New Planted 15g Fluval Flex - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-25-2018, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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New Planted 15g Fluval Flex

I've been keeping saltwater and reef tanks for over a decade. When the custom hood and LED setup I built at the start of it all began to fail, I decided I'd make a change and try my hand at a planted freshwater tank. (Don't worry, my fish and coral all went to a good LFS and were sold within a week to a good home. )

My very first aquarium was a freshwater but with all plastic decorations, so this isn't my first time with freshwater, but very much my first time with live plants. I ended up selecting the Fluval Flex 15g because my experience with my saltwater habitats was using the old Biocube all-in-one setups and I wanted the same, clean look that would fit on my old Biocube stand.

I'm running this tank 100% stock. No modifications this time around because I want something much less intensive to take care of than my reefers. The substrate is Fluval Stratum, with a couple pieces of driftwood and some dragon stone. The lighting is 7500K LED. I've not been able to get a solid report on exactly how many watts this bar is, but it's somewhere just below 1w per gallon, if I can believe anything I've read. If I get really into this, I may pick up another light bar to double the watts.


Here's a picture of the tank only about an hour after planting and doing the aquascape. It's obviously a bit cloudy still.

https://i.imgur.com/hNDYbPc.jpg

I've only just planted the tank with some random stuff picked out by the LFS. I asked them specifically for low light requirement plants and appropriate for a non-Co2 supplement tank. I did do some research before hand, but darned if I remember all the names of the plants. Although I know that just about anything with "java" in the name is pretty much okidokie. Aside from the moss ball, and the superglued Java ferns, I have no idea what the tall stuff in the back or the red-ish stuff planted near the middle of the aquascape is called, lol!

I let the tank run for about a week with just the aquascape before planting and didn't cycle the tank like I'd normally do. I've read enough about how cycling a planted tank isn't as important, provided you let the plants begin growing and consuming nutrients first. I do have some pure ammonia I now plan to dose, however, and definitely see if I can get a cycle before I throw any livestock into it.

For fish, I plan on getting a handful of either Tetras or Danios, not really made up my mind yet. Also add a shrimp or two.

So yeah! Let a new era of a tank begin!
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Last edited by Salty1710; 08-25-2018 at 02:40 AM. Reason: plant stuff.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-25-2018, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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And just like that, within a few hours, everything has cleared up and perked up quite nicely!

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 04:52 PM
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Looks great!

The lights should be fine as far as low-light plants are concerned - I have this tank too and plants have always done well enough.

Glad to see that you have the filter guards on as these WILL be necessary come stocking. I found this out the hard way, unfortunately! As far as stocking is concerned, I'd probably avoid danios as the tank doesn't offer much length to swim in, but a shoal of tetras could look lovely. Microrasboras could look lovely too, and you could get more of them. Whatever you choose though, surely it's better to make sure the cycle is complete first?

Also from personal experience, make sure that you have an adjustable spanner on hand! The filter is irritating (at the very least) to take apart should something go wrong.

Looking forwards to more updates!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelongsnail View Post
Looks great!

The lights should be fine as far as low-light plants are concerned - I have this tank too and plants have always done well enough.

Glad to see that you have the filter guards on as these WILL be necessary come stocking. I found this out the hard way, unfortunately! As far as stocking is concerned, I'd probably avoid danios as the tank doesn't offer much length to swim in, but a shoal of tetras could look lovely. Microrasboras could look lovely too, and you could get more of them. Whatever you choose though, surely it's better to make sure the cycle is complete first?

Also from personal experience, make sure that you have an adjustable spanner on hand! The filter is irritating (at the very least) to take apart should something go wrong.

Looking forwards to more updates!

Oh of course I'll get the tank cycled first. I've never used fish during cycling. I've been dosing the tank with Dr Tims pure ammonia for a bit now, the PPM is hovering around 2 at the moment and just waiting for Nitrites to kick in. Got a brand spankin new API Master kit to fiddle with.



And what is it about the filter than you'd need an adjustable spanner for? Surely it's just the foam block in the center chamber, yeah? Or is there something else I'm missing?

Those slots on the intake panel looked ripe for fish to just slip right though. Glad Fluval came up with a reasonable solution, however I'm still considering placing a bit of foam or something behind the guards. I still feel like a small tetra could wiggle through there.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 05:27 PM
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If the filter motor itself blocks, that nozzle is a pain to get off, especially when wet.
Shouldn't be an issue if you keep it at a respectable bioload, but I ended up keeping/fostering two small shubunkins in mine for a couple of months and they were so messy that this was an issue (long story short: they were "free" on Facebook in an unfiltered 5g and I held onto them until the weather warmed and they could travel 300 miles south to a pond where they're now much happier)

Foam could work, just make sure it's snug so nothing gets stuck in-between that and the side of the glass (again, personal experience). Oh, and avoid anything small and jumpy - I kept finding clown killis in the back of mine, including on top of the filter sponge.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great tank for the right fish, it's just a bit of a death trap for the wrong ones. It's super easy to maintain though and the filter on it is fantastic & very easy to muffle should you need.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Oh right, yeah. On the pump. I'd read about that. I thought you were talking about the foam block with the charcoal and media.

My old Saltwater tank had a similar pump made by Fluval in it as well. I think over the course of 10 years, I had to clean that out a couple of times as well.

Looking at fertilizers the now, trying to sort out the best method for it.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-08-2018, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a quick update to the tank, a little over a month after getting set up.

It's now populated with 7 Tetras and 3 Guppies, along with plenty of growth!

This shot is just after trimming pretty much everything down.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-13-2018, 01:55 PM
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Love the dwarf lily! Is it growing alright with the stock lights?

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