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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Welcome to my journal,

I am just starting a planted tank for the first time I've read about it and got a tank, but now the task seems so daunting.
All I have is the tank, which means I need just about everything else hehe. The whole reason for this tank is to give some Corydoras Sterbai a home to live in.

Lets begin!

School of corydoras sterbai
school of tetra (pref a species that is found naturally along side the sterbai)
*im thinking black phantom tetras*

Brazil, *natural habitat of my stock*

Havent thought about it that much yet, I want some easy plants to start off and I dont want
to limit myself to just the biotope plants, similar looking is good enough for now.

Still thinking about it *pref low tech* dont have alot of money so id like to keep it on the cheap side.

Dirt/gravel cap

-Dirt: Still thinking about what to buy in the middle of winter heh, I have about 10lbs of flourite I plan to mix in with my dirt.
-Ive read that dirting causes spikes in all sorts of places but Im not too worried since I have no stock yet I can let time do its thing.
-The type of dirt I still havent decided, I cant do mineralized *would like some tips*

-Gravel: As for gravel I want something to match the biotope.
-I want it to be 100% safe for my corries, I want to protect they're barbels.

Dec 17th: First order of business is substrate I want to get the tank dirted capped and filled. As for filtration,
I will most likely throw together a diy air pump filter of sorts to get things started since there is no stock and plenty of time *unless this is wrong*!

Dec 18th:Today I think about dirted the tank with miracle grow organic with
a thin layer of flourite and capped with small sized gravel. Put in some diy moving bed filters while I decide on a more permanent filter.
Heater should arrive in the mail soon, which leaves the lighting system. I cant decide on what is best, I know I want to go with
T8s or T5s and that leaves the fixture. If I get a regular shop light Im worried about the look and it letting way too much light
escape into the room which means i need to make a canopy which is just added expense. How much do prefab hoods go for in montreal?

Anyways thats all for now, advice and insight is always welcome!


138 Posts
Miracle Grow Organic Top Soil is the forum dirt of choice. I tried it raw from the bag in my 20L and have been removing it ever since, it's packed with lumber chunks and generally filthy. Others have had much better luck with it after doing an extensive screen and "mineralization" (basically letting it ferment/break down all the organics in it and leaving you with just the dirt) process. Or you could do yard dirt from a shovel, which has it's own drawbacks (weird worms, weird critters, always snails)
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