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21L - first freshwater tank in over a decade!


15 Jan 2010
West London
Hi all,

I joined this forum many years ago, but around that time, I was getting into marine aquariums and breaking down my freshwater tank. I recently moved house and thought it would be nice to have a cheap, super low maintenance planted tank with some red cherry shrimps, but the more I read and watched online, the more I wanted, and I had grand ideas of an aquascaped tank with crystal red shrimps, etc etc - a slippery slope I'm sure many others have fallen down!

Inspired by some tanks I saw at the fish street in Hong Kong a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted some mountains and a valley. After purchasing some rocks I discovered I'd need a lot more to accomplished the desired effect and the size of the tank was also limiting, so I made do with what I had. Soil is Shrimp King Active Soil and water is RO with Shrimp King Bee Salt GH+.


I used the dark start method and let the tank and filter sit for a couple of months, some of that due to not being happy with the lights I had purchased and some changes in ideas - I decided I wanted a DIY citric acid based CO2 system too.

With all the equipment in hand, I finally went ahead and purchased some plants - in-vitro pots of reineckii mini, rotala bonsai and HC dwarf baby tears. The planting process was frustrating and my planting skills left a lot to be desired, but eventually they were in. I also (very badly) added some white sand for the valley, would have preferred finer sand:


With the CO2 and the new lights (Chihiros A361) the plants were doing very well, although I was expecting the rotala to grow quickly and the HC and reineckii to be slower, but he opposite was true. A couple of weeks later:


With the reinecki growing so quickly, and in an effort to improve the water circulation, I removed the stones from the right side of the tank. Current view of the tank from my desk:


I had increased the photoperiod and feeding in an effort to increase biofilm and algae for the oto and shrimps, but will be cutting it down a bit now, as green dust algae is setting in. Also increased the CO2 to 1 bubble per minute.

Current livestock are 8 celestial pearl danios, 1 otocinclus, 18 crystal red shrimps.

Any comments, suggestions, etc. welcome!

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