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Hey everyone! Thought i would drop in, say hello. I am not new to fish, just plants. Recently just finished cycling a 20Gal Tall. Yes, i am annoyed that i did not spend the extra $20 for the 30. Maybe later :)

I have in my tank... A moss ball!!! I know, very elaborate. I do however feel that i might just have room for more. Right now the tank is dominated by a hideous bubbler waterfall thing that is way too big the tank but was a gift from a close friend because the tank was "too boring". So since he spent so much on it, i put it in. Sigh.

Ok so basics, no fish yet, i have some corys in mind to start but my lfs current stock looks half dead, and my areas selection is obsolete. We are talking petsmart or a mom and pop that tried telling me a 10gal could keep a pleco and multiple goldfish. Needless to say i walked. While i wait however, id like to make an attempt at planting. I have gravel right now, which I'm going to start slowly switching to partial sand for the corys. I am getting a java fern from a friends tank but so far thats it. I only have the basic LED lights that came with the kit (topfin). Im also waiting on supplies to build some caves myself. I ordered smooth river rock in black and turquoise and some aquarium acrylic to do them myself. I also got some needlepoint mesh so i can do some moss carpet/wall.

Ok so i would love some suggestions please. I asked on another site and was given links that had names of plants. I know java moss and java fern are supposed to be ok for low light low tech. I want to start slow. So i was thinking some sort of moss, it does grow slow lol.

I know you need the tank specs, so:
Ph 6.5
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 15 (ish, it fluctuates a point or two)

I was told i have soft water, i have a new test kit coming in a few days so ill have the gh and kh soon. Petsmart does it for me for free, but I've never gotten those two numbers.

I would really appreciate some pointers, ideas.. Especially before i start my rock caves. Im obviously not going completely natural (blue black caves lol) but close.. And im not a big fan of driftwood, maybe after i get this stupid bubblefall out of the tank. :-D
 

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If you are going to make changes to the substrate (you mentioned sand for the Cories) there is no need to be gradual about it. Go ahead and make the changes now, before you add the fish.

Good to work around with the hardscape and get it where you want it.
It is OK to drain the tank to work with the lay out, try different things.
When you think you have a nice lay out take a few pictures. If you decide you like that one it is easy to re-make it from pictures.
The bacteria do not live in the water, but on all the surfaces. As long as you refill it and turn the filter back on at the end of a session they will be fine. Put the moss ball into a bucket of water while the tank is drained.
Continue feeding the bacteria daily while you are working on these details. Then, when the right fish deal comes along your tank will be biologically ready.
 

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So i told my mom what i was planning, and being the helpful person she is bought 3 plants for me off amazon. Willow moss, duckweed and hornswort. I dont know plants that well so i looked them up. I see a headache in my future.

Quick question, im curious if this would work. Im building my own caves using polished river rock, and glueing them together with aquarium silicone. If i made some "bubbles" in crevices of the rocks using mesh, would it work to grow moss off of? So it would look like puffs of moss across the caves? Or is that hoping for too much? Not the willow moss, my tank is a bit warm for willow moss, well according to what ive read. Its at 76F.
 
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