5.5 Gallon Dario Dario tank - Planted now! 11-4-12
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:20 PM   #1
theshadybird
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5.5 Gallon Dario Dario tank - Planted now! 11-4-12


This is the current plan/shopping list I have developed in order to set up a 5.5 gallon (16.25" x 8.5" x 10.5") low-tech planted species tank, which, in the end, will hold 2-3 Dario dario for sure. Other fish are on my wish list, such as Hara Jerdoni, but those are not certain. It will be my first fully planted tank!

It will be medium-high light (1.5-2 watts per gallon), temp between 73-78*F (22-25*C), PH approx 7.0, Medium Hard, ferts added but no CO2 as of now.

Anyway, I know it's a long read, but I'd really appreciate it if you guys could check it over and let me know what you think, as I finalize this phase of my plans.


(BOLD indicates the most likely option, if there are options to choose from)
Spoiler


-
Spoiler
Fauna
o Dario Dario
-> 1M:1F ($8 + $9)
->
1M:1M($8 + $9)
-> 1M:2F ($12 + $9)


- Optional Fauna
o Sakura Shrimp/Painted Fire Red (NEOCARIDINA HETEROPODA)
-> Min 6, Price?
o Sparrow Rasbora (BORARAS UROPTHALMOIDES)
-> Min 8-10, $2.50 ea.
o Mini Moth Cat/Asian Stone Cat (HARA JERDONI)
-> Min 3, $3.50 ea.

- Fauna Foods
o White Worms, $5-$15
o
Grindal worms, $5-$15
o
Frozen Brine Shrimp, Frozen Cyclops, Frozen Bloodworms, $5-$20

- Flora options
o Java fern (MICROSORUM PTEROPUS)
o
Dwarf Water lettuce
o Anubias nana (ANUBIAS BARTERI VAR. NANA)

o
Baby tears/Pearl grass (HEMIANTHUS GLOMERATUS)
o Hornwort (CERATOPHYLLYM DEMERSUM)

o
Creeping Jenny (LYSIMACHIA NUMMULARIA)
o Java Moss (TAXIPHYLLUM BARBIERI)
o Four Leaf Clover (MARSILEA QUADRIFOLIA)
o Amazon Frogbit (LIMNOBIUM LAEVIGATUM)


- Hardscape
o Driftwood, ($15, purchased)
-> Just received it today (Oct-4-2012), and it is AWESOME, it is going to look so good in my tank!

- Substrate
o ECO-COMPLETE, 20 lbs., $20

- Fertilization/Plant additives
o SEACHEM FLOURISH EXCEL, 250ML, $7.41
o SEACHEM FLOURISH, 250ML, $8.53
o
SEACHEM FLOURISH TRACE, 250ML, $9.51

- Equipment
o SEACHEM PRIME, 50ML, $5.57
o
MARINA S10 POWER FILTER, $12.81
o
10 WATT MINI FLUORESCENT AQUARIUM BULB, 6500k
o API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT, $19.21

o
API GH AND KH TEST KIT, $8.99

- Maintenance schedule (post cycling)
Sunday
-> Flourish Excel
-> 25% Water Change
Monday
-> Flourish
-> Flourish Excel
-> Flourish Trace
Tuesday
-> Flourish Excel
-> Test Water Parameters
Wednesday
-> Flourish Excel
-> 25% Water Change
Thursday
-> Flourish
-> Flourish Excel
-> Flourish Trace
Friday
-> Flourish Excel
Saturday
-> Flourish Excel
-> Test Water Parameters


-
Current Pricing/Main supply list
o Fish
->1M:2F Dario Dario, $4 ea.
->3 HARA JERDONI, $3.50 ea.
->Shipping, $9
=> $31.50
o Plants
->Extra Java Moss = $5-$10
->Four Leaf Clover = $10-$15
->Anubias Minima = $10-$20
->Anubias Nana = $5-$15
->Amazon Frogbit = $5-$20
=> $35-$80
o Substrate, Ferts, Equipment
->ECO-COMPLETE = $20.99
->FLOURISH = $8.53
->EXCEL = $7.41
->TRACE = $9.51
->PRIME = $5.57
->MARINA S10 = $12.81
->MASTER TEST KIT = $19.21
->HARDNESS TEST KIT = $8.99
=> $93.02
o Live Foods
=> $15-$50
o TOTAL
=> $170-$250
This will be very slowly compiled, as I'm a college student with limited funds ^^. However, I'm pretty darn excited, gotta say.

Will be posting a general plan of action in the next couple of days, to lay out when things will be purchased/set up.


