Sunday, May 6, 2012

Substrate, Plants and Snails, OH MY!

Today I picked up the plants I got from some online store which is fronted out of a house in Norwalk.  I would give the name of the website, except I'm not looking to shutting business his way.  Slightly disappointed with his services...  All the plants I ordered ended up in a single bag tangled up.  Apparently he placed a nerite snail in with the plants..  that I didn't order..  but nothing really wrong with that to be honest.  However, I did see evidence of pond snails >.<

Lets cut to today's business:
The tank held up on the leak test.  I ended up picking up the Marineland Duetto 50 submersible filter.  While I like the spraybar concept on the Fluval Nano filter, it vibrates like crazy.

I ended up going to Petco for the buy.  There was another intersting submersible filter for turtletanks which likely could have worked just as good, but it was 10.00 more..  while smaller than the duetto 50, it was not really worth the extra money.

So...  what did I do today when I got back from all my errands in preparation for this project?  Boil driftwood and clean the substrate.

Boiling the driftwood - this makes sure there are no nasties and leaches tannins

That's the fluval stratum being washed by me.

While the driftwood was boiling and the substrate was cleaned, I could then start layering my substrate in the tank!  It's about an inch to an inch and a half thick...  I also seeded some biozyme bacteria into the substrate to help kick off the cycling of the tank.

I'm going to be using a fishless cycle and using 10% Ammonia Hydroxide (Ace Hardware) to feed the bacteria.  The plants will also suck up some of the ammonia and eventually the nitrites that will be produced.  For more information on Cycling check out  this forum post on

So to the planting!  Once the driftwood was ready, I used that as my centerpiece to plant around.  Vals will grow to the back left, my Amazon Sword in the back center, and the Argentine swords in the back right.  I've got Pennywart growing to the left mid and the Hygros just in front of the driftwood.  Some HC in the front to grow into a nice ground cover.  

The HC was hard to plant...  once filled up with water, I'm not sure if they are really in the substrate, I'm hoping that they will grow a bit stronger and root up...  only time!

So, added more biozyme to the filter sponges to encourage bacteria growth...  and placed some root tabs into the substrate for the heavy root feeders.

I don't have a good picture of the tank filled up..  there wasn't much cloudiness - I attribute that to good washing of the substrate...  But, it's filled up - added the ammonia, maybe a bit much... (1.5ml) which after testing raised it to 8ppm. (I think I added too much, so I'm going to keep testing and try to keep the ppm at around 4-5.)  Set up the light and the CO2 kit...  added 3.5ml of stresscoat water conditioner and 3.5ml of Nutrafin Plant Gro.

We shall see what tomorrow brings!  I anticipate the tank cycling will take about 2 to 4 weeks...

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