6 Gallon Cube planted setup - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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6 Gallon Cube planted setup

Hey all - Figured this would be a good place to share the ups and downs with this setup. I recently got this little cube after having a lengthy period without a tank. I had one previous planted tank that I had set up with CO2, some t5 tubes, and fluorite. It grew dwarf sag well. I convinced my wife the kids needed a fish tank, but we'll likely be moving soon so I wanted to keep it very small. Bought this little aqueon cube (6 gallon, 11.5"X11.5"X11.5"). The kids got to pick the stock, they could not be moved from a small group of neons. I got a few RCS to deal with algae but they have died. I think this is probably because the tank wasn't well cycled yet. I'll try a few again in a month or so.

Details:
20lb CO2 tank and regulator - had it from homebrewing, looking into something much smaller
Burkert solenoid - scored this for $17 new
Cole Parmer Needle Valve - jeffkrol (via MikeA) clued me into this and it works great ($35! but the price is now $95 on same site)
Using the crappy light that came with the thing right now. Have a better one but haven't figured out how to DIY rig it over the tank yet. It gets a ton of sun.
Finnex PX-360 - I reduce the outflow from this a bunch to keep from creating a whirlpool
Heater that will be disappearing as spring transitions to summer
Flourite with some osmocote+ mixed in plus some local stone
Water - from the tap
Ferts - Thrive+ 0.5ml per day before lights on
pH - 6.4 degassed, 6.2 pre-CO2, 5.5 when I turn the CO2 off - calibrated pH meter
KH - API 3 drops (~50ppm)
GH - API 6 drops (~100ppm)
temp - 73f
Water changes - Tuesday and Saturday 1.5 gallon

Plants:
Penthorum sedoides
Clinopodium brownei
Hygrophila serpylla
Anacharis narrow leaf
Christmas moss
Water Sprite
Crypt Lucens
Crypt Wendtti

So I planted this thing on 3/13. Did a big rearranging of things on 3/26 since I had a better sense of how things would look. That included a massive trim of the anacharis and clinopodium. I think I'm seeing diatoms, not to worried about this as the tank is new. Have seen some hairy green algae on the beach, but its been minimal. The Hygrophila and Penthorum are showing some yellowing of old leaf edges and the hygrophila has shown some holes on old leaves (nitrogen and potassium?). I recently turned the CO2 up to 1 bubble per second, and placed the diffuser directly under the filter intake. I was surprised not to see my emersed grown crypts melt back, but they also haven't been growing a ton. There are new leaves forming though.

I should have taken a top view. There is a big gap in the middle of this tank behind the rocks where I want something with a color other than green that'll work in this small space.

Open to any and all suggestions.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Update after a water change today.

I cut the dosing back to every other day because I was seeing some green stringy algae on the white sand. I killed it back with some H2O2. The Penthorum sedoides isn't doing anything. It has spit off new growth from some nodes, but isn't reaching for the surface. The water sprite has grown a little and produced some little plants. Almost one month in now, figured they'd get settled and start cranking by now. I need to get my better light set up to see if more light helps.

Got some more shrimp to help with the cleanup. Overall it looks ok, but I know it could be thriving more. I want some red in this tank but I know I've got to figure out the lighting first. Taking recommendations for red background and maybe foreground? Thoughts?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Made a few changes so I'm updating the log.

I thought I might not be getting enough CO2 into solution as plants weren't growing much. I gave the needle valve a couple turns and got myself to about 2 bubbles per second, went to work and ordered a drop checker. Got home to floating fish... 5 neons and all the shrimp survived, but I lost 3 neons and an otto. In the last week I realized just how much glass cleaning the otto was doing as I had to clean diatoms off the glass this week. They're all over the plants too.

I put on a new light and built an adjustable bracket for it. Seems to be making a difference as the plants are now pearling like crazy, never saw that with my other light. It is too big, but I'm hoping to change its location and incorporate some terrestrial plants onto the table next to the tank.

Added some blyxa and crypt green gecko from a RAOK. Removed a bunch of moss that I wasn't feeling.

Updated pic from a distance so you can't see the diatoms as much...
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Over the last week or so I was inundated with GDA. I was annoyed that I put osmocote into the substrate and couldn't control ferts in this tank. I blew it up and rescaped. At least now if I start having algae issues I manipulate the ferts with full control. I like the sand mixed with fluorite look better than the artificial white or pure black look. Fingers crossed this iteration goes better than the first.

