water since i see a scum on top of pond but not sure what tool to use.

How to know when to flood it? Waiting for carpet plants to spread sidewise and cover more of this substrate... Patience is hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
About a month in, everything still growing well except the one S repens inside the temple. Unsure how much longer to go before filling. Thinking to add a floater like duckweed,or something with long hanging roots when I do. To cut light and increase plant mass. I imagine this as a hidden jungle temple with a single fish thats happy alone in softer water, or a small school of 6 micro fish. Depending how the parameters stabilize (new to tropica soil) may add caridina instead of neos.
Not planning to use CO2.

Im loving how the AR looks out of water!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok so I was enjoying this tank so much as a terrarium that I didnt add water until this weekend. Think I actually waited too long at least for the AR as it got all spindly and had to be cut back and stems replanted. But the bacopa and S repens are as sturdy as I could want going into the stress of submersion.

Also, wild discovery of a bladder snail when filled. Where did he come from? Everything in this tank was tissue culture except the bamboo which came mostly dry in gel/perlite. It was also regularly allowed to dry out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Close to 2 weeks after filling. Still zero melt. No algae yet. Have not added ferts yet.. was waiting for ammonia spike to do the big WC Im sposed to need with aquasoil. Also added floating pogostemon octopus trimmings from shrimp tank, which brought more bladder snails. I like snails, so no problem.

Lights were altered to be on 8a-12p, off for 4hr siesta, on 4p-8p. This is supposed to let the CO2 of natural soil decay build back up for plants, since Im not doing CO2 injection.
Loving how the plants look, all the cut, replanted AR stems are making roots, dwarf lily made new leaf. Roots everywhere, good carpet.

Think I may be ready for fish soon!
 

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Don't rush- if you're going to add stock I'd suggest starting with a single nerite or mystery snail. I've rushed too many times and had it take me 3 times as long as it should've. If you're unsure about your cycle add a good pinch of food (use a net or mesh to avoid it getting everywhere) and leave it in for a couple days. Check your parameters daily. You shouldn't see a nitrite spike if you're cycled. If you're not cycled that should jump start it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No WC yet, ammonia still zero. Added bacter AE for the snails and liquid ferts which I think is nitrate source, havent "fed" the tank yet as you suggest plink, I think that's probably next.. it's still basically a water chemistry experiment atm :D

Checked my parameters last night, TDS/PH are by calibrated meters, GH/KH is by drip titration, nitrites/ates are strip
TDS PH GH KH nitrite nitrate
Tank 235 7.0 4 4 0 very faint- 20?

Source tap water 300 8.0 8 10 0 0

Wow, this Tropica aquasoil is super cool! I'm curious if it will maintain these parameters or continue to drop, but I'm honestly amazed. I was thinking to target GH 5/ KH 1 for this tank so with this as a base I think it's very doable.
My idea is to set up stable GH/KH, just doing RO topoffs, and doing WC only if ammonia/nitrite>0 or nitrates >40.

I don't do EI dosing since I have no CO2, hoping to just do minimal liquid ferts.

My goal is minimal maintenance and algae, and stable parameters for softwater fish/shrimp, not maximum lush growth.
Not in a hurry to add fish, I waited 4 months for water! Altho the snails are doing their best to populate it for me lol.
 

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馃槄 snails do a good job of populating- not necessarily a bad thing, they are helping out with building bb by contributing to waste- cool thing is they regulate when food sources disappear. I'm terrible at populating my tanks 馃槀 I get distracted with experimenting with other things and decide that's more important than populating. It's a struggle.

Aquasoils will drop you to around 0 and around 6.5 but it's not permanent, it'll only be able to buffer for so long then you'll need to replace it. It's not at all predictable so keep an eye out for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
6 months in heres what it looks like. I did not trim the bacopa after submersion so it got weedy. The S repens made new shoots at the roots, so I did cut off the old emersed growth. AR is doing ok without CO2, not great. But better than in the actual dirt tank in my other journal. The water lettuce was a late addition which I really like.

Ironically this tank still has no fish, just snails bc the GH seems to stay around 4. I wanted to put in a betta (isnt soft water ideal?) But when I tested the cup water he was in, it was GH 10, ie acclimated to local water. So I dont know how to transition him or if I should.
Plant Leaf Organism Pet supply Grass
 

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Great little tank, Dreya! I think you have misidentified one of your species of plants though. What you are describing as 'Bacopa Monnieri' is actually 'Lobelia Cardinalis dwarf' aka Cardinal Plant. Thought you may like to know! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Are u sure? Its the little green plants in the front with round leaves. I tried to write down all the names as I planted so I could buy/not buy again things that worked 馃
 
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