Greetings. Looking for help on first tank. Ive done research but feeling overwhelmed
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Old 01-08-2005, 04:39 AM   #1
Osteomata
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Greetings. Looking for help on first tank. Ive done research but feeling overwhelmed


Hi all, just registered, this is my first post, which matches up nicely since this is my first tank in 20 years. I have been reading this site like a madman, as well as hundreds of others. I think I now have just enough knowledge to realize the enormity of my ignorance. I have questions.

The situation: I ended up with a tiny aquarium and some fish. I’m not even sure how it happened. Drinking was involved. So I thought, why not try to keep them alive. (How novel.) So I researched. On the internet. OMG. What is this planted aquascape stuff?! OMG! I must have it! But I have no room in this crowded little condo for a big tank. More research on the internet. OMG. Nanos! OMG! Plantedtank.net! (That’s the end of my use of “OMG” in this post, so no worries.)
Bottom line: I have refrained from purchasing most items until I can get some advice and have the whole project planned out. Can you answer the questions below without telling me to get a bigger tank or buy expensive equipment? I am willing to DIY about anything. I’m that good. OK, I’m not good, but my wife’s patience for spending a lot more money on this is growing thin.
The questions are all in italics.

The Tank
1.5 Gallon Hagen Hexafun
8.3” wide x 5” deep x 8” tall. Waterline surface area about 36 square inches.
I don’t have a question about the tank itself. Just checking if your paying attention.

Light
The plastic hood has a 1 inch circular hole in the back that will accommodate a light fixture. The hood is 1.75” tall. I figure I can fit a screw-in style fluorescent fixture in there, maybe paint the interior with reflective white enamel. I was thinking a 10 watt would be plenty, but maybe even less?
For this size tank, I realize the 2-4W/Gal rule does NOT apply, but what should I aim for? If you could, please give me a medium light and a high light estimate. If it makes more sense, give me the answer in lux, and ill do the math/bulb label reading.
Do I need to search for 6700 bulbs, or will 5000 be sufficient?


Substrate
Eco-Complete (one of the few things I bought already, wanted to change the gravel out now so I could get on with cycling the tank). Depth is about 1.5 inches, but I can move it around to make it deeper in some areas if needed. The tank is so short that putting more substrate in doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for other things. Like plants. Or fish. Or water.
Can I get away with less depth for some plants, like ground cover type things (e.g. riccia, pygmy sword grass)?

Filtration
Currently jury-rigged. The tank came with a UGF, air pump and air stone. I removed the UGF, found a $.98 plastic filter with cottony stuff and charcoal that didn’t fit the tanks hoses/rigid tubing (oops), so I cut the ends off a magic marker and gutted/cleaned it, attached the filter to the top, ran the air stone up into the pen casing, and attached with suction cups to the tank wall. Seems to be working, ammonia/nitrite coming down.
OK, the tank is nearly cycled, but I recognize this is not the best filter, and it creates a heck of a lot of surface agitation. So what would be cheap but better? Drsfostersmith.com has something called a “corner filter” that comes without any innards (its an empty clear plastic vented box with airline entry hole and stone, you supply filtration medium). This would be MUCH better in appearance, and I think I can crack open the cheapo filter I have and just transfer the filter medium into the corner filter, so I wouldn’t lose my bio-filtration. Would this be an improvement other than just aesthetics? Or should I just buy a dang side hanger or something?

CO2
I’ll rig a DIY from a 20oz bottle and diffuser per the numerous guides on this site.
With a tank this small, do I need to worry about over doing the CO2? If so how do I lesson the problem? Reduce the diffusion?

Water Quality/Chemistry
Tank water temperature: Very steady 79F according to stick-on external thermometer.
My tap water:
pH: 7.2
kH: Im awaiting my test kit that I won on eBay. What am I aiming for?
gH: Ditto, but in the shower it seems a bit soft. Don’t ask me questions about me and the shower. Hehe.
What else do I need to measure?
I have drop type test kits for pH, kH, gH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate on the way. Do I need any others?


