My wife got me a 5 gallon fish tank last Christmas. I’ve wanted to set up a planted tank – an aquarium ecosystem
balanced by plants. In a planted tank, the vegetation naturally filter water by using bio waste as fertilizer, and
typically contain critters like shrimp and snails to keep algae from taking over. This idea was heavily inspired by
Youtube videos from Michael Langerman and Foo the Flowerhorn.
My first foray into this experiment started last year. The girls and I collected jars of water and soil from a nearby
creek in mason jars, then I tried growing plants from our garden in them. While the plants didn’t survive, the living
organisms inside the jar thrived. One jar is heavy with something that looks like stonewort, the other has some sort of
crustaceans living inside it. The organisms inside thrived off indirect sunlight alone. I only needed to (infrequently)
top off the jars with water.
My tank will be considerably more hi-tech. Where my muses went without heaters and filters, my aquarium does have a
heater and filter to keep me from screwing up. Currently, the tank is planted with water sprites, dwarf hairgrass,
Bacopa caroliniana, Brazilian pennywort, java moss, and anubias nana. In a month or so, when the plants are growing
well, I’ll introduce cherry shrimps. Then, if they do well, introduce two guppies. This is what it looks like today (Jan
Raising guppies in a 5 gallon tank seems to be a controversial subject on the internet. Most sites advice raising a
single betta fish instead. However, the temperament of a betta doesn’t excite me. I prefer more peaceful fish. Being a
carnivorous fish, a betta is neither simple to feed nor keep from eating its tank mates. I’m looking for the simplest
fish possible. Guppies seem like a good bet. I hope to have an fun update in a couple of months.