Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Story about my big aquarium

I still remember when I got my first aquarium. I must have seen a good looking one at someone else's home and that sowed the seeds in my mind. I asked my parents and they said OK if you can present a good plan. So I hit the library and did my research.  I ended up buying a used 60x40x40cm tank without a hood. Stuck a basic external filter on it driven by a noisy airpump. Despite my research I made all sorts of mistakes but also learned a lot. Tiger barbs and guppies did well, mollies, platies and Valisneria where big fails.
Eventually I quit that a few years later.

Around the turn of the century the aquarium virus struck again. I used my Y2K bonus to buy a Juwel Rekord 60, the basic tank from the well known German manufacturer. Built in filter, hood with a single tube. Biggest setback came around 2004 when fish TB hit my tank. I'd dealt with that when a move wiped out most of my remaining stocks.

In 2006 I rebuilt and used a fine white gravel, tiny pellets, looked good. For the first time I had real and unexplainable problems. My plants did fine, the shrimp I got from a friend reproduced like rabbits and yet the tetras and aspidoras never did well. Tried everything I knew and never could get rid of the sky high hardness and PH. I gave up for a while and took care of the survivors as best as I could.

In late 2011 I finally had some more time and decided to solve the problem. Turned out that fine white gravel was almost pure calcium. I put some in strong vinegar solution and found it was almost pure calcium, it totally dissolved in 72 hours. March 2012 saw the third build since I'd bought the tank. This time I went for quality materials. Dekoline gravel which is fine quartz coated in a thin layer of some kind of resin to make it inert and allow roots better grip. I retained most plants including a nice looking piece of driftwood which I started covering with anubias two years earlier and which is totally covered by now.

Current look of my aquarium
The left side of the tank is taken up by Hygrophila Corymbosa which I bought from Ikea for 2 euros. Simple, grows well, when it gets too tall I chop the top of and plant it again.

Back right is Ceratopteris thalictroides. Lovely plant, stuck in in to camouflage the built-in filter. It grows extremely well! In front of the filter my willow moss covered bamboo sticks. Recently my micro rasboras (mix of brigittae and merah) have taken to hanging around there.

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