New to planted tanks need a little help
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Planted Tank Forums > Planted Nano Tanks


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-22-2014, 04:02 AM   #1
gibs
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Default

New to planted tanks need a little help


Hi guys I am new to the forum. I have had saltwater tanks for the past 3 years. Had to downgrade because moved into a apartment a year ago so running a fluval spec 5 pico tank right now.

Ok so the reason I am jumping into planted tanks is that my girlfriends son has seen my tank and loves it. He currently has a betta that his mom bought him a while back in a 2 gallon bare tank no lights no nothing. So I had some acrylic laying around at a friends we had left over from another project, so I built this tank this weekend.



Dimensions are 15x19x12 Viewing area is 15x15

I don't know a bunch about planted tanks but he loves x ray tetras and I was thinking maybe a few ghost shrimp and some snails and don't for get the existing betta. I would like some kind of like floor covering plant and something else to grow tall but what are some good candidates? I also will not be tending this myself all the time and I want it something a 9 year old boy can reasonably take care of so what are some good suggestions? Any good books to read? What kind of lighting? I was thinking some sort of par 30 bulb and clamp on desk lamp? Any better suggestions?

All help is appreciated and thanks in advance!

Almost forgot pump will be a ehiem compact 600 (about 160gph I believe it is.
Is there any need for a co2 setup? I would like to put a bulk head in the back and have it come up in the baffles if I really do need one before I give it to him.
gibs is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-22-2014, 06:22 AM   #2
ChemGuyEthan
Planted Member
 
ChemGuyEthan's Avatar
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Southern California
Posts: 191
Default

Nice build! Very clean looking.

Well I will try and answer some of your questions for you.

First off, depending on the betta, it may snack on those shrimp...some don't, some do. You'll find out, I guess, haha. Betta fish also tend to like minimal flow, so keep that in mind with our outflow from the return pump. Also, the holes in the overflow look like they may swallow tiny fish and shrimp, you will probably want to add a mesh to that to prevent this.

I think I would avoid CO2 for now unless you really start getting into this. It's the next step up for sure, but very nice tanks can be set up without it. Something else to consider is substrate. A lot of people choose eco-complete, I have, but I personally am not a huge fan. I don't think you need to invest in premium stuff like ADA, so my recommendation is mid-level of Flourite or Activ-flora (there's a thread on here about that stuff and how great it is). I would also suggest some root tabs just to keep the plants healthy. For a light, I default to Finnex. With the shallow tank depth, Finnex will be a good, inexpensive choice. They have all sorts of lights, in particular there is a 16" planted+ that will probably work well for a setup like this.

Ground cover plants: dwarf hairgrass, staurogyne repenes, and/or glossostigma elatinoides.
Medium/Tall plants: some species of anubias would be good. Some ludwigia would be good. Some species of hygrophila like polysperma and difformis, the latter is the easiest, sturdiest plant I've ever owned. You could look into the right species of amazon sword, but most will quickly outgrow this tank.

I would also recommend some driftwood or cool rocks to add a little character and contrast to the plants you get.

I never read any books on plant keeping, which maybe puts me at a loss. Things I've learned have either been from personal experience (which is relatively limited at this point compared to some) and looking around on this forum. I would suggest going to the low tech forum on here for some ideas.

Best of luck to you and I think with a little planning, you can make this an easy tank to keep.
__________________
Corner tank
25L Fluval Chi
12 gallon long
Wabi Kusa Attempts
You can never have too many tanks...just too little time.
ChemGuyEthan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2014, 07:07 AM   #3
OVT
Suspended
 
PTrader: (142/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: SF East Bay Area
Posts: 5,183
Default

Welcome to TPT!

My hat off to you for DIY such a clean tank. Even more credit for doing it for a kid. Certainly makes me want to pitch in as much as I can.

Lets assume the cheapest / simplest approach.

Lights: one of these (shop around)
Zoo Med Mini Combo Deep Dome Lamp Fixture, Black:Amazon:Pet Supplies Zoo Med Mini Combo Deep Dome Lamp Fixture, Black:Amazon:Pet Supplies
and 2 x 13-23w (Day light 5,000K or higher) CFL bulbs from Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc will take care of the lighting, for ~$30 grand total. Looks good, works great.

