The Planted Tank Forum

The Planted Tank Forum (
-   Low Tech Forum (
-   -   Firefiend's Dirty 5.5 Gallon (

firefiend 08-09-2011 10:34 PM

Firefiend's Dirty 5.5 Gallon
Since I'm rescaping my 10 gallon NPT I'm taking the opportunity to establish my 5 gallon; my 2.5 gallon and another nano (which I haven't purchased yet) for my office desk. They will all be soil based substrates and I am eagerly awaiting my invitation to join the Fraternity of Dirt! And if my nano's don't get me inducted I purchases a 55 at the last $1 per gallon sale and am planning that for next summer!

So, on the tank specs.

5.5 Gallon tank
23w 6500K CF bulb set to a height that produces on the high end of the low-light range (low/med).
Soil based substrate.
I have a Tom's mini-internal already but I might opt for a HOB instead (read "almost definitely will").
No ferts; Glut as needed.

What should I cap with? I have lots of extra 2mm pea gravel from my 10 gallon but I'd really like to use sand. What's everyone experience with sand on a nano?

My Theme

The tank will located in a place where three sides of the tank will be visible so I wanted the outsides of the tank to be mostly open. I have the two rocks (not perfect renditions), one is tall and almost goes above water (left stone); the stone that is more middle is more elongated and shorter (and will probably get a java fern on it.)

The stones are surround by three small groupings B. Monnieri which will be allowed to grow emergent. I'm considered mixing in another thin stemmed emergent plant as well. This side of the tank will be openly visible and carpeted with some S. Subulata.

Moving right I transition to some bushier plants with the Lutea and Tropica. Their height will be softened by the emergent Bacopa and Sagittaria.

The right side of the tank which will be the "closed" side, will be carpeted with pygmy chain swords; this will give a contrast to the slightly taller subulata and will also give a bit more depth with the floating/emersed Hydrocotlye above.

I'm debating putting a couple small groups of E. Najas in the corners to fill in the space a bit and create a bit of a bushier zone to keep this side of the tank from being to open. Another possibility would be to plant some C. Willisii along the right side to create the same effect. The advantages of the Najas is that is grows fast but this could also be a disadvantage. The Cyrpt, of course grows more slowly. So If my current plant selection is fast growing enough to ward of algae and establish the tank then maybe I'll just go with the Crypt.

My Layout

The Fauna

I'm not really sure what I want to go with and am very open to suggests here. After reading about Dwarf Puffers I'd really like to get one but I don't think this layout is especially built for them so perhaps my next 5 gallon will be more jungle-like. Betta's are always great and I think this would be a great fit for one but I already have a betta so some variety might be in order. My 10 Gallon is going to have either H. Rasboras or Cherry Barbs. So if I go with barbs in the 10 I can go with Rasboras here.

Any suggestions on shrimp or fiddler crabs (especially if I go with a sand substrate cap)?

Geniusdudekiran 08-10-2011 01:30 AM

Firstly, what's npt, and secondly, I think that some Endlers or neons would look nice in there.

kamikazi 08-10-2011 04:00 AM

NPT, natural planted tank....generally means dirt is the base substrate and plants do most of the filtering.

wkndracer 08-10-2011 02:05 PM

NPT - natural planted tank
Broad term for soil based aquariums.

Many are trying to tie the use of this term to the works of Dianna Walstad author of Ecology of the Planted Aquarium.
The author herself doesn't claim this if any bother to actually read her book.

Others have tied it to only low light or natural light, no CO2 systems with an emphasis on low-tech, natural aquariums and aquatic plants.
(lack of techy stuff)

I like this web posted description that's from a site dedicated to the topic:

The term "Natural Aquarium" can be used to describe different types of planted aquariums, including any planted aquarium. To me a natural aquarium is a low tech planted tank, generally set up to resemble natural types of settings. These tanks are usually a bit less formal than some of the other planted tank styles, and can often include invertebrates as well as fish and plants. I think of a natural aquarium as compared to other aquariums as a country garden is to a more formal one.

To me NPT is the use of dirt as the primary media under a containing cap material.

Google it and you spend the rest of the day reading the results.

wkndracer 08-10-2011 03:04 PM

Bwahahaha Welcome! and pick a number!

firefiend 08-11-2011 09:44 PM

Hmmmm, no one has any experience with sand caps for soil?

Pool supply stores carry 50# bags for around 12 - 15$ (I called three places in Vancouver). Lowes has several varieties of sand for 2-4$ for a 50# bag.

I would prefer the cheaper priced sand, obviosuly. But if its going to be more of a pain than the filter sand I should probably go with the filter sand, yes?

firefiend 08-14-2011 05:44 PM

Well, I bought the silica sand. Now just need to wait for the finance gods to allow the ordering of plants.

I also got my photoshop running and managed to get a more accurate layout of the tank with the rocks I'm going to use.

So this is more or less what I'm going for.

kamikazi 08-14-2011 06:40 PM

sand is a common cap for soil, so their alot of people wit experience with it. In my walstad bowls I used pool filter sand. Some forms of sand compact more than other and some have sharp edges that arent good for cories and other bottom feeders.

firefiend 09-19-2011 01:35 AM

Planted on 8.31.11
Well I actually planted this tank on 8.31. These are the pics from right after planting. The tank sits on the bar that separates my kitchen from the dining area. I get to view the tank of both long sides and I absolutely love this tank because of it.

This is the "left" side; it faces the dining area.

The photo below shows the "right" side; the side you can see from the kitchen.

There is only a single white cloud in there right now. He's eventually going to be moved to my office aquarium when I buy a few more buddies for him.

firefiend 09-19-2011 01:39 AM

18 Day Update!
This tank is doing really well. The Crypts are taking off, the E. Tenellus is sending out runners and S. Subulata is also spreading. The R. Roundiflora is growing nicely which is quite the opposite of the stems I put in my 10 gallon. The L. Arcuata is doing well also.

Sorry for the poor quality pic. I'll do better next time.

RobertWW 09-19-2011 05:18 PM

Seems like a good balance between lots of plants (more NPT) and a nice aquascape (more for asthetics) with your rocks in there.

What fish do you have in there now? Still the lone white cloud?

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:34 AM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2015 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.