Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
April '10

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04_Planted_Aquarium_1.jpg (50kb)

April '10 - Marcos Paulo's 280 L Planted Aquarium. (Brazil)

This month we feature a beautiful tank without much sophistication, the first planted tank setup by the experienced Brazilian aquarist Marcos Paulo, who solved the "issue" of wetting his wife's living room floor during water changes very creatively and efficiently. Enjoy!

Owner:Marcos Paulo Jucá, 35, from Brasilia (Brazil), 23 years of fishkeeping.
Setup:February 2008.
Dimensions:140x40x50 cm.
Volume: 280 L (nominal).
Filtration:Eheim Ecco 2234 Canister.
Lighting:7x20 W common Philips compact fluorescent (7400 K).
Heating:200 W Heater.
Substrate:Fertile layer: 10 kg of treated earthworm compost, 2 kg iron-rich sand. Inert layer: 6 cm of washed and sieved construction sand.
Others:DIY CO2 Injector.
Water:Temp 26°C, pH 6.8.
Maintenance:Partial water changes 5% daily ("automated" system, see comments), glass cleaning and plant pruning every 15 days.
Fauna:A pair of Gold Angelfish, several species of tetras, one ram and a few other fish.
Flora:Assorted Cryptocorynes, Nymphaea lotus, Amazon sword, milfoil and a few others whose names I don't know.
Comments:I'm orginally from Fortaleza, aquarist since I was 12, nowadays I'm 33 and live in Brasilia. This is my first planted tank, long dreamed of and carefully planned. I opted for a setup as natural as possible, I don't use liquid fertilizer or special tests.

I believe that the key to the lush plant growth and fish health lies in the fertile substrate and almost continuous water change (5% daily). This was only possible because I installed a fresh water source coming straight from the house repository without any treatment and directed into the tank by a filter hose. At the top of the tank there's a hole that serves as an overflow through which old water exits and by gravity falls directly into a sink.

This way, with the simple turn of a built-in faucet, I supply new water to the tank and old water is removed by gravity. According to my calculations 6 or 7 minutes a day with the faucet open are enough to change about 14 liters of water, during which I feed, admire the tank, and then it's done! I just need to close the faucet and the water is changed.

One curiosity about this setup is that my brother-in-law and aquarist, João Bosco, sent me some of the Cryptocorynes (my favorite plants) from Fortaleza, and they were plants that I had given him two years before, which he kept in perfect health and sent me back to become the highlights of my flora.

These photos show the setup at only 3 months but already surprising me with the plant evolution amd fish health. To my satisfaction, nowadays the tank is the joy of my dining room and it's not rare that I receive the visit of children (and adults) from our condo just to look at the fish. I'm completely satisfied with this planted tank and the "automatic" partial water change tubing eliminated what was to me the the most complicated issue in the hobby: changing water and the inevitable complaints of the wife with a wet room. Without these problems, it's just feeding the fish and enjoying this little luxurious piece of nature at home.

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

04_Planted_Aquarium_2.jpg (98kb)
Lush flora depending exlusively on rich substrate and small daily water changes

04_Planted_Aquarium_3.jpg (89kb)
Tetras are excellent "collectable" fish for larger aquariums

Photos taken by Marcos Paulo Jucá and displayed here with his permission.

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