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toddg 02-03-2010 09:00 PM

Todd's first planted tank - 5g
Hi all!

New member and new to planted tanks.

I've started a 5g tank at work using an Aqueon minibow tank. Not as nice as the Eclipse, but it was one I could get a bulb to fit (more questions on that below).

From reading the forum I ordered the following plants

Crypt Wendtii, Green (Cryptocoryne wendtii) Pot
Crypt Wendtii, Red (Cryptocoryne wendtii) Pot
Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus)
Nana (Anubias barteri v. ‘Nana’)
Sag, Dwarf Subulata

Already realized that I should have ordered unpotted plants for everything.

Tank Specifics:

5g Minibow with stock filter
Sustrate: Activ-Flora
Lighting: 10w Coralife 50/50 mini compact florescent

I have taken potting off the plants and most of the material and started placing them into the gravel.

Questions based on more reading:

1) Can I add a sand layer over the gravel substrate? Seems that sand is more common for planted tanks and might make it easier for the plants on the substrate.

2) For lighting output, is the wattage on a CF bulb what the tank recieves, or the incandescent equivelant? I also ordered a 20watt bulb, not sure if it is going to fit into the hood yet.

3) I thought the java fern was going to be way smaller than what arrived. It's already taller than the tank so I trimmed it off to fit. Might have to try keeping it going in some state until I get a larger tank setup.

4) I've put around 3" of substrate based on recommendations. How deep should plants be placed? The nana is going on driftwoood, the rest will be sunk into the substrate.

Lots and lots more questions to follow along with some pics.

Thanks in advance for any help, this looks like a great forum and I'm eager to learn!


i love planted tanks 02-03-2010 09:56 PM

welcome to the forums....i live in vegas to

Nue 02-03-2010 11:48 PM

Very Nice! Just a heads up my Crypt Wentii Green out grew my 5 gallon.

toddg 02-05-2010 12:48 AM

A few test pictures during test initial layout tests. Gotta bring in a better camera, the Iphone just doesn't work too great. The curved front of the mini-bow tank doesn't help either.

The driftwood is really shadowed by the foreground plants, but it's the only way I can fit it into the tank (angled). Might change out the front plantings to a shorter ground cover.

toddg 02-08-2010 06:37 PM

Found a new bulb today at the local Von's grocery store of all places!

Morainy 02-08-2010 06:37 PM

Hey, Todd. I am really inspired by your tank. I have planted a 5 gallon corner Eclipse for my betta, but I basically just stuck in the plants that I had on hand, without much thought for artistic arrangement. Plants and betta are happy, but I'm trying to learn more about how to plant small aquariums more beautifully. Thank you for posting your photo.

I have 6 tanks right now, all small (5 to 30 gallons).

This is my first post.

toddg 02-08-2010 06:38 PM

Added a DIY Co2 generator to the tank this morning after reading about the over the weekend.

toddg 02-08-2010 06:44 PM

The sag. subulata I have in the foreground are getting really brown and clear. This seems similar to what I've read about crypt melting. Being new to planted tanks I'm not sure if this is normal for these during an initial tank setup /planting. I really want to move everything around in the tank based on rethinking the plant layout based on plant sizes. Going to do the big weekly water change today and try cleaning up what's there a bit and will decide then what I'm going to do next.

Tank after one week:


toddg 02-10-2010 06:46 PM

Found the first snail in the tank today. Only the size of a pinhead, no idea what type it is. Only noticed it because it was climbing up the tank front. This was the best I could get the camera to focus on it:

toddg 02-10-2010 10:02 PM

Several more of these snails are crawling around the tank. They are quick little buggers for their size. Reading about them and it seems to be a mixed opinion of leaving them in or trying to get rid of 'em.

Damian 02-10-2010 11:16 PM


Originally Posted by toddg (Post 998289)
Several more of these snails are crawling around the tank. They are quick little buggers for their size. Reading about them and it seems to be a mixed opinion of leaving them in or trying to get rid of 'em.

It really depends on the hobbyist I suppose. I personally dont mind them as long as its a suitable number. But if they get out of control then theres a problem. Mostl likely they are pond snails. Hitchhikers that came in with your plants. Depending on the amount you have in there for a 5gallon tank it may prove to be too much. But then again most people assume theyll devour your plants but I have yet to experience this(knock on wood)

TLE041 02-11-2010 01:26 AM

These snails aren't harmful to plants IME, but they do have a tendency to get out of control population-wise. A small tankful of these things is pretty unsightly. Once that happens, it could be very hard to eliminate. In my own tank, I just pick them out whenever I see them.

toddg 02-26-2010 11:12 PM

Tank photo update 02/26/2010:

Moved things around a bit and have a few extra pots waiting for transplant into a larger tank at home when it's ready.

Still only the plants and few snails in the tank. Going to decide on the first fish next week.

arok3000 02-27-2010 01:21 AM

That new photo looks 300% better.
That's a nice little scape you have going on there now!

As far as the snails, I've found they're really only abundant when I overfeed or if I have an algae problem. Either way, it's when I'm doing something wrong that their numbers get out of control.

Keep it up!

shoteh 03-02-2010 01:45 AM

Yes I like the newer layout. Dwarf sags are nice but in such a small tank as your they are mid level plants. What kind of filter are you using btw? I was curious because when I had an eclipse 5, surface scum was always a problem for me. I'm assuming the Aqueon uses a different filter system though.

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