I recently decided to re-scape my 64 litre tank into an ultra-low maintenance aquascape.
It is based on just sand substrate, rock and wood hardscape, and hardy plants tied to objects. This setup will still retain the use of Co2 injection to support the plant growth.
The main objective of this aquascape is quick setup and easy adjustment of the layout without mess or hassle. The selected slower growing plants require alot less maintenance too. In addition, the tank will also be used to grow out various plants for transfer to larger tanks in the near future.
Here is a short walk-through of the tank's setup process...
I started by filling the tank with a small mound of sand in the back and middle, keeping the layers thin at the front.
The benefit of using sand substrate is the ability to aquascape with the tank filled with water, and it stays clear throughout without the usual mess and cloudiness associated with soil substrates.
Next i placed piles of small volcanic rocks across the sand substrate with paths between them.
This is followed up by the addition of branchy driftwood to simulate some random root-like structures around the rocks, along with Anubias sp. Angustifolia as the initial background plants.
Bunches of smaller Anubias sp. "Petite" and various Bucephalandra sp. are added to help fill in the gaps and create accents around the hardscape.
And its done... the entire layout was completed in less than 30 minutes. Quick and simple.
The tank's canister filter was allowed to run for a few hours, then livestock from the previous setup were acclimatized and added back into the tank (no issues with ammonia spikes or tank re-cycle due to the use of inert sand substrate).
I'll be swapping out plants and adding in new ones regularly (one of the objectives of this tank is to make that process easier), so the aquascape will change over time... and it'll help satiate my aquarist "itchy fingers" syndrome too. :)
Here are the tank stats:
Tank Size: 60cm x 30cm x 36cm (High Clarity / Low Iron Glass)
Substrate: Sudo Reef Sand
Filter System: Eheim Ecco Pro 300 + 13mm gUSH glass intake / VIV glass lily pipe output
Filter Media: Seachem Matrix
Temperature: 28-29°C (Day) / 27-28°C (Night)
Lighting: Up Aqua Z-Series Pro LED Z-20 (60cm) 1st Generation Version
Light Duration: 8 hours (10am-6pm)
Pressurized Co2: ANS Co2 System + ISTA Inline Reactor / 0.25bps / 30ppm
Co2 Duration: 7 hours (10am-5pm)
Carbon Supplement: Seachem Excel / 1ml daily
Fertilizer: Tropica Plant Growth Premium Fertilizer / 1ml daily
Water Change Regimen: 20% Weekly
Water Parameters (Cycled):
Tested using API Freshwater Master Test Kit
pH = 7.0
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 5-10 ppm