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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've finished replanting my main tank. It's still work in progress and will take another 6 months to look as planned.

It's a 120L tank with a 1400L/H All Pond Solutions External filter and DIY 4x24W T5HO light.

The idea was to spend as little money as possible, so the substrate is potting soil/compost capped with play sand. HC was dry started from one small pot in a smaller tank over 12 weeks and replanted into this tank and grew emersed for another 4 weeks.
Other plants include Bacopa Caroliniana, Cabomba, Ludwiga Glandulosa, Hair Grass and Sagittaria.

Tank has been flooded for almost 5 weeks now and I only use Excel for carbon dosing until I put together a CO2 extinguisher system. No other fertilisers are being used.

For the first 2 weeks maintenance included daily 30% water changes to control algae. Diatoms have been easy to control and only appeared in the first week.
For the last 3 weeks 30% of water was changed every 3 days to make sure that ammonia is at 0. Filter media was taken from another running tank but I want to make sure that there are no surprises.

Plants are pruned every week and as need during the week.

Three weeks ago 1 small swordtail and 10 red cherry shrimps have been introduced to keep the filter alive. Two weeks ago 3 Siamese Algae Eaters and 1 Otto were added. Fish are not fed at all so light duration was increased from 8 to 9.5 hours to allow some algae to grow.
There are also a few pond snails. Even though they were not welcome (came with plants) they are doing a good job and don't bite the plants. Twice a day I check for and remove snail eggs and so far they have not been a problem.

I still haven't decided what other fish to keep in this tank and I'm thinking about changing the background plants. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
 

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Tank looks really good! Excellent growth and vibrant colors.

I beg to question... You mentioned you used "potting soil". There has been discussion lately regarding the differences between "potting mix" and "potting soil". Have you an opinion here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your comments.

I live in the UK and use a mix of Homebase Organic Compost, play sand, Pond Soil from Dobbies and John Innes #2 Potting Soil (I had all these at home already). It's working very well and plants grow like crazy but also requires a lot of maintenance in the first few weeks. Especially uprooting any plants causes debris to release and takes a bit of work to clean up.

As for potting mix vs potting soil, I haven't really researched the two enough to make a judgment and it seems to me that different companies use the two names interchangeably. It's always best to check the ingredients.
 
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