Substrate: decide if you want white or black color (black is more popular). If white, get a bag of pool filter sand from a local pool supplies store. If black, and you have Tractor Supply store, get a bag of Black Diamond blasting sand. Either will set you back ~$10 for ~50# (more then plenty).

Heater: you might not need one based on the house temperature and type of fish. I the house temp is > 70℉+, I would skip a heater. If not, get a 50w heater from Amazon / local pet store. Any brand < $50 are junk anyways, get the one you like and hope it will work for years. Hide it in the sump.

Hardscape: let the kid pick the stones he likes, the tank is for him. Read up on TPT on testing / prepping the stones to be safe for a FW tank.

Fish: the betta, of course. Take the boy to Petco / PetSmart and let hum chose, but steer him. 2-4 Corries, 2-4 Platties / Mollies, or ~12 White Clouds / Neons - all can be found on sale for $1/ea, can do without a heater, and are easy to take care off.

Plants: PM me

Enjoy the trip!

EDIT: I don't know who said this or even if it's close, but I like the meaning / emotions behind it:

"If you made a difference in the life of a child, you life was worth living".

v3
__________________
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD
OVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2014, 05:01 PM   #4
gibs
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChemGuyEthan View Post
Nice build! Very clean looking.

Well I will try and answer some of your questions for you.

First off, depending on the betta, it may snack on those shrimp...some don't, some do. You'll find out, I guess, haha. Betta fish also tend to like minimal flow, so keep that in mind with our outflow from the return pump. Also, the holes in the overflow look like they may swallow tiny fish and shrimp, you will probably want to add a mesh to that to prevent this.

I think I would avoid CO2 for now unless you really start getting into this. It's the next step up for sure, but very nice tanks can be set up without it. Something else to consider is substrate. A lot of people choose eco-complete, I have, but I personally am not a huge fan. I don't think you need to invest in premium stuff like ADA, so my recommendation is mid-level of Flourite or Activ-flora (there's a thread on here about that stuff and how great it is). I would also suggest some root tabs just to keep the plants healthy. For a light, I default to Finnex. With the shallow tank depth, Finnex will be a good, inexpensive choice. They have all sorts of lights, in particular there is a 16" planted+ that will probably work well for a setup like this.

Ground cover plants: dwarf hairgrass, staurogyne repenes, and/or glossostigma elatinoides.
Medium/Tall plants: some species of anubias would be good. Some ludwigia would be good. Some species of hygrophila like polysperma and difformis, the latter is the easiest, sturdiest plant I've ever owned. You could look into the right species of amazon sword, but most will quickly outgrow this tank.

I would also recommend some driftwood or cool rocks to add a little character and contrast to the plants you get.

I never read any books on plant keeping, which maybe puts me at a loss. Things I've learned have either been from personal experience (which is relatively limited at this point compared to some) and looking around on this forum. I would suggest going to the low tech forum on here for some ideas.

Best of luck to you and I think with a little planning, you can make this an easy tank to keep.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Welcome to TPT!

My hat off to you for DIY such a clean tank. Even more credit for doing it for a kid. Certainly makes me want to pitch in as much as I can.

Lets assume the cheapest / simplest approach.

Lights: one of these (shop around) Zoo Med Mini Combo Deep Dome Lamp Fixture, Black:Amazon:Pet Supplies
and 2 x 13-23w (Day light 5,000K or higher) CFL bulbs from Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc will take care of the lighting, for ~$30 grand total. Looks good, works great.

Substrate: decide if you want white or black color (black is more popular). If white, get a bag of pool filter sand from a local pool supplies store. If black, and you have Tractor Supply store, get a bag of Black Diamond blasting sand. Either will set you back ~$10 for ~50# (more then plenty).

Heater: you might not need one based on the house temperature and type of fish. I the house temp is > 70℉+, I would skip a heater. If not, get a 50w heater from Amazon / local pet store. Any brand < $50 are junk anyways, get the one you like and hope it will work for years. Hide it in the sump.

