I decide to start a planted aquarium.I wanted one mainly to offset *and complement my living room collection of houseplants that live in and around my East facing,second story picture window.
I choose a 30 gallon tank that just fits into the space in front of and to the *right-hand side of the window.
I have kept aquari before but never really tried for a live plant type as from what I had read they could be rather difficult. Nothing coulkd be farther from the truth as I found out....or maybe I had beginner's luck.
I started out very anxious and did all the "correct things" that I read *about on the internet at sites that specialize in planted aquari...you know...water testing,chemical supplements, fertilizers,CO2 injection...the whole nine yards.
*Well,the aquarium did ok going this route but it got to be quite a bother after about 3 months. So I decided to see if all this was really necessary ...turned out it wasn't...unless it was to get the thing off to a good start.
*After 2 years and 3 months I *have to "weed" the tank *now on a weekly basis to keep it from being overgrown.This despite the fact that a tremendous population of pond,apple, and ramshorn snails *developed and eat a huge amount of the plants.They like to cut the Val leaves off at the base and ride them in the filter current.At least that's what they do...I only speculate about them enjoying it....I know I would ,if I were they.
I only keep the common types of plants-swords,val,Ludwigia and so forth so that may have a lot to do with the ease of it.The *corkscrew val has formed a dense "jungle" (most times the fish are hidden from view among the vegatation) *and looks particularly nice surrounding my huge red *E. bleheri .
I have come to believe that *the two important keys to growing aquatic plants are substrate and lighting...the rest will take care of itself. For light the tank gets 4-5 hours of natural sunlight from the East window -then I supplement with two 55w double CF tubes for 8 hours a day.As for substrate I used 2-3 inches of washed river sand....I won't go into it but -be leary of the enriched commercial substrates....some swear by them...I don't.
I never fertilize or use supplements *as the small fish population provide all that is required.I have zero algae problems and the water is crystall clear. Oh,yeah...CO2 injection...that was the first thing to go...and neither I nor the plants have any regrets.
Well,that's my story... and like I said...for what it's worth.