Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
April '09

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04_Planted_Aquarium_1.jpg (30kb)

April '09 - Clyde DíSouza's 270 L Planted Aquarium. (India)

This month we feature an interesting aquascape by Indian hobbyist Clyde DíSouza, who uses a central "island" theme composed of thick riccia carpets and broad-leaf nymph plants, surrounded by stem and narrow-leaf plants on both sides. The option for soil substrate is popular in countries where commercial substrates are unavailable or too expensive, but beware that this homemade solution can be rather dangerous. In the present case possible nutrient leak into the water column is addressed by ample weekly water changes.

Owner:Clyde DíSouza, 26, from Mumbai (India), 3 years of fishkeeping.
Setup:October 2006.
Dimensions:120x50x45 cm.
Volume: 270 L (nominal).
Filtration:Azoo CF1500 canister filter. Media: top layer plastic mesh, second layer filter wool, third layer bio cubes and bottom layer porous ceramic tubes to house bacteria.
Lighting:Azoo PLís. 6x20 W and 2x40 W. Digitally timed to come on at 10 am and set off at 7 pm.
Substrate:3 cm bottom layer of iron rich soil found in Lonavala, Maharashtra in India, with a 5 cm top layer of natural sand.
Others:Azoo CO2 regulator with a 5 L cylinder, 1 bubble every 2 seconds.
Water:Temp 26įC, pH 6.5, other parameters not tested.
Maintenance:Water change half the tank every week and addition of 20 ml Azoo Iron, 20 ml Yamato Green plant fertilizer, 20 ml trace elements. Once a month addition of plant hormones Auxins, Glibberins, Zeatin.
Fauna:20 cardinal tetras, 8 rummy nose tetras, 8 mountain minnows, 3 rosy barbs, 2 clown loaches, 4 siamese alagae eaters, Amano shrimp and 6 otoís.
Flora:Riccia, dwarf Amazon sword, Anubias nana, Aponogeton crispus, Hygrophila 'sunset', green lilies, Nymphaea lotus 'red', Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cryptocoryne cordata.

The tank is not too hi-tech but has everything to maintain the requirements of the plants. The tank shot was taken in April'07, 5 months after the tank was setup. In the first month the tank did face a bit of algae but the algae eaters took care of it. There was also a bit of soil rotting since the bacteria had not been set, but after a while it was normal without any external intervention.

As you can see now with just local soil from the hills and substantial lighting with CO2 injection a beautiful tank can be set. Iím not too particular about measuring the pH and hardness, since the water available seems to be just perfect, the rest the tank naturally balances it out. Water changes are done once a week with replenishing the lost nutrients. The tetras seem to be doing great in health, displaying bright colours. The loaches love relaxing in the hollow crevices of the driftwood, coming out during feeding time. I have been feeding them Tetra Bits and frozen Hikari Bloodworms just as much as they can consume in 2 minutes to avoid polluting the water. The Amano shrimp seem to be quickly multiplying.

One tip I can give hobbyists wanting to set up a planted aquarium is, do not despair if you do not get things right the first time, there is ample amount of websites to educate you and if the soil, light, nutrients and CO2 requirements for plants are taken care of it's quite easy to bring out a beautifully landscaped aquarium. A beautiful tank can get you to lose yourself into it and forget your worries, so go ahead try your hand at it, it can be fun.

I must end by saying it's a great job you're doing through this website since here in Mumbai, India there are not too may people who are well informed about how to set up beautiful planted aquariums and most vendors don't even know basic plant names. It would be great if we could bring out the best of such hobbyists.

If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.

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Cardinals, rummy noses and loaches enjoying life in the garden

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Left side featuring crypts, anubias and sunset hygro

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Right side featuring the high contrast red lotus

Photos taken by Clyde DíSouza and displayed here with his permission.

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