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Low-Maintenance Classroom 55-gallon
While preparing to set up a 55-gallon aquarium in a classroom for a
teacher at my High school, I have been searching for ways to make
her tank a very low maintenance system.
The goal was originally to have a lush jungle of a tank like, the
pictures I have shown her of my room (which is filled to the brim
with such tanks). However, worrying about mainenance -- she
fears that it will inevitably fall into disrepair.
I was planning orignially to try to set up a very complex system
with a large computer operated CO2 Canister and a ton of light. At
home I make due with the home-brew stuff, but I know this would
be forgotten in a school.
Re-thinking my plan, I am considering stuffing the tanks with a ton
of slow growing plants and less light with no CO2.
I am looking for suggestions on:
-possible plants - hardy, slow growing. Very little trimming. Java-
fern and moss types...
-lights - 80-160 watts? - depending on plants?
-CO2 - I love it, but is it completly necesary?
-filtration -probably very minimalistic. Instead relying on a ton of
plants and a low stocking density for clean water.
- fish - 2-3 pairs of blue rams ( I have some that love a unfiltered,
unchanged water. They breed like crazy. Some Siamese Algae
eaters. Cory Cats or something...
-Substrate? Fluorite? easiest...
Any help would be greatly appreciated. This will be a really fun
experiment. Designing a tank for the purpose of being observed
more than it is "messed with" will be fun. Exposing many kids to
the joys of fish-keeping with live plants, it will also be an awesome
prompt for the teacher's creative writing class.
Being the president of the Granite Bay High School aquarium club
(an unusal club - I know), I think we are lucky to have a school
where about 15 of our 80 faculty members have aquariums in there
rooms. It creates a very soothing atmosphere. We even have an
800-gallon aquaculture facility I helped set-up my freshman year.
With everybody's suggestions, this tank has a shot at being the
coolest on the entire campus thanks to successful live plants.