Completely draining my 500L (130 gallons?) tank in order to install a soil underlayer proved a bit too much of an ask, so I just took out all the gravel and rocks refurbished it with plants in trays and a couple of terracotta pots. I hope this isn't cheating! Do I still get to call it an NPT?
Each tray is 40cm in diameter and has about 2 inches of potting mix on the bottom, covered with another inch or so of fine gravel. The tank is lit by 80W high-efficiency fluorescent tubes and the right-hand side gets a few hours of sunlight filtered through a stained-glass door. I'm working on getting more light into it.
The photo is of the tank after 2 weeks.
Any suggestions for making the aquascaping look prettier and more natural would be much appreciated. I tried to select trays that wouldn't look too obtrusive, but having been a high-tech person for so long I'm still suffering from aquascaping-withdrawal!
The water's a bit cloudy (whitish) and there is some green algae growing on the glass. But no brown algae, which surprises me because brown algae grows in the water here like you wouldn't believe. If you leave a full glass of tapwater alone for two days, the inside will be covered in a thin layer of it. That's why we installed an RO unit for our drinking water....
The plants are Ambulia (lots of it), Ceratopteris thalictroides, Elodea densa, Anubias, water wisteria, banana lilies, small Amazon swords, Riccia, and a common species of Hygrophila. There are a couple of bits of duckweed floating about but the platies keep eating it.
The Ambulia has grown every time I look at it, and the Elodea has grown 40cm in the past week (I measured it).
However, the Amazon swords are not particularly happy. They are just sitting there sulking and one of them has developed brown spots and staining through some of its veins. Could this be iron toxicity?
The Hygrophila is growing much faster than in my high-tech tank, but not as quickly as the Ambulia and Elodea. The Ceratopteris and wisteria are also only growing slowly and are beginning to be overshadowed by the Ambulia.
The fancy guppies are doing very well and are eating like they've never eaten before. The platies are fine health-wise but have been a bit nervous when I approach the tank. It seems rearranging the tank frightened them. The baby fish LOVE the Riccia and the bits of Ceratopteris that have detached and are floating.
I'm very impressed with the growth of the plants and cautiously optimistic about this tank!