Cubecrew's 7g Nano Cube - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Cubecrew's 7g Nano Cube

Hey everyone,

I've had this cube as my only tank and have rescaped it several times. After a 2 month battle with GHA, I decided to get my act together and rescape. I will try my best to monitor parameters more closely, but also relax and try and enjoy.

I'm quite a noob but have lurked this forum since getting into the hobby a bit over a year ago. Now here to share, get feedback, and advice.

Shoutout to Ventchur who inspired me to join the cube crew.

Livestock:
1 Sparkling Gourami
9 Amano Shrimp
3 Horned Nerite Snails
1 Otocinclus

Plants:
Monte Carlo
Cryptocoryne Wendtii Brown
Cryptocoryne Spiralis
Rotala H'Ra
Rotala Rotundifolia
Anubias Nana Petite

Hardscape:
Spider Wood
ADA Aquasoil Powder
ADA Powersand

Equipment:
7g ADA Nano Cube 30C
ADA ES-150 Super Jet filter
5lb CO2, Solonoid
Twinstar 300EA

Schedule
CO2 10:30 - 18:00 (~1BPS)
Light 12:00 - 19:00 (~50%)

Most recent photo:

Last edited by cubecrew; 06-08-2020 at 05:35 PM. Reason: Lost a gourami :( added cinemagraph as most recent photo
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post #2 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Tank is still cycling, but nitrite and nitrate are rising now. I am dosing with prime.

Bad news first. I introduced 4 Amano shrimp to the aquarium a couple days ago. Last night 3 of them were sidewise, and eventually died. One is still on the go looking fine. My LFS warned me that their Amano weren't doing so well so it wasn't a wild surprise, though still a bummer. Looking at the spec sheet when purchasing more shrimp I see recommended parameters are all in range except for GH (6-16dH). My tank measured 3dH last night so I bumped it up to 6. This morning the remaining one looks fine, I'll keep a close eye. I went ahead and ordered more shrimp too.

I'm dealing with a tube fitting and aesthetic issue now as well. When scaping as you can see I went with a raised background, and I can no longer fit my inlet pipe unless it's wildly hanging on the back, so I have to put on side towards the front. Since the cabinet is not flush to that side, the tubing needs to bend, and in a short distance. I think I'll try and use elbows here.

On the good news side, I think my cardinals are getting less stressed. They weren't eating pellets from surface or floor, so I tried hatching some brine shrimp for them. The absolutely loved it. So amazing to see them perk up, eat and now color is better as well.

Still waiting on more plants to arrive. I got 6 or 7 different species to add, will update soon.
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post #3 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Added a double elbow (what does it mean?) on the inlet pipe tube so it can go down near floor of tank without putting a ton of stress on the glass pipe.

Also bonus shot of inside the cabinet.

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Last edited by cubecrew; 02-16-2020 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Extra photo
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post #4 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 05:42 PM
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I see a couple of problems. Shrimp need hardish water, your fish like soft acid water. The bogwood will be putting tannic acids into the water lowering the pH and the tannins will chelate and precipitate out some of the hardness.

Basically your shrimp are not ideal for your setup. Ideally hard, alkaline fish (livebearers, african cichlids, crabs, shrimp) like hard alkaline water while soft acid fish (tetras, angels, gourami, loaches, fish from forest streams) like soft acid water. There are some fish like kribensis who are in the middle but you should avoid mixing the extremes.

Sorry to tell you this. I have ramshorn snails in my 10g planted soft acid to provide babies for my sidthimunki loaches to eat but those snails have white shells because of the acid. I grow replacements in my 'pond' which is alkaline and medium hard.

Also you should NEVER be able to see nitrites. That you are doing so is an indication that you have not cycled the tank before adding too much aquatic animal flesh. Your shrimp likely died from nitrite poisoning. You should cycle a tank with one or two small, hardy fish. A couple of those cardinals would have been good. Then monitor the nitrite levels and when they zero GRADUALLy add more fish.

Once you get more than one tank you can speed things up by using filter media from the other tank and a handful of 'dirty' gravel. If you have a friend with a tank ask to swap a little gravel. Old gravel will be packed with nitrifying bacteria. I keep two filter foams in my 'pond' in case I need to use my internal power filter in an emergency situation. They will be full of bacteria you see.
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post #5 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 06:43 PM
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Cute little tank, looks like youíve got a solid setup so far (I had to google that ADA filter and then change my underwear after).

Off the bat I would agree with muscle guy. It seems like the nitrites would be the cause, though Iím sure the other parameters also put them under stress like he mentioned. The good news is with such a small tank it would be hard at all to premix and buff the water before adding it to tank.

