In the video above (my most popular video to date), I explain the basics of how I keep an aquascape low maintenance. I break down my technique into four sections; the plants I choose; how I provide CO2 to the scape; the aquarium I chose to use; and the livestock I keep.
Rather than rehashing everything I explain in the video above, I want to use this post to answer some of the common questions I've gotten on this video.
First, let's talk about filtration. Contrary to popular belief, I am using a filter. In the video, you can see a filter bar in the top lefthand side of the aquarium. It's the stock corner filter provided in the Dennerle 10 gallon tank (You can find the tank sold under two brands here and here). The filter is relatively low flow, but I like it's small profile and easy of use.
I was able to hide the filter behind my rockwork by building a 3 inch-square cut-out in the scape's lefthand corner. It's well-camouflaged by moss and plantgrowth but it provided plenty of room for me to run the filter and easily remove it for cleaning. In addition, I left about an inch of space between the rocks and the back glass of the aquarium. This is critical for the filter to work effectively—without an open passageway to the filter intake, the filter would be useless.
I've gotten a lot of questions about fertilization in this tank and the simple answer is that I don't do much. I don't dose the water column at all. Without CO2 and with low to moderate lighting, dosing the water column could easily lead to an algae outbreak.
Instead, every three months I replenish the substrate with root tabs. Honestly, I'm not sure it's strictly needed, but it's what I've chosen to do. The plants in this scape grow so slowly that the substrate is probably still providing enough nutrients for plant growth, even a year into the scape's lifecycle. As a good reference point for plant growth, it took a full six months for the carpet of hair grass to grown in.
I think a major contributing factor to the lack of algae in this tank is the abundance of moss in this scape. It is by far the fastest growing plant in the scape and I think it consumes all available nutrients in the water column long before algae can gain a foothold.
For some reason, I've also gotten many comments about water changes in this scape. I mention doing regular water changes, but I don't go into detail in the video. Let me take this opportunity to set the record straight.
I change 50% of the water in this scape every month. Every week I top off evaporation in my tanks. Because I don't overfeed my fish, nor do I heavily fertilize my tanks, I find this to be enough water turnover to keep nitrates and nitrites quite low.
If you have other questions, feel free to leave them in the video comments section and I may revisit this article!