Fluval V - Getting Back in the Hobby - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Fluval V - Getting Back in the Hobby

Hello plantedtank!

Back in high school I had a few tanks, but as I got busier with school they fell into disrepair and I ultimately broke them all down.

I just graduate a few months ago and now have a job, a place, and more disposable income to play around with. I made an early Christmas present to myself of a Spec V. I promised that this time I would trick out my tank with all the goodies I couldn't afford back in my student tanks.

It's been running for about 6 weeks, or so without any livestock. I just managed to give it a good clean and get some nice pics last night, so please enjoy, and give me lots of feedback on how to improve!

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Specs:
Standard Spec Light, Filter
Hydor 50w heater
Aquatek Mini Paintball CO2 rig
Eco-Complete Black

Ferts:
NiloCG Macros and CSM+B ~ once/week (I know, I know I need to hit it more often)
Excel ~ when I remember (dosing for algae control, I have a bit or hair algae starting to grow, but I've already reduced the photoperiod)

Flora
5x stems Alternatha Reinecki 'mini'
5x stems Hygrophila 'red'
5x clumps Staurogyne repens
3x pots Micranthemum 'monte carlo'

Future Plans:
I'm planning to start stocking this tank in about 6 weeks. I've got 4 different plans in mind:
1. Betta fish - might even order one from Thailand/SAE
2. Pygmy Cories - I think these guys are just the cutest, but I'm afraid they wont like my eco complete substrate
3. Dwarf Puffers - given the plant life and filtration, I think I could accommodate 3-4. Again, an adorable fish with lots of personality (also my SO really like the idea of dwarf puffers)
4. School of small fish - Ember tetras, CPDs, Green Neons, something of that nature

Pleas give lots of feedback on my stocking suggestions and anything else you might care to add!

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 04:12 PM
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That's a really tasteful layout. I'm wondering if your stocking plans might be a little aggressive, 5 gallons is super small for most vertebrates. The dwarf puffer stands out to me especially, the 5 gallon recommendation is usually for just one puffer.

I'm thinking shrimp for my 5 gallon tank. Neocardinia come in all sorts of colors and are known to be extremely hardy.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 02:30 PM
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I think a piece of driftwood along one side with some moss and / or anubias nana would really give it more character. Puffers and Bettas can be pretty aggressive. I don't think that stocking would work in a 5 gallon tank...

Twin high tech 75's -
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-26-2017, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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I've heard widely varying reports on dwarf/pea puffers.

Some people apparently keep 4 in a 5 gallon with no issues. I was just at my LFS, and they had about 40 or so in what looked like maybe a 50 gallon aquarium (estimates on both stocking and volume). Obviously I don't wanna harm any of my fish, but at the same time I really do want pea puffers. I'd be happy scaling back to one or two, but I would like as many as I can manage.

FYI, I'm planning to stuff a bunch of purigen and some extra ceramic in the filter compartment before I add any livestock.

I was just away for a few days, so I'll be posting some more pics tonight/tomorrow. I'm really hoping the monte carlo fills in a bit for me. Maybe I'll have to upgrade my lights after all...

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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As promised, I've got an update on my tank.

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As you can see, I'm getting some pretty strong growth from the alternatha and the hygro and moderate growth from the staurygone repens. I am however starting to get a little concerned about the monte carlo. I see new growth since I trimmed it, but its not looking to carpet at all. Also, the the alternatha is losing some of its redness... I see a lot of red in the stem and the in new growth, but at as the leaves mature they move to a more bronze tone.

Algae is present (especially one the back and sides, which I tend to scrape less thoroughly then the front) but ferts and the split photo-period seem to be working wonders.

I'm considering eliminating the driftwood and planting the stems a more densely.

Still thinking about stocking. At this point, I'm leaning most heavily towards dwarf puffers, but the earliest I would be getting them is the fifth.

Let me know what you think!

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-17-2018, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Its been a while since I posted, so I'll give some overall updates.

I picked up a single pea puffer a little over a week ago. It turns out pea puffers are very easy to sex, and I'm very confident that it is in fact a she.



That's her there, managed a surprisingly good photo with my S6. I wonder if there are any apps that people use to improve aquarium photography or just any tricks to cell phone photos...

She's really fun to watch, has a ton of personality. I've been offering frozen bloodworms, but she doesn't seem super interested in them. I think its because she's largely been feeding herself on the inverts in the tank, although as she eats more and more I suspect the population will get to be too small to adequately support her and she'll start to show more interest in the food I offer.

I'm planning to pick up 2 more, either one male and one female or two more females. I think that the tank has enough hiding places for that many fish, and it can certainly handle the bioload, since its been running for two months now, and is heavily planted.



Most of the plants are coming in well, although I with the ar was growing a bit more quickly. I'm starting to think that I'll have to upgrade to a stronger light to coax more growth out of it. I do still have some algae, but notably less then in weeks past.

I'm very disappointing with my monte carlo, which is growing but not carpeting the way I would like it to. I'm strongly considering tearing it out and getting more s. repens. I really like the way it looks and its been growing pretty strongly without much effort on my part.

Let me know what you all think, love to hear feedback!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Major update:

It's been three months since I updated you all on this tank. The biggest change is that I've now gotten religious about dosing ferts. I was away for a month and had my friend taking care of the tank for a while, and under his care it really flourished - I wish I had a picture from when I first came back to my overgrown jungle! My dosing regimen has stablized at Nitrogen every other day, no phosphates (I think they were really encouraging algae growth), CMS+B once a week, and Iron once a week (i also dose excel, mainly as an algaecide, a few times a week).

