Disse's Mini M (college distraction) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2016, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Disse's Mini M (college distraction)

Hey all, finally got my tank up and running so here's a journal to keep me accountable. Thanks to all who helped me out in my previous post.

I am not super new to the hobby but it's been a few years. I'd appreciate any advice! Or biting criticisms!

Tank: ADA Mini-M (5.5gal)
Filter: AquaClear 20 w/ Purigen
Light:
- 2x Fluval Mini Power Compact Lamp 13W (figure I can remove one if it's too much)
- Photoperiod: 3 on, 3 off, 4 on
Substrate: Eco-Complete
Ferts: Excel daily, Flourish 1/week, Flourish tabs (overkill?)

Flora: (note: HUGE thanks to everyone who advised me not to buy so many plants... even with just these 4 I still had to toss some!)
- Bacopa caroliniana
- Rotala rotundifolia
- Staurogyne repens
- Pearlweed (hemianthus micranthemoides)

Future fauna: (won't populate until Jan. 2017 so lots of time to think about it)
- RCS (probably amanos, as well)
- misc. snails
- few otos?
- chili rasbora?

As the tank matures/falls into ruin, I will definitely try to better control the distributions of plants and such... I dislike how the bacopa and rotala divide the tank in half. Maybe somewhere down the line, I'll move the bacopa to the middle and fill the left corner with a large, leafy plant (like a tiny sword? stargrass?).

Thanks for looking! Comments deeply appreciated.

Pics:
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^ Planting the tiniest s. repens I've ever seen!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Week 1 update:

Running smoothly so far, plants are experiencing a bit of melt but I'm passing it off as natural. Lots of obvious new growth on the rotala, pearlweed, and s. repens, can't tell as much with the bacopa. The bacopa is not enjoying being right under the filter, but I don't think any plant would. Maybe it just needs to adjust and grow new, stronger leaves and stems.

S. Repens is developing signature triangular leaves, they were very small and curled when planted!

Haven't seen the beginnings of algae yet, but I'm very wary... I'm not sure if I should perform water changes. On one hand, it's high light/ferts and perfect for a bloom if left unchecked. But I'm also trying to cycle (just monitoring if it'll start naturally, not seeding anything yet) and that'll disrupt my progress. I've just been topping off for now.

Also trying to figure out how to upload higher quality pics... they're too big if I link to imgur and I think TPT's attachment thing destroys them.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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The bacopa is showing signs of stem rot - unsure if new tank adjustment or signs of a larger deficiency. Some of the stems look strong, but others are yellowing/turning to mush, some just at a node.

I cut the ones that looked like they were starting to go weak and replanted the top, although one just completely disintegrated when I touched it so I'm letting the top float around to see if anything will come of it. Has anyone seen this before? What can I do?

Exhibit A: (cut and replant - note the nodes browning on the old stem)
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Exhibit B:
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-31-2016, 11:31 PM
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I like the driftwood in this tank! Bet it will look sweet when all the plants have grown in too.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-01-2016, 04:03 AM
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The tank looks great. I would swap out that mat you have under the tank though. It looks like its not quite as wide as the tank? If so then there is no support for the left and right edges.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-01-2016, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the kind words! I spent maybe 40 minutes in the store selecting those pieces... Driftwood is so hard.

Coues, good eye - you're right, the mat is missing about half the glass width on both sides. Is this structurally concerning? Will it put bad pressure on the edges? I thought maybe I could get away without purchasing a real mat. This one is actually a piece of foam that came with my backpack to give it shape.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-01-2016, 07:31 PM
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I'm not an engineer but I would swap it out. It seems like the side pieces of glass would have no support on the bottom, lose some structural stability of the tank. If you can find a yoga mat for cheap that would work.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2016, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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Week 2.5 update:

Thought I could just be lazy and let it cycle on its own, but nothing was happening (obviously) so I have some Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride coming in. But I did see some nitrites yesterday! Guess that's alright.

Of the 6 bacopa stems I got, 2 had some leaf melt but are growing well, and 4 entire stems have rotted or are in the process of. I'm assuming it's just adjustment pains, but it's pretty discouraging. Not sure if I should just get more or what.

The pearlweed looked ok when I put it in, but has since yellowed and basically all stems look dead. See pic:

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When should I call it quits? I really like this plant and would probably just order more... But this looks like some sort of nutrient deficiency? Some are looking slightly greener than from a few days ago but it might just be my eyes playing sad tricks.

Thankfully, the new rotala growth is looking really beautiful. I've never seen the leaves look like this from pics online but I'm enjoying them.

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Re: Coues's concern about the mat underneath, funny you should mention engineers, because I'm taking an engineering statics class. My professor said the difference an extended mat would make over just air is negligible compared to the weight of the tank and water. So should be good.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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Week 4 update:

Alright, so long story short, all the bacopa and pearlweed died so I pulled them out. Tank didn't look terrible but a little sad:

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Discovered a ton of beautiful, tiny sideshoots on the rotala, which got me super excited.

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However, not only are the plants showing signs of deficiency (most apparently nitrogen), but I'm getting BBA, diatoms, blue green, etc. It's inevitable with a new tank and especially mine with no CO2. I don't mind it unless it starts inhibiting the growth of the plants, but starting next week I'm going to start dosing Seachem NPK and Iron according to their suggested schedule, so we'll see how that goes.

I've also been seeding the tank with Dr. Tim's ammonia and nitrite levels are steadily rising; hopefully cycled by the new year.

I really didn't know what to put in the back left now that the bacopa has been laid to rest; I wanted something that would look alright with the rotala. I've always wanted ludwigia repens but never had the means to buy any, so I'm trying it out now (figured if it looked bad, it'll probably rot and die anyway so I'll get an opportunity to replace it, lol).

Also put in some anubias nana petite and more pearlweed (new planting strategy, flattened down into a sort-of-mat, hopefully it will look better with time or at least not die).

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In contrast to the new arrivals, s. repens looks so tiny and sad (the specimens I received were just minuscule). I may consider replacing it with some bushy hygro, AR mini, or similar-looking plant in the future.

Currently away for a week for Thanksgiving, so I'm paying another student to come in once a day and put Excel and ammonia in the tank. Here's hoping it's all intact when I get back!

P.S. Someone please teach me how to upload better-quality photos!! They're high resolution until I run them through TPT's attachment thing and then they come out looking like trash.
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