I Just came back to the hobby after a 11 year hiatis and my last tank was a reef. I had about 15yrs fresh water experience prior to that which included breeding and plants. So I have experience, but much of my info is dated.
Living in a small condo so I decided to go with a nano system to get my feet wet again so to speak until I get someplace where I can go bigger.
Decided on the Fluval Flex 9 with plants. Used sand substrate seeded with flourish plant tabs and flourish excel fertilizer (told this could be harsh on Vals) and Prime conditioner. Added a Marineland 50w heater and working to get temp up to stable 79-80.
Started with new drift wood and variety of plants: corkscrew val, sword, mint Charlie, Red Ludwiga and java ferns.
Sole fish is a Betta for the cycle
I have R.O. water and used 50/50 R.O. and tap for intial set up. Been doing daily 20% water change with just R.O. After 72hrs water is clear, but does have a tannin tint due to wood.
Betta is healthy and eating.
Need to acquire a water test kit, but LFS
will test for free which I will do this weekend.
Have not decided if Betta will be a permanent resident or be moved after full cycle in a month or so. Kinda depends if want other residents and they are compatible.
Do plan to get a few more plants and would like to get something for more ground cover. May add DiY CO2
depending how initial plants do. LEDs are new to me and not sure if I need more although set up at LFS
seems to be doing well.
As for fish stocking if I remove the betta I would like to conside some dwarf cichlids like a pair of blue rams or apisograma. Realize tank may be a bit small, but have seen it done before in a nano with a mature system.
Otherwise considering a small school of tetras (5) and maybe a cory. I like a S. American theme although someone pointed out pea puffers which could be fun. Know nothing about them at this point. For tetras I considering rummy nose, lemon, or cardinals.
Open to stocking ideas for fish and plants as well as pointers on new methods of fish husbandry that may be newer.
I did move the heater into the pump compartment and plan to add more bio media to the empty compartment where the water flows into. Kinda drawing from my experience with marine tanks relying solely on bio filtration. Cureently running the carbon pouch that came with the set up, but just heard that carbon is not as popular as it used to be and some consider it optional these days.
Open to thoughts and critique.