[EDIT] Shortened that mess so it wasn't so daunting!

Last edited by theshadybird; 12-08-2012 at 06:17 AM.. Reason: Shortened that mess
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:25 PM   #2
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Nice - I love D Darios ... theyre native to my country ... Possibly the most entertaining fish Ive every had ...
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:30 PM   #3
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You might be able to find your plants on this forum from members a lot cheaper than what you have listed. What kinda filtration are you gonna be running on this tank?
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:38 PM   #4
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You probably aren't going to be able to keep dwarf shrimp without having them eaten by your Dario Dario. Though, Amano Shrimp would be okay.

To save money on substrate, you may be able to get a bag of pool filter sand for under $5. If you want dark, you could get black sand of some sort. You'll get the same results you get with Eco-Complete, which may be a big large-grained for a small tank like that. Unless you're set on Eco-Complete for some reason, I'd suggest shopping around. Maybe even going so far as buying ADA Aquasoil, which would give you nearly everything you'd need as far as plant nutrition goes for the plants you hope to keep.

For the $25 you're spending on liquid fertilizer, you could buy dry ferts and mix them yourself with distilled water to make your own solution. You could do that for way cheaper and will have enough to last a couple years.

AquaClear 20 may give you more options as far as filter media go. Parts are also cheap and easy to find.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:47 AM   #5
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Thanks for the really wonderful responses!

Quote:
You might be able to find your plants on this forum from members a lot cheaper than what you have listed. What kinda filtration are you gonna be running on this tank?
Thanks for the advice on the plants! I've only really looked at AquaBid to be honest, and tried to leave wiggle room for quantity since I'm still not sure how I'm gonna scape it. I'll definitely take a hunt around here!
However, the driftwood I bought arrived and it is KICKIN'. Perfect for what I had in mind!
As for filtration, I've been really hovering between the AquaClear20 and the Marina S10. The AC20 comes most recommended, but is more expensive, and I worry that it would be too powerful for my tiny little tank. However, it's only $8 more, and has an adjustable flow, so I guess I shouldn't be too worried?

Quote:
To save money on substrate, you may be able to get a bag of pool filter sand for under $5.
On the other hand, I chose Eco-complete because it came most recommended, and since I have less experience with fancy substrate than I do filters, I went with it.
As for sand, from what I read, I've gotten the impression that it is really messy and there's a risk for anaerobic bacteria getting trapped unless you have Malaysian Trumpet Snails or something else that burrows, and when I've imagined trying to take down a sand-filled tank, I see sand going EVERYWHERE. Especially down a drain, or in my yard, or somewhere else equally as permanently gone.
I get gravel, and with the bag of Eco-Complete being 20 lbs. and reviews stating it was plenty for a 10gal, I figure it will be more than enough for my 5gal and any other little projects I might want to start (coughcough, 2.5 unfiltered).
-> Just checked the Substrate Calculator, and yup, the 20lb bag is plenty.

Quote:
...you could buy dry ferts and mix them yourself with distilled water to make your own solution.
That actually sounds kind of exciting, and I looked into it, but I haven't been able to find a "guide to dry ferts for beginners" type thing :/. Any suggestions?
And thanks for the advice on the Shrimp, I've never kept shrimp really, and so I was just taking a shot in the dark there ^^
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #6
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Remember, Eco-Complete is completely inert. It contains nothing for your plants unless you add it.

Pool Filter Sand and typical aquarium sand (not the sugar/fine stuff) is heavy and rarely messy.

My point is that if you want the look of Eco-Complete, there are much cheaper options. Garden/feed stores in Eastern Kentucky often have crushed black lava rock for super-cheap. You can also pick up Turface and similar products at John Deer and Tractor Supply Co stores. Depending upon where you are in EKY (I'm from the mountains, too), you could potentially get those substrates for much cheaper than anyone else in the state.

For fertilizers, use the SEARCH function here on TPT. Check out the Ferts & Water Params sub-forum. There are also several calculators that will help you determine the specific amounts you'll need.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadybird View Post
It will be medium-high light (1.5-2 watts per gallon)
Will they be T8 or T5NO bulbs? For the wpg rule only applies to T8 bulbs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadybird View Post
Flora options
Java fern (MICROSORUM PTEROPUS)
Dwarf Water lettuce
Anubias nana (ANUBIAS BARTERI VAR. NANA)
Baby tears/Pearl grass (HEMIANTHUS GLOMERATUS)
Hornwort (CERATOPHYLLYM DEMERSUM)
Creeping Jenny (LYSIMACHIA NUMMULARIA)
Java Moss (TAXIPHYLLUM BARBIERI)
Four Leaf Clover (MARSILEA QUADRIFOLIA)
Amazon Frogbit (LIMNOBIUM LAEVIGATUM)
All the 1s in bold except for Four Leaf Clover are easy and don't need ferts. With Creeping Jenny and Four Leaf Clover Seachem equilibrium or CSM+B would suffice. A similar plant, which maintains the 4 leaf clover submerged, is Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides. Baby tears doesn't grow to well without injecting co2

Cheaper substrate would be dirt covered with sand. You can black sand at Petco (5lb $4). Substrate calculator.

