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Old 03-24-2013, 01:58 AM   #1
AdrianBellue
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Help Starting a 5 gallon


Hello. I'm new here on The Planted Tank.

I recently acquired a 5 gallon ADA Mini M Cube Garden tank. I want to set it up and I need help figuring everything out.

The tank came with the corresponding AquaSky LED and a mat and glass cover.

I don't know exactly what I want yet, I was hoping for some help with that as well.
I have experience with breeding cichlids, but that's about it.

I want to create something with a Zen look and feel to help with inspiration for writing music, as I am a performer and composer.
I like Iwagumi style planted tanks and am partial to shrimp, but I'm open for suggestions.

I am on a tight budget. Although I have an ADA Cube Garden, I cannot afford an ADA setup.
Please consider costs with your suggestions.

Thank you.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
jl209
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Welcome to tpt! You have a pretty awesome start with your tank and light.
With the light you are going to have to have c02. You can setup up diy c02 for like 5 bucks to get you by. You can get a tank regulator and bubble counter for around 150 bucks mabye cheaper if you get a deal on the tank on craigslist. Drop checker is like 10 bucks on [Ebay Link Removed] Pool filter sand is like 10 bucks for a bag at leslies pool supply. An ehiem 2213 for your filter cqn also double as your c02 reactor those go for about 80 bucks. For like 20 or 30 bucks you can get all the plants you need from a member in the swap and shop.
So you can get started for 130 bucks with diy c02 and have a great setup. Eventually you will get tired of diy c02 but it will get you going. Goodluck post some pics when you get setup.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:35 PM   #3
DefStatic
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Here is what I tell anyone who gets into any hobby like this. This also applies to buying a car or computer.

Figure out what is the max you can invest and then get the best stuff you can in that budget. And maybe I missed it, but do you plan to have fish?

Stuff you need:
Filter -
Get yourself a decent filter. Doesn't have to be an $100 filter.

Heater and Thermometer -
You may or may not need these, depending on your needs and room.

Substrate:
It can be tough to find a 5lb bag for your needs, and all you need is 5lbs, and I doubt you will use that. I used Petco Sand for $5 in my 4gal. And still didn't use the whole bag LOL.

Plants:
Figure out what plants you want. You will easily spend $30 on plants, trust me.

Fish:
Do you plan to have fish? You need to decide now. Remember, it is only a 5gal,. you can't pack a bunch of fish in there.

Test Kit:
I do not normally support going to Amazon over a LFS, but Amazon has the API Master Test Kit or whatever it is called, that is normally $35 to $40 in my LFS for only $20, which is a steal IMO.

Randoms:
If you are going to have fish, you will need a water conditioner. You may or may not need root tabs, or a liquid fert. You might need random tools at some point. I have a betta in mine, and find I will need some sort of long tweezers to pick out dropped food, once it is cycled.

My biggest advice, STUDY! Read up on here, read the articles, FAQ, stickies. Watch peoples posts. You will see others starting exactly where you are every day on here. Read their posts, see what people are telling them. Go to the library, get a book. Or find some articles online. Read about the plants you want to keep, the fish you want to keep. Read about cycling, but do not get overwhelmed by it, it is way easier than some people make it out to be. Patience is the key.

You have one of the best tanks, or at least show tanks, out there. So people may see what you are starting with and assume you have deep pockets LOL.

It can all add up really quick. I have spent nearly $200 on my setup.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:17 PM   #4
darthmilmo
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Default Re: Help Starting a 5 gallon

Here is the beginning of my 5G. I havent had a time to post the blog. It's a modified walstad tank... 2 inches dirt and clay kitty litter mixed... top with 1 inch black diamomd silica used for sand blasting. I have diy co2, a bobble sponge filter and a temporary filter for current. The light is a spiral CFL giving 23W at 6500k. I am still tossing the fish selection around either 1 betta or neon shrimp. The current plant is regular baby tear (HM).
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:18 PM   #5
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He doesn't have very much money but I posted in a hurry and left out a few critical details. Ferts! Ya you need those lol nilocg sells packages on here for like 20 bucks shipped. Enough to last years on a 5 gallon. I never test my water so I always forget to recommend a test kit. You should get one mine is collecting dust in my closet lol. A 25 or 50 w heater is something you should look into getting. Although if your house is in the seventies cherries will do ok without a heater people keep them in unheated bowls all the time. Tweezers and scissors are good to have around. If we knew your budget we could make better recommendations on your setup. My recommendation is very basic to get you started and not optimal. Take defstatics advice and read up or else you will have a trial by algae.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:29 PM   #6
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Also get shrimp from members in the swap n shop you will save a ton of money cherry shrimp are cheap!
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:35 AM   #7
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Wow didn't expect so many replies so fast. Sorry for the delayed response.
Excellent feedback, but I forgot to mention I have some things already.
Here's what I have lying around and given to me from friends/family:

