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Old 12-10-2010, 10:05 PM   #1
penguinmaster
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Just starting a 2.5 gallon Iwagumi tank


So I'm just starting my journey in a 2.5 gallon planted office tank. I'm completely new to planted tanks, but have had many other freshwater and saltwater tanks. There's something really calming and interesting though about an Iwagumi tank so I figured I'd give it a shot.

The tank I'm going to be used is an AGA 2.5 gallon with the sides and back painted gloss black. It has a custom made hood that houses an mini coralife aqualight (18 watts total), I just have to pick up two 6700 watt bulbs pretty quick here. I have an aquaclear 20 to use as a filter as well. I don't think I'll need a heater (have one in case) as my office stays right between 70-75 degree. I think the design will hopefully be cleaner that way.

I have already picked up 3 nice rocks to do the standard design as it calls for. My plan for plants is dwarf hairgrass in the back and HC in the front. Shrimps and a snail for livestock.

I have ONE really (well at least I think) stupid question in regards to planting this tank. I've been to every fish and pet store in my city and not one has any of the substrates talked about in the other posts I've read. Is there something I'm missing about substrates? Could I just use normal gravel and plant into that somehow or does it absolutely need to be some type of "dirt" substrate covered by gravel.

Thanks everybody and I'll be getting some pictures up soon!
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:22 AM   #2
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many plants and certainly HC won't take root in just gravel. its too coarse. There's also the lack of nutrition in purely gravel beds.

If you're looking for an inexpensive solution then you can go with mineralized top soil (just use the search function) covered with either pool sand (from home depot) or black beauty blasting sand (if you want black, which is hard to come by for cheap. I found mine at a landscaping place nearby by for $9 for an 80lb bag!) You will want to add some sort of root tab such as RM which has a great deal going on now.

You'll have to search around for more pricey options since I tend to steer clear of them. I have heard a lot about Amazonia though so you may look into that. You would only need one bag of whatever you decide which I guess wouldn't make it to expensive.

That's all I got for you though.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:00 AM   #3
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Fist, welcome to the forum! Its nice to see another Wisconsinite on here.

As far as you tank, everything sounds fine other then your substrate and CO2.
For the substrate, I would buy a small package of ADA soil or other such "brand" substrate. They are perfect for Iwagumi setups and such. If that is not what you are looking for, some mineralized top soil with a cap of sand. So pretty much everything Greg mentioned!

As far as CO2, HC and hairgrass need a good supply of it to grow well. Since this is such a small tank you could probably use liquid CO2 (Seachem's Excel). Just dose a small amount evey day do every other day.
Other then that, the plan looks great!
Regards,
Jake
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeJ View Post
Fist, welcome to the forum! Its nice to see another Wisconsinite on here.

As far as you tank, everything sounds fine other then your substrate and CO2.
For the substrate, I would buy a small package of ADA soil or other such "brand" substrate. They are perfect for Iwagumi setups and such. If that is not what you are looking for, some mineralized top soil with a cap of sand. So pretty much everything Greg mentioned!

As far as CO2, HC and hairgrass need a good supply of it to grow well. Since this is such a small tank you could probably use liquid CO2 (Seachem's Excel). Just dose a small amount evey day do every other day.
Other then that, the plan looks great!
Regards,
Jake
Thanks to both of the responses above, very helpful! I think I'll be going with the ADA Amazonia substrate from ADA. Not to harsh of a price for the small amount I'll probably need.

As for CO2, thanks for reminding me, I just planned on picking up a big jug of Excel from Amazon.com and I figured that will last me a very long time. I'm trying to keep the setup as clean as possible and right now if everything goes right the only thing "unnatural" in the tank will be the filter intake.

I also need to find sources for the HC and Hairgrass, I was hoping local, but it doesn't seem like anyone around me carries any nice selection of plants, so it seems it will be online. I've found a few online sources so now it's just picking which works best for me!

Thanks again!
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:01 PM   #5
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For the plants, check out the Swap and Shop section. You can find some good quality plants there for pretty cheap.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:21 PM   #6
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SnS will be cheaper than pretty much any other option. Put out a WTB thread for even faster responses.

I'll be following this for sure
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:35 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that amazonia releases ammonia and takes a while to cycle. So no inhabitants but plants at first.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:39 PM   #8
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Keep in mind that amazonia releases ammonia and takes a while to cycle. So no inhabitants but plants at first.
Yep there's enough of an ammonia spike in the beginning to make a bomb... Definitely nothing live should go in.. With plants I find only hardier plants should go in as I have had melts happen to more soft leaf plants ( better safe than sorry) =]

Cant wait to see some pics!
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Old 12-13-2010, 03:49 PM   #9
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I'll probably just run it with the rocks and soil for a month or so and let all the levels calm down.

I'll try to get some pics up of the basic setup today.

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwokwok View Post
Yep there's enough of an ammonia spike in the beginning to make a bomb... Definitely nothing live should go in.. With plants I find only hardier plants should go in as I have had melts happen to more soft leaf plants ( better safe than sorry) =]

Cant wait to see some pics!
So if I do this tank starting emersed, how does that affect the ammonia spike??
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:01 PM   #11
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Here is the first of hopefully many pics in the near future.

It's just the basic tank. I put the rocks I plan on using in it as well as filled it up with water today. Did that for two reasons, leak-check and I wanted to see what water temperature is achieved with my room temperature and the lights on over the tank. I'm thinking it'll be right in the 75-80 range which I think is perfect for what I want.

I'm having fun telling people that stop in my office to please do not disturb my pet rocks as they look at the tank with this weird look on their face.

The picture is a bit darker than reality in lighting wise. Currently it still has 10k and Actinic 03 lights in the fixture. Some 6700k bulbs are on their way though.

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Old 12-13-2010, 08:09 PM   #12
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So if I do this tank starting emersed, how does that affect the ammonia spike??
I'm guessing emersed as in low level of water just above the soil? If so I rkn it'd take even longer for beneficial bacteria to build up in the soil..

In my opinion throw in ur hardscape.. Fill it fully up with aged/other tank water... Filter with old filter materials.. In 3 ~ 4 days test ur ammonia.. Anything below 3s ok I rkn.. 2 even safer
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