Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fish Tank Backstory

Not long after I set up the 29 gal I took this photo. Its been through many changes and trials since.
Lots of the plants didn't make it, even though they should have been well suited for the environment.

I took a bag of cheep potting soil from wal-mart as instructed by Diana Walstead's Natural Planted Tank Method, I haven't read her book but took most of my information from the APC or Aquatic Plant Central. I cleaned out all the pine bark, which is a feat considering its about 50% pine bark. I laid about 3/4 of an inch of this over the bottom. i added a light layer of carbon and crushed coral over this.I then laid a cut to it piece of window screen. My theory for doing this was to keep the Corys and Loaches from digging up to much of the dirt which I had seen them do in the past. It has had the side effect though of not allowing the larger plants like the Amazon Sword Plant to send larger roots to the bottom. It could still get nutrients from the soil but not anchor to deeply so was easy to remove when it got to big. I could not locate any skrit which is my preferred size of gravel (a fine gravel that they use to put on iced roads, I found it in houston but couldn't find it in east Texas) so I used pool sand from a local store to cap off the dirt, about 2 or more inches worth.

The coral helps to keep the PH at about 7.5, which the Platys that I like prefer, normally the organic material would lower it to around 6 or even lower.

It now looks like this:

The red decoration lost most of its paint within 2 weeks so I took it back. My dwarf sag and 3 varieties of Crypt have done very well. I am still not happy with the hard scape and removing the amazon sword had to be done because it was shading other plants, but it removed a lot of the impact of the tank visually. The onion plant to the right was an experiment to see how well it lived, it has done well so I will be adding more of that. Most of the plants floating at the top still need to be planted, or are trimmings that I'm giving away to people but haven't gotten around to yet.

This is the Blue Ram Tank:
It to is in a perpetual state of needing to be planted. Most of the Annibus is floating still, and II added this filter after the hang on the back I had died, just havn't gotten around to moving ti to the back. It was started 6 months after the 29 but is actually closer to being finished. I used about the same method of substrate, 1/2 inch of potting soil with 2 inches of skrit that I had left over form tanks I had in Houston before I started planted tanks. I cured the driftwood myself, which is 3 pieces of grapevine which I plant to have completely covered in annibus and java fern.

I'm hoping to work on these this week and will post progress photos.

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