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hyunbaw 01-27-2013 04:34 AM

Fluval Chi 5g (modified) Planted
3 Attachment(s)
I decided to contribute my first meaningful thread with a log of my new Fluval Chi 5g that I picked up for cheap.

Tank: Fluval Chi 5g (10x10x12h)
Filter: Removed the filter/light that came with the kit, and decided to use a Hagen Elite Mini underwater filter at its lowest flow setting.
Lighting:: BeamWorks 11" LED Clip-on (9x1W LED's) 6500K from that auction site. You have to saw off 1" of the "rails" of the epoxied plastic part stuck to the back of the tank where the original filter/light used to attach. On for 10hrs/day.
Substrate: CaribSea Floramax (midnight/black), about half the bag (6lbs). I know I went cheap ($7!). I guess we'll find out if it works. 1.5" front, sloped to 3" in back-right corner.
Conditions: No heater, 68-70F, Tap water with conditioner. (haven't tested the water yet.) Has been cycled with guppy (removed) and driftwood/plants from established tank.
Fertilization: None yet. I'll need help for this, please!!
CO2: Flourish Excel as per recommended dosage so far. If I do venture into CO2, I hope to get that "best" Electronic regulator from that other site, and maybe just feed the gas into the Hagen Elite Mini to diffuse. It can do as low as 1 bubble every 10sec and no dumping, no solenoid needed, etc. It seems great! (but expensive)
Flora: Microswords, Crypt Parva, Java moss, 1xMalaysian Driftwood
Temporary - Crypt (larger, don't know species, but grows well in ambient light in my other tank)
To get - Dwarf Hairgrass, Dwarf Sag, different moss?
Fauna: 1 Guppy Fry

Plans: Scape - Will remove most of the microswords in the front and just leave small patches on both sides of the driftwood. Put dwarf hairgrass in entire front, narrowing in width as you move toward the back, into a path that leads to little tunnel (made by driftwood). May line/define the path by using regular hairgrass or maybe the crypt parva? Dwarf sag in rear, maybe some stem plants. Suggestions welcome!
Fauna - Pygmy/sparkling gourami, pygmy cories, an otto, shrimp. Suggestions please, especially on shrimp.

Pictures: 1. Setting up (substrate not sloped yet) 2. Setting up zoomed out 3. Morning after sloping and some planting (light off) I'll try to take better ones with my dslr soon.

Jsquared 01-27-2013 04:47 AM

that is pretty cool. The chi actually looks pretty cool without that lightfilter crap and the weird inner garden square thing. looking forward to seeing it all grow in.

hyunbaw 01-28-2013 11:37 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Funny how we always start out with a plan, but it takes so much discipline not to veer.
I told myself I wanted to do a dry start, use osmocote, plant everything before submerging, add fauna later, etc.
But then you see that cute fish, become lazy or get that new idea..

Anyways, some pics with the light on, and some pics after some additions.

1. With light on
2. Corner shot
3. Close up
4. - I split and planted the Crypt Parva as a semicircular border on both sides of the driftwood (tough to see/distinguish from the microswords).
- I added some java fern and rotala behind the driftwood. I'm still iffy about them, esp. since they werent in the best condition, but they were cheap.
- Added Dwarf Sag, one in the back-left corner and one on the right, next to the driftwood.
- Added an Otto, a Pygmy/sparkling gourami, and a Pygmy Honey/sunset? gourami?? Anybody even heard of this color variation in a Pygmy size? We'll see if its just a baby dwarf or a true pygmy.

5. Repotted some of the left over microsword and a mystery plant to grow out and placed in center.

Hopefully things will fill in nicely. Can't wait to rip out the microswords in the front, and for the back to get healthy and green.

Still dosing Excel (0.5mL) daily, Awaiting dry ferts (Mono Potassium Phosphate [KH2PO4] and Potassium Nitrate [KNO3]). I have some old Flourish comprehensive for micros. I hope that's the only ferts I'll need , if any.

GMYukonon24s 01-29-2013 02:06 PM

Nice start!

le0p 01-29-2013 03:48 PM

Cool, I like the start of the carpet, looks good!

hyunbaw 01-29-2013 04:03 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Thanks GMYukonon24s & Le0p!

Some shots with the dslr this morning.

