Hi, this journal is to help track the progress of my 20g NPT and hope that my little investment grows (literally!).
After planting my 20g tank the first time with flourite as the substrate, pool filter sand as the cap, flourish tabs, sub par marineland LED lighting, and plants from azgardens.com (got totally ripped off.. don't go there), it kind of just survived for about four months and didn't really do anything. I was even treating it with flourish root tabs, Prime, Stress-zyme, and Excel. My female betta, however, has been thriving ever since being in the tank. I had a decent amount of plant death including; all frogbit, all duck weed, all corkscrews, all razor sword, my ulvaceus bulb was doing great but is now nearly dead (I suspect it has to do with something it goes through seasonally), and my dear red tiger lotus bulb which is BARELY holding on for dear life at the moment. So all in all after all the plant death, new substrate (got rid of the flourite) it was at least an $80 lose not including the new plants, substrate etc.
So moving on, I've just moved to CO and my tank's base got pretty messed up in the move... so I took the opportunity to re-base it, re-organize it, and replant it. I've since got better lighting as well, (2x 6500k CFL's) and lamps with a decent par rating. Now for some pix-
I decided to go with Miracle grow organic potting mix this time becasue I've seen some seriously good result with it.
One thing I noticed when cleaning out the flourite.. I did not use nearly enough substrate. I had maybe 1.25" max. I made sure to give it ~2" this time with a 1" cap of pool filter sand (still have that 50lb bag of sand).
Heater, lights, sponge filter, plumbing, and some furniture installed. I rearranged the Colosseum to better suit the light-plant coverage. I also closed the valve to the air stone in the Colosseum. I think another problem I was having was too much surface movement/aeration going on.
So down to the plants.. this time I made a $50 order from http://www.shop.plantedaquariumscentral.com
. I saw them suggested on here pretty strongly, saw the discount we get for being members, and read up that the owner loves being extremely generous with portions ordered. I can say from first hand experience, this place is awesome and she was extremely generous with my order. I paid over $120 from azgardens.com ($40 just to ship and @ the time, I lived in AZ. again, do not
buy from them) and got maybe half as many plants.
She shipped the plants wrapped in pink fiberglass (not shown), sealed in plastic (I mean sealed
not stapled), and finally wrapped in newspaper. These plants were not going to arrive DOE.
My water sprite.
My Giant Hygro.
My Alternanthera, I only ordered 2 bunches.
My razor sword.
My dwarf lily bulb which is seriously sprouting. Just an FYI, that bulb is HUGE, at least half the size of a baseball!
My red Tiger Lotus-not with this order, but I just wanted to show how deep the roots were before I pulled it (nearly 3"!). As you can see the leaves keep sprouting and dying, but I wanted to note the roots. This guy was expensive and I really want him to live
I'm not sure what to do with him.
I also got a Marimo moss driftwood piece. Its relatively small but a nice addition.
Other plants put into the tank that survived include an Ulvaceus bulb (barely making it), Java fern (strapped onto rocks/the little fake wood hidey hole), Moneywort, and some smaller species of Hygro.
So after five plus hours, I finally got the tank planted. I must say I'm satisfied with the results. I think I did a decent job with placement as well-
Thanks to Lilnaugrim, I made sure to plant my razor sword right this time among many other things she advised and helped me with.
Like I said I'm planning on making this tank a sorority... Right now its only got my single female betta and 7-8 Nerites left over (2-3 got lost in the move. They just blended in too good with the flourite
). I however feel much more comfortable, once its established, about adding more females to it where as before I felt there was not nearly enough hiding spots. My girl is having the time of her life right now hiding all over the place and yes, she goes in and out and sometimes stays in that little log on the right side of the tank lol. One thing I really regret not doing was washing out the miracle grow before putting it in. I don't know why I didn't (I even did it with the flourite) but I'm suffering the consequences now from little sticks/dirt floating up to the surface every now and then. The water is also a bit murkier than before but I am doing daily/every two day water changes for a while. I'm sure the balance and bacteria has been disturbed and it needs to go through its cycle again. I'll also need to aerate/poke the soil a bit now because I've got a lot more substrate than last time.
So pretty much that's where I'm at atm. I'm treating the water with prime since there is a lot going in and out daily, treating the water with excel every 1-2 days, and treating it with stresszyme every week for now. If any of you guys see any red flags with my NPT, things I should change, or any suggestions feel free to let me know.