Hope I get to watch this little cube thrive!

CA


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post #6 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for dropping in Muscleguy and CluelessAquarist!

I rescaped this tank before starting this journal and used same livestock and filter (bio cubes, bio rio, purigen) except for a few more amanos. It was was fully cycled for almost a year previous. I initially suspected the bacteria colony in filter would sustain but I think it either decreased significantly or fully collapsed. I assumed some detoxifier would allow for re-cycling while stocked.

I made the same observation regarding the shrimp and the current water parameters, but didn't know cardinal tetras required softer water to the degree they couldn't coexist. Is there really no way? I have been really looking forward to having some Amanos to help keep algae at bay.

Bummer!

Also as much as I'd love to have more than one tank, I'm not sure that's in cards here for at least a year or two.
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post #7 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Just now tested water and after a couple days of nitrites, it's now down to 0. Though still reading quite high on ammonia, it's at near 0 nitrate, and 0 phosphate.

Considering dosing some ferts, worried that plants won't establish well without nitrates or phosphates...
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post #8 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 09:48 AM
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I'm a firm advocate of fishless cycling. There are many ways to cycle a tank without adding any type of fish/snail/shrimp. But I digress...

Nice little tank indeed. Very tidy. Keep up on the trimming of the Monte Carlo, I learned my lesson with HC. Watch out for that Crypt as well, they love to send runners all over the tank. If you can, place clear plastic into the substrate around the Crypt to keep it "contained".

Gary
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post #9 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Crazygar View Post
I'm a firm advocate of fishless cycling. There are many ways to cycle a tank without adding any type of fish/snail/shrimp. But I digress...

Nice little tank indeed. Very tidy. Keep up on the trimming of the Monte Carlo, I learned my lesson with HC. Watch out for that Crypt as well, they love to send runners all over the tank. If you can, place clear plastic into the substrate around the Crypt to keep it "contained".

Gary

Thanks Crazygar, great idea. I will get on that separation when I add additional plants here soon. Anxiously waiting for them to come in!
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post #10 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubecrew View Post
Thanks for dropping in Muscleguy and CluelessAquarist!

I rescaped this tank before starting this journal and used same livestock and filter (bio cubes, bio rio, purigen) except for a few more amanos. It was was fully cycled for almost a year previous. I initially suspected the bacteria colony in filter would sustain but I think it either decreased significantly or fully collapsed. I assumed some detoxifier would allow for re-cycling while stocked.

I made the same observation regarding the shrimp and the current water parameters, but didn't know cardinal tetras required softer water to the degree they couldn't coexist. Is there really no way? I have been really looking forward to having some Amanos to help keep algae at bay.

Bummer!

Also as much as I'd love to have more than one tank, I'm not sure that's in cards here for at least a year or two.
The Amano and Cardinals will do fine in the same tank together, and are a better option than something like Neocaridina since Neo's generally require some KH and your substrate will buffer that out until it loses its buffering capacity. As long as your pH is being kept low by the ADA(releasing humic acid) and CO2, the ammonia will be in the form of ammonium. Plants love it and it has a low toxicity by comparison. Still, since you've got livestock, you'll need to be doing regular large water changes to keep the water safe. Nitrites are still toxic, so while cycling, a daily shot of Prime would be a good idea to help protect livestock. Prime will bind ammonia/ammonium for roughly 24-48 hours, so err on the side of caution and do every 24 hours.

You can try to keep the GH a bit higher, around 6, and the Amano will appreciate that more, but I believe the ADA will also try to buffer out some GH so just be aware you may have a parameter battle until the buffering capacity is exhausted. Amano are fairly hardy and as long as there isn't ammonia or nitrites present, I think they'll do great in your tank.
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post #11 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
The Amano and Cardinals will do fine in the same tank together, and are a better option than something like Neocaridina since Neo's generally require some KH and your substrate will buffer that out until it loses its buffering capacity. As long as your pH is being kept low by the ADA(releasing humic acid) and CO2, the ammonia will be in the form of ammonium. Plants love it and it has a low toxicity by comparison. Still, since you've got livestock, you'll need to be doing regular large water changes to keep the water safe. Nitrites are still toxic, so while cycling, a daily shot of Prime would be a good idea to help protect livestock. Prime will bind ammonia/ammonium for roughly 24-48 hours, so err on the side of caution and do every 24 hours.

You can try to keep the GH a bit higher, around 6, and the Amano will appreciate that more, but I believe the ADA will also try to buffer out some GH so just be aware you may have a parameter battle until the buffering capacity is exhausted. Amano are fairly hardy and as long as there isn't ammonia or nitrites present, I think they'll do great in your tank.
This is quite a relief, and reflects what I've seen in terms of other established tanks. I'm targeting and sustaining GH at 6 right now and anxiously awaiting more plants.