Fish
I have 2 zebras and 1 guppy. Tragically, the second guppy was lost to a rock slide while investigating a crevice at the edge of the UGF before I removed it and changed the substrate. Found him entombed in ugly colored rocks, hell of a way to go.
I realize I’m over the inch per gallon bio-load rule of thumb, but come on! What I really want to know is can I replace the second guppy to console my survivor, or am I already pushing things?

Algae Eaters
I don’t have any. This is one of my research areas still on the “to do” list
Um, don’t some snails eat algae or something? Can I put a couple of Golden Apple snails or similar in their? Would it help? Would it hurt? Shrimp?

Fertilizer
I figure Ill purchase something from the Flourish line or another readily available product.
Which ones? Seachem Flourish?

Plants
Lets be honest, its my first tank, so I‘m thinking I should stay with a few plants from this list of “Hard To Kill" plants I found on the aqua botanic site: (For what its worth, I have one Anachris in there already)
Anubias Nana (Anubias Barteri 'Nana')
Congensis
Coffee Anubias (Anubias Barteri 'coffeefolia')
African Bolbitis Fern
Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Java Lace Fern
Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana)
Petite Nana
Marimo Algae Ball
Suggestions?

When I feel up to it, Ill add something from this self generated list of “easy” and sorta “cool looking” plants:
Red Temple!
Limniphola! (Limnophila sessiliflora)
Red Foxtail? (algae buster)
Hornwort? (algae buster)
Pennywort
Beckettii (Cryptocoryne Beckettii)
Wisteria (algae buster)
Tropica Sword
Crystalwort (Riccia Fluitans)
Suggestions? Really hope to add something red.

Finally, I would like to add something “carpet like” to the fore ground.
Riccia (Really like the look of this one)
Pigmy Chain Swords (Echinodorus Tenellus)
Dwarf Sag
Hair Grass
Which are easy and are either very short or can be trimmed at the tops?
Other suggestions?


OK, I think that’s it for now, thanks for reading.
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Old 01-08-2005, 12:57 PM   #2
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This isn't what you want to hear, but You really need at least a 2.5 gallon, 5 gallon, or 10 gallon tank, you can get a 10 gallon at wal-mart for 10 bucks. Its just so hard keeping a good planted tank in that little thing, not enough space for light.
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:39 PM   #3
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On one hand, puffer is right - nano planted tanks can be some of the most challenging tanks due to the small system size and inherent instability. That being said, they're still a lot of fun and are obviously easy to work on due to their small size.

(By the way, thanks for the very well-organized post. I wish all first posts were this well though-out.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
For this size tank, I realize the 2-4W/Gal rule does NOT apply, but what should I aim for? If you could, please give me a medium light and a high light estimate. If it makes more sense, give me the answer in lux, and ill do the math/bulb label reading.
Do I need to search for 6700 bulbs, or will 5000 be sufficient?
I think 10 watts is a fairly good starting point. Wal Mart sells the 6500K 13 watt PL style lamps that I've used with good success on a 2.5g nano. Anything over 5000K ought to do, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
SubstrateCan I get away with less depth for some plants, like ground cover type things (e.g. riccia, pygmy sword grass)?
More depth might be nice, but in a tank this small, it would come at the expense at a significant percentage of water being displaced. Stick with what you've got.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
FiltrationOK, the tank is nearly cycled, but I recognize this is not the best filter, and it creates a heck of a lot of surface agitation. So what would be cheap but better? Drsfostersmith.com has something called a “corner filter” that comes without any innards (its an empty clear plastic vented box with airline entry hole and stone, you supply filtration medium). This would be MUCH better in appearance, and I think I can crack open the cheapo filter I have and just transfer the filter medium into the corner filter, so I wouldn’t lose my bio-filtration. Would this be an improvement other than just aesthetics? Or should I just buy a dang side hanger or something?
If it were me, I would just go on and buy one of those Micro side-hanger power filters. I've been using a Whisper Mini on the side of my 2.5g for years and it works great with little surface agitation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
CO2With a tank this small, do I need to worry about over doing the CO2? If so how do I lesson the problem? Reduce the diffusion?
You may be at risk of overdosing CO2 if you went with a full fledged CO2 system and reactor, but with a little surface aeration from a hang-on-back (HOB) filter, you should be able to outgas any excess CO2 pretty easily. This will take some experimentation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
Water Quality/Chemistry
What else do I need to measure?
I have drop type test kits for pH, kH, gH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate on the way. Do I need any others?
Phosphate would be another necessary macronutrient to test for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
FishWhat I really want to know is can I replace the second guppy to console my survivor, or am I already pushing things?
I would wait to add more fish until the plants are in and the system is more stable. Especially since you'll be trying to balance a CO2 system. At that time, one more guppy shouldn't hurt, IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
Algae EatersUm, don’t some snails eat algae or something? Can I put a couple of Golden Apple snails or similar in their? Would it help? Would it hurt? Shrimp?
NO APPLE SNAILS!! Or you can simply watch them devour your hard-earned plants. Look for some Amano Shrimp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osteomata
Fertilizer
Which ones? Seachem Flourish?
Flourish, Flourish Nitrogen, Flourish Phosphate. Or do some research on alternatives like "Stump Remover" for Nitrate and "Fleet Enema" for Phosphate.

