Here is one of my newer creations in its beginning stages. I plan on moving around some of the plants once they’ve developed root systems and could take being replanted while maintaining their health. I also will be adding a baffle in front of the filter. I have a small Azoo filter with variable flow on the tank right now. I want to keep it at higher flow in preparation for when I add the blue berry shrimp for which the tank was planned. That will be another post in the near future!
Anyway, here is the tank in its initial stages. I’m still not sure if I want to remove the rocks entirely. I found these in my backyard, but it was difficult to find stones with enough detail and similar color, texture, cleavage, etc. I plan on having the front be a carpet of HC in the middle with grass on the far sides. Once everything has grown in (which will take a few months) I might add a valley of sorts filled with gravel or smaller stones to help create depth within the tank. Separating the gravel/small stones by size, then using the smallest near the back and largest near the front can really make the tank look much deeper than it really is.
Here’s a more complete rundown of the tank right now:
Tank – Aquatop 4.12 Gallon Cube, Low-Iron High-Clarity Glass, available here
Filter – Azoo Mignon Filter 60, rated for up to 3.5 gallons, available here
- Note: I added extra filter media, and the tank will be heavily planted, so this filter should be fine. It is in place mostly to add water flow to the tank.
Substrate – Fluval Shrimp Stratum, available here
- This is my first tank using this substrate. I’ll keep you posted on how it works. So far my initial reaction is similar to most reviews you will find of this product. It’s very light weight, so planting is difficult. It’s also pricey for the amount compared to other substrates. I love it’s texture though, and it seems to be working well with the plants so far.
Lighting – Dolphin Curve Pure White 6500k LED, available here . I really like the light so far, and will be adding a full post with a review of it soon since I can’t seem to find any thorough reviews for this particular light fixture.
Heater – Aquatop Nano Aquarium Heater with Thermostat, NH-15W, available here
Plants – see the diagram below with labels on each plant type. (Click to make full size, same goes with all pics on this site)
The background rotala indica and watersprite are actually much more full and dense than the picture shows due to the filter. Note to self: for future tank shots, shut off the filter flow for a few minutes! I’m big on making low maintenance tanks though, so instead I plan on adding a plastic baffle that will direct the water current toward the front of the tank, rather than sideways along the background plants.
I also keep floating plants in all of my tanks. It began after I tried my first Walstad tank. Diana Walstad’s Ecology of the Planted Aquarium was an enormous help in how I have designed all of my new tanks. She stresses the importance of variety in tanks to create balance. Floating plants are great at removing toxins and excess nutrients from the water column. They also help diffuse light that might be too strong for some plants, and provide a great home for beneficial bacteria and microoranisms that keep tanks healthy and balanced. In this tank, I have duckweed and salvinia spangles. Right now, without the baffle, many of them keep getting pushed down into the tank and caught in the background plants. Can’t wait to fix my water flow problem…