36 Gallon Prep Time! Part 3

In earlier December I wrote about the new 36 gallon I acquired. The weekend after Xmas I was anxious to get the holiday decorations packed away to make room for the new tank in my dining room . I was able to get the decorations out of the way on Saturday and the new tank was in place by that evening and waiting to be set up as the new year approached.

Thanks to some planning ahead and a bit of good timing, I had most of the things I needed already standing by. I asked for Fluval Stratum substrate for Christmas. (Yep, you know you are adulting when you want fish tank fertilizer in your stocking!) I got five 8 lb. bags! I had previously picked up a small 4 lb. bag for my 5 gallon to give it a try, and I love the results its given me with the live plants. So I knew that’s what I wanted for the new tank.

I had also already purchased two pieces of spider wood and some dragon stone to go in the tank, and I bought a black background for it. I even picked up the filter and pump ahead of time. I started soaking the wood on Saturday to see how dark the tannins would be. One piece was worse than the other, but it didn’t take long to soak either one. By Sunday afternoon after adding the substrate, wood, and the stone, the tank looked like this:


Sunday afternoon I made a trip back to one of my favorite local fish stores to shop for plants. I had picked up something called “Rotala Indica” there for the 5 gallon a few months ago and I love the look of it. It’s also grown quite a bit so I wanted to get some for the new tank. Luckily, they had two left. I bought both along with 2 bunches each of two other types of plants. I added those to the take Sunday evening along with the bio sponger filter, and here’s how the tank  looked at the end of day one (the Rotala Indica is the plant on the far left and right):


Right after Christmas, I bought a selection of new plants for this tank from Buce Plant, one of my favorite websites that I recently discovered for aquatic plants. I’d previously made two purchases from them and have been quite happy so I loaded up on more. I bought what I thought was the same Rotala Indica from them, but the plant that arrived is completely different. So I’m not sure who is right – the fish store or Buce Plant. I’m betting Buce Plant is right or maybe it’s a different kind of Rotala Indica all together? Anyway, my new shipment of plants arrived on Monday. Like I said, perfect timing! When I got home from work that day, I had a ton of new plants to add to the tank! Here’s how it looked on Monday:

IMG_20200101_074503_345 (1)

Later in the week, I turned to Facebook to identify the two plants. It turns out the true Rotala Indica is the plant I got from Buce. I thought so! The other plant is called Rotala Rotundifilia. The plants are definitely related because when you search the internet for either of them, you get mixed results of both when it comes to images.

api_freshwater_master_test_kit_600x600I ordered a water test kit from Amazon and it arrived on Friday. I immediately tested the Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels and was happy to see that nothing was extremely high. I did a partial water change on Saturday and have been treating the tank with liquid CO2 every other day and API Leaf Zone twice a week for the sake of the plants.

Overall, I love the results and can’t wait to add the fish! The tank reminds me of Jurassic Park. It was so tempting to put a plastic dinosaur in there! There are a few “red” plants in there that I hope will grow and show their colors. I am also looking forward to seeing the carpet of Monte Carlo up front fill in. I had a ton of Christmas moss in my ten gallons that I had never properly planted, so I glued some to a rock (far right bottom corner) to see how it does. It will be exciting to look back at this photo in a few months to see how much the tank has grown.

This will be the new home of the white cloud minnows that I saved from my pond back in August. The forktail rainbow fish and corys that I have, and one female betta, will also get to call this new tank home. Eventually I hope to add some shrimp too. I’ve decided to keep the red neon rainbows and emerald rasboras in one of the ten gallons in the basement. They are so small and I have so few of them (and I don’t want to shut the ten gallons down) that they will enjoy having a tank to themselves and I don’t want to overcrowd the 36 gallon.

More updates to come!


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