Without any further ado, hear are the pictures:


As you may notice, I pulled out the AR mini, since it wasn't doing terribly well. It got to be pretty green under the stock light, which I don't feel a strong need to replace, so i took it out and put it in the 20L that I started a few months back.

I've also added some A. nana on the driftwood. It's definitely shaded where it is, but I don't mind slow growth. A nana is one of my all time favorite plants, so excited to have it growing again!

Bonus close up shots:



I'm thinking of offering my hygro for sale or trade. Its a beautiful varietal, and i've never seen it offered anywhere else online. I have to trim it every week and I've been throwing it out, which seems like rather a waste. What do people think? Would you pay 10 bucks for a sandwich bag of two inch stems? Bear in mind, it grows like a weed.

Alright, let me know what everyone thinks. I have to say, this tank just makes me so happy. It's really matured into a gorgeous little oasis.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-25-2018, 11:15 PM
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The CO2 combined with your fertilization really helps for this tank.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2018, 12:49 AM
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Monte Carlo

I'm curious about your Monte Carlo. At what point (i.e. how many months) did it start to spread and become a full carpet? What did you change to get it to start carpeting? Could you go into more specifics on your dosing? I have a 5.5 gal as well and my Monte Carlo is very unwilling to carpet
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2018, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wendelii View Post
I'm curious about your Monte Carlo. At what point (i.e. how many months) did it start to spread and become a full carpet? What did you change to get it to start carpeting? Could you go into more specifics on your dosing? I have a 5.5 gal as well and my Monte Carlo is very unwilling to carpet
I'd say it took 3 months to reaaaalllllllyyyy carpet. I have a small scooper, maybe a teaspoon or so, and I dose about half of that. So i'd say its half a teaspoon every other day of nitrogen. I havent been dosing phospates for a while. Similarly, I do about half an mL of iron once a week (I have liquid iron) and also half an teaspoon of CSM+B (i bought it from Nilocg a while back). I think the CO2 really helps, perhaps more than anything else.

What have you been doing lately in terms of dosing?
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2018, 07:25 PM
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I really enjoy how you've let the hydro. Really fill in! The carpet looks great too. I think the A. nana should do well were your put it too.

How goes your efforts to hide your CO2 diffuser and heater in the pump compartment?

Anyway, I love what you've done with this tank. Following continued progress.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-26-2018, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Science Seuss View Post
I really enjoy how you've let the hydro. Really fill in! The carpet looks great too. I think the A. nana should do well were your put it too.

How goes your efforts to hide your CO2 diffuser and heater in the pump compartment?

Anyway, I love what you've done with this tank. Following continued progress.

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For now its just stuck in the back compartment next to the heater, since I've got a very slim diffuser and heater. I'm worried that its not diffusing efficiently though, since that part of tank doesnt get much flow. Long run I may try out something different.

The h. polysperma is a really great plant, but in the long run I'm actually planning to rip it all out and move it to a new tank that I'm working on, which is going to be medium-low light and no CO2. I know itll thrive in there, and I can try something even cooler in the spec!

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 08:40 PM
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Fluval V - Getting Back in the Hobby

Wow, you know it was between a Fluval spec v and the 60-P I have. The only reason I went with the 60-P was because I got the stand and tank for only 100$ I have always want to set up one of these cool tanks. Looks like a very nice tank, canít wait for the a. Petite to fill in.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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So, biiiiiig things have happened with this tank. First, the boring stuff. I got my hands on one of the GLA inline diffusers (I opted for the 8/12mm model, which fits pretty well on the tubing for the fluval pump, which, as it turns out, is some kind of weird, non-standard size) and managed to cram it, along with the heater, in the filter compartment! I took the mounting bracket off the diffuser (won't be going anywhere where its at), but found that my heater was touching the glass no matter what I did to position it in the compartment. After what felt like an hour messing around with it to no avail, I struck upon the idea of tying a small length of airline tubing around the bottom of the heater, which works perfectly!


A few days (and a number of compulsive plant purchases) later, I decided that I simply HAD to rescape the tank. I left work early today, giving me the time to really get my hands dirty. So, first feast your eyes on the tank at its worst:


So let me explain what I did:
  1. Removed ALL of the H. Polysperma. Don't worry, I help on to a few stems, and that will be going in the low-tech tank I'm going to be setting up in a few weeks. For now its hanging out in my 20L (which I should really start a journal for).
  2. Removed all the a. nana 'petite.' Don't worry, this is also going to get re-used, likely in my lowtech tank.
  3. PLanted about 10 stems of r. macronda 'green'. I got this as a freebie with a recent purchase, and I'm totally in love with it. Curious to see how it does under lower light.
  4. Planted about 7 stems of r. indica, also purchased here on the forum.
  5. Attached 5 or so pieces of the absolutely STUNNING a. nana 'white' to the driftwood, which is staying in about the same spot.
Here it is, in all of its barren glory:


Eagle-eyed observers will note that there is some mossy tied to a rock in the middle of the tank, but that too is ultimately bound for the low tech setup I have planned.

I know its not much to look at right now, but I hope to have it back up to snuff in a few months.

Let me know what you think! Have I made a horrible mistake, or do you like the new direction?

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by cbachmann View Post

I know its not much to look at right now, but I hope to have it back up to snuff in a few months.

Let me know what you think! Have I made a horrible mistake, or do you like the new direction?
It looks ok. I think you've made a fine decision as long as it feels right to you.

We'll see how it goes!

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