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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so this is going to be my 75 gallon attempt at an "el natural" type tank. It has been set up for about 3 weeks and has mineralized topsoil capped with pool filter sand as substrate.

The tank has an overflow box into a 20 gallon sump filled halfway for filtration. I removed the bioballs and drip plate to allow more room for water and plants. Actual filtration is by a 15"x4" pvc tube stuffed with filter floss. The sump is lit by two 14w spiral cf bulbs, 5500k. It has a ton of java moss and salvinia, along with some ghost shrimp to keep the moss clean.

Lighting over the tank is 3x40w t8's. The tank has a glass top but I want to eventually go topless and have suspended lights. For now, I will see how the plant growth is and will adjust it in a month or so.

Plants: Jungle val, Italian val, dwarf sag, anubias nana, java fern, java moss, florida spadderdock, unkown lilies that grow amazingly fast, and various other florida native plants.

Fish: 9 lemon tetras, 4 platys, 3 swamp darters, 3 cories, and 2 albino white cloud minnows.

Ok well pictures talk better, so here is the tank as of today:

Full tank shot

Sump

Unknown lily-
Does anyone know what it could be? It puts out a new pad almost daily and has small green pads with red splotches. I found it in a local canal and assume it is an exotic that "escaped". I brought home three of them, but there were a few more left. All of the pads were small and the bunch of plants was near the shore. I have searched all over but most pictures show a flower and not the pad...


Local spadderdock

Looking up through the jungle val forest


Well, thats about it for now. Let me know what you think!
 

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Looks like your off to a good start. I don't know what the lily is but it looks really cool. Do you have any submersed leaves or are they all floating? What is a swamp darter and do you have any pics of them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The lily has no submersed leaves. I don't mind though because they would take up too much room if they had submersed leaves.

A swamp darter is Etheostoma fusiforme. They are small, very active fish. I think they are members of the perch family. Mine "hop" around the leaves throughout the tank. They almost look like little lizards when they are sitting on a leaf or something, with their eyes looking all around.

I will never be able to get a good picture of one with my camera because they move around constantly, but if you google swamp darter I bet you will find some nice pictures.
 

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You're right, I googled the scientific name and came up with some nice pics. The look like they have a lot of attitude. Did you catch them yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I collected them locally. They are curious about everything, but don't have any more attitude than a neon tetra. I used to have a native only tank with bluefin killifish, least killifish, sailfin mollies and these swamp darters. My next project will be to get one going again, the el natural way, for sure.
 

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Very nice.
 

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Unknown lily-
Does anyone know what it could be? It puts out a new pad almost daily and has small green pads with red splotches. I found it in a local canal and assume it is an exotic that "escaped". I brought home three of them, but there were a few more left. All of the pads were small and the bunch of plants was near the shore. I have searched all over but most pictures show a flower and not the pad...
Nymphaea Zenkeri? Looks like the 2 I have.

http://www.tropica.dk/productcard_1.asp?id=019
 

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I think that's so neat to be able to get your plants and fish from your local pond (whatever). When I was a little girl I used to do that from the canal behind our house. I had no money but loved the fish and plants. Unfortunately I didn't' know enough about how to keep them. There was no such thing as the internet. It's nice that you can do it well these days.! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Nymphaea Zenkeri? Looks like the 2 I have.
That could be it! It's hard to find any pictures of surface leaves. I hope they are tiger lotus' because that would mean another nice aquarium plant found locally instead of purchased! The leaves are nice and rounded like the picture...I wish I could have seen any flowers where I found it, that would make ID'ing a little easier I think.

I wonder if trimming the surface leaves would encourage it to grow submersed ones? I figured since it already had nothing but surface leaves that it wouldn't ever grow submersed ones...I may try it with the smallest one.

Tex Gal- It is great being able to find local plants, but it is getting harder to find water that isn't sprayed with herbicides or contaminated in some way. One canal that I went to often has been recenty sprayed with herbicide, killing everything and causing a nasty bacteria/algae bloom from rotting plant matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, well I figure it's about time for an update. The tank is right at the 1 month mark! All has been well so far...
Here is the tank as of 5 minutes ago-





Here are the lilies-as you can see, they have put out MANY leaves in just a week!
 

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That's a dandy tank! Those lilies are especially interesting and colorful. I love the natural tall grassy motif it has. Kudos on owning such a pretty aquarium. :)
 

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I like those swamp darters! they look a lot like kilifish. I really want to try to set up an el natural tank from my 10 gallon soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the comments everyone!

pmk-I posted in your thread, but again-that is a great picture! From what I can see, it looks like a pretty nice tank, too.
 
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