Well, figured I would share my next creation with you all, see what suggestions you may have.
This all started a month ago when my wife's Betta died and, in order to stave off the tears, I rushed out to buy a new one. Well, my little teal/blue/purple Delta Tail "Oscar" is definitely more demanding than his predecessor. I found out the first week he absolutely will not eat any dry or freeze-dried food, only Live or Fresh-frozen (after thawing, of course). Found the second week that he loves his Hospital Tank more than his aquarium, and I think gets sick just to go back. So now, after trying (and returning) and Aquablock, a 2.5 gal aquarium with plastic plants, and my first attempt at live-planting a 12 gallon, he's back in the hospital recovering from a second round of tail-rot and I've completely torn-down the 12 gallon to rebuild.
The Tank (and Other Hardware):
The aquarium I am using is the Acrylic Eclipse System 12 from Marineland. We live in a small apartment and originally I was only authorized to purchase a 5 gallong tank, but after see the 12 was roughly the same footprint, I bought it and asked forgiveness from the Boss when I got home
. Heating is via a REMA 50 watt Filter inlet heater, set to 78 Deg F. The heater seemed to work well on the previous attempt, so I decided to keep it.
Lighting will be provided by the System's compact 13w 5000K flourescent Lamp, 1 Current USA Moonlight White LED Fixture, and 1 Current USA Moonlight Blue LED fixture. The flourescent lamp is set to be on for 11 hours a day, preceded and succeeded by the Moonlight White for 1 hour each. The Moonlight blue will be on overnight.
There will be a few small bubblewands also set to come on at night . CO2 is currently provided via a homemade yeast/sugar system and diffuser.
This tank is primarily intended to provide a low-maintenance home for my Betta, and will also include 10 pygmy Cory Cats, a dozen ghost shrimp, and some Helena snails. I am hoping the shrimp will be able to reproduce faster than Oscar can eat them, if not, then I may have to rethink the algae-eating livestock. I am thinking of adding the Betta last to give the others the best chance. He is not overly aggressive, but I don't want to risk it.
While poking around online I came across two things. First, plant retailers want to pack my little tank full, and second, that I wanted to add something other than just plants. I saw pictures of interesting driftwood and rocks and what not so I went out snooping to my local pet shops (I really don't have a fish store in the area, I guess they expect us to just walkdown to the beach for our goods.). Well I found a few rocks I liked and piece of wood, so back home I went. I also knew I want a dark sand substrate to replace my gravel, so I purchased Eco-Complete on the advice of a plant guy.
Well, the substrate will arrive this week so I've been looking for plants and generally goofing off (and spending money).
The plan is to have a relatively traditional plant layout, tall in back, short in front. But I don't like all-green, so I've been hunting for color. I have decided on some Hemianthus micranthemoides between the big rock and the wood, I am hoping it will creep up on the rock in the future. I found some Ludwigia Repens to go on that side as well, I am hoping I can keep it trimmed down to grow into more of a bush. If I can, then I am going to place it in front of the rock, otherwise, it will go to the right of it. For the back I am planning on putting so Apogongeton, not sure what type yet. On the left, I want to plant a short gras of some kind, still digging around for this one. Also, waiting on someone to trim some Purple Bamboo for that side as well. There will also be some Corkscrew Val scattered around, and a small stand of banana plants. The driftwood will be planted with petite Anubias Nana and a Java fern or two around the base. I still want to have a fair amount of exposed substrate to offset the color from the plants, so I have a feeling there will be a fair amount of trimming on my part.
When I got the goodies into the tank last week I pictured the big rock and Driftwood forming a kind of "canyon", the Driftwood leaning against the back of the tank gave the illusion of a root overhang, and then on the left I wanted two "channels" coming out from the back, one wrapping around the base of the driftwood, and one following the Large rainbow rock out to the corner. Seperating the two I am going to put a smooth piece of rainbow rock laying "exposed" from the substrate. I couldn't get the driftwood to stand up the way I wanted, so I flattened out the fun end and adhered it to a 4 inch square of Lexan. This works well, and I am hoping the substrate on the lexan holds the piece in place and slightly off the back wall.
I'll post more as I go along, and welcome any input. I killed my anacharis (sic) in the last aquarium, so i hope I don't repeat the same thing in this one.