Newbie Fluval Flex 9G - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie Fluval Flex 9G

Hi all,
Just starting my first aquarium since childhood, and after about a month of reading I knew I wanted to get into planted tanks! Figured a journal would be beneficial for catching mistakes and learning all the things
I picked up a Fluval Flex 9G kit (in hindsight I probably would have preferred a 20 long but hey it was a steal) and over the next few weeks gathered soil (Tropica Aquarium Soil that was a pain to wash cause it kept disintegrating into more silt) and buckets and some Seachem products in advance.



I had a hard time finding hardscape that would fit actually, but Vancouver has some awesome LFS around. Unfortunately that meant my plants (pre-packaged Tropica) sat for a couple weeks and despite keeping them under light I lost about half my carpet stock and might lose more down the road. My Anubias Nana had some black slime on the leaves that I scraped and washed off, so hoping I don't end up with a BBA explosion later...
Finally planted 3 days ago, and I had decided on a DSM since I won't have time to monitor fish and water parameters over the holidays. Here is Day 0:



As you can see, the Monte Carlo took a hit from sitting so long. There was no gel left and half of it had become dark green. Fingers crossed I can save some of it. On the rock and driftwood is a split Anubias Nana, and the right back corner has Crypto Wendtii (I'm expecting it to melt several times during now to fish time).
And here we are at Day 3, with a tank temp of 72 F and a healthy fog on the sides:





Feel free to critique the koalas out of it. I'm totally winging it so I'm expecting speed bumps.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2017, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a week and my Monte Carlo is mush (as I was expecting). There are 2 clumps sort of hanging in there and I wanna see if they rally again but it's a long shot. I figure there won't be a carpet in this tank and I'll focus on getting the hang of stem plants instead. I picked up a Tropica Nymphiodes hydrophylla "Taiwan" and planted it tonight. The LFS said it will do ok in a dry start, but I'll probably flood the tank sooner than I planned.
Anywho, everything is droopy and I've got a hairy blue mold already starting up on the driftwood - another reason to flood sooner than later. I've left significant air holes now instead of airing an hour a day, and sucked up a bunch more water with a sponge, so hopefully it doesn't get too cold. Temps been holding around 67 F sooo...

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 01:14 AM
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67 is pretty cold. I don't know if it's too cold for some of the plants, but it isn't where it should be. A heater for that size tank would only need to be 50w. I got a Hydor Theo 50w for $15 shipped on Amazon. I'm not a fan of the low tech struggle. If you don't intend to do C02 I'd invest in a jug of metricide. Like $26 for a gallon. In a 9 gallon it would last close to a year and it's also a potent algacide. Weekly eater changes of at least 25% and maybe an all in one fert like Thrive. That should cover it. Lights on 7 - 8 hours a day.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 01:33 AM
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I have that same flex, its a nice little tank. You should look at getting a timer though to keep things consistent. I got one for that tank for 3 bucks at Home Depot. The light works well for low light plants. But as mentioned above you should look into getting a 50w heater, and consider getting seachem excel or something similar.

I agree with an all in one liquid fertilizer. Seachem has a lineup of liquid ferts, but it gets annoying having to measure every nutrient.

Other than that everything mentioned above is spot on.

I found it hard to scape my flex the first time. I re-did it a week ago and its looking a little better.

Last piece of advice is the pump on the flex is pretty strong, I'm not sure what fish you will keep but you should consider diffusing the flow, or getting an adjustable pump like this one https://www.saltwateraquarium.com/sy...110-gph-sicce/

