***WARNING*** This journal is likely to contain any, some or all of the following: mud, dirty glass, terrible typing, horrible crawly things, really boring fish, algae, piles of rotting crap, bad photography, drunken ramblings, non-existent aquascaping, total disaster and complete disregard for all advice given. Also, plant growth and updates are likely to be extremely slow and sporadic. Read on at your peril! OK, so I got that out the way Herein lies my attempt to create a self-sustaining, ultra-low maintenance, sort of riparium tank which I can leave for 6 weeks at a time every few months while I'm on fieldwork without worrying about getting people to do anything other than chuck some more water in occaisionally. Tank: 90x30x90 (240ish litres) shallow, square, lidless tank with terrible siliconing. Stand is a pile of old wooden pallets with a blanket thrown over. Lighting: 70W MH security light about 2' over the tank, 10-14 hours a day. Substrate: John Innes compost capped with play sand Hardscape: Some rocks Fired heather collected from the pentlands Flora: Experimenting with various things, currently - Parlour Palm Prayer Plant Blyxa aubertii E. vesuvious H. verticillata Glosso Bolbitis M. pteropus 'trident' Juncus repens Cyperus helferi Cyperus alternifolius Fauna: Currently - cherry shrimp, Daphnia magna and any number of weird slimy things Planned - more slimey things, and a group of either licorice gouramis or badis. Possibly Hara jerdoni and some sort of micro rasbora, depending on how the food chain holds up. Dosing regime: Nothing Feeding regime: Occaisional handful of beech leaves Setting up: So I basically chucked the substrate in, plus some bewildered houseplants from homebase and some very sad looking aquatic plants that had got lost for a week in the snow, filled with water and went away for 3 weeks. Came back expecting some sort of horror show but was rewarded with a mere smattering of green and brown algae on the glass and some hydrocotyle that had actually managed to grow a bit. Hydrocotyle is now automatically my favourite aquarium plant! Have now replaced frost-bitten plants with a fairly random assortment of others, just to see what will do well. A large amount of mud has settled out of the water, I've left it where it is for now because I'm considering a bit of a rescape and various other upheavals. Added 50ish cherry shrimp and a small pot of Daphnia, both of which are now happily breeding away, thanks to the beatifully green water Here is a mysterious and flaw-hidingly underexposed sneak preview - much will change in the coming weeks, so don't get too attached!