I'm about to start a new tank and I could use some advice. Here's what I plan to do - please point out any mistakes/risks.
Why "Frankenstein"? I "constructed" the hardscape from several small pieces of wood glued with silicone. The result:
(it's quite different from what I had in mind when I started )
The tank: 75cm x 45cm x 45cm (30in x 18in x 18in) = 150l = 40gal
Hardscape: wood (see above)
Substrate: plain quartz sand, about 10cm average depth, as sloped as I can make it
Water: dechlorinated tap (GH=9, KH=5, pH=7.3 but in the tank pH will be around 6.5 due to CO2)
General aspect: West Africa biotope-ish (it will have more plants than a typical biotope, and the look will not be authentic I suspect)
Filtration: CPR CR900 Wet/Dry with Eheim compact+ 2000 pump (2000l/h = 530gph theoretical but this will be throttled by the narrow tubing of the Mame overflow)
Light: ADA Grand Solar II with 4 x 36W tubes; I plan to set the height so that PAR at substrate is between 75 and 90mol-6/m2; in time, the substrate will be shaded by floating leaves; schedule: 10h continuous (less in the beginning)
CO2: pressurized, around 50ppm, still not sure about diffusion method (reactor/NW pump/other); schedule: like the light
Fertilization: EI daily (maybe buy dosage pumps for micro/macro?); weekly 50% water change
Other hardware: Tunze Osmolator top-off pump (using RO water)
- 4 Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi (1m + 3f - if I can't, at least he can )
- 8 Congo tetras, Phenacogrammus interruptus (any other good suggestions that would fit this tank?)
- I don't know what to use for cleaning crew
- Anubias nana tied to small pieces of half-buried wood, scattered on the sand as "foreground" plants
- The hardscape will have lots of either Bolbitis heudelotii or Anubias (coffeefolia?) tied to it; some of these plants will grow emersed on top of the Frankenstein log; probably Bolbitis though
- One of the sides will have two Tiger lotuses (lotii?) very close together; one will be allowed to grow surface leaves; the other will be kept submersed; I hope they will look like one plant with both types of leaves (?!)
- The background will have some Crinum sp
- If I want to keep with my W African theme I could also use Eleocharis parvula (but I am not sure how it matches with the rest), or Ammania sp (but I don't want stems in this tank)
The goal of the tank is to be lower maintenance than a stem tank, but I accept some weekly maintenance at water change time. When it matures (and my enthusiasm decreases ) I would like to be able to dial back the fert regime and water changes, and make it "low maintenance".
For the cycling phase I am not sure if I need fast growing plants or if the final slow growers will be enough.
Any advice, hint or criticism is welcome.