I used Scott's top soil ($3) and topped with river sand ($3). Got the Scott's top soil at Home Depot. The river sand at a local landscaping co. The Scott's top soil and river sand sifted. Read that Ace Hardware top soil doesn't need sifting.

Last edited by Hilde; 10-10-2012 at 10:32 PM.. Reason: grammar correction
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:51 AM   #8
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Okay, you've convinced me. Took Eco-Complete and set it next to the soil/sand combo, and compared the pros and cons, included your points, and the soil/sand combo won. Pricing the supplies at Lowe's today sealed the deal ^^.
As for sand, how dangerous would using simple tube sand at the hardware store be? Should I test a bit first?

Quote:
Will they be T8 or T5NO bulbs? For the wpg rule only applies to T8 bulbs.
Um, it is a little Compact fluorescent, the base of the bulb reads "2110AQ Self-Ballasted Lamp / 120V 60Hz 10W 180mA 600Lumens (1112)" if that helps? I wish I'd known about the limitations of the wattage rule, but this is why I made this journal :]

IN OTHER NEWS~!
Boiled my driftwood, and I've decided that I'm going to have to attach it to some slate. Got it sitting in my ten gallon right now, hoping that it'll be waterlogged by the time I set everything up, but it definitely sitting at the top of the tank, with maybe 5% above water.

Because of the soil/sand combo, prolly adding Malaysian Trumpet Snails to my list (but only a few).

I have fully decided to include my Banana Plant in the tank, behind where the driftwood will be so the leafy pads emerge from behind it. It has decided to send some pads straight to the top recently, which looks absolutely awesome :]

Also looking for another Background plant to add to the tank, something brushy that the D. Dario will be able to hide in properly. What do you think would be good? Will the Hornwort and Creeping Jenny be enough back there?


Current Plan OVERALL (let me know if anything below is unreasonable)
1. Get Paid
i. Oct. 22
2. Buy
a. Substrate (+MTSnails): $10-$20
b. Plants: $20(ish)
c. Ammonia: $2
d. Test Kit: $20
e. Tweezers: $13
f. Ferts: $15(?)
g.
Total: $80-$100(ish)
3. Set up Tank
i. BY: November 5th
4. Cycle Tank
i. FIN. BY: December 10th (AT THE LATEST)
5. Get KT (Male Betta) into the tank after it is cycled.
6. When it is fully stable, and the plants have filled in, purchase D. Dario.
i. BY: January 24th
7. Sometime after this, purchase Hara Jerdoni
i. BY: February 24th
I'll have some pics of the proposed driftwood and the tank I will be using up around Friday probably. It should help, since the light and several of the plants I'm planning to use are already in the tank, it just isn't what I consider "properly planted."


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Old 10-10-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
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I wouldn't use anything but pool filter sand or blasting grit, honestly. They're both safe and won't alter water parameters. Other types of sand (like play sand for sandboxes) tend to compact and cause problems over time.

Using soil beneath sand in your tank is not necessary for the plants you plan to keep. Especially in such a small tank.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadybird View Post
Light is a Self-Ballasted Lamp.

Ferts: $15(?)
Oh, so you have energy saving light bulb. Have seen 2 of those over a 10 gallon. Thus thinking 1 would be enough. Just get the daylight (6500k) rated bulb.

Just found a combination fert that is cheaper than $15. Heard about it at Atlanta Aquarium Association meeting. A single container is $10 + $6 for shipping. You mix 1.5 tsp. with 1 gallon of water. Then dose 5ml every other week. It last a long time. Thus perhaps could partner with someone.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:21 PM   #11
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Please keep in mind that the amount needed for your tank won't be the amount needed for another tank. Fert dosing is dependent upon plant mass, lighting used, CO2 presence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
Just found a combination fert that is cheaper than $15. Heard about it at Atlanta Aquarium Association meeting. A single container is $10 + $6 for shipping. You mix 1.5 tsp. with 1 gallon of water. Then dose 5ml every other week. It last a long time. Thus perhaps could partner with someone.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:43 AM   #12
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Yay, input! Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond, it is really helping me decide where I want to take this tank!

