The Planted Tank

There is something wonderful about aquascaping that I can't quite find the words to explain. When I first started keeping fish, I was unable to have live plants due to the fish I kept. I tried many different species in the hope that I would find one that my silver dollars would not consume within a couple of say but I never did.

More recently, Ive been drawn to aquascaping. I kept marine for about a year and researched a lot into the husbandry and understanding the ecosystem of a reef. I found corals challenging and could never quite create the look I wanted. Eventually I moved away from saltwater and returned to freshwater. Only this time, I wanted to carry on my new found interests in underwater landscaping and began looking into live plants.

My first attempt, was the Juwel Trigon 190 corner setup in my living room. I purchased bunches of assorted live plants online from various sources. I had this vision of tall plants at the rear, bog wood, red moor and stones decanting from the centre to the front with the plants following the shape and eventually a carpet at the front along the substrate. Taking inspiration from the Nature Aquarium by Takashi Amano.

On this attempt, I had no plant substrate, no ferts, the wrong lights and only CO2 in tablet form. The inevitable happened after months of struggling and plants started to die off and I had a big algae bloom that all but destroyed the rest.

Time for more research. I mate a second attempt, which is still ongoing and doing ok. This aquarium was the Aqua One UFO 550 Corner setup. This time round I used Tropica plant growth substrate levelled off with white gravel. I ordered a mixed bunch of plants from eBay and also World of Mosses on Facebook. when they arrived i spent absolutely ages planning and eventually settled on the below tank. Ive been keeping this tank for smaller fish and fry. I find the dense planting offered great hiding places for young fish and the small bunch of shrimps i have in there too.
As you can see I've a long way to go yet with this tank. But I do like the Soil, I can see the difference already. the plants grow faster and generally look a lot healthier.

My next attempt at aquascaping will be back in the Juwel in the living room. This time round, i all be using CO2. I am currently doing my research on that topic so i can get it right. So far I have decided to go with the pressurised method.
Im also thinking I need to improve my lights. Im currently using the standard T5 lighting that comes with the Juwel. I have seen a system I like here which I may invest in once I've got the CO2 up and running. Im also looking for a new external filter but that can wait.
I will be doing a full write up on each piece of new equipment I buy so I'm looking forward to that. If anyone can recommend a CO2 system that would be great for my tank, please comment below.

For now, I will leave you with the sorry site of my Trigon looking very depressing and bare.

Feel sorry for me!

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