I already see some algae starting to crop up, nothing wild yet but definitely going to keep an eye on this.
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post #12 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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Algae is starting to grow quite rapidly. Really not sure what kind of algae this is, but it's the same that plagued my previous scape in this tank.

Light is at 9 hours (10:00-19:00) and I'm running CO2 at around 1BPS 1 hour before lights with nice lime green drop checker

Parameters just before lights went off today are as follows:

1ppm ammonia
0 nitrite
~0 nitrate
0 phosphate
6 GH
6.5PH

Seems awfully early to get worried, but then again this same algae took over my last scape and I eventually gave up the fight. Pics below, maybe someone here can help identify the type?

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post #13 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 10:51 AM
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Green Thread Algae. That is super early in your tank's life to get this. You need fast growing plants. I would suggest adding some Frogbit or something similar to soak up some excess nutrients.

Put your photoperiod to 8 hours.

Are you dosing? Are you doing this every day? I dose Mon - Wed - Fri. Sat and Sun are rest days. Flourish Excel is Mon - Fri.

HINT: Flourish Excel is a great algaecide. Get an eyedropper and target dose the algae and it will crumble away, it's getting it to stay away is the big trick.

What are you using for water? I use RO/DI. I will never go back to regular tap water. Too many unknowns coming out of that faucet. While I won't suggest making the switch right away, start using 30% RO/DI to 70% treated tap water mixture when adding back to the tank.

Do a water change in the middle of the week until the problem goes away. If you change your water on Sunday, do a change on Wednesday.

Speaking of which, if you have don't have a set schedule for water changes, now is the time. Set aside a few hours on a specific day and that's the day.

No science, just some good old fashioned elbow grease.

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post #14 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cubecrew View Post
Algae is starting to grow quite rapidly. Really not sure what kind of algae this is, but it's the same that plagued my previous scape in this tank.

Light is at 9 hours (10:00-19:00) and I'm running CO2 at around 1BPS 1 hour before lights with nice lime green drop checker

Parameters just before lights went off today are as follows:

1ppm ammonia
0 nitrite
~0 nitrate
0 phosphate
6 GH
6.5PH

Seems awfully early to get worried, but then again this same algae took over my last scape and I eventually gave up the fight. Pics below, maybe someone here can help identify the type?

Attachment 893529
Attachment 893531
Attachment 893533
I believe you're looking at diatoms there. It will have a brown color, coat surfaces, and can get stringy. Strings are easily broken with a gentle touch, whereas hair algae threads are more resilient. This is not uncommon in new setups, also with tap water high in silicates. Generally self resolving, you could chemically treat, but I think doing daily water changes to knock down the ammonia/ammonium and nitrites might be a better option. Also, probably time to start dosing some water column fertilizers to help plant health so your plants are out competing the algae. 0 nitrates isn't good, though your aquasoil will compensate to some degree for the 0 reading in the water column. You'll want to dose your macros (NPK) and micros (maybe something like CSM+B) to ensure your plants are getting everything they need.

Are you using RO or RODI, or are you using tap water?

Here's a link to algae info, diatoms is at the bottom. https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...gae-types.html
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post #15 of 83 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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What are you using for water? I use RO/DI. I will never go back to regular tap water. Too many unknowns coming out of that faucet. While I won't suggest making the switch right away, start using 30% RO/DI to 70% treated tap water mixture when adding back to the tank.
Quote:
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Are you using RO or RODI, or are you using tap water?
Using tap water. I will do some more research but my impression is that for owning a single 7 gallon tank investing in a RO system is way overkill. Is that reasonable?

It's definitely brown, and although it develops strings in some places, it crumbles away easily and most is vacuumed up quite easily except for what is directly in contact with leaves/etc. Last time this covered my S repens carpet to the degree they were severely weakened. Amano's don't seem to like it, nerite snails don't seem to like it either.

Quite anxiously awaiting the addition of more plants, they should be arriving today. I'm hoping I can plant the hell out of this and the plants can out compete (in addition to looking much better).

For the time being, I've changed the photo period to 4 - 2 - 4 as I've seen recommended, and I just did a 75% water change with a 6ml spot treated dose of Excel, and regular dose of general fert (Easy Green). I contemplated dosing H202 but I will hold off until new plants are in and continue frequent water changes and Excel dosing.

The last remaining Amano shrimp passed last night. I actually suspect it was shortly after a fert dose that it really started struggling.
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