The serpylla was growing well, but more vertically under my first light. Started growing sideways like it should under the new light. Hoping it'll make a nice ground cover in this scape.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 04:31 PM
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Thank you for sharing the plant names!!


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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It helps that I don't have space for the dozens of varieties the plant collectors with the bigger tanks have!
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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No pics this update but tracking a few things. Green filamentous algae has taken off. I wasn't adding ferts or anything else since the rescape. But I tested nitrate and found it at 40ppm. I did two days of 50% water changes and its showing somewhere between 5 and 0ppm now. I figure this is from crypt melt and fish food so I put in some purigen to help me get a handle on decomp for a bit. I'm going to go to 50% water change every other day for a bit till I get a handle on this bloom. I've lowered light to 6 hours per day. CO2 on 1.5hr before light on, off 1 hour before lights off. I'm getting a 1 degree drop in ph.

Serpylla has coated the tank floor, will look good once I get a handle on the algae. Thinking I'm going to have to clip a ton of affected leaves, but we'll see. Not sure if I should start dosing ferts or leave it till the algae is starved.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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I treated with H202 and Glut on last Friday to treat a green hair algae outbreak, now I've got a grey hair algae outbreak. I was able to clean it off the rocks a bit, but not the plants. I had done a trim of the very affected leaves, don't really want to trim even more. The serpylla seems like the only thing with extra leaves left. I'm water changing every other day to control any ammonia spike that might occur. After the water change I'm adding 1ml of Thrive+ that should give the following in PPM per Rotala Butterfly. Based on the results of nitrate tests the NO3 addition looks to follow the 7.3ppm added. Other than the serypylla most of my plants seem to be showing very little growth. More ferts? I think I need a weedy stem for the back to help control my ferts. The clinopodium avoided the hair algae bloom, but it isn't growing much at all.

NO3 7.3606
Po4 1.3669
K 5.2575
N 1.7778
P 0.4444
Fe 0.4222
Mg 0.0333
Cu 0.005
B 0.1111
Co 0.0001
Mn 0.0389
Mo 0.0011
Zn 0.0089
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 04:59 PM
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Cool little tank. I almost wish I could get some diatoms to grow now for the OTOs. They love that stuff.

I noticed when I first set my tanks up it was similar situation to you (no CO2 in my case). First diatoms go crazy, then green dust algae, then the green stringy (long wavy stuff) algae took off. It was like one after the other. My big tank I finally got a handle on it and pretty much 90% visual algae free (knocks on wood). Unfortunately the 10G migrated to GSA. Its funny how one type of algae seems to outcompete the other. Definitely went thru a cycle of the 3 mentioned in about the same time frame for each tank.

Sometimes minor changes and waiting it out while doing regular maintenance helps, atleast in my low tech setups it seemed to work.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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I need to remind myself to wait it out a bit more. With the green string algae I thought the plants would be gone if I didn't do something. Hopefully I can get into a stable pattern and get the crypts to bounce back. There is new growth evident, so fingers crossed.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 10:20 PM
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I read and then trimmed the ends of my java ferns that had the string on it. Same with dome of my others. The buces andsimilar I manually removed it but wasn't as bad on those. This went a long way in getting rid of it. The dying portions of plants is where it takes hold from what I read.

Amano and otos seemed to take care of the rest once they got hungry. At least I think so.

In my case I was half dosing thrive so went to full dose at the same time as the trimming.

No more string algae. Just my experience though.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Trying to get into a rhythm with water change and ferts every other day but failing due to summer travels. Came back to some minor hair algae in the moss. Clipped and brushed it out. Hoping getting into a solid cycle over the next few weeks will keep it in check. Clinopodium finally hit the surface, blyxa looks good, crypts seem to be growing finally, and the serpylla has taken over just about the entire floor. Top shot so you can see the extent of the serpylla creep.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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I did a major trim of the serpylla as that had pretty much taken over the tank. Now that I have an understanding of how it is going to grow I'm going to try to keep it in check a bit better. I also trimmed out a bunch of the Clinopodium. I wish I wasn't beset with the dust algae and a bit of remaining green hair. Threw away about 2 sandwich bags of serpylla and another of clinopodium. Didn't feel like I wanted to send that to someone elses tank as a RAOK.

I added some AR mini, dwarf sag (taller than I remember it being in my old tank), and H. pinnatifida. I also added the Potomogeton gayi and Rotala enie that @Watercrayfish was kind enough to include in a package. We'll see how those do. Be nice to have a color other than green in the tank!

I also added some more shrimp, and a snail. Its amazing how much more of them I see now that the serypylla got a trim.

Before and after shot
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