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Tiny Natural Planted Tank

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I have a few 1.5 fit tanks so I thought I'd start a small natural planted tank and see how well it could balance itself.

I put in potting mix, layer of shells, layer of gravel, a row of val across the back because that side was facing a window, a crypt and something leafy at the front. I cut down the tube on a small sponge filter to fit in one corner, then I filled the tank with waste water from a tank syphon. In the waste water were black worms, baby snails and duckweed.

I left it for a few days to observe it and noticed that in its position at the top of the attic, the heat fluctuated wildy between the 25 the tiny heater was set at and 36... so I didn't add a fish.

BUT that didn't stop everything ELSE from taking over the tank.

I have a thousand worms, standing up in rows along the bottom, heads waving, a tonne of snails, a variety of odd sluglike things and some little round things that shoot about having a good time (anyone know what they are?).

Despite being filled with such disgusting water, the tank has never needed cleaning, never had any algae, never needed a water change, the plants are growing great, the duckweed has huge roots dangling down.

If I added a betta it could eat for a week in there!

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Daphnia may have come in with substrate or plants or from the water in your other tank - they often stay down near the substrate when the water's moving so you might miss them in a regular community tank.

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So THAT'S daphnia!

Where did they all come from?

And don't say a mummy daphnia and a daddy daphnia...

If I have trouble taking photos of fish, how am I going to focus on waving worms and zooming daphnia?

If your using a film camera, I have no idea. If your using a digital camera, you'll need something with a macro, or supermacro mode. Turn on macro (or super macro if your camera has it). It will be hard to focus on something that closeup that is moving. So what I do is, find something else larger and hold your camera away from it at the same distance you want to take the daphnia photo at. Focus at that distance on the large object (press the shutter button half way down til your camera focuses on what you want it to) then once in focus, continue to hold your finger on the shutter button half way, move the camera to where the daphnia is and get it in the field of view on your LCD. Make sure it's still in focus (if not, then it might just be a matter of moving the camera closer or further away. Then take the photo! Sounds complicated when you put it in words, but hopefully you get what I mean.

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