1.5l LED bookcase pico (picture heavy)
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:48 AM   #1
Rabidgerbil
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1.5l LED bookcase pico (picture heavy)


So this is my first attempt at a planted tank. Ive keep reefs and salty tanks for years, but since I have no experiance with freshwater I expect a couple crash and burns before I get it right. I figure once I can keep this little guy going strong Ill be more than ready to build the tank I really want which will completly fill the shelf on my bookcase in my room that houses this tank. Because I plan on going bigger I also will be purchasing equipment with the target tank in mind.

So far Ive built a DIY LED fixture. Laid down a 2-4cm active-flora slope for a substrate. Incorperated a collected rock and prepared wood from a dead bush. Planted some dwarf hair grass and dwarf baby tears. Built a DIY yeast co2 system, and filled her up.

The obligatory FTS:

FTS 2-16-12 by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr

So on my to buy list is (in order of importance):
•Get a canister filter (thinking eheim 2213)
•Get an inline heater
•Get an inline diffuser(atomic?)
•Get a pressurized CO2 system

I also need to mount my light and modify my bookcase to be able to access the tank better.

Questions for anyone who may want to help a newb out:
•What would be a good bubble rate for a tank of this size?
•Is my light to much for this tank? (I have no optics, and only driving at 480ma)
•Is my substrate good enough?
•What kind of water chemistry should I shjot for with these specific plants?
•Will 68F temp kill my plants?
•What kind of animals could be kept in such a small tank? I'd really love to have a fish or two but dont expect it.
•Will 100% RO water be detrimental in any way and should I be adding anything to it?

Other notes:
•Im going to be doing 50% waterchanges daily.
•My photoeriod is 12 hours. Probably too long but I'm gonna play it by ear an see how the plants react.

Anyways let me know what you think.

Last edited by Rabidgerbil; 02-26-2012 at 03:48 AM..
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:11 AM   #2
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Cool start! First of all, Sorry, but I probably can't help with most of your questions. I do have a tank just like this one with an HC carpet using a 23watt cfl light about 10 inches above the ADA substrate and DIY C02. While it did take a few months to carpet I haven't had any big algae issues except for gsa.

I think the 2213 is overkill and will blow everything around. Maybe try a zoo med 501, or a Tom canister filter, or a small HOB filter.

As for Co2, most people would tell you to start off with 1 bubble per second then monitor it for a week and then adjust.

I would also break up that HC(baby dwarf tear) and spread it out a little so it can cover more ground. You will probably have to replant the ones that float up. I'm not familiar with your substrate and I'm not sure how good it holds. Also you might want to put a barrier between the hair grass and the HC. The hair grass will send runners out and pop through the HC. One more thing about hair grass. It is a PITA to clean up after trimming. It's like mowing the grass around a swimming pool and then having to clean the pool.

As for fauna... My tank is probably overstocked. I have 2 micro rasboras, a scarlet Badis,
some feeder shrimp, pond snails, and scuds. They all seem fine in the tank.

This is an easy tank to take care of. I highly doubt you will crash. Good Luck!
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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Nice start. Full tank shot?
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:50 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input, its greatly appreciated!

@Kai808 I did realize the 2213 would be overkill for this little tank, but My reasoning is that I plan on upgrading to a 7 gallon within the next year if all goes well and I feel the 2213 would be perfect in that case. As for the flow I have a little trick up my sleve that will allow me to reduce flow to a trickle if needed without hurting the pump in any way.

The co2 is running at about 1BPS so I will follow instructions, see how everything responds and adjust accordingly.

As for the HC I like the idea of splitting it to help it fill in faster, but my only question is how to split it. My gut says pull it apart and replant, but Id like confirmation befor I attempt it since horticulture isint my strong suit and Ive been known to kill a plant or two above water level

@Quentin that is the FTS lol its a tiny little guy. Ill show some perspective shots to you can see what I mean.

The bookcase:

Bookshelf shot by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr

From my bed:

Bed view by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:44 AM   #5
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Algae happens

Untitled by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr

Ive been doing 60% WC's daily, and now im using a toothbrush to brush my DHG but it hasent helped much so I went down to my local LFS and got some red cherry shrimp for $2 a piece. It seems as though they havent had any impact though.. Maybe I should get more? Or maybe a different kind of shrimp. Looks like I got homework to do
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:15 AM   #6
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OOOoooh, sorry to hear about the algae. The algae forum is a good place to start looking. Maybe try trimming the hair grass and do a 3 day black out. If you do that, you may need an airstone/pump or your shrimp might die from the DIY C02. I think as a last resort you can pull out your plants and dip them in hydrogen peroxide. But do a search on that also for peoples results with hair grass and what strength solution they used.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:55 AM   #7
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I would spot treat with a syringe. Do that right after lights out. TUrn off the filter first too. Regarding the filter, I agree, go with a smaller canister-if at all. You can totally get away with a HOB, and I think it'd be more appropriate besides. Spend the money on something else- a paintball co2 setup would be a good investment, i think.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:48 AM   #8
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I spent a few hours today working on the tank/bookshelf. I removed the top of the bookshelf and made it so I can easily remove it for tank maintenance. Then I cut a small hole in the back to tidy up the cables and tube. Finnaly I mounted my light to the top of the bookshelf so I have a clean rimless tank. Previously during the week I decided to mess around with some plastic tube I had laying around and I made myself a nifty little drop checker that I installed today as well.