1. Otto
2. Dwarf Sag on left, Crypt parva in a line down the center, Microswords throughout.
3. The "Pygmy" Honey Gourami (Labeled this way at store, and asked an employee that said its true to its name, but I have my doubts. I suspect it's a baby dwarf honey.)
4. A small female Pygmy/Sparkling gourami poking around in the potted plant.
5. Guppy Fry

Does this belong in the tank journal forum instead? If so, please move it accordingly.

GMYukonon24s 01-30-2013 12:45 AM

Nice shots!

tex627 01-30-2013 04:51 AM

Great photos! I recommend adding more/bigger driftwood since Microswords are a quite tall foreground plant and it will engulf your current hardscape.

hyunbaw 01-30-2013 01:16 PM

Thanks all! Yes, I plan to remove the vast majority of the microswords in the foreground to make space for dwarf hairgrass. I'd keep some microswords on both sides of the driftwood. I can get more small pieces of driftwood, but i wouldnt know where to put them. Pile them up? Spread them out?

I also noticed Im starting to get a film/ stagnancy of the water surface. The fish (otto, gourami x2, guppy fry) are not distressed at all, probably bc they are able to deal with low O2 (labyrinth), but I'll have to keep an eye on it.

tex627 01-31-2013 05:09 AM

If you place a paper towel on top of the film, and squeeze it out somewhere else then the film will go away after doing so a couple of times.

hyunbaw 01-31-2013 10:13 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Thank you for the tip! It seems like all the water is a bit more viscous, which may be the tank stabilizing? I'm debating if I want to increase the flow of the filter. The fish and plants seem very happy though. I guess I lucked out by getting fish that prefer still water.

Im glad to report new growth which is encouraging. Surprisingly the java moss isnt growing much if at all. Perhaps outcompeted by the other faster-growing plants?

I also noted that some of the crypt parva is growing laterally, which i remember reading is due to higher lighting. So i guess the BeamsWork light is a good solution to the Fluval Chi's poor lighting for growing plants. At $30 shipped, and the internal filter for <$10, they are not a bad combo for upgrading.

I gave one small (1-32tsp) dose of KNO3 and KH2PO4 yesterday along with a dose of Flourish comprehensive, along with the usual Excel.
I plan on dosing the ferts once a week, the Excel either daily or every other day, and the flourish comp only once in a blue moon, b/c
1. I dont think Ill be changing water too often,
2. Non-CO2, medium lighting, and easy plants,
And 3. I dont want to hurt the fauna.

1. New growth in Microswords
2. New growth in Dwarf Sag & Microswords
3. Crypt Parva growing laterally
4. FTS

BS87 02-01-2013 01:07 AM

Does the Chi come with the glass lid or did you re-purpose some glass for that cause?

hyunbaw 02-01-2013 01:58 AM

Ah, the top.

It's a glass cover of a picture/diploma frame (dollar store) 9x11 (glass is 9.25x11").

I hate evaporation, so I noted the dimensions of the tank and always kept my eyes open for a suitable top.
I even bought those plastic clips to hold a glass cover in hopes that I'd get a low-iron pane custom cut for me. But frugality won me over and I just use this (1/10 to 1/20 the cost).

I warn against using acrylic, b/c it seems to bend with minimal heat/humidity.

Its thin so not much loss of light, but im sure some light is reflected.

Hope that helps.

hyunbaw 02-02-2013 10:41 PM

1. So I noticed the plants were getting slightly yellow, so I diluted some of my ferts (kno3 & kh2po4) and I dosed another 1/32tsp equivalent. Perhaps I should dose more often than just once weekly.

2. The algae on my potted plant wool has been pearling. I hope that's a good sign??

3. What is the consensus on pond snails? I saw one or two and am debating removing them.

4. Which shrimp would be best for this setup? I guess I should check my pH. I'm leaning toward CRS. Any thoughts? I wish there was a simple cheat sheet with pics, pros/cons, compatibility, pH/environment, etc. Pls give some advice or point me in the right direction.

5. Any info on this little "pygmy"? honey gourami? Anyone heard of one?

hyunbaw 02-04-2013 05:35 PM

5 Attachment(s)
So I finally checked some water parameters:

pH = 7.5

Nitrates = 20-30ppm

GH = >30

KH = 4

Is my GH a mistake? I stopped at 30 drops bc the color indicator would not change.

I dosed ferts yesterday and today just to try increasing the ferts and seeing how the plants respond.


1. FTS - Not much noticeable change far away
2. Algae pearling
3. Java moss are doing better, probably from the higher nitrates and time to acclimate.
4. Dwarf Sag's new leaf is growing long
5. Sparkling Gourami hiding

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