We decided to move from Canberra to Sydney in December 2006, and moving meant tearing apart my fish tank and starting it again. Back in January 2004 when I first set up this tank, I didn’t do as good a job as I wanted. The substrate (gravel) just wasn’t ‘rich’ enough, and plants never really grew well in it.

So this time, I made sure there was plenty of fertiliser in the gravel as I put it in. There’s 2kg of Tetralit and 500g of Duplarit-G in that gravel. I’m also adding ADA Green Brighty Stage 1 daily, and there’s CO2 injection. It’s DIY with yeast+sugar, and it ain’t working so well yet. I think the yeast is old.

This tank is going to be an aquatic garden, with discus eventually. For now though, it’s mainly about the plants. There’s chain swords, swords, spiral val, riccia and a red lotus. I don’t think those are in any way accurate names…

The swords have been doing amazingly well. They were the first plants I planted, and they’ve already thrown up several new leaves already.

The red lotus only went in on Saturday, and even though it’s apparently pretty difficult it too has also thrown up two new leaves.

The riccia I am most worried about. It needs a lot of light, and even with tying it to a branch right at the top of the tank, I just don’t know if it’s getting enough. I’ll have to see about that one. But, keeping a planted tank just seems to be way easier here in Sydney than Canberra. In Canberra, if I ignored the plants for a day, or even just let the CO2 slow down slightly everything would melt.

With everything I was doing it shouldn’t have been that hard, and here in Sydney it isn’t. The extra fertiliser just shouldn’t be making this big a difference. My wife pointed out that it’s probably the softer water.

If only I could say the fish were doing as well. My new lampeye tetras and otocinclus seem to be doing OK. But all of my old fish from Canberra are dead now. Including my seven year old ugly-nosed dogfish (bristlenose catfish.) I think he died of old age and the stress of the move. But the others might have died because of the softer water. I should have given them time to adjust.

Sad… :(