Fish Tank Makeover

In addition to plants, I love animals.  I also enjoy art, so when you join those three things together, what do you get?  Aquascaping a fish tank!  The idea is to turn a fish tank into a specific biotope.  Because my favorite fish are corydoras catfish, I decided to try to replicate the South American pools and slow moving rivers where they live.
This is what my tank looked like before I started, sort of – I already removed fake plants and took out some of the water before realizing that I should take before pictures.  If you see a blurry blue blob in the middle, that is the one fish I have right now, Bubbles, a female Betta.
 

I have two different kinds of Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) growing currently in the tank.  The first is your typical, run of the mill Java Fern.  The second is a variety known as Windelov, which has bushy split ends.

I replaced the unrealistic blue pea gravel with a mix of sand and pea gravel to give a more natural effect.  Some “river stones” scattered around adds to the effect.

All of the Java was originally growing on a small pile of rocks on the side of the tank, but it really does best one a wood that it can put it’s roots into, rather than being stuck on a rock.  I bought two pieces of driftwood to use as decoration and as a place for the Java fern to take root. Because the wood had natural nooks and crannies, it was easy to wedge the Java Fern’s roots into the small spaces naturally made in the wood.  This should hold it in place until it is able to take root on it’s own.

You might notice the water isn’t near as clear and sparkly as it was before.  This is actually a result of tannins being released from the wood.  It isn’t harmful to the fish in anyway, though it will slightly soften the water.  It actually adds to the authenticity of the biotope because the water is naturally soft and has a slight brownish cast to it.  The cloudiness with decrease over time, especially since I’m doing daily water changes to help the tank cycle with the gravel change.

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