Hardscape: let the kid pick the stones he likes, the tank is for him. Read up on TPT on testing / prepping the stones to be safe for a FW tank.

Fish: the betta, of course. Take the boy to Petco / PetSmart and let hum chose, but steer him. 2-4 Corries, 2-4 Platties / Mollies, or ~12 White Clouds / Neons - all can be found on sale for $1/ea, can do without a heater, and are easy to take care off.

Plants: PM me

Enjoy the trip!

EDIT: I don't know who said this or even if it's close, but I like the meaning / emotions behind it:

"If you made a difference in the life of a child, you life was worth living".

v3
Thank you both for your compliments and suggestions.

Lighting
Ok I really like that fixture you linked and zoo med has a mount for it to that I think would be perfect. I was actually looking at the finnex last night and I think it is a good option. I just prefer the simplicity of the bulbs for this application.

Substrate
I like the flourite but after doing some research I really like the black diamond and think I am going that direction. (how deep should my substrate be? A inch? )

Aquascaping
We are going to the lake this weekend I am going to try to get him to help me pick out some driftwood and some rocks (sorry forgot to mention this in my earlier post). Havent looked up cleaning it for freshwater but would assume it's similar to saltwater, boil, scrub, boil, scrub, boil, scrub, etc. but I will look into it. Living in texas how careful do I have to be about adding rocks with some limestone that could possibly raise the ph?

Plants
Ground cover: I am really digging the hair grass but like the staurogyne repenes to. I may just give him a choice and let him decide on this but I am leaning towards the former.
Background: Haven't really decided I like the anubias and I think I am going to find one of those to start him out with and let him decide from there if anything else.

Fish: Betta, I know the ghost shrimp could be a problem but I really like them and they are great bed cleaners. I want 2 other tank cleaning fish to start him off with I was thinking a couple of corries maybe a pelco? I am going to give him the choice but I know the tetras will be the red belly x rays he has already seen those and has been bugging his mom to get some and put in the bare aquarium LOL. Anyone else disagree with a couple of mollies or platties? I read that colorful fish will piss off the betta? Just curious but I like the idea

Also just as a last comment, his birthday is first of october so this is a birthday present so while I am wanting him to make decisions I am also trying to make it a surprise. Just so no one kills me if I say I bought something when it is supposed to be his tank, I have had him reading up and watching youtube videos on planted tanks and trying to secretly find out his likes/dislikes.

Thanks again for all the comments!
gibs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2014, 07:03 PM   #5
OVT
Suspended
 
PTrader: (142/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: SF East Bay Area
Posts: 5,183
Default

Sand substrate of 1 to 1.5" is good, you want enough to hold the plants down and room for roots. Maybe just a bit taller in the back. Malaysian Trumpet Snails help to churn the sand and keep it from compacting.

Limestone in a normal FW is not that great: use vinegar on the stones to see if they fizzle. I bleach the stones overnight in an eye-balled solution, then another overnight with dechlor like Prime.

v3
__________________
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD
OVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2014, 11:34 PM   #6
ChemGuyEthan
Planted Member
 
ChemGuyEthan's Avatar
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Southern California
Posts: 191
Default

Nice! I do hope he loves the gift!

OVT has got you covered, haha. He's certainly more knowledgeable than I am. I can't disagree with anything he suggested.

For cleaner fish, cories do some cleaning, but I wouldn't say a lot. They are really fun fish to watch though. Plecos are ok, probably too big for this tank. I would suggest some otocinclus catfish. They're not that pretty to look at, but they stay small and do a good job keeping things clean. They might require a heater though depending on how cold it gets where you are.

I found with my betta that he didn't bother any other fish. All I did was introduce the betta to the tank last. If he thinks the other fish were there first, he's more likely to be accommodating to their presence.
__________________
Corner tank
25L Fluval Chi
12 gallon long
Wabi Kusa Attempts
You can never have too many tanks...just too little time.
ChemGuyEthan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2014, 07:17 PM   #7
gibs
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Default

Thanks again for all the help.

