A planted aquarium adds both colour and vibrancy to any surrounding, thus making it the perfect addition to your room. This guide will help you set up the least complicated of all planted tanks, the nano "moss/shrimp" tank, complete with an equipment list.
Of course, there is some sort of science to it, but we'll leave that discussion for another time!
This is the list of equipment you will need:
First of all, you’ll need to find a suitable location in your room to place your tank. It must be near a power point, as you’ll need an extension cord to power the lights and filter. This place must also not receive direct sunlight, or you will find yourself stuck with an algae problem in a week or so.
Once you’ve found a suitable spot, place a styrofoam board under the tank to even the pressure. Then wash the gravel a few times for cleanliness sake, and then lay it evenly and level it with your hands.
The aquatic plant of choice is either “java” or “spiky” moss – while there are many other types of moss, these two are the hardiest. When you visit an aquarium shop, look out for pieces of wood which you can fit into your tank without occupying too much space. For aesthetic purposes, you’ll probably need one big main piece, plus a smaller complementing one. Soak the wood in water for 1-2 days. This will rid it of the tannins that will stain the water.
Once your wood is suitably soaked, tie moss onto the whole piece of wood using either dark thread or fishing line. Place it in the tank at aesthetically pleasing spots. Fill up the tank with water and you can set up the lights and filter. Viola! Wait for at least a week before introducing fauna. You can now watch your plants grow (that is if you are really that bored!)
3 months later
By setting the lighting at 9 watts, your moss will not require too many nutrients, so all you need is a fortnightly water change. Even then, you need not change all the water (20-30% will do) but do remember to add anti-chlorine if you have fauna inside. If your moss is growing well, you should be able to see whitish tips.
At this juncture, you might want to add some animal life into your aquarium. A good choice of shrimp is the Malayan or Cherry Shrimp. Found in good aquarium shops, you may want to find out from the store owners what the difference between them are and what to feed them with.
Before putting the shrimp into the tank however, you will need to acclimatize them by adding small amounts of tank water into the bag which the shrimp came from. Once you have added a fair amount of tank water into the bag over 15-20 mins, release the shrimp into the tank.
The beauty of a moss/shrimp tank is the choice of wood. For beginners, the initial pieces of wood may suffice, but as you progress in your aquatic adventures, you will soon realize that some wood will look nicest “dressed up”. One point to note is that not all pieces of wood sink immediately, and so you might need to weight it down for a period of time or boil it. Alternatively, you may add rocks, or tie moss to the rocks or wire mesh to create a carpeting effect.
Hopefully, this article would have piqued your interest in exploring the wonderful world of planted tanks! One more thing – a conservative price tag for the cost of the equipment would be about $50, so save up some money in the holidays and start building!