My betta is not a fan of the flow.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-18-2017, 02:50 AM
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I have that same tank, 1st generation edition, which has been up and running for 9 months. I'm using the Fluval M50 heater in the back sump area next to the pump. It fits perfectly, has a cool blue light when it's heating, and is extremely consistent. Keeping temp set to 77 degrees F. I have 5 Chile Rasboras, a group of yellow Neocaridina Shrimp, an Amano Shrimp and 2 Nerite Snails. For substrate I used Seachem Aquasolum topped with Flourite and my low-tech plants are all doing just fine. I've never tried DSM but more power to you for trying it out. Post some more pics so we can see your progress.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice all! I took a bit from each of your suggestions haha.. I managed to keep my hair on AND keep the tank alive over the holidays. I ordered the Hydor 50W heater suggested by TheDude1 and it showed up in one piece despite the box looking pretty squashed. I cracked open the bottle of Prime and flooded the tank on Dec 21, ending up with the loss of a few floating plant clumps that I couldn't get replanted, floating Anubias (I'll have to find a couple rocks), and semi-floating wood (thank goodness I waterlogged it prior). I also cut some slits in filter sponge to diffuse the flow from the filter (thanks PlantsForHire!) and threw in the moss balls that have been waiting patiently in plastic:



I've had the heater set to 75 F and it's been holding steady, and I picked up a Woods timer (thanks again PlantsForHire!) and set my lights to 7 hours. Between work and holiday travel, I didn't really have time to read up on how to get things moving once the water was in (ferts, CO2, fishless cycling), so I did a quick 25% WC with my fingers crossed as I went out the door to leave for 5 days.
I was happy to find mostly happy plants when I came home earlier - the Nymphiodes Taiwan is taking right off with one stem already to the surface but it seems a little pale to me. I still haven't anchored my floating Anubias... and the moss balls and a few leaves are taking on a white-ish slime. There was also at least one dead leaf on every Taiwan and Crypt that I tried removing. Hoping my scaping kit shows up soon to make clean up easier.




Side view of the Taiwan

So now more reading. I have Flourish Excel, the Tropica Specialized liquid fert, and Stability. I'm gonna put together a schedule of how much and when of what in the next few days. Definitely going to want to change some plants around I think..
and I guess I should start thinking about fish too!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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So it's been a little over 3 weeks since flooding, and it's going swell! I had moved some of the Nymphiodes Taiwan from the side towards the middle, and spread the crypts more to the front. The filter sponge I'm using to diffuse flow would make a full Taiwan background less than ideal.
I've done my first full week of daily Seachem Stability, been dosing Flourish Excel daily and Tropica Specialized liquid ferts after weekly water changes. No algae thanks to the Seachem Prime, and my crypts have barely melted which was surprising. My photo period is roughly 8 hours, with white and red lights on, and then evenings on the couch I turn on the color cycle for a few hours.
I wonder if that is why some of my taller Taiwan leaves are getting a bit yellow now that I think of it... too much light? And when to trim?


FTS

I tested only a couple parameters 2 days ago, pH seems to always be at 6.6 and Ammonia 0.25ppm. I could add some fish food I suppose, see if the cycling goes faster.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 06:10 PM
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Usually yellowing leaves is a sign of deficiency, but I don't remember which one. It could be light, but it's probably nitrate. Fast growing plants are nitrogen hogs.... My guess is nitrate. Get some KN03. You s5ill don't have fish?

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dude1 View Post
You s5ill don't have fish?
Haaaa yeahhh no... Well I have a betta waiting to go into a Fluval Chi but for this tank in particular I am trying and failing to do a fishless cycle. I have no filter media from an established tank to boost it. Maybe the betta pellets I have aren't putting out enough ammonia? It's water testing day again tomorrow, so we'll see. I'm probably being over paranoid about NTS as well haha
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-05-2018, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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After a month this tank is so happy (knock on wood)! The pH is riding around 6.4, still in cycle with 30%WC twice a week to keep ammonia around 0.25ppm, Nitrites 0, and Nitrates up to 2 ppm in between changes.
I have added 6 male lyretail guppies, a nerite snail, and a young honey gourami over time as well.
Plant additions are Salvinia auriculata (they look like little cat tongues :P ), Limnophila sessiliflora, and Echniodorus reni.


Pre-gourami and new plants




Gourami float





I really wish the crypts would fill out more.. I also tried splitting the foam I had over the filter outlet and spread them out for more light. I'm also am actively trimming back the Nymphiodes and Limnophila and scooping out the Salvinia weekly, so we'll see how that helps out.
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