First a few updated pics pump and bulkhead came in yesterday so I put them both in and started the extended water test. Still waiting on my nozzle but everything is working and on.


gibs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2014, 07:29 PM   #8
gibs
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Default

Took JD to petsmart to look around neon tetras are on the plan now. I didn't realize the xrays got so big I saw some small ones and thought that was as big as they got like the neons...

Another thing we found out doing research on the net on betta care and general fish care, is water conditions. What do the majority of you guys use for water? I have always used distilled or ro/di water but of course I mix it with salt that has all the minerals I need, however freshwater fish don't do well with distilled or heavily filtered water like ro/di, so what do you guys use? Tap? Spring? some other filtered water?
gibs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2014, 11:38 PM   #9
gibs
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Default







Ok so me and all the kids went to the lake this weekend and I got a ton of rocks but most of the driftwood just didn't work for me. The only piece I did get I really like but I think it's going to take a lot to get it to sit on the bottom and after playing with the rocks I think I like the big black/red rock better.

Tell me what you guys think! I am not used to thinking about how things will look once stuff grows on them. JD is going to have the final say when we set it up together but I want to have some ideas to kind of guide him.

Final note of the day the original Betta that this is for isn't doing so good in his bowl. I have started them on doing 10% water changes every day but I the little guy just seems very listless. Eyes are clear and bright and no signs of parisites and the fins have no tears on them. Anyway moving the deadline up to try to get this set up this weekend to give the guy a better shot at living until JD's birthday
gibs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2014, 12:25 AM   #10
ChemGuyEthan
Planted Member
 
ChemGuyEthan's Avatar
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Southern California
Posts: 191
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gibs View Post
Took JD to petsmart to look around neon tetras are on the plan now. I didn't realize the xrays got so big I saw some small ones and thought that was as big as they got like the neons...

Another thing we found out doing research on the net on betta care and general fish care, is water conditions. What do the majority of you guys use for water? I have always used distilled or ro/di water but of course I mix it with salt that has all the minerals I need, however freshwater fish don't do well with distilled or heavily filtered water like ro/di, so what do you guys use? Tap? Spring? some other filtered water?
I just use tap water treated with Seachem Prime. I'm in an apartment so no space for an R/O unit and don't care to lug all the jugs of water around. You can use R/O but you have to remineralize it, I've heard good things about Equilibrium from Seachem. It has the minerals in it for plants and also raises the hardness back up a little bit. I am not familiar enough to know if you need anything more for the fish.

I always liked the neons, they have really bright vibrant colors, I think they're a good choice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gibs View Post






Ok so me and all the kids went to the lake this weekend and I got a ton of rocks but most of the driftwood just didn't work for me. The only piece I did get I really like but I think it's going to take a lot to get it to sit on the bottom and after playing with the rocks I think I like the big black/red rock better.

Tell me what you guys think! I am not used to thinking about how things will look once stuff grows on them. JD is going to have the final say when we set it up together but I want to have some ideas to kind of guide him.

Final note of the day the original Betta that this is for isn't doing so good in his bowl. I have started them on doing 10% water changes every day but I the little guy just seems very listless. Eyes are clear and bright and no signs of parisites and the fins have no tears on them. Anyway moving the deadline up to try to get this set up this weekend to give the guy a better shot at living until JD's birthday
Sorry to hear about the betta, hopefully he'll snap out of it. I had a similar experience with my betta where he would just rest on the bottom of the tank and only move when provoked by the amano shrimp or when prompted with food, haha. He made it for about another month after that began.

The rocks look cool. I think I like the big red/black one too. I'm a fan of the simplicity. I think if you could do it, some driftwood may also look nice, but you don't have too much space to play with. Did you already clean the rocks?
__________________
Corner tank
25L Fluval Chi
12 gallon long
Wabi Kusa Attempts
You can never have too many tanks...just too little time.
ChemGuyEthan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2014, 02:45 AM   #11
gibs
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Default

Going to start bleaching the rocks tomorrow or the next. Tank is just in test mode right now, checking the filtration and anything else I can think of. When I build a tank out of acrylic I like to keep water in it for at least a week before actually setting it up.....had a nasty accident with a bad weld on my second tank that didn't show up until 4 full days of water had been in it. Luckily all I had was some sand and LR in it and it was easy to fix, but I prefer now to just let it sit with water in it for a good long while.

