I kept the temperature in my tank at a comfortable 24°C (both species can handle a fairly broad temperature range) using a Hydor inline heater, and the tank was maintained at a ph of 6.5 – although Blue-eyes will be happy as low as 4.5.
The addition of leaf litter and other botanicals provided texture interest at lower levels and helped keep the tank soft and slightly tannin-stained, as would be typical in your average billabong. Hardness was maintained between 18-215 ppm.
The tank is only 100l, (90x45x30cm) and I used a large external filter, capable of delivering 2500 lph but with the flow turned right down. A weekly 50% water change can be easily carried out on such a small tank.
CO2 injection at two bubbles per second, daily dosing of TNC fertiliser and using aquatic plant soil substrate keeps the plants in good condition. The light unit, on for eight hours a day, uses four 36W T5 bulbs – two standard daylight and two ‘plant’ bulbs, providing a warm glow that picks out reds and oranges well.