So once upon a time last Wednesday, my husband says to me, why don’t you get a bigger tank? And since the Petco dollar-per-gallon sale had just started, I was like, brilliant, okay!
I picked up a 29 gallon and started the process of upgrading my subtropical minnow tank on Monday, July 4th:
My local fish store, the Aquatic Critter, had driftwood mounted on slate tiles as well as zebra rock by the pound. So these formed my hard scape. I read the whole debate on sand under rocks versus rocks on glass and decided on sand under rocks. So I spread a thin layer of washed sand under the hard scape area. This is pre-washed all purpose sand from Lowes. I can’t find a link to this particular kind anywhere but it seems to work great. I filled a five-gallon paint bucket about a third of the way with sand and then washed it with a hose until the water was clear. That meant I didn’t have to change the water in the tank after I flooded it. Well worth it!
I did not rinse my dirt (Miracle Gro organic potting mix), I just sifted through it with my fingers and pulled out the biggest pieces of wood and bark.
I did put dirt under the Java Ferns even tho they don’t have true roots because they seemed to benefit from it in the first tank. I put gravel as the cap in that section though so the roots can grow around something and it made it easier to keep the rhizome above the substrate.
I ended up with a nice little slope up towards the back thanks to the zebra stones keeping things in place. It’s about 3 inches deep in the back (2 inches of soil plus one of sand). The front is about 1/2-3/4 inch of sand only in the front corners, with an inch of dirt capped by a half inch of sand in the middle.
Also added a Marina s20 to the left side, together with the s10 from the original tank this provides enough filtration. I put the bigger one on the side to create a stream across the surface of the tank since the minnows come from a stream environment in the wild, though since these are all tank raised, it might not matter but they seem to enjoy playing in the flow.
I moved the 6 original minnows, the three snails and 2 remaining red cherry shrimp (I started with four but two vanished, never found bodies, lol!)
Then yesterday I went back to the aquatic critter and added another version of ludwigia on the left, as well as 6 more minnows.
Still to come: more cabomba behind the driftwood, 6 corydoras palaetus (peppered corys), and at least 6 more red cherry shrimp, with some males this time so I can have shrimplets hopefully.
And if the minnows don’t start giving me more fry, I’ll eventually add more of them but I thought I’d give them the chance to have some more babies, lol.