I am going to see if I can get the driftwood to sink but if not I am just going to roll with it. After reading up on it I think I will just keep a eye out for some at my LFS. I like the idea of picking it up on the bank of a local lake but not sure what type of wood it is and how hard/soft it is.

Lights should come in, in a few days and then I can see what it looks like lighted up.
gibs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2014, 03:10 AM   #12
Aquadawg
Algae Killer
 
Aquadawg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 409
Default

Great tank! I too am a saltwater convert. Make sure you get a good batch of tetras. Look at your lfs about a week before you are ready. If the same fish are still there a week later, it's a good sign. Some are wild caught and get stressed out in the process. I'd get about eight to ten small ones. I prefer the cardinals myself. Also, amano shrimp are super tough and can defend themselves against most fish and keep the tank super clean.

Also a very reliable heater is important as the smaller tanks can experience larger temperature swings and greater evaporation. Tetras have flourished for me at 82 degrees, not in the 70's as some say.

One of my favorite tetra foods are tetra nibblers. They stick to the side of the tank and tetras swarm to them and put on quite a show at feeding time. Get the veggie ones.

Welcome aboard!

Best,

Joe
Aquadawg is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2014, 04:13 AM   #13
gibs
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Default

Thanks Joe and great advice! I am probably going to keep the tank in the upper 70's probably close to 80. Depending on everything else of course. I will have a heater in the tank but honestly more worried about keeping that size tank cool if a/c goes out in middle of summer though.

I wouldn't call myself a convert I still have a saltwater tank and don't think anything will ever keep me from having a reef tank of some sort around. All this research though has me itching to do a planted betta tank!

Thanks
gibs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2014, 04:18 AM   #14
Aquadawg
Algae Killer
 
Aquadawg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 409
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gibs View Post
Thanks Joe and great advice! I am probably going to keep the tank in the upper 70's probably close to 80. Depending on everything else of course. I will have a heater in the tank but honestly more worried about keeping that size tank cool if a/c goes out in middle of summer though.

I wouldn't call myself a convert I still have a saltwater tank and don't think anything will ever keep me from having a reef tank of some sort around. All this research though has me itching to do a planted betta tank!

Thanks
My pleasure
Aquadawg is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2014, 04:28 AM   #15
AutumnSun
Algae Grower
 
AutumnSun's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 106
Default

I just switched back to FW from a reef tank too! Awesome looking custom tank!
I had bettas in my community tank, so I can speak to that side of life: mine have all been very friendly fish(ie, coming up to the glass to say hi, begging for food, etc), clearly happy to have a chance at a better life in a bigger, nicer tank. Mine have also all loved a good water flow and playing in it. I didn't have ANY aggression problems with them in the community tank, and although this was several years ago, I know I had platies in there at one point and it is very likely they were in there together. My bettas are one of the only fish I NEVER had any issues with and were just pure joy and that's why now that I've come back to FW the first fish I got was a betta. I do know they can get sick eating too many shrimp in one go, so maybe test your guy out with one and see if he's going to treat it like sushi before you stick half a dozen in. Wouldn't want to see a kid loose his beloved pet. (I'm planning on using the same approach with my betta and some ornamental shrimp I've got my eye on)With the heater, it might be a good idea to slowly raise the temp so you don't shock the bettas system.
My two cents for the plants is to pass along the recommendations that were made to me: crypts, anubias and Micranthemum umbrosum('monte carlo'/[giant] baby tears). I found azolla, a green and red floater and red tiger lotuses on my own and think that they are really cool also.
A pleco is going to get HUGE. Too big for a nano, so unless you want to trade him in down the road(might not go over so well with a child), ottos are a great subsitute!
Hope that helps some; good luck!

Last edited by AutumnSun; 07-29-2014 at 04:44 AM.. Reason: forgot to mention something :)
AutumnSun is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012