Re: Low-tech aquarium
From this to this...my low-tech tank, a work in progress. The photography is a bit suspect, I've used an old digital camera which is well past its sell by date and the only light available is the tank light. Being a newbie to this site I wasn't sure where to post this so I've also posted it in the Journals section.
I have always set up my tanks this way; admittedly though the last one I did was over 25 years ago. Once the soil based substrate is added and capped the aquarium is filled with water and planted, there really is no need to wait and wait for months and months, and to flush and re-flush. There is a tendency to get paranoid about ammonia release and all the other gubbins supposedly associated with soil based substrates, but I've never had a problem. Plants are great at balancing aquarium biochemistry in next to no time.
The soil based substrate goes in about 1cm at the front sloping to about 2cm at the back.
Capped by 3mm sand/gravel, I've since added at least twice as much.
And then the bog wood, large pieces for immediate effect, however, things didn't stay that way for long.
Planted with the addition of another piece of bog wood. I planted without any real thought to aesthetics, since I wasn't really sure what plants I'd be able to grow in the local tap water. So I just brought a range of plants and left them to fight it out amongst themselves, however they have all done very well...so far.
The fish were added a few days later, at first half a dozen small Cardinals, the rest - 3 Ottos, 4 more Cardinals, 10 glowlights, and 6 Colombian Tetras - were added gradually over the next 3 weeks; way too many I know, but so far so good.
About 3 weeks later the plants have well and truly taken hold and their growth rate rockets, without the benefit of fertilisers or CO2. I also added some Java fern and Java moss. The original canopy and monolux 15 watt T8 lighting unit were replaced fairly early on with two 24 watt T5 lights.
Things start to get a bit crowded so the wood and plants where removed (I was amazed at the root development over a relatively short period of time especially the Echinodorus
spp. the roots seemed to go on for ever) and the whole tank was re-aquascaped. More gravel was added along with just two pieces of bog wood this time before replanting with the addition of twisted Vallisneria
spp. Unfortunately, some of the plants took a bit of a hammering especially the brittle Hydrocotyle
spp. which had also been moved from pillar to post several times before, but it still keeps putting out new leaves despite my best efforts to destroy it.
A couple of weeks later the plants are starting to settle and put down new roots and the growth takes off again. I added a few more Lilaeopsis
and a Pogostemon
this weekend, and have ordered some Glossostigma
, for the immediate foreground, I'll let them fight it out. The poor Hydrocotyle
suffers another move.
The same scape closer up, for what it's worth.
I've decided to strip this tank down in a few weeks and plan to transfer some of the contents to a Fluval Roma 90, the best I could do with the available space. I will run it with an external canister filter attached to a lily pipe set up, the Juwel internal Biofilter did an ok job (250 l/hr) but there is definitely room for improvement. I hope to come up with a more inspired and sophisticated aquascape; but we will see.