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I live in the Annandale, VA area and am looking to start on a new aquarium containing mainly live plants, shrimp, and snails and a few fish. I went ahead and got a few plants to add to my tank, but want to see what else is out there. I have previous experience with planted tanks but this time I want to create one that is self-sustaining and requiring minimal maintenance other than frequent water changes. Are there any fish stores that you recommend in the area for supplies and fish? I am also looking for nice rocks and driftwood to add to my tank.
 

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NOVA Tropicals in woodbridge has a nice selection of fish, rocks, and driftwood. they also have some good supplies. Really depends on what you need. Affordable in rates
Vienna Aquarium & Pets in Leesburg has a nice selection of fish and plants. Never looked for driftwood or rocks. A bit pricey.
Congressional Aquarium in Rockville has a nice selection of fish, rocks, and driftwood. Same with supplies. A bit pricey.

Also look at local fish clubs. They have a ton of people with lots of knowledge. You may also find some who are selling things too.
 

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Also, House of Tropicals is probably the largest Los cal aquarium store in the northeast. They have both freshwater and saltwater stuff, a lot of tanks to look at, love going.
 

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+1 for house of tropicals. The store will win zero awards in beauty contests. Also the staff are frankly not very knowledgeable with either plants and most (though not all) have very little understanding of freshwater fish in my experience. But they do have the largest selection of fish and plants in Maryland, and with regards to plants, the next best has like 1/5th the amount House of Tropicals has in stock.

Making a low maintenance tank is 8/10ths about getting the right light and fertilizer levels, and 2/10ths about picking the right plants in my experience. Basically for a low tech tank you just need to avoid any stems and you should be pretty good regarding plant maintenance. You will want to decide if you want to dose fertilizers through an auto doser or if you want to do it manually. This is a pretty minimal activity to do it manually but not sure how automated you want to make the tank.

The other thing to keep in mind is stocking levels. If you want low maintenance then definitely keep your stocking on the light side as opposed to medium or high.

Good luck!
 
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