I’m thinking a lot about my aquarium lately. I wonder if I will have any fish left in the end? When I return the tank will have gone almost a full month without any care at all. The reason I am not fully worried is that there are 30+ fish in there, many of them still fry. They should act as food (harsh as that sounds) in dire situations. Not only that, but there is also algae and a few remaining plants (maybe about 3 inches total worth of them).

My goal this semester is to build that tank up from a standard rockscape in to a fullfledged planted tank. I’ve tried this before, but I failed in some regards; most notably the fact that all my plants died.

Reasons for this happening? Well, CO2 plays a factor. I also didn’t have sufficient nutrients in the substrate (sand, for all intents and purposes). And my tank wasn’t fully cycled. Today, the water quality is amazing. I don’t have numbers for you, but I can plop in fish and take out fish and there seem to be no problems. They thrive in there for no good reason. It’s a guppy factory I tell you!

That’s all I have been raising lately. Guppies. I could go out and catch a bluegill, true, but guppies reproduce so fast that it’s easy to start breeding very amazing fish. They are also quite hardy: I’ve swung the temperature on them from low 70s to upper 80s and now I am sitting at about 74 degrees.

My goals for the tank are pretty simple: spend little money, use lots of DIY, and get an underwater jungle growing!

I’ll be getting my plants in Midland most likely. They actually have a number of fish stores (at least two) and said stores sell plants. The store in Painesdale, while amazing, doesn’t sell that many plants that I trust. They are typically covered in thread algae or sickly looking, not to mention the fact that they are ridiculously expensive.

What I really need is a bag of Soil Master Select. I can’t find any around Houghton, so I’ll have to check out stores around here. This stuff will be my substrate. I might find some peat to put under it for nutrients, as I have heard that works well.

Looking to spend no more (originally) than 50 bucks to get things started. Also, if anyone has a free tank they want to get off their hands…I’m always up for adding to my collection (of one)

On my list of upgrades:

  • Substrate. From crappy no-nutrient sand to Soil Master Select
  • Plants. Get some. Still figuring out what I can do
  • CO2 setup. Gonna be a DIY setup (2L bottles with sugar-water-yeast mixture) but I want to have it be changeable¬† and I want to be able to adjust CO2 output at will. There’s gonna be some plumbing for this one.
  • Lighting. Currently have a single fluorescent bulb hood that gives off 15 watts. The rule is you need 2-3 watts per gallon for good growth. 15/10=1.5. Close but I want more. Might use an old hood if we have them here still with some CF grow bulbs.
  • Filter. It’s fine how it is, but I think I can tweak the impeller a little to make it get more flow. It should be getting more than it is right now, but for some reason it doesn’t.
  • Natural cleaning. Read: corydora/pleco/SAE (Siamese algae eater). Fish that will clean up the bottom of the tank, and sometimes even the sides.
  • CO2 diffuser. Not gonna be just an airstone this time. An actuall diffusion setup.
  • Out with the rocks, in with the driftwood.

And maybe some more. Who knows?

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