Newbie with a Spec V, some questions! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie with a Spec V, some questions!

So I got a Spec V last week, it was sort of an impulse purchase, and I guess I impulsed well because it seems well regarded around here. I want to do a plant tank, so I bought some plants (no idea what they are, the clerk at Petco didn't know either) and set it up. Two of the plants are doing very well, and I had to trim them back today, as they were growing out of the water already. The other two seem kind of meh. So I've got some pictures here, and some questions:

What are the two plants that are doing so well?
Is there a particular type of fertilizer that I should use? If I use liquid ferts should I remove the carbon from the filter?
What other plants would you recommend for the tank? (I have no current interest in upgrading the light)
Is there some sort of magic to getting the plants to stay in the gravel? I swear I must have spent 2 hours trying to get everything to stay put, and they still aren't right.


This one is doing well!


This one also! (the green one anyway)


The rest of the tank (the interesting bits anyway)

I am soooo open to ideas and suggestions! Thanks for the help!

-Alex
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:18 PM
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substrate, substrate substrate substrate. Your substrate isn't really able to grow plants, or gravel that is isn't. I would recommend you switching that out with something more along the Plant growing line. Also I would do some what I call, google research, on aquarium plants and how to grow them. things your missing could be
Macro/micro fertilizers.
Lighting may be inefficient for some of these plants you have
and again the substrate. The red plant that's tall is ludwigia repens it seems, the other green one is moneywort I think. or bacopa? I suggest you trim the ludwigia down a lot since its to large right now for your aquarium (coming out of the water and the bent stems you don't want)
This is my Fluval V, the red plant is ludwigia repens "rubin" and the small green plant in the corner is moneywort supposedly.

This pic isn't updated, a lot of these plants have grown out more, and I trimmed the roots that where showing above substrate. I am personally using a sand substrate using the EI dosing method

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I will probably have to wait a couple weeks to switch out the substrate. I may keep about 10% of it as the current gravel, since my girlfriend picked it out, and she bought the tank, so I try and keep her happy! I trimmed the other plants down a bit. Thanks for IDing the plants, I thought the one might be moneywort, but the other I had no clue, and I was having a heck of a time figuring out online what it is.

BTW, I really like your tank, are you using stock lighting or something different?

Thanks again!

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 11:03 PM
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with that heater, you can put it in the compartment where the pump is located, makes it so its un-noticeable

For my lighting I am using a Fluval Sky & thanks for the kind compliment

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 02:44 PM
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Is there some sort of magic to getting the plants to stay in the gravel? I swear I must have spent 2 hours trying to get everything to stay put, and they still aren't right.
LOL your tank reminds me of my neighbor's. I gave her a cycled spec V for xmas and she eventually put in plants that were way too tall for the tank, ludwigia that was very long already, and some big swords. She also couldn't get anything to stay in the gravel. I think she got gravel cuz I have gravel.

The magic to getting things to stay anchored... substrate depth, proper tools, sufficient roots.
I can't say I'm setting a good example since I only have 1" of gravel, but here you can see my foreground plants(staurogyne repens) planted in 1" of petco gravel. And I think after 2 or 3 weeks of growth.


For my neighbor's tank I had to slope her gravel a lot to get sufficient depth in the back to get the ludwigia to stay put, and trimmed the ludwigia. I'd say aim for 2" of substrate at least, I managed to get maybe 1.5" leaving the foreground gravel really thin on her tank so prolly can't add any rooted foreground. I got her some tools, ie the long tweezers and long scissor. And pick your fights, find out about plants before you put them in, especially how tall cuz the spec isn't an especially tall tank after you add enough substrate.

Fluval Spec V
20g tall

Last edited by FishRFriendz; 03-09-2017 at 03:06 PM. Reason: Also
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 03:35 PM
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I'd like to echo what Bettabettas has said with a few caveats. One of them is grain size..

For small tanks it's really a good thing to use the smallest grain size available, and it doesn't necessarily need to be plant specific gravel. Some plant specific gravels increase the chance you'll get an early bloom of algae, because they add nitrogen ferts. But I'd also choose a darker shade of gravel, as it's often times has been the additional problem with low tech nanos, is that the reflectivity and (or) the light colored gravel will increase algae problems in an otherwise OK light level set up for low tech tanks. Lighter gravel bounces the light from above, back up towards the plants

This is not to say you can't continue your tank the way it is, you might need to adjust your light period to about 6 hours or shorter.

There are some stem plants that would work better in a small tank, like Mayaca Fluviatilis, and Rotala Rotundifolia.








You might see if your LFS can get these, or may have to order online.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 03:57 PM
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yea, ill have 2 say that sand works best in nano tanks from my experience. that or blasting sand.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 04:44 PM
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Some plant specific gravels increase the chance you'll get an early bloom of algae, because they add nitrogen ferts.
Are you talking about Eco-complete(which comes soaking in ferts) or the buffering substrates (amazonia, fluval plant & shrimp stratum, etc) that are popular with caridina shrimp?

His gravel looks just a bit larger than mine.

I manage to get by with just gravel in my spec. I added just bit of osmocote and it was all good, tho the s. repens and a small patch of micro sword are the only rooting plants in the gravel.

I considered completely overhauling my neighbor's spec v with flora max capped with her gravel while I was looking after her tank, but I was too lazy. Flora max is kinda hard to plant in too, it's so crunchy.

Sand/blasting sand looks nice, but what are you putting that over BettaBettas?

