| | An alternative way to start a planted tank! True Natural Aquarium.
Ok, this is more for amusement but I know you will appreciate the experience.
Some years ago, after a move to a new house, I setup a tank with old substrate. The tank was drained maybe 2-3 days before the I set it up again. I just put the old gravel, water and a filter. No lights, no fish, no plants, nothing else.
So the tank circulates quietly pristinely clean. For about 4 months. I just add some water to compensate for evaporation.
One morning I look and I see something very, very cool. Tiny, 1/16 of an inch sprouts of some plant are all over. I could not understand how they got there. Or why they decided to pop up now and not earlier. The next day I noticed something important - the morning sun hit this tank for 30 min. I guess that was not happening some months ago but now it is.
What I had on my hands was truly Nature unfolding. Some kind of plant seeds, natural light stimulating their growth. Everything evolving as it happens in Nature. When the season is right. Amazing!
The plants turned out to be a kind of Hygrophila. I think H. angustifolia. I may have had flowers I guess and didn't remember or know it. The plants grew so much that when I finally decided to prune them I collected 7 one gallon bags of them. And he plants left in the tank filled it very well too. No CO2 mind you. I hadn't hooked it up yet.
Now for the practical side of that tank:
This setup, allowed to develop by itself, has been completely stable ever since. I've had it evaporate 1/2 way. I had the CO2 stop running for weeks before I notice it was out, I had too many plants in it, too little plants, uprooting, neglect, underfeed the fish for weeks or overfeed with hamburger meat... Never, not a single time since 2007 I've had trouble with it.
The canister filter is a Jebo and has some severe issue - it accumulates air and is full only 25%. The rest is air. Runs since 2007, no issues. But one can say that the external filtration is very much non-existent.
This is it. A note for people that have come to the point to believe that gradual establishment of a planted tank is the best way to go about it.