3gal nano - third try's the charm - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Talking 3gal nano - third try's the charm

Hello all! I thought I'd journal my newest effort to keep an aquarium, as this seems like a nice place. Advice and conversation welcomed as I learn through experience!

To give a quick background, I've had a couple of tanks in the past, as well as the too-common under-informed community tank and betta bowls. I'm so glad that the internet has brought better fish-keeping practices into more mainstream use. My most recent fish were at least 5 years ago, though, and I shut those tanks down out of frustration that they were never quite what I wanted. Trying again, starting now, with a nano that can sit near my computer (one of the problems before was that the tanks weren't in a living space, so I never really spent time with them except for water changes).

DAY 1
Cleared off the table and some storage near my desk, so the tank will be enjoyed every day. Got the new tank and a better filter dry set up. I didn't use the crappy sponges that come with that tank, but I had some old filter materials left from years before. Bio and mechanical, no charcoal.

One big surprise during this: I thought I'd be re-using an old heater, but the Stealth has been recalled (something about the occasional explosion?). So I'm about to order the THEO 25W. If it's 7" it'll fit nicely; if it's 10" like the Amazon page says, it won't...

Tomorrow I think I'll get to add substrate - I'm thinking a mix of sand and Fluorite (both already on-hand). Will this work for planting? I can keep fish alive, but plants will be a new thing for me...my last try didn't go so well!

Nothing very interesting to see yet, but have some pix! 3gal Nano - Beginning to setup new tank (no water) - Album on Imgur
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 07:25 AM
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You can really use any substrate you want but with inert substrates like sand and flourite you will need to supplement the plants with some nutrients from fertilisers. Since the tank isn't using CO2 you won't have to use tonnes.
Alternatively you could use dirt underneath the sand or fluorite, which would mean dosing probably wouldn't have to be done. However, I can't give much guidance on that as I've never used dirt.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 08:11 AM
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I like using sand with root tabs, easy cleaning, easy supplementation. If you mix the substrates, in the end finer will go down. If you meant doing part of the tank with sand, part with fluorite - it's hard to keep it nice too, you need some barriers to do so.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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I don't mind the fluorite and sand mixing and shifting, but I'm wondering now if it's even worth using both. I thought the fluorite was supposed to be helpful for plant growth (iron, iirc) but it makes sense that I would need some sort of macro supplement. Will have to refresh my understanding of what's needed for a low tech (and probably low light) tank... I like the look of sand but I was worried about planting in it alone - don't you get anaerobic pockets? But I don't understand how to stir sand without dislodging anything that's trying to root into it! Somehow substrate choice always seems like the most complicated thing in the world. I've never done a dirted tank and I was hoping to keep this one pretty simple.

I'll be stopping at PetSmart this afternoon, so if there are supplements I need or alternate substrates I'll have an opportunity to change directions.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 01:42 PM
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Don't worry about anaerobic pockets, I treat it like a myth ;-) They're not harmful and getting few MTS will keep your sand mixed if you want. I have deep fine sand bed (10 cm deep) for ~9 years now, it works as a great biofilter.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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A myth? Interesting! Good suggestion on the MTSs, though - will do that!

If I go sand only for substrate, what water/substrate additions should I plan on to support plants?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 10:52 PM
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3gal nano - third try's the charm

Some sort of all-in-one fertiliser would be the simplest route, NilocG sells one. You could try low-tech EI and use dry salts too.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Plants are IN!

Thanks to all the kind folks of the internet - this forum and other places - I'm moving forward! It is so easy to worry and research and try to fill in all the gaps of my knowledge, but I decided this time to just start, and fix anything that breaks as needed.

My local PetSmart has the TopFin plants in plastic packaging, and no one else nearby carries much in the way of plants. Expensive!!! but I couldn't find anything online in small quantities. My nano tank does not need 100 stems, but thanks, aquabid...

It's still super cloudy from sediment (added the sand this morning), so not much to see. I may have to rearrange when my heater comes in - I forgot that was missing until I'd already gotten started.




Imgur Gallery (updated)
BettaBettas and BettaBettas like this.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Tiny update to my nano-journal: I upgraded the light a couple weeks ago, and the plants seem to be doing better. I trimmed a couple of stems and replanted them this morning, so if they do okay I'll do the rest.

Also did a water test, and it looks good - somewhere between 0 and 'is that a touch greenish' (<0.25ppm) ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 10 nitrate. I *think* that means the tank has cycled but the plant growth hasn't been enough to consume all the nitrates generated. Hopefully the new lighting will encourage them! I'll do a partial water change here in a bit (first one) and retest the water next week - if I see no problems, I may finally get to add something mobile to the tank! Still deciding whether that should be a betta fish or some shrimp...
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