[QUOTE=Osteomata]Plants Suggestions?[QUOTE]
I've had the most success with crypts, java fern, marselia, rotala indica and echinodorus tenellus (dwarf chain sword) in nano tanks. I don't use CO2, though, so you might be able to work with a few more of the species you've listed. Crytps, fern and tenellus can get quite large, but without CO2 and moderate light levels, they've all stayed quite small for me.
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:43 PM   #4
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First off, Welcome to the Forum and back to the hobby...

Now lets get down to business.
The Tank
Yes i was paying attention
The Light
This will be the most important thing you can give your Nano, I would dump the hood and use a screw-in 6700k pc bulb in a desktop lamp fixture (very cheap)
Substrate Depth
EcoComplete (good choice) Depth, depends on what you decide to grow but so does your tank size. Due to room just go with the inch and a half. We will discuss later the needs.
Filtration
Water movement will be more important then water "filtration" because this thing will evaporate faster then it can filter.
CO2
Shouldnt be necessary but Flourish Excel can supply the carbon easiest if needed.
Water Quality/Chemistry
Ph sounds perfect and GH/KH should be pretty good as well. Those concerns are usually more for injecting CO2. The kits that are on the way will suffice for now.
Fish
Are you kidding me ? Its a 1.5 gallon tank and you want fish too ? How about a couple ottos and shrimp...
Algae Eaters
See Above "Fish" category
Fertilizer
Flourish will do the trick, lighting will determine any extras.
Plants
You have a grand list and big plans for a small space...my suggestions
Aubia's Nana "petite
hope to add something red. Hygro polysperma "sunset v."
Carpet plant Java moss Easy to grow, kool carpet in small tank

To start off, keep it simple and have fun with it... thats a tough size to start out with.
Good Luck
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:10 PM   #5
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I think flourish and flourish excel will work good for your dosing.....looks like the plants your going to be growing wont need much if any more suppliments, except for the nitrate and phosphate. But, buying a 10 gallon would give you alot better options and such, but i'm looking forward to seeing this tank go up, also I wouldnt have many fish, maybe an Otto. Good luck!
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Old 01-08-2005, 03:28 PM   #6
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Osteomata

I enjoyed reading your post. You have the perfect personality for this hobby.

A planted nano seems like a great way for someone to start the hobby w/out spending lots of money. Since you may be limited to only one tank you may want to go with puffers advice for more options. That bag of Eco will cost you way more than the aquarium and you would have most of it not even used with the 1.5. If you can be TRULY comfortable with all the limitations of a 1.5 then go for it.

For filtration I like those hob mini's.
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Old 01-08-2005, 04:24 PM   #7
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Other good shrimp you can order from a LFS are tiger shrimp. they are a little smaller than amano shrimp, but are basically the exact same species with vertical stripes instead of horizontal stripes/dots. I have ghost shrimp amano shrimp and tiger shrimp in my tank. I paid the most for the tigers, but they do a good job...the ghost shrimp will scavenge your gravel well, and they only cost like 25 cents or less....but they wont eat algae. i recomend a pair of ghosts and a pair of amanos or tigers.
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