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RE: Q: low tech, low maintenance tank

> From: Bain Chin <bchin at MIT_EDU>
> Subject: Q: low tech, low maintence tank
> I am interested in the experiences of others who keep low maintenance/low
> tech tanks. I am trying to learn ways to keep a planted tank that requires
> almost no work.

My 180g planted tank is about 3 years old.  I typically keep 20-80" of
fish in it (max), and most are small schooling fish (pencil fish, tetras,
corydoras, etc).  I have ramshorn snails, MTS, and some (ooops!) pond
snails that never seem to get out-of-hand.

My biggest problem is the ambulia that grows like crazy weeds all over
the tank.  Other plants are anacharis, bacopa, hairgrass, swords, and
little rhizome plants.

My light level is low (the limiting growth factor IMHO), with twin tubes
and 13w flourescents across the top.  I wish I'd gone with MH.  My 
substrate is sand-blasting gravel with some vermiculite (I'm not sure
it does much), and I never fertilize.

I almost never have algae problems, almost never clean the glass.
I feed every day when I think about it, or skip 3 days at a time when
I don't.  I do one or two water changes a year (I do think water changes
are good, as my fish always breed after each change).

This, IMHO, is the ultimate in low-tech.  I don't do anything, and have
virtually no daily or weekly routine except to top off for evaporated
water.  I think the trick is to keep your fish load low, and don't
overfeed.  My fish mortality is virtually zero in (almost) all species.

charleyb at cytomation_com