Just wanted to post a little update from my last. I replaced the fluorite with sand a few months ago and I'm loving it! Added some more bucephelandra, anubias, and anacharis/egeria along with three nerite snails. Most of the plants are doing spectacularly well, including the crypts that I had almost given up on. The java fern has suffered quite a bit and has died back to almost nothing, although I haven't given up hope on it yet. I've been fertilizing the tank using the seachem dosing chart on a somewhat haphazard basis (ie, when I remember). I'm sure there is still room for improvement, but I think the tank looks loads better from its last iteration.
Lighting: Fluval 3.0
Substrate: Pool filter sand + safe-t-sorb
Ferts: Osmocote Plus, with occasional dosing for trace using NiloCG Aquatics Selects Salts
What I've learned:
I bought the equipment to run a custom co2 setup, but realized that the tank was doing well without it, so I haven't added it yet. I do deal with hair algae in the phoenix moss on one of the branches right under the light that I have to remove manually about twice a month. The Fissidens is about the only plant that doesn't do well in my tank, and would probably do better with co2. However, most of my plants seem to grow really tall, which I imagine is due to the lack of co2, and the lower light intensity I run to keep algae low. All-in-all, I'm quite pleased, as it's a pretty low maintenance tank, though I am experimenting with making it a blackwater tank now. I'll post the results here in a few months.
17 gallons with gravel as substrate and some sand in the foreground.
Anubias nana petite
Ludwigia super red
Some type of anubias I have not identified
Red root floater
A lot of duckweed (I propagate it to feed my koi)
Update on my tank from here - it turned into a cautionary tale of what happens when you let floating plants take over and block too much light, so I thought I'd show the decline in case it helps someone else.
It started out as Salvinia Minima, but a little duckweed came with it and it didn't take long for it to become all duckweed. I'd remove about 75% of it with each water change which was not enough, should have pulled it all sooner but I was paying more attention to a new tank and let this one go on autopilot for too long. This is over about 6 months:
40B first low tech tank in ages. I'm soooooo out of the loop. Trying to get my situation under control. This tank has been in use for a decade. It started it's existence as an apisto breeder, turned into a plant propagation tank and then was stripped of everything it was besides filters, heater and a couple pieces bogwood and driftwood.
2 fluval internal filters (floss and sponge only)
1 large sponge filter
Aqueon (?) dual ballast 1 TropicSun T8, 1 unknown brand 6500K T8 (waiting on my finnex)
1 inch laterite/ plant substrate (can't remember the name of it)
2 inches gravel
Narrow leaf java
Various dwarf anubias
Four leaf clover
6 spotted cories
An unfortunate amount of pesky guppies, currently being removed daily (thanks hubby)
Daily- 2.5-5 gallon changes, 3/4 dose API CO2 boost
2-3X per week- npk dose
Weekly- 10 gallon (25%) water change
Monthly filter rinses
3 month plant maintenance
Having some issues with algae so lights cut back from 8 hours to 6 hours and 25% water changes upped from once a month to weekly. Missing my high tech set up but hoping to find some fun in getting back to basics and relearning how to balance things without tech. All suggestions and any words of advice are welcome