UNS 5N high-tech Iwagumi desktop tank journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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UNS 5N high-tech Iwagumi desktop tank journal

EDIT 1/30/20: Here's how it looks right now, day 16 of dry start:


Hi everyone!

I'm putting together a 5 gallon desktop Iwagumi tank. This will be my first ever planted tank, but I'm going for it. I've been wanting to do this in the back of my mind ever since (like everyone else) I saw my first Amano tank, I believe around 2003 or so. I got an unexpected Christmas bonus this year, so I ordered a bunch of stuff in about a week.

Hardware
  • Tank: UNS 5N 4.6g low iron rimless
  • Light: ONF Flat Nano, inline MingDak ramp timer
  • Filter: Eheim 2213 Classic 250, removed Eheim Mech/Substrat Pro media and replaced with sponge, white pad, Seachem Matrix 1.5L, carbon pad, and Seachem Purigen 100ml
  • Lily pipes: VIV 13mm inflow, 10mm spin outflow (otw from Aliexpress, crossing my fingers)
  • Hose: ADA clear 10mm & 13mm
  • Skimmer: ADA Vuppa-Ⅱ, probably only occasionally or at night as it is so huge in a tiny tank. Also as a back up filter or for a makeshift quarantine tank. I bought it in a moment of weakness, but it is beautiful.
  • CO2: CO2Art Pro-SE regulator with 12oz bottle, DIY 2" x 10" clear PVC reactor with bio-balls and heater inside at bottom
  • Heater: Catalina Aquariums Titanium 50w
  • Water test: API Master Freshwater Kit, API GH/KH kit, and Hanna pH/TDS pen tester HI98129 for when I have a better idea what I'm doing with CO2 and ferts.

Software
  • Tap water
  • Substrate: Tropica Aquarium Soil + Aquarium Soil Powder
  • Hardscape: Seiryu (mini landscape) stone
  • Plants: Elocharis acicularis 'mini', Helanthium tenellum 'green', Helanthium 'quadricostatus' - I am copying the plants that Jurijs Jutjajevs uses in his 5N video because they are all easy and I don't know about very many plants yet. I will be copying his lazy dry start method, as well, with springtails.
  • Fertilizer: ADA Green Brighty Neutral K, ADA Green Brighty Mineral, ADA Green Brighty Iron, ADA Green Brighty Nitrogen
  • Conditioner: Seachem Prime, ADA Clear Water, ADA Vita-Mix

Right now, I've set the soil and hardscape in the tank and I'm letting it stew while I wait for powder soil to arrive. I'm a bit worried I might have too much stone in the tank and there won't be enough space to ethically keep any fish. I'll take pictures when I get to my office in the morning and post them. I'd like to have a school of the very smallest fish possible.

My tissue culture plants arrived five days ago. They've been unopened, but I'm not sure how long they can stay healthy in their sealed cups. It gets to about 58F/14.5C at night in my office, which is probably a good thing for them? I see them in refrigerator-style display cases in videos. I have them sitting so that they get indirect light from the ONF which is at the 25% setting right now. I ordered 2x ADA cultures of DHG mini and 2x from Tropica 1-2-Grow and they are remarkably different looking right now. I'll post a picture of that as well.

My light timers keep burning out before I can even finish programming them. I have no idea why. I've tried this one twice and now this one, both presumably are the same inside, and they both died in a similar fashion, while programming. I have another on the way but I might need to switch to an old-fashioned outlet timer like I ordered for the CO2 solenoid. I just don't have that much space in the 2x Ikea EKET cabinets under my desk inside which I am storing everything.

I'm going to do the lazy dry start method so I can get a chance to get real comfortable with the chemistry of freshwater aquarium water before I flood the thing. I want to be ready for any algae situation. Because it'll be visible at my office I'd really like to minimize any potentially embarrassing mistakes by doing lots of research and moving slowly. I certainly moved quickly enough in the ordering process.

Thanks for following along! Here's my George Farmer impression: what fish should I stock?

PS: Can I pre-cycle the filter during the dry start period by filling it with water, hooking the inflow directly to the outflow, and putting a tsp of NH4 in there every week?

Last edited by rtm; 01-31-2020 at 04:09 AM. Reason: added update photo
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtm View Post
Hi everyone!

I'm putting together a 5 gallon desktop Iwagumi tank. This will be my first ever planted tank, but I'm going for it. I've been wanting to do this in the back of my mind ever since (like everyone else) I saw my first Amano tank, I believe around 2003 or so. I got an unexpected Christmas bonus this year, so I ordered a bunch of stuff in about a week.

