My passion for the hobby has periods of disinterest (just doing the minimal to keep things going) and periods of intense energy where I feel like getting 3 more tanks to do everything I want to. I've learned to deal with this the way you just put it, set up tanks as if they would have to run with minimum effort indefinitely. Pick a simple dosing regime, stem plants that dont require weekly trimming/maintenance to look good and just accept some plants arent meant for that sort of tank. This has given me a lot more peace of mind, enjoyment and spare time to do other stuff I enjoy. In the end, many people forget its about enjoyment, observing and looking at the fish playing or the sunlight enhancing everything, instead of thinking 'is that some algae? Does that need trimming? Is that some deficiency I spot there?' etc. But it takes a while to get into that frame of mind. I'm noticing many parallels with my other hobby, gardening, with the high maintenance / regular fertilising / deadheading type of gardening or the sort of gardening I enjoy, which is mostly leave things be, fertilise only once per year, cut back everything once per year and not bother deadheading but instead choosing plants for every time of year rather then having to invest time to prolong flowering etc. The balance of how much time and effort you want to invest vs the point where it becomes detrimental to your enjoyment or detrimental to the tank (or garden or whatever you enjoy doing), finding that balance and keeping it, thats what makes or breaks the fun, for me at leastInteresting month. Was feeling pretty puzzled about the hobby of late so pulled the reigns in on everything. Stopped to have a think. Thought joining the 21st century with an Instagram account might help inspire… mistake. If I see one more slow-mo shot of a pair of scissors, or the widely used slow-mo of a pump bottle dosing a tank, my eyes may in fact projectile vomit all over the screen 🥱
Back to the drawing board… We’re nearly at ten months with this setup and it is usually about now that the rescape thoughts creep in. But funnily enough, not this time around.
Instead focused the thinking towards how you can run Co2 injected indefinitely. For the most part this tank has been running a traditional ADA dosing regime. About a month ago you could see the beginnings of the balance shifting, soil not quite providing and some plants looking tired.
With the unloved Dutch coming down and the White Clouds needing a home they’ve been shipped into the 1200:
Feeding times are much more impressive:
The Green Neons have dropped their shyness and they mix with the minnows quite happily. No aggression, tank is alive with activity and feeding is a joy as not one bit of flake/pellet/live food gets to the substrate.
Back on dosing though and we have a very decent fish load now. Moved to a different fert mix using ammonium nitrate as the N source combined with feeding the stock handsomely and it seems to be going well:
It appears more efficient at this point to shift towards a more Tropica style of dosing and account for fish feeding into the regime, rather than persist with ADA’s lean daily K and micros with frequent application of root tabs.
The epiphytes are also consistently happy, now that they’re not relying on infrequent mercy dosing of KNO3:
There was a bit of transitioning needed with the shift to NH4NO3, some stem plants shed their older leaves with newer growth coming back in its place pretty quickly. This is why the growth is all over the shop at the moment, nothing has been trimmed in earnest and just leaving everything to adjust. Also won’t be bothering with colour up sessions of stems anymore, consistent daily dosing should format the whole tank to set colours for the foreseeable. Trading colouration for consistency.
Nearly all the plants from the Dutch takedown went to a friend. Did keep some Hyptis lorentziana, Ludwigia tornado, Rotala Pearl and Syngonanthus macrocaulon though:
Looking forward to seeing them grown in and apparent, still tucked away for now and recovering from the disruption.
So… It’s no scapers tank but it’s a joy to maintain thanks to access, the stock are happy and it’s a nice mix. Seems as good a scape as any for the Green Neons and the White Clouds to live out their days. Majority of the Green Neons are from a batch introduced in 2017, seems only fair to give them a permanent home moving forward.
The whole house is going in the direction of permanence rather than ceaseless upheaval and transformation. Setting up a simple long term reef setup, the UG project is hopefully going to keep trucking for as long as it lets and the little 10l Dennerle terrarium will be left to grow.
A good spread of projects to keep the heart content.