12.17.2004: Okay, This will be the first real journal of a tank since I'm documenting it on the day I set it up.

So it starts with a 20H. I spray painted the back pane with black Rustoleum (it's what I had in the garage). I layed down a dusting of ground peat moss and convered it with a bag of Flourite (not washed, just poured it in straight out of the bag).

A the back of the tank you can see the filtration that I have planned for this tank. It consists of an AquaClear 402 PowerHead...

Connected, via some 1/2" vinyl tube and 1/2" drip sprinker tube to some drip sprinkler compression fittings...

What I didn't show was the QuickFilter cartridge that attaches to the powerhead that will do the actual mechanical filtration. After I laid the tubing in I proceeded to add the hardscape and another half bag of Flourite to fill in hide the tubing and fillin the gaps between the rocks.

Sorry, no step-by-step pics of the actual 'scaping, but here' the tank immediately after filling. The Flourite did very little clouding of the water, but did leave a scummy residue on the glass and water surface. As you can see in the picture I busted out the best thing you can have to put the sparkle into your newly setup tank...

My trusty Vortex diatom filter. I have the Freedom Filter, which is on the small side to use on my 125g tank, but on one this size let's just say the results are dramatic...

This is after running the diatom filter for five minutes. I've put a CoraLife 65W Aqualight (10000K bulb) over it, so to keep this running as a low maintrenance tank I've set the lighting period to only 6 hours a day. I'll see how this goes while the tank is settling in.

And after 20 minutes the water looked like this.

Here's a close up shot of the filter outlets buried in the substrate and hidden among the rocks.

And som e shots of the flora...

Plants include: Java Moss, Java Fern, Erect Moss, a tiny bit of Xmas Moss, Cryptocoryne (spiralis and wendtii), Anubias (coffeefolia, nana and petite nana), Micranthemoides sp., and some Pellia (that doesn't look to be in too good shape at the moment.

In this shot you can see the filter outlets buried in the substrate on the right...

Here it is after running the filter for about 45 minutes, and the end of day one.

12.18.2004: So today I did a little glass cleaning and pulled up a partially buried stone so the tank got a little muddy. I was also getting tired of the surface scum the Flourite produced so I brought out the diatom filter again. This time I also added some of the Vortex SuperChar (very fine activated carbon powder).

I used the pitcher I charge the filter with as a surface skimmer and it performed admirably. After an hour the tank again is sparkling clean. :^)

12.20.2004: Just some minor rearranging...

I added a verigated Anubias nana attached to a piece of driftwood (that I pulled out of my 125).

Here's a close-up shot of some Pellia that I won from a raffle on Aquatic Plant Central. I don't think it's going to make it...

Wednesday I should be receiving another three Anubias (another coffefolia and two more nanas) from AquaBotanic...that and the Kasselmann plant book (woohoo!).

12.23.2004: All the plants are in now. I've got some Riccia floating to act as a nutrient sink.

I added some critters to the tank today. Five Pygmy Corys, four Cherry Red Shrimp, and a bunch of Endler Livebearers (two known males, several females and an inderminate number of fry) that a friend gave me. Here's one of the males...The tank is going through a bacterial bloom so with the addition of the new fish I'll need to do a partial water change tomorrow morning and maybe run the diatom filter with some activated carbon again.

Here are some pics of the Endler females cleaning up some diatoms off a marbles Anubia nana. They did a fantastic job of it!

01.10.2005: Tank update.

I've continued to add fern cuttings from my 125. The moss is sending out new growth so that's coming along nicely.

The 65W 10000K bulb has been swapped for a 55W 9235K. I also added the legs for the AquaLight to raise it about 4" off the tank top. The light level is proven to be a bit much for a low maintenance setup. The Anubias started to show signs of deficiencies so I tested the water and found 0 NO23 and 0 PO4. So I've started dailiy PPS dosing after establishing a base level of nutrients. I'm also using Flourish Excel for a carbon source. Since I've started dosing the Anubias' yellowing leaves are greening up.

A bit of algae started covering the rock and leaves so I added three Otos and a rubber-lipped Pleco. They cleaned the rock overnight.

