So my wife saw a black ghost knife that she just "had to have", as well as an African Butterfly again that she "just had to have". With my recent readings of planted tanks, I thought I could kill 2 birds with one stone. She could get her new fish (small in size, to get giant later), I could get my feet wet with a planted tank. I have a 125 now that is filled with SA and Central American Cichlids. Basically the idea is when the BGK gets longer, he will go to the 125, and the Cichlids will each be going into their own tanks. I have a partially finished basement with one room that is nothing but storage that will one day become my fish room, little to her knowledge.
The plan: Step 1: Read, read, read, anything I can about planted tanks. Step 2. Choose tank size and equipment for said tank. Step 3. Gradually accumulate the needed equipment. Step 4. The build.
Step 1: I've read most every article on APC regarding lights, ferts, fauna, etc. I decided on a 55 Gal tank, 48" long for everything to go into. The 48" size I feel will fit the area of my house that I have available for another tank at the moment. Along with the 55 Gal. I've already started to cycle 2 10 Gallon tanks that will eventually house feeder fish for my Cichlids.
Step 2: I found a stand that will house a 55 Gal on top, and 2 10 Gal tanks beneath, the only drawback is it is metal...but it will be a good start. As I've said I've decided on a 48" long tank. I have a 12" or so piece of driftwood that will be coming out of my 125 to go into the 55. I've decided also to buy another RENA XP3 for my 125. I will take the existing XP3 from my 125 and connecting it to the 55. Substrate choice will be Seachem Flourite. I've also decided to go the dry fert route. So I will be ordering the ferts online, as well as the filter. I will be adding an in-line heater to the output from my canister filter, to keep clutter down within the tank. My lighting choice will be the Nova Extreme T-5 Fixtures w/Lunar Lights 48" - 216 watts from Dr. Foster &Smith.
With this much light I've decided to do pressurized CO2, I've got a friend that owns his own paintball store, so I will be going there for cheap refills of CO2, and he will order me a 10 lb. bottle, and he's also agreed to talk to his distributor about getting a regulator and a needle valve for me. I have a Dupla Co2 diffusor that I picked up cheap from someone I ran into at my LFS.
The plants I have in mind for the initial setup include : Anacharis, Hygrophila difformis, some form of a Cabomba, and possibly Cardamine lyrata. Further down the road I'd like a HC carpet, hornwort, anubias, and some vals, an amazon sword, and on the driftwood will go a moss of some kind, probably christmas or flame, I'm also thinking some water lettuce for the top of the tank.
Step 3: I've got the 2 10 Gallons up and running now, I put 2 sponge filters in my 125 last week to try and get a decent bacteria level build up, I also removed about 3 cups of gravel and seperated it amongst to the 2 tanks. During my last water change I added 5 Gallons of "old water" to each of the 10 Gallon tanks, and then tossed a pleco in each for good measure out of my 125. The water parameters should be similar at the beginning as not to bother the plecos much. Basically using "cycled gravel, sponge filters, and water". One tank will be filled with platys, the other with mollies. Each tank will also get a helping of pond snails that I have in my outdoor pond, roughly 20 small pond snails in each to begin. My cichlids love eating them, so if they get out of hand, I can easily throw the snails into the 125.
As far as fish go for the 55: The wife's BGK, an African Butterfly, I will also be putting some brigs snails that I hope to acquire soon in there. A friend has a ton of ramshorn's and MTS, so I figure I can put some of them in there as well. I'd also love to put some red cherry shrimp in there, I figure larger ones will not be bothered by the BGK, but any young will certainly be feed for him, hopefully some will get away and grow. I'm also thinking of putting a school of Tetras in as well, either Rummynose Tetras, or Cardinal or possibly some blueberry or strawberry tetras that my LFS has. I will also put some otos in as I've recently just fallen in love with them.
Thanks for reading. Well those are my plans, hopefully it will start to come together next week. I welcome criticism, constructive or not. Preferable non-constructive, tell me the truth, does it sound good, sound bad, any other suggestions. Also a small note, if you have any of the above plants that you are looking to thing out, let me know, I'd like to get most of my plants through this forum, my LFS' just do not have a good selection of plants, and the selection they do have are all stunted, short plants, that look like they fell of the truck or something.