Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:03 pm Post subject: Suggestions for a low tech Planted Aquarium!
I am planning to setup a low tech planted aquarium and would love suggestions from you all lovely people.
I have an Aquarium cycling for atleast a month with some aquascape.
I am yet to add fish in it but let me tell you how it currently looks.
It's around 20 Gal long 30x15x12 inches.
I have a driftwood, some hard lava rocks, and a couple coconut shells.
It's well lit (atleast that's what I think ) with a 22 W multicolor LED lights.
The only substrate that I could get is a medium sized colorful gravel.
I have added some duckweed and water lettuce yesterday which I picked up from a local pond. I did sterilize them with KMnO4 before placing them in my tank.
I am planning to add some java moss on the driftwood, some amazon sword behind the rocks and some crypts or java fern or anubias in the front.
I am not sure which other plant won't mind the larger gravel substrate in my tank, but if you know then please suggest me.
I plan to put some livebearers or some tetras with a pair of Kribensis, or a pair of Rams! I was considering rainbows instead of the Rams and Kribs but I wasn't sure if they would love my 20 Gal or not.
I'd be also adding a couple of Oto cats or Cory cats and some cherry shrimps. And maybe a nerite snail if I could get one.
I hope I am overdoing it but suggestions are welcome about anything.
Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:38 pm Post subject: Re: Suggestions for a low tech Planted Aquarium!
Welcome to the hobby.
Going "Low tech" is the best way to begin aquascaping. From my *undocumented* experience, you can successfully maintain a good aquascape, with simple things.
CO2, Expensive Substrates that demand a hefty price per morsel etc are not at all required for this. There is no need to buy anything fancy that burns a hole in your pocket.
My 2 cents:
Throw away those dizzying colored glass pebbles, if that's what you are talking about. You are not trying to hypnotize the fish, and implant thoughts in their minds, are you?
Natural substrates, like mineralized top-soil are great, topped with river sand.
You could try the following:
# Microwave pieces of termite mounds (just take a little! Don't harm the termites!), just enought to fuse the clay (and not make terracotta stuff!!. Usually 20 minutes would be fine at max temperature (around 700 degrees). You can use this method to sterilize top-soil too.
# Mashed Banana+Coconut water, or any proper N-P-K fertilizer (if you are chemically inclined!), can be mixed with clay, and baked for just under a minute.
# Calcium supplementation can be done by finely powdered egg shells, mixed with the substrate. Make sure they are fine enough. Entrust your food processor for this.
# Again don't throw away the banana peels. CUt and use them albeit moderately.
For healthy fish, make them feel safe with companions that naturally school, just like in the wild.
Cichlids (like Ram) are naturally territorial, when in spawning mood. While Rams are peaceful enough, big cichlids don't cut the list. Use coconut-caves and hide-aways plentily for this.
When adding fish, add fish as naturally found in the wild.
Tetras / Characins: Mainly South American. They do well with South American Cichlids / Guppies / Platies / Mollies. For shoals/ schools 7 is the magic number of the same fish.
Gold fish / Koi: Best for (Oriental) Chinese-themed aquarium- Bear in mind they can become monstrous in size. (if they survive past their teens, that is!!).
Zebras / Killi fish: The paddy-fields of our India. Go with natural blue zebra-fish, instead of the genetically modified pink & yellow Glo-fish.
# Use slightly blanched Ginger / a small (very) piece of turmeric root to help the fish get rid of their parasites.
Their bloat and bladder problems can be eased using pea and garlic. Cinnamon barks can also be used, but I cannot differentiate between the intended Cassia cinnamon and to-be-avoided normal Cinnamon.
# Vetiver / Khus roots are naturally anti-bacterial / anti-fungal. You can add them to a darkest corner (probably under the shades of floating plants, or Vallisenaria americana. This ensures that some eggs of scatterers can survive, if you are trying to breed some. This also drives away the fishy odour and gives a delicate fragrance to the water(Need a proper scientific study on this one- Ph.d anyone?).
# If the lights aren't high enough, the floating plants (especially water lettuce / Eichornia) could wilt atleast partially from the heat.
The list of plants which I would recommend:
Any Hygrophila except araguia - tough one to grow, pinnatifida - an epiphyte and balsamica - Poisonous! emersed leaves
Egeria densa- Nitrate slurper of the aquarium
Vallisenaria americana / gigantea / nana / tortilla
Echinodorus tennellus / Sagittaria subulata for the foreground.
Potamogeton gayi / octandrus: take a while to set in. After that, they exhibit outrageous growth.
Crypt spiralis: Slow grower. But do-not-disturb me kind. Not suitable for frequently re-arranging aquarist.
Limnophila indica: Just care for the algae growth between their delicate leaves.
Ferns / Anubias do good as epiphytes. Paste them slightly using just half-a-drop of Fewikwik (5 Rs. pack!), caring to expose a major portion of their rhizomes / roots.
# Go with 7W / 9W LED bulbs in parallel wiring. Purchase them this festive season, to avail massive discounts!
Give the tank a 2-hours siesta time in-between two "4-5 hour" photo-periods. This also ensures some riddance to algae problems.
# Use Hang-On-Back filters for a minimal flow and less surface agitation (which results in CO2 entrapment, beneficial to the plants). Use a top-filter occasionally (or)
Length-wise split bamboo poles(-my favorite!!), with compartments for different filter media. You could put some substrate and plant some dwarfy / paludarium plants there as well. Get a bamboo with a big girth for this. Wash them thoroughly and slightly brown them on your cooking gas stove. Avoid charring them, which spoils the natural look. The slight browning / carbonation can give it some of the adsorptive qualities of activated charcoal.
Same way, bamboo poles can be slit across and make good planters for Pothos / Peace lilies. Tuck them up in the top-corner and fasten with a knot.
(Some might argue that these might rot, lower the pH and what not. That's exactly what is needed for the fish. No fish was born in crystal-clear RO water, in the wild.)
Sorry if this is long. but you could try some of them, for a lush and stable aquascape.
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