2.5g dirt tank - "Let's pretend I know what I'm doing"
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:34 PM   #1
SomeCanuck
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2.5g dirt tank - "Let's pretend I know what I'm doing"


So I managed to snag a little 2.5g tank for under 10$ and wanted to try my hand at one of the fancy minimal maintenance dirt tanks I've seen kicking around the forums. I tried to follow the Walstad instructions to a T, but I can't help but feel that I must have done something wrong. I'll eventually add a few RCS to keep Hank the Snail company, but I'd rather get some outside opinions before I risk putting anyone less hardy at risk.

I've got some Ludwigia repens, Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig', dwarf sag and all sorts of random mystery floaters that I was given a handful of at my LFS and what I'm pretty sure is some form of lotus bulb (that will definitely outgrow the tank), but the general idea is that I want to have the stems grow emersed so I can have a little planted corner of my room. Did I plant it too sparingly? Should I throw in some more floating stems or something?

There's a 13w 6400k PCL in a fixture about 13 inches from the sand layer, so I'm not sure if that's too close and I'm just gonna burn anything that tries to grow in it.

Any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

FTS. I tried to keep the sand under 1/2 inch, but it got a little deeper in some places because of how difficult it was to try and scoop into corners and how narrow the top of the tank is. Is my sand layer too thick? Am I going to end up just rotting off all my roots?


From the top. After less than 3 days, some of the ludwigia is already starting to grow emersed.


With the light fixture.



Hank the Snail's extreme closeup. Anyone have any clue what that little plant in the middle is? It was a misship in a group buy and showed up with red undercolouring and dark tops to the leaves, but now the new leaves are growing in green.

Last edited by SomeCanuck; 06-27-2012 at 11:36 PM..
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:16 PM   #2
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The only issue I see is your substrate is simply too thick as a whole. You want to aim for 2" of substrate total. However, its not THAT big of a deal. It looks fine iMO
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:52 PM   #3
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I like the tank you its quite simple and looks good. As long as that is dwarf sag and not kyoto grass your fine. Maybe add a betta or pygmy corry I think would make the tank more complete.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:05 AM   #4
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I like it!
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnum View Post
I like the tank you its quite simple and looks good. As long as that is dwarf sag and not kyoto grass your fine. Maybe add a betta or pygmy corry I think would make the tank more complete.
this tank is too small for either a betta or a pygmy cory (of which you should have at least six to be happy anyways).
if you want livestock, add shrimp. or snails.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:00 AM   #6
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Trickerie, it is about 2". I tried to aim for thinner, but if it won't really cause any harm at the thickness it is, that's good.

magnum, it's definitely dwarf sag. It's nearly impossible to find anywhere locally, which is why I had to go the group buy route and import it directly from East Asia along with nearly 500$ worth of other aquarium plants.

Shrimp are definitely the route I'll be taking. Going to add a few to keep Hank company.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:06 AM   #7
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Ahh, good then. The pics must be misleading to its size. I looks like 4" to me lol
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:35 PM   #8
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Yeah, definitely not hehe the tank itself is under 9" tall.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:00 AM   #9
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All right, so nearly 2 weeks after it was first set up, I've got a bunch of Ludwigia repens stems that have managed to break the water surface and that are going emersed. The mini shoots of hygro I'd salvaged and planted are actually growing well and if they keep up at this rate will break the water's surface in another week or 2. The mystery bulb (some sort of nymphaea, but absolutely no clue which) is doing well and has sent up a few more leafs. It'll be relocated in time, but for now it's still a manageable size. I also added a little filter which should make it more hospitable to some form of nano fish I'll add. For now, Hank the Snail is still it's only occupant.

Unfortunately, the ludwigia that is going emersed doesn't look to be doing too well. The leaves are turning brown and drying out.





Do you folks think the light's too close? It's about 20 inches from the substrate, but only 10 or 12 inches from the top of the tank, so am I "burning" the plants? If I move it further away, will they still be getting enough light at the substrate or will be trading one problem for another? Or is this potentially just a natural part of the transition to emersed growth and the new leaves will be hardier and not die off in the same way?
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:02 AM   #10
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I have my light right over the top of my bowl. When I use to have Red Ludwigia it would consistently grow out of water and make nice bushy tops. Also I think that the mystery plant you have is Red Lud. also, sometimes when I trim my Ludwigia and re-plant it in the bowl its leaves on the top get dark green and the undersides are red. Love how the tank looks but imo you need something to carpet the bottom.
Good Luck!
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FisheriesOmen View Post
I have my light right over the top of my bowl. When I use to have Red Ludwigia it would consistently grow out of water and make nice bushy tops. Also I think that the mystery plant you have is Red Lud. also, sometimes when I trim my Ludwigia and re-plant it in the bowl its leaves on the top get dark green and the undersides are red. Love how the tank looks but imo you need something to carpet the bottom.
Good Luck!
Ah, sounds good. I really wasn't sure about whether or not I could replant things easily in a dirt tank like this, but I've you've managed it with your awesome bowls, maybe I'll have some luck too.

Any suggestions on what might make a decent carpet? Was thinking maybe some Brazilian Micro Sword if I can find any. Local pet stores and the teeny aquarist society here in Montreal don't really have too many options, but I'm more than open to suggestions so that I can at least try and find good plants.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:38 PM   #12
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So Hank's a bastard... on one of his trips through the tank, he decided to uproot half the damn thing. Came home after work to find a bit of everything floating near the top, and dirt all over the tank. I tried to cap it all as best I could (which is a nightmare in this form factor) and did a bunch of water changes, but the water just keeps ending up muddy. I'm going to be shutting down this little experiment for now and maybe I'll come back to it some day.

In the mean time, I'm picking up a second-hand 5 gallon tonight or tomorrow to replace this one that I'll be setting up as a low-light moss and maybe crypts/anubias home for Bob so that I can get some chili rasboras and PFRs for the Ebi.
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