Hardware
  • Tank: UNS 5N 4.6g low iron rimless
  • Light: ONF Flat Nano, inline MingDak ramp timer
  • Filter: Eheim 2213 Classic 250, removed Eheim Mech/Substrat Pro media and replaced with sponge, white pad, Seachem Matrix 1.5L, carbon pad, and Seachem Purigen 100ml
  • Lily pipes: VIV 13mm inflow, 10mm spin outflow (otw from Aliexpress, crossing my fingers)
  • Hose: ADA clear 10mm & 13mm
  • Skimmer: ADA Vuppa-Ⅱ, probably only occasionally or at night as it is so huge in a tiny tank. Also as a back up filter or for a makeshift quarantine tank. I bought it in a moment of weakness, but it is beautiful.
  • CO2: CO2Art Pro-SE regulator with 12oz bottle, DIY 2" x 10" clear PVC reactor with bio-balls and heater inside at bottom
  • Heater: Catalina Aquariums Titanium 50w
  • Water test: API Master Freshwater Kit, API GH/KH kit, and Hanna pH/TDS pen tester HI98129 for when I have a better idea what I'm doing with CO2 and ferts.

Software
  • Tap water
  • Substrate: Tropica Aquarium Soil + Aquarium Soil Powder
  • Hardscape: Seiryu (mini landscape) stone
  • Plants: Elocharis acicularis 'mini', Helanthium tenellum 'green', Helanthium 'quadricostatus' - I am copying the plants that Jurijs Jutjajevs uses in his 5N video because they are all easy and I don't know about very many plants yet. I will be copying his lazy dry start method, as well, with springtails.
  • Fertilizer: ADA Green Brighty Neutral K, ADA Green Brighty Mineral, ADA Green Brighty Iron, ADA Green Brighty Nitrogen
  • Conditioner: Seachem Prime, ADA Clear Water, ADA Vita-Mix

Right now, I've set the soil and hardscape in the tank and I'm letting it stew while I wait for powder soil to arrive. I'm a bit worried I might have too much stone in the tank and there won't be enough space to ethically keep any fish. I'll take pictures when I get to my office in the morning and post them. I'd like to have a school of the very smallest fish possible.

My tissue culture plants arrived five days ago. They've been unopened, but I'm not sure how long they can stay healthy in their sealed cups. It gets to about 58F/14.5C at night in my office, which is probably a good thing for them? I see them in refrigerator-style display cases in videos. I have them sitting so that they get indirect light from the ONF which is at the 25% setting right now. I ordered 2x ADA cultures of DHG mini and 2x from Tropica 1-2-Grow and they are remarkably different looking right now. I'll post a picture of that as well.

My light timers keep burning out before I can even finish programming them. I have no idea why. I've tried this one twice and now this one, both presumably are the same inside, and they both died in a similar fashion, while programming. I have another on the way but I might need to switch to an old-fashioned outlet timer like I ordered for the CO2 solenoid. I just don't have that much space in the 2x Ikea EKET cabinets under my desk inside which I am storing everything.

I'm going to do the lazy dry start method so I can get a chance to get real comfortable with the chemistry of freshwater aquarium water before I flood the thing. I want to be ready for any algae situation. Because it'll be visible at my office I'd really like to minimize any potentially embarrassing mistakes by doing lots of research and moving slowly. I certainly moved quickly enough in the ordering process.

Thanks for following along! Here's my George Farmer impression: what fish should I stock?

PS: Can I pre-cycle the filter during the dry start period by filling it with water, hooking the inflow directly to the outflow, and putting a tsp of NH4 in there every week?
Diving right in!

This is an office tank so some different considerations will apply. Do you have access to the wifi easily? If so you can use a smart plug as your timer. Otherwise just go with the mechanical timer you previously mentioned.

You can if you want take a container big enough to store your filter media (leave off any carbon or purigen etc) and fill it with water and dump your media in there. Then add some fish food. No need for any light etc, can be in a cabinet or under the desk. Every 4 or 5 days add a pinch more fish food. This will begin cycling the media. I would not leave it in the canister filter itself. The filter will want to purge air and it won't be able to do it with the hose going in a loop. It also won't get access to new oxygen needed to keep the bacteria alive and thus you will never keep a cycle going.

For a 5 gallon tank you are going to be a bit limited in fish you can keep. Certainly nothing you can put in there will form a proper school (not enough room for them to exhibit that kind of behavior) though some fish species will loosely group together. If you want more then one fish in that tank then I suggest male endlers. Lots of variety available especially if you are willing to buy online and have them shipped to you so you can get something special. Other options include ember tetras and chili rasboras.

If you prefer a feature fish than a betta is the obvious choice.


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 10:13 PM
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I also use the 5N for a work tank- so far, it's been great.

It sounds like you've selected some high-quality, non-intrusive hardware to get you started. With a 2213 and a Vuppa, you're going to have a lot of flow, which may influence the sorts of fish you select. Still-water fish like Bettas, for example, likely won't appreciate a lot of turnover, while a number of smaller Rasboras, Danios, or White Clouds may benefit. I don't recall if the 2213 can be throttled back without potentially wearing out the motor, but it might give you some additional options for stocking. If so, a great, smaller social fish option might be Celestial Pearl Danios (Danio margaritatus). You might also consider perhaps 2-3 Dwarf Puffers (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) as they have great personalities and are quite unique. I know local stores in Denver currently stock both of these.

