Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
The Natural Tank
NOT GOOD FOR BEGINNING FISH KEEPERS.
This is a low maintenence tank that uses plants for filtration.
When setting up the natural tank, you first put 1 - 1.5 inches of unsteralized potting soil or top soil in the tank, slowly add water to it just enough to get the dirt wet. Let set overnight to outgas the ammonia . If you like you can add a layer of organic matter such as compost on top of the dirt. On top of that you add 1 - 1.5 inches of 2 - 5 mm gravel or sand. If you are going to use this for the hard water species I would suggest you mix in pelleted dolomite or crushed shells to gradually raise the ph.
Slowly and carefully add water to lessen any cloudiness. Add a powerhead or two with sponge prefilters, depending on the size of the tank. I use 2 in my 75 gal.
Do not add any fertilizers to this.
You want to add a lot of different plants, some of which will grow emergent. Floating plants are also good for this type of tank. You want to plant at least 50% of the tank.
Let set for 24 hours.
Lighting, if the tank doesn't get any sunlight you want 1 - 2 watts per gal. I use 4 4ft flouresents, 2 daylights and 2 plantlights.
If it receives sunlight for a few hours, you don't have to have lights unless you want to use them after the sun goes down.
You can start adding fish in moderation, But avoid plant eaters or fish that dig into the substrate.
Ferts. Feed the fish liberally, they will fertilize it.
Airation: Only if the fish are gasping or tubing in the early mornings.
Water changes: Every 6 months or when the fish or plants look like they need it. I change
50 - 60% at 8 months.