Fluval Spec V
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 04:56 PM
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Is there a particular type of fertilizer that I should use? If I use liquid ferts should I remove the carbon from the filter?
What other plants would you recommend for the tank? (I have no current interest in upgrading the light)
Ferts - I'm assuming you mean like root tabs as you have distinguished the liquid ferts separately. Osmocote and root tabs are macro fertilizers that time release (possible some root tabs have incorporated micros but I haven't heard any specifically promoting that they do). Osmocote is the cheaper option.

Liquid ferts - Aquarium Coop Easy Green, NilocG Thrive, there's a lot more. I'd say go with NilocG Thrive +, the + is added iron. I was too quick to pull the trigger on Easy Green and ended up having to get iron supplement separately. Even the regular Thrive has more iron than Easy Green.

And carbon does not affect the liquid ferts, but most ppl say carbon is pointless in a well planted tank anyways.

I find liquid ferts are great for a quick fix, and a regular part of maintenance.

Fluval Spec V
20g tall
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 05:41 PM
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Are you talking about Eco-complete(which comes soaking in ferts) or the buffering substrates (amazonia, fluval plant & shrimp stratum, etc) that are popular with caridina shrimp?

His gravel looks just a bit larger than mine.

I manage to get by with just gravel in my spec. I added just bit of osmocote and it was all good, tho the s. repens and a small patch of micro sword are the only rooting plants in the gravel.

I considered completely overhauling my neighbor's spec v with flora max capped with her gravel while I was looking after her tank, but I was too lazy. Flora max is kinda hard to plant in too, it's so crunchy.

Sand/blasting sand looks nice, but what are you putting that over BettaBettas?
I believe there's more than a few types, I don't recall all of their names. ADA makes a substrate I was thinking of in particular.

Particle size since we're on mnemonics,

I have liked and used a 'gravel' that's a mix of washed river sand and turkey grit, Since the stuff I source is washed down from the PacNorwest Cascade Mountains, it's mostly igneous rock gravel from old lava fields and flows. It's about 1mm to 5mm in size, with more fine sizes predominating. It's also darn pretty with lots of browns, reds, Ocher/black and mottled greys.

The problem with Alex's gravel is that it's got really large voids between the pieces, which will hide and trap uneaten food, fish poop, dead plant material, and will be harder to clean effectively. There also the chance, especially if this tank is used for shrimp, that any planarians that make it in, will be in hog heaven because of the trapped food. Of course you can always treat for them.

Finer grained gravel tends to collect the mulm and debris on it's surface where it can be more effectively vacuumed, so there is less chance of fouling the gravel, plus smaller rooted plants readily take to growing in this kind of 'soil'. It's more work to find but less expensive to purchase and looks more natural.

IMOPO..

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
85 gallon stock tank, "pond"
5g low-tech Java Fern jungle.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 06:01 PM
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The problem with Alex's gravel is that it's got really large voids between the pieces, which will hide and trap uneaten food, fish poop, dead plant material, and will be harder to clean effectively. There also the chance, especially if this tank is used for shrimp, that any planarians that make it in, will be in hog heaven because of the trapped food. Of course you can always treat for them.
Yeah that's what i noticed about his gravel being bigger than mine. If he adds some sand to it the sand should fill it in the huge gaps.

I added MTS to my tank to deal with some stuff in the gravel.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 06:12 PM
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Yeah that's what i noticed about his gravel being bigger than mine. If he adds some sand to it the sand should fill it in the huge gaps.

I added MTS to my tank to deal with some stuff in the gravel.
Yeah I've been wanting some MTS's for a while, but here in the unfashionable outer spiral arm of Podunkville, we don't have a decent LFS with MTS available. I'm tempted to use the Red Ramshorns that have invaded a local sand lake, although I really shouldn't because wild gastropods are vectors for all sorts of nasties you don't want in with your fish and plants.

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
85 gallon stock tank, "pond"
5g low-tech Java Fern jungle.
2.5g +1.2g satellite stream-clay crypt and Fern tank.
20 GallonH Streamsoil dirt tank
Pendant-hooded, LED A19 bulb lighting.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 06:32 PM
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Yeah I've been wanting some MTS's for a while, but here in the unfashionable outer spiral arm of Podunkville, we don't have a decent LFS with MTS available. I'm tempted to use the Red Ramshorns that have invaded a local sand lake, although I really shouldn't because wild gastropods are vectors for all sorts of nasties you don't want in with your fish and plants.
Hey I can just toss some babies in a 1st class envelope for ya (free!), just pm me your address. If they don't make it then I guess you can pay for shipping and I'll send a second attempt with the shipping of your choosing.

The variety I got from my LFS are not pretty, but they're functional to me. Also I got em free... just asked for some at my LFS and he grabbed like 8 or so, now I have so many... fortunately they tend to stay low. Now bladder snails... they get on the glass, so annoying.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-09-2017, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, lots of info being given here, thanks so much for the help. I think it seems unanimous that the first plan of action is new substrate, which I can manage no problem. I'll have a look at the options and pick out something soon. The gravel depth is larger than it looks, varying from 1-2 inches throughout the tank. Agree that the gravel is too large, I thought that when I put it in, but decided to go ahead with it anyway. When I replace the substrates I will trim the plants back again. My girlfriend is a chemist, so I will be spending most of my spring break next week helping her out in the lab, so I am considering a DIY liquid fertilizer. She's got access to basically everything I may want to use, and if for whatever reason it doesn't work out, there's not much livestock in the tank anyway aside from a couple snails that hitched along.

Anywho, thanks again for all the tips, I will keep you guys posted as I make changes!
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 12:19 PM
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sounds good alex! I also suggest that when you add a proper substrate, have it about 1 1/2"or 2" in total depth flat. When your trim your plants and they begin to regrow, and the new growth is over 2" long or tall cut those off and ditch the actual stem it originally came from. It will be of no use since it was the unhealthy stem.

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