It has been roughly 16 years since I got my first fish tank. I was 12, and my parents finally agreed to get my first "pet". As a kid I had no real understanding of what I needed, other than the basics. My parents bought me a one of those start up kits and what I think was a 30 gallon tank. I would talk to the local fish store people when my parents would take me there to get new fish, but back then I really didn't have access to knowledge that I do now. I know I am not that old but truthfully back then my house did not have internet and I think I was just too young to know the importance of research. Regardless, of how unprepared I was, I loved having fish, and I would care for those fish for a good 3 more years until my heater broke in my tank causing it to crash. By this time both me and my parents were tired of the maintenance and we decided that I would be done with the hobby. I ended up working at that pet store when I turned 16 and I was a major part of their fish room, and reptile room. Looking back at it, it was kind of scary the amount of trust they had in me. I was training people (older and younger) than me in the fish room maintenance and animal care. I can confidently say now that I did not know what I was talking about, but I was good at talking about it. I worked there until I was 18, and I left for college. I still go back to that pet store every once and a while, and I still find people there that I trained (hopefully better off with more experience).
This takes us to modern day. I have recently (roughly 5 months ago) I purchased a 20 gallon extra tall aquarium as a impulse buy. I thought to myself, "I have always wanted to try a planted tank". I found myself having a completely different perspective on the hobby compared to when I was younger. I remember having a tank in my bedroom which was almost always half full (evaporation), and dreading doing water changes, I probably did them every 3 months or so. Again I was only 12, I really did not understand what I was doing, and 100% other than purchases was my responsibility (My parents helped me by paying for things, but not maintenance). As I ave progressed in the hobby I have found that I actually enjoy doing water changes, and the cleaning. It is one of the only things in my life that actually relaxes me. I know many find maintenance tedious and I am sure if I had 3-4 tanks I would no longer find it all that relaxing but currently it takes me about 30 minutes to do a 30% water change and cleaning with a bucket and a siphon. At the end I can take a step back and see "clear" water, happy fish, and growth. I found my self enjoying researching and learning about the different plants and fish that I keep, knowing where they come from, what they like, and how I could improve things. If the hobby wasn't so costly I could see myself having my own fish room simply as an experiment to see how much I could learn. For now though I will settle for my 20 gallon.
As of right now my 20 gallon has roughly 15 fish in it mostly live barers. I have a couple of pieces of drift wood, and several plants. Aongeton Crispus, Melon sword, Crinum, some variety of cryp, Anubias nana, Mossimo balls, some variety of moss I think a type of sphangum moss. I currently have a problem where the tannin's from one of the driftwood is tinting my water a yellowish brown. I have recently purchased some seachem puragen to clear it up as suggested by the forums here. I also have another problem were it seems like my plants are not growing. They are not dying by I am seeing little to no growth. I currently have about 1.5 watts per gallon using LED with a variety of spectrum light for plant growth. The lights are on for about 8 hours a day. I dose with fertilizer about once a week (I get algae bloom if I dose more often), and my water parameters are for the most part ideal for both the fish and the plants.
Well this is my journal for the month of March, I am planning on doing this at least once a month with the growth of my tank. I love to hear any comments or suggestions you might have. Until next month... Try something new.