Sunday, March 7, 2010

Playing Catch Up #2

As I left off on in the last post I mentioned how someone suggested using live plants in my aquarium to help aid the cycling process and add more beauty to the looks and of course a more natural environment for the inhabitants. I began searching the internet for pictures of planted aquariums and was in shock and awe that a freshwater tank could harbor the potential to be so incredibly beautiful.

© Tom Barr

So now that I had seen just what is possible with an aquarium, I was absolutely hooked. With my life long passions of animals and art, I felt as if I finally found the perfect outlet. I began "researching" how to possibly improve my tank and tried to find what parts were within my budget at the time, which wasn't much but it was something to start with. Immediately I went out and bought a new filter, realizing the one I was using was hardly enough to support what I wanted to do. I eventually decided on a Marineland Penguin 150 it was certainly better than the one I was using in terms of filtration and flow. I then went to my LFS (Local Fish Store) and began buying some of the plants they had for purchase. I believe at the time I had purchased one bunch of Anacharis (Egeria densa) a Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) and a Purple Waffle Plant:

Do not buy this plant. I repeat DO NOT BUY THIS PLANT FOR YOUR AQUARIUM. Purple waffle plant, sometimes also known as purple or red crinkle does not grow or survive fully submersed for more than a month I would say. Many pet stores will have this plant for sale in their tanks, but I assure you it will not last. You can read more about purple waffle and other non-aquatic plants for sale in the trade here. As soon as I bought my plants I rushed home and planted them in my cheap gravel substrate. It was a sight to behold, 6 small stems of Anacharis jammed  into the gravel behind the cheasy "driftwood" decoration, one small Java Fern to the left and the purple waffle plant smack dab front and center. Everything was great for a few days, when I noticed that the Anacharis was falling apart, I didn't understand this at all. Back to the internet I went, asked a few questions here and there and I come to find out that Anacharis needs a decent bit of light to keep it alive. My little standard aquarium hood wasn't putting out nearly enough light to support my plants. Ok then, I needed to find a way to solve this. I poked around downstairs and sure enough I found another aquarium light from way back when. I put that on top of the tank turned it on and expected the best....

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