Low-maintainance tanks

> From: "shaji (s.) bhaskar" <bhaskar at bnr_ca>

> I'd like to convert my 70-gallon tank to a low-maintenance, but still
> high-tech, plant tank.  I want to do water changes and prune plants no
> more than once a month.  I also want to keep my existing stock level
> of fish - 0.5-0.75 inches per gallon of mostly 2-inch fish.  I still
> want an interesting tank, with at least a few challenging plant species.
> These floating plants are going to shade my tank.  This means I will
> have to stick with rooted plants that will grow in relatively low
> light.  So, what choices do I have in this area?  Java Fern
> (Microsorium), Java Moss (Vesicularia), Crypts, Anubias, Bolbitis and
> maybe some Swords come to mind, but what else?  I'd like to have
> something out of the ordinary.  Can anyone recommend something
> interesting?


I have kept a few tanks like this myself.  I keep high light (2-3
full-length tubes) over the tank, and harvest floating plants (Salvinia
and the occasional duckweed that sneaks past me) every water change. 
Works great for me with medium fish loads.  notes: 

   1. As you mention, the shade prohibits high-light plants.  So I keep
an anubias garden there.  I could also do crypts.  Hey, there's a wide 
variety of unusual crypts, enough to keep you interested, I'll bet!

   2. Floating plants (well, ones that have their leaves above water, at
least) don't need CO2 injection; they get it from the air.  The low light
plants don't really need much either.  It's my guess that the floating
plants also keep the water still at the surface, so there isn't too much
gas exchange there.  -> No need for that high-tech gadget. 

   3. Perhaps as an alternative to floating plants, you could grow 
emersed plants out of the water?  They should also not need CO2 injection.
I read about a tank done by Vinny Kutty, that had all floating & emersed 
plants... Seemed like a good idea.

     - Erik

Erik D. Olson                		Job-O-Meter:
olson at phys_washington.edu             	YES!