For cycling, by most accounts, a dry-start provides a sufficiently humid environment for the proliferation of bacteria in the substrate without needing a secondary cycle after you fill it. So long as you're keeping the substrate wet, you shouldn't need to be running your filter to get a bacteria culture.

I fear I've not used tissue-cultured plants, and I've only used mechanical timers, so I don't have much useful information on either of those.

Good luck with the new tank.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-08-2020, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the pictures I promised.

Hardscape attempt #1:



Attempt #2:



Tissue culture plants:




I really don't know which layout I like better, right now. I'll keep playing with it.

Why does the ADA culture look so much darker than the Tropica?

I've decided to use the ONF light for something else, so I ordered an ADA Aquasky G 361. I want something I can re-position front to rear to affect the shadows on the stone and I'm obviously a bit of an ADA fanboy.

Last edited by rtm; 01-08-2020 at 11:05 AM. Reason: fixed img code
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-08-2020, 08:49 PM
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For your second attempt I'd move everything an inch or so to the left, it's a little too centralized at the moment. I'd also try to angle the big rock on the left a little more as it's looking a little unnaturally vertical at the moment.

Amazing equipment list, way to invest up front!

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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I've been at it with more hardscape attempts. In a couple days I have more stone arriving so I'll have more options.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 07:31 PM
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Will be interested to see the new rocks. The main stone you have now is very square looking which makes it look unnatural. If you're going to use that rock I'd try to get it at a more extreme angle by sticking more soil underneath one edge or using some small stones to prop it at an angle.

Keep the rule of thirds in mind with the design, it looks like you did this a little more with #4 where you have a slight offset to the left. Do you have any soil left? You could go more aggressive with the slope in the back left or right of the tank.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 07:35 PM
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#4 looks better, I also think #2 would be good if you move the small stone to the left (more in front of the other two) so it looks like it's part of the group. Also don't discount the substrate. Pushing the smallest stone into the substrate and building up the slope more around the main stone would enhance it and make it look like one group.


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-12-2020, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the valuable feedback!

I agree in some of the attempts I was losing sight of basic composition. I actually sneaked into the office today on my day off to fuss with it some more. Tomorrow more stone and my new light will arrive, both of which will make the process easier. But I'm still having fun practicing. I can understand why people keep those little zen gardens, now.

I'm building up my war chest underneath to try and be prepared for everything. Right now I've got all my ferts and water conditioners, and a small bottle of flourish excel for spot treating algae. What might I need that I haven't considered?



I 3d printed a little holder for my API test kits:



I'm trying to come up with a good solution for tool storage. I really love the Herry Rasio tool roll, but it doesn't seem to be sold anywhere stateside and the Rasio Wear store in Indonesia isn't responding on WhatsApp. I have a feeling he just makes them for people he really likes. I think I'll 3d print some mounts for the tools for the inside of the cabinet doors.

Thanks for following along! My co-workers are getting very impatient. Every day I am asked when the fish will arrive.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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After much hemming an hawing and the arrival of a second order of seiryu stone, I decided to just bite the bullet and plant the tank. I'm still not confident or stoked on my hardscape, but I think at some point you have to just do it. I'm sure I'll be re-scaping this tank in six months, anyway.

Here's the day one shot:



I didn't think to wipe the glass first, whoops.

Is it too early to introduce springtails, or should I wait until I actually see mold? I already have the culture in my cabinet.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtm View Post
After much hemming an hawing and the arrival of a second order of seiryu stone, I decided to just bite the bullet and plant the tank. I'm still not confident or stoked on my hardscape, but I think at some point you have to just do it. I'm sure I'll be re-scaping this tank in six months, anyway.

Here's the day one shot:



I didn't think to wipe the glass first, whoops.

Is it too early to introduce springtails, or should I wait until I actually see mold? I already have the culture in my cabinet.
I have not done the whole springtail thing before but I will say that when I did my drystart I kept it going for about 3 weeks and never saw mold so /shrug.

Congrats on the planting. Enjoy the dry start, its kind of a fun way to do it. Just make sure you mist it enough, 2 times minimum and 3-5 is better.


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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Day two:



Hygrometer shows 90% only because it wasn't in the tank for a few minutes while I wiped the glass. It's 99%.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Dry start day three:
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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Day six of dry start



My h. quadricostatus is not quite as green as the h. tenellum or dhg but I'm not worried about it.



I've been working on some 3d printed tool mounts, so I can mount my tools on the inside of my cabinet door. I'll post a picture here tomorrow and post a link to the STL files here and in another thread on their own, once they are completed.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 04:32 PM
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Looks like you're off to a nice start.

Gotta second the suggestion of male Endlers. But that's only after you know what your water parameters will look like with the buffering substrate you're using. They tend to do best in harder water but are surprisingly resilient and adaptable.

Barring fish, you can definitely keep shrimp. Will really just depend upon parameters. Can for sure have Amano Shrimp and I think you should get some of them for this tank no matter what. They're large enough to avoid most fish harassment and predation and they're highly entertaining.

(P.S. PM me if you want me to move this thread to the Tank Journal section.)
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