Aqua clear 20 with brand new media
Fluval mini pressurized co2 system 20g brand new unopened
3x 20g fluval co2 cartridges
5x 16g co2 carts with same threading
Fluval 88g bubble counter
1 bottle seachem flourish excel
1 bag seachem black flourite sand
Fluval tweezers
Fluval trimmers


So aside from plants and possible hardscaping materials, is this enough to start something?
Like I said before I want something Zen, something I can work on daily and create a piece of art that will help with inspiration for writing my music.

And I do want fish after it cycles and matures with plant growth.
I'm partial to the amano shrimp as I've loved their cleaning capabilities before,
But I really want a small school of celestial pearl danios or something similar.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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Awesome your almost good to go. With a hob filter you will need to crank up your c02 to counter the off gassing your going to get. No big deal though I run a sump on my 90 and dont have any problems. If you go with fish you will absolutetly need a heater. A drop checker is highly recommended they are very cheap. Get a test kit as well to make sure your tank has cycled before adding fish. Im not sure if your c02 kit comes woth a diffuser or not but you will need one of those. Lots of options to go with there. Also order some fertilizer you can go with seachem ferts or dry ferts. Both are good but dry ferts are WAY cheaper. Above all learn about planted tanks. Learn about adding ferts and the importance of c02 wayerchanges maintenance etc read alot it will pay off. Congrats you have a top notch start learn how to properly care for your tank and you will have an awesome tank.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:33 PM   #9
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Nice to see you here Adrian! Welcome to the club!

You will find a great value in reading through this thread:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ighlight=Frank

As for your purchase decisions, I would say that a single bag of Amazonia Normal type will get you incredibly more bang for the buck over Fluorite.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:41 PM   #10
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Watch out, Frank is probably the world's best salesman!
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPDzeke View Post
Watch out, Frank is probably the world's best salesman!
I laughed!
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:14 PM   #12
AdrianBellue
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All right, I'll look into getting a bag of amazonia. Is it truly necessary to use all the other ADA products underneath the soil that I've seen online? They're rather expensive...
The co2 I have comes with a diffuser.
What exactly is a drop checker and what's it used for?
Looks like I have a multi purpose test kit as well.
And as mentioned above I will need fertilizers? I'm guessing that's not what this bottle of sea hem flourish excel is? What else do I need before setting up?
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianBellue View Post
All right, I'll look into getting a bag of amazonia. Is it truly necessary to use all the other ADA products underneath the soil that I've seen online? They're rather expensive...
The co2 I have comes with a diffuser.
What exactly is a drop checker and what's it used for?
Looks like I have a multi purpose test kit as well.
And as mentioned above I will need fertilizers? I'm guessing that's not what this bottle of sea hem flourish excel is? What else do I need before setting up?
No it's not necessary but it is helpful. I personally don't. Too much money. However they do sometimes have a nano package... not in stock now but it comes with some of the extra substrate pieces.

A drop checker measures the amount of C02 dissolved. Green = 30ppm. Blue = too little, yellow = too much. Flourish excel is liquid carbon. You can use it as an algae-cide (though not recommended), or if you don't have c02.

And as in any tank I'm assuming you have stuff like buckets, siphons, nets, and that kinda thing right? Also, check the test kit's expiration date if it is old. They go bad after, what 3 years?

Hope this helps
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Last edited by assasin6547; 03-26-2013 at 04:24 PM.. Reason: add. info
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:01 PM   #14
AdrianBellue
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OK I'll probably get some amazonia aqua soil,but I'd really like to avoid spending on all the other substrate systems...
I'll get a drop checker.
I have buckets and siphons and nets.
Kits still good.
What ferts should I get? Anything else?
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:54 PM   #15
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You can just use the sand it will work fine. Put some osmocote root tabs in it if you have heavy root feeders. I never understood paying 40 bucks for a bag of dirt. It does look nice though. You can also do a layer of mineralized top soil capped with sand. Do a search of this site or google estimative index
Fertilization routine. Do a search on how drop checkers work. Read all the articles on this site you will not be successful unless you at least know the basics.
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