Managed to drag myself long enough from the mac to take some pics and upload them this afternoon...... the results are here
The cover page shows a deceased hybrid cichlid called a flowerhorn, an occurence that seems to be getting more common in local reservoir banks. If you think it's distasteful, be glad I didn't post the picture of its fellow fish 4 yards away which departed much earlier and is now maggot sashimi. Are they merely senior citizens close to their time and abandoned by their caretakers, or is it a sign that such monstrosities are now approaching the end of their reign? Some books I read say hybrids frequently suffer from genetic problems leading to the inability to breed true, mutational issues etc that render them evolutionary dead ends..... might this be a sign? (I hope so!)
Anyway, the subsequent picture shows my 3.5 ft (250 litres) tank as it is today. Lighting is a 150W MH (Arcadia), substrate is plain gravel fortified with a base fert I bought in Thailand (from the Jatujak biochemist) and dispersed Root Monsters (some ADA Africana from earlier incarnations is also mixed in - but rather too deep for me to reach).
Water KH is maintained at between 5 and 6, and pH is 6.7-6.8 (go calculate the CO2 yourself), and daily photoperiod is 8 hours. Two AC fans keep the water at a temperature of 26-27C. Filter is Eheim 2228 (from uncle simon) with internal CO2 reactor (hidden behind the narrow leaf java fern).... additional current comes from a 1,000 l/h powerhead. Water changes (between 30% and 50%) are fortnightly, with a dosing of 10 mg/l NO3, a pinch of PO4, 20-30 ml of Profito and 2 teaspoons of Seachem Equilibrium. On non-waterchange weekends, I top up fresh tap water and dose likewise (except for Equilibrium).
Plants are assorted java ferns, congo Bolbitis (not doing well) mosses (Xmas, java, Taiwan, erect was smothered by the java), Crypts (various wendtiis, cordata, retrospiralis, balansae, undulata, parva, albida, tonkinensis), Anubias (coffeefolia, nana, petite and heterophylla), Aponogeton undulatus, Ranalisma rostrata (not doing too well), hairgrass, Blyxa japonica, Ottelia alismoides, Blyxa aubertii, Najas indica, Barclaya longifolia (red & green), Salvinia sp., Pistia and Limnobium. Fauna: harlequins, rasboras (einthovenii, elegans, pauciperforata), Trichopsis (schalleri and vittatus), dwarf chain loaches, ******* loaches, cherry barbs, checker barbs, yamatoes, Singapore shrimp, otocinclus), limpet-like snails from Eco Culture.
This current setup was started in end May 2004, and the tank's as "low maintenance" as it can possibly be. The only bug is this darkish, very fine thread-like algae that gets on the java moss from time to time, which I remove manually (it doesn't seem to respond to added dosing).
Picture no. 10 shows a more interesting experiment. I was experiencing much frustration with this 2 ft tank (BGA and other algae) until about 2 months ago when I forgot (did I?) to top up the CO2 cylinder when it ran out. I also "forgot" to do water changes, just topping up fresh water every other week or so. But the algae has somehow vanished, and the plants are pretty fine, except for tenellus which got smothered by mosses/monosolenium.
The substrate's a mix of JBL fert, ADA Amazonia, Dennerle base fert and plain gravel. Filter's an Eheim 2224 and light comes from 2x36PL tubes (not very bright now). Plants are mosses, Monosolenium tenerum, Java fern, nanas and crypts (and a suspended money plant aka devil's ivy), and fishes are Vaillant's chocolate gouramis, pgymy gouramis, Eques' pencilfish and Rasbora (dorciosellata and rubrodorsalis). Since it makes my life much simplier, I plan on continuing the default maintenance regime of no water changes, occasional top-ups and feedings.
The 13th picture shows my 20 cm mini tank with Boraras maculatus, Boraras urolphthalmoides, ****** loaches and numerous shrimp. Still ok after 2 years, and it's messy cos I added in some Crypt parva a few weeks ago. Just a 9W PL light, no filter, no nuthin... water top ups when I feel like it.... the two quadripedal things at the bottom of the picture (just in front of the ****** loach) are rubber piggies.