#80: 38L Aquatic Garden Seeking Sustainability

Andres Ferreyra & Carlos Messina Gainesville, United States


This interesting tank is more than just a "pretty face." It offers a lot of intriguing detail. I would prefer a more fitting choice of plants. The A. crispus should be able to fill a 10-gallon tank and a healthy E. cordifolius should emerge more than a foot over the tank.
— Roger Miller
Nice growth. Take out bacopa monnieri as to create more depth. Plant E. tenellus in the foreground. What are the shells good for?
— Detlef Hupfeld
While I like the difference in light levels from left to right some plants in the higher-light portion seem to show some nutrient deficiency. The stand of Bacopa isn't defined enough just a couple seperate stems.
— Chuck Gadd

Aquascape Details

Dimensions 51 × 25 × 30 cm
Title Seeking Sustainability
Volume 38L
Background Deep Blue Sea background
Lighting 1x15W PowerGlo tube, 1x10W GE soft white compact fluorescent
Filtration Undergravel
Plants Shinnersia rivularis (Mexican oak leaf);
Althernantera reineckii;
Aponogeton crispus;
Didiplis diandra;
Vesicularia dubyana (Java Moss);
Echinodorus cordifolius;
Valisneria spiralis & V. americana;
Bacopa monnieri (Moneywort);
Microsorium pteropus (Java fern);
Anubias barteri var. nana;
Ceratophyllum demersum (Hornwort);
Cryptocoryne wendtii;
Eleocharis sp. (hairgrass)
Animals 1 x Epalzeorhynchos frenatum (Rainbow shark);
6 x Paracheirodon innesi (Neon tetra);
3 x Xiphophorus maculatus (Mickey Mouse platy);
3 x Corydoras schwartzi (Striped Cory catfish);
3 x Otocinclus affinis (Dwarf Otocinclus);
Ghost shrimp;
Ramshorn snails;
Melanoides tubercularia (Malaysian trumpet snails)
Materials We use regular (approx. 3 mm) aquarium gravel. Additional elements are 3 pieces of driftwood, rocks and pebbles, and a few shells.
Additional Information Early on we decided that the long-term stability of this little tank required that we keep plant growth slow. We do not inject CO2, did not fertilize the substrate, and use liquid fertilizer (Flourish) sparingly. Plant growth is conveniently slow as a result. The water's CO2 content is low (around 3 ppm, pH ~ 7.4, KH = 3), suggesting that CO2 is the limiting factor for plant growth.
Despite the apparent CO2 limitation some plants do grow profusely, such as the hornwort. Aside from a 20% water change every 2 weeks we mostly remove nitrogen and phosphorus by pruning the hornwort. Also, our conservative use of fertilizer + our cleanup crew keeps most algae away. We occasionally need to remove green filamentous algae, but never had to clean the glass in the 8 months the tank has been going. The tradeoff from our snail army is their occasional nibbling on the plants, but we think it gives the tank a natural look.


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