It has always been my dream to have a planted aquarium at home. Whenever I went for these Aquarium exhibitions I used to be besotted by the large aquascaped planted aquariums. Those ones with the grasses, mosses and drift woods… wow… I used to be spell bound. I knew it involved a lot of effort, time and money to bring it to that condition. And I didn’t have that kind of money with me to spare, although I could put in the effort and the time. But hell, I could start with a small tank. If I was successful with that then I could move on to a bigger tank.
So I bought a small tank, barely two feet in length. The first thing I had to do was to fill in the substrate material. The important thing to note while selecting the substrate material is that it should not affect the pH of water. If you are using garden soil, it should be taken from an area where there hasn’t been any application of fertilizers. I got such garden soil and I mixed it with equal quantity of compost. Then I deposited it on the bottom of the tank up to a depth of about 1.5 inches. You cannot end with that, because using this substrate alone would cloud the water. So the next task was to top up the garden soil layer with a layer of river sand. This was used to a depth of about half an inch.
The next task was to fix the plants. I got whatever plants I could get at the local aquarium store. I used tweezers to plant them in the substrate, arranging them in the best way possible. Then I had to fill it up with water. I placed a small dish at the bottom of the tank, so that I did not disturb the substrate when I poured the water in. The top cover of the tank had a pink aquarium lamp fixed on to it. Pink light is supposed to be the best suited for a fresh water aquarium, since the spectrum of light emitted are the ones used up by the plants for photosynthesis. Then tank is now to be left in that condition for at least a week, before the fishes are added. This is for the water to be conditioned for fish life. This conditioning will happen through the development of bacteria in the substrate which will convert the waste products excreted by the fish into non-toxic substances. Another important point to note is that plants give out oxygen during the day and CO2 during the night. So it would be useful if you have aeration equipment and switch it on during the night. It would be useful both for the fish and the plant.
Now I have a flourishing planted aquarium which I set up with minimum equipment and spending less money.
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