Quote:
I wouldn't use anything but pool filter sand or blasting grit, honestly. They're both safe and won't alter water parameters. Other types of sand (like play sand for sandboxes) tend to compact and cause problems over time.

Using soil beneath sand in your tank is not necessary for the plants you plan to keep. Especially in such a small tank.
Oooh, okay. I tried to hunt down some blasting sand, specifically Black Diamond Blasting Sand, as well as some pool filter sand, and found that because I am in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, both of these things are really rather hard to find ^^; Both of these options are only cheaper if you can get it sans shipping. Especially the PFS, since pool season is very over, haha. Gonna try some of the local hardware stores though, see if maybe they can order some of the blasting sand for me. Then there is a TINY pool store down the road a ways, and they might have the filter sand, or be able to order it. Hoping they don't close before I get the time to head down there!

I did find some other substrates on my wanderings that intrigued me. The midnight black and coffee brown sands by Substrate Source look like some really nice stuff, and for what I need, would be about $25 including shipping. The sand I found at Lowe's looked nice, and seemed like it would create a really nice river-bed appearance, for a "dirt" cheap price of 3 bucks. Heck, speaking of river-beds, I might also just hop back home and pick up some creek sand. I've used it before in my tanks (when I knew MUCH less) and it worked out pretty well then (i.e. didn't kill goldfish/the bullhead cats I caught in said creek). Might up the PH/hardness a teensy bit, due to fossils and such, but the Hara Jerdoni would appreciate that, I think.
Of course, both of the last two options are my "BWAHAHA" choices and I would test both in water to see what it does, as well as test the water in my creek to see what the PH and hardness there is sitting at. Should I choose either, a vigorous cleaning would definitely be in order, but for $3 it'd be worth it, and trekking my creek is always awesome, especially if I go with an eye out for tank additions ;)

:head+desk: Who knew SUBSTRATE of all things would be my biggest headache? Ah, fish keeping.

Quote:
Oh, so you have energy saving light bulb. Have seen 2 of those over a 10 gallon. Thus thinking 1 would be enough. Just get the daylight (6500k) rated bulb.

Just found a combination fert that is cheaper than $15. Heard about it at Atlanta Aquarium Association meeting. A single container is $10 + $6 for shipping. You mix 1.5 tsp. with 1 gallon of water. Then dose 5ml every other week. It last a long time. Thus perhaps could partner with someone.
As for lighting, I'm just going to guess that what I have is sufficient for what I want, and call it Medium-High because it is pretty darn bright. :shrug: Again, I'll have pics up tomorrow evening. I do know that the Hygrophila difformis (Water Wisteria) I have in the 5 gal with the same light I'm planning to use in the D. Dario set-up has had a lot of new growth since I put it in there (seriously, 6 leaves in 8 days!), and the leaves are definitely on the lacy end of things, something it does only in higher light. Let me know any other information you have on that fertilizer though, it sounds like it might be up my alley!

Other than that, I'm just glad I still have a few weeks to hunt this stuff down! I've been doing a HELLAton of research (as my homework beckons forlornly), and you were right about the cheaper prices here on the forum! Due to all the research and hunting, I've been compiling a new plant list/tank plan which will be posted tomorrow along with the images I've promised :] Ought to be helpful for you guys, especially since I've already gotten an offer for some of the plants I want :"] Just keep in mind I don't get paid until the 22nd ^^

(ALSO, Sorry about the HUGE walls of text I keep posting ^^ I like to be thorough, but if they're a hassle to read, let me know!)
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadybird View Post
Heck, speaking of river-beds, I might also just hop back home and pick up some creek sand.
Just wear gloves for there may be some kritters in there that could give you a nasty sting.

Sometimes on Ebay you can get a few plants dirt cheap ($3) from Asia with no shipping cost.

Last edited by Hilde; 10-13-2012 at 12:21 AM.. Reason: adding text
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:27 AM   #14
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Ordering plants from Asia like that is illegal. And they typically arrive in poor shape after being in transit for 5-15 days.

To legally import a plant in the United States, phytosanitary certification is necessary. Both from the origination country and from the U.S. Inspection is necessary.

The best bet is to buy plants from fellow hobbyists here on TPT. Not to violate the law and face extreme penalties on the federal and state level.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:37 AM   #15
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The community is definitely a great resource. I'd have to agree
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