IMG_2997 by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr


IMG_2968 by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr


IMG_2979 by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr


IMG_2982 by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr

The algae is not a big deal to me. I knew it would happen eventually, and Ive bumped up my RCS population to 6 now and there starting to have a very noticeable impact. So I'm not to worried, plus these are things you have to expect in a new tank and especially one that is so small.

IMG_2965 by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr

In case you haven't knowticed already also added a nice looking crown tail I saw while getting an under tank heater as well as a check valve and T-joint so I can add air from my Phyto setup to my CO2 line as needed to regulate my CO2 concentration.

IMG_2989 by theAsteroidBlues, on Flickr


With the filter I want it so that I have it once I decide to scale up to a 7 gallon and It will also allow me to use an adjustable heater that wont crowd the tank. I have read to many bad things about the smaller canisters for me to feel comfortable buying one. The 2213 seems to have a very positive reputation from what I've read and heard, and I like the idea of not making a mess every time I clean it out because of the dual valve disconnect.

As for the paintball co2 idea. I have thought about it, but came to the conclusion that I would rather have something a little more pleasing to the eye that I can set next to the bookshelf on the floor. So I plan on building a co2 system. I'm still looking into regulators at the moment but I think I'm going to go with a Tescom like THIS and build from there. Gauges, a solenoid, metering valve (probably THIS Swagelok), bubble counter, and an inline diffuser. I dream big
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:15 AM   #9
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If you use RO water I believe that takes out nutrients in the water column and there are things you can add to it to give it back some of the nutrients though I have no experience with RO water so that should probably be left for someone else. I also have no experience with led lighting but the light looks bright. If you are moving toward a high light tank you should look into fertilizers for your tank. These are macro and micro nutrients. It is hard to say the bps since it is different for each co2 setup and the size of hose the gas is coming out of. The best way to determine the co2 is through the drop checker. If you want the plants to spread faster I would separate the bundles and spread the plants out. I would also lower the lighting period for now since you are having algae problems.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:47 AM   #10
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Thanks for the input radioman, I've been reading that ferts tend to lower algae for some reason, or maybe that was just excel. Either way I have been looking into it a little, and will definitely start getting some soon. The LED's seem bright because of the camera, but to the naked eye there not as bright. I didn't put any optics on them and there being under driven by about 500ma so I cant imagine their par ratings to be to high. Not like I have access to a meter though. I have been lowering the light period though as it makes sense that it would help with the algae. Right now I'm running them for about 9 hours a day, so we'll see how that works out.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:50 PM   #11
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Excel sort of acts like an algaecide. Co2 and fertilizers are an indirect way of reducing algae. What is happening is the co2 is accelerating the growth of the plants and in turn they are taking up more nutrients from the water so more have to be added. From this the plants are able to out compete the algae. Keep us updated on the progress.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:06 AM   #12
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Alright then, so you just attempt to make conditions so good for the plants that the algae doesnt have a chance to take hold. I employ the same type of system with bacteria in my reef via organic hydrocarbons. I will definitly be getting some fertilizers ASAP once I test my RO and see what I'm missing and possibly what is excessive. Thanks for the great insight radioman.

As for a bit of an update. My drop checker seems to be working well and I've tuned my tank to around 20ppm after adjusting in the morning and reading this evening. So in the morning if it looks yellow I will turn up the air a little more and vise versa. Also I took a mirror to the back of my tank where I placed DHG right next to the glass and found a nice little root system from one of my smaller bits I planted. needless to say Im very excited, and Ill take some good photos next week to share.

I like that the planted world moves alot faster then the reef side of things. Sometimes I get bored of how slow it can take corals to recover from mistakes and disasters so hopefully Ill be able to focus my energy on plants when things are movin slow on the reef side of the room, as alot of the time my impatience leads to trouble
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:54 PM   #13
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If you are using RO water then I am pretty sure you need to add some minerals back for your shrimp. They will need the minerals in order to molt properly. Fluval makes a Shrimp Mineral Supplement that I used when I was doing distilled water in my shrimp tank. I am pretty sure you will need something like that with RO also. Ask one of the shrimp gurus to be sure though because I am certainly no expert.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:54 PM   #14
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Cool thanks for the tip. I have been addidng some calcium and magnesium for gh and calcium carbinate for alkalinity, but I will research and see If there are any special elements that I should use as well.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:02 AM   #15
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A little update, I've ordered fertilizers From bobs tropical plants. They've yet to ship thiugh or at least tell me they have. Also Ive been using a very small amount of liquid plant food in my waterchanges and A noticable decrease of algae has occured. The DHG is sending up new shoots now as well
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