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Maiden Voyage

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Objective
Enter the hobby with both feet, building an attractive planted tank on a modest budget and learning along the way.

About me
I am a 40-something IT professional who likes to hop hobbies. To date I have participated in (and in some degree still do) road cycling, backpacking, computer gaming, photography, woodworking, RC model building and a brief stint with golf. I have an understanding wife and two disinterested teen sons.

Equipment so far
I cut a deal via Craigslist last night on a 36 Gal bow setup. I will pick it up in 3 days. The seller didn't really know exactly what all he had, but what I know for sure that is included is:
  • 36 Gallon Bowfront Tank
  • Stand
  • Fluval 306 Canister Filter
  • "A heater"
  • "A hood with a light"
  • "Some gravel"
Attached are the images from the CL ad. The seller bought everything new about 4 months ago, but now wishes to get rid of the tank due to a move. I traded for an item valued at $200 retail. I think I got a great deal, providing that the tank is not chipped or cracked, and the filter has not been abused. I consider the stand, hood, gravel and heater to be "extras" that I most likely won't use unless the heater is a Jager or Aqueon Pro and the hood is somehow an LED or T5, which I highly doubt.

Start of the plan
I have spent a lot of time reading and feel confident that I want to attempt a "fallen branch" aquascape. I have a vision that I am anxious to create. My only struggle is in pulling in the reigns a little on my plan and keeping in mind that most of the tanks I covet were created my masters with many years of experience.

At this point, I have settled on MGOCPM + Black Diamond for my substrate. This part frankly intimidates me, but I figure the worst that can happen is that it looks like a 2nd grade science project and I will be out a few bucks.

I am now starting to search out sources for driftwood. I always try to buy local first, but the pickings are pretty slim around where I live. I kind of dig the idea of a wild harvest, but I don't have a lot of time during the daylight hours to wade my local creek.



Other items I am considering
  • Current Satellite LED+ Model 4007
  • Hydor ETH 300 Inline
  • DIY CO2 Rig
I am anxious to hear any tips, comments or snide remarks you may have regarding this journal. I sincerely hope that this is one of my longer lasting hobbies. I have always appreciated and enjoyed visually immersing myself in other people's aquariums.

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Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix works good as substrate, I mix it with some Earth Essentials Organic Topsoil with great success. Just make sure that you have a good "cap" (top) substrate for it, quite a few people are using Black Diamond Blasting media to cap their dirt tanks. Me personally I use a mixture of original flourite & floramax planted substrate to cap my dirt tanks.

Plus I'm more of a Finnex LED lighting fan myself, but there is a current satellite LED club on here - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=307753

So you can check out current satellite club, and see them in use!!!
 
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