The driftwood is still releasing tannins so I need to do another water change and perhaps run the diatom filter with some activated carbon.

03.31.2005: Tank update.

Without an SAE to keep it in check, the Java Moss has really taken off. The clarity of this tank is really amazing considering that the only filtration is from a Hagen QuickFilter (stuffed with filter floss and powered by a small powerhead) and an AquaClear Mini (mainly for aeration during lights out).Algae has been limited to cladophora on the driftwood and some green spot on the Anubias. Oh, I did have some staghorn strat up on the Bolbitis, but a few days of quadruple dosing of Flourish Excel killed it all off. The treatment had zero effext on the cladophora, though. And it looked to be taking a toll on the Pellia (bottom right corner) as it looked to be dying off around the fringes. After I stopped the OD'ing the Excel it's made a full recovery.

04.20.2005: Tank update. The Java Moss was getting out of control so I cleared most of it out and did some minor rearranging of the driftwood.

The newest addition to the tank...a trio of Apistogramma cacatuoides. This is one of two males that I got two weeks ago. He's currently about 1" long from nose to the tip of his tail. I have two smaller ones that were supposed to be females, but sexing at that size was tricky, but one of them is another male. I'll be taking him back to the LFS to exchange for another female.

One of the females...

5.08.05: A picture of the Hemianthus micranthemoides imitating a fern grotto...

It's pretty cool looking as it overhangs the hardscape below it

9.14.05: Well, the 'fern grottp' look got a bit out of hand so I cleared out all the floating moss and micranthemoides and took out a rock from the front-left corner. During the cleanup I had to remove a bunch of dead leaves off of the Anubias as the floating plants had been smothering them for light for the past four months.

The sad news is that the male Apistogramma cacatuiodes died suddenly last month leaving behing his two widows. I may try to find a new male later, but for now I've added some Rasbora axelrodi. They're similar looking to a green neon tetra and are about the same size maxing out at a little over 1".

Well, even after giving away nearly two dozen Endlers from this tank I still have a mess load of them and apparently will for the foreseeable future. At least now there's more room for them all to swim.

09.23.2006 Belated pics of the tank redo...
I was convinced by a friend to try ADA AquaSoil so I decided to do it in my smallest tank. The AquaSoil sat for a couple of months before I finally got around to making the change, tearing the tank down in the process.

All the Occupants were relocated to my other tank as I let this setup settle in. Initially I had some Echinodorus tenellus planted in the foreground, but the AquaSoil supercharged its growth and it ended up being nearly 8" tall! So I ripped it out and have planted some Lilaeopsis novaezelandiae in its place.

The large bush on the right is Blyxa japonica. In the back from right to left are Ludwigia 'pantanal', Blyxa aubertii, Ammania 'bonsai', and Rotala 'mini'.

After a week I added in a few Amano and Cherry Red shrimp. A couple of weeks after that I added 17 Green Neons (Paracheirodon simulans), which unfortunately are very bashful.

The original in-tank filter has been replaced with a Fluval 104 connected to a an external CO2 reactor. Lighting is provided by a 55w GE 9325 (AquaRay) CF bulb in a Coralife Aqualight fixture.

4.7.2007 For some reason the Blyxa all went south on me after I did a big pruning on them. Maybe it was the Aqua Soil finally losing its buffering capacity in my hard water. The other stem plants had gotten leggy and very unappealing, too. So it was time for another redo.

I'm going to take another stab at an HC foreground. This time I'm starting off with emersed-grown HC. Hopefully I can get a nice carpet established in here without a Cladophora outbreak. In front of the big rock on the left is some Hygro species I got from a friend. It's a low, carpeting plant with reddish leaves so it should provide a nice color contrast to the HC.

Along the back wall, from left to right are: Echinodorus latifolia, Ammania sp. 'Bonsai', Peacock Moss, Cryptocoryne cordata 'Rosanervig', and Rotala sp. 'Mini'.

Here's a pic of the new HC bubbling away after bing planted in new water...

The on-the-fly rescape (with a running water change) cost me six Green Neons and a few Endler fry. I'll give the tank a few days then toss in a few Cherry Red shrimp.

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