My first Aquascape with a High-Tech Fluval Spec V! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-01-2020, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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My first Aquascape with a High-Tech Fluval Spec V!

I've been wanting to start a tank journal for my little nano so here it is! This has been my quarantine project for the last 2 months and I'm super proud of how it's turned out so far. I hope to get some Amano shrimp and a betta in there soon, probably within a week!

Tank: Fluval Spec V (5g)
Light: Finnex Planted+ 24/7 HLC (with a very frustrating timer for getting a good photoperiod...)
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia Powder
Rocks: Seiyru stones
Plants! Staurogyne repens, Dwarf Baby Tears, Rotala H'ra, Ludwigia repens (I THINK?? It's growing in between the rotala stems in the middle)
Parameters (I have very soft tap water): pH ~6.4 (with CO2), KH ~5, GH ~8, NH4/Nitrites 0, Nitrates 5-10ppm. Phosphates between 0-0.25ppm.

I dry-started the aquarium at first. Here's how the progress has been the last couple of months!

Day 1, March 27th. Had the stock light for a couple of days while I was waiting for the Finnex to come in:
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April 11th: Progress! Had some melt, and was starting to see some mold which I was spot treating with Excel, then later H2O2 on a Q-tip. Didn't want to spray it and risk melting the plants. I believe I accidentally over-misted for a bit which led to a higher water level, so I used some paper towels now and then to get it under control:
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May 13th: Some more growth coming in! HC was really starting to bounce back from the yellowing. Mold was getting a bit rampant so I poked some bigger holes into the saran wrap and dialed back my misting a little, and just kinda let the plants do their thing.
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May 17th: Mold was starting to get bad but the plants were healthy and growing in well, so.... Flood day! Started dosing 1mL of Thrive+ 3x a week, plus cranking up the CO2 to get the drop checker yellow. Did a water change every other day for a few days. Starting to see some fuzz on the driftwood. Tested the water - pH was at MAX 6.0, which I figured was because the stones hadn't started leeching enough yet to raise the hardness. KH and GH were very, very low (almost 0), which I'm guessing is because of the soft tap water + driftwood + aquasoil, but they were raising and stabilized to KH 5, GH 8 after a couple of days which I'm assuming is because of the stones.
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May 25th: I did a trim of the carpet and some of the S. repens. Was expecting some stuff to melt as it acclimated from emmersed to immersed. The Rotala, on the other hand, was EXPLODING. It grows like an inch a day, what the heck. Parameters stable.
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May 27th: This is just 3 days of growth for the Rotala!!!!! HC is also REALLY greening up and filling in more. I'm so surprised I haven't had any melt of it... knock on wood... Parameters still stable.
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And this was today! I'm starting to see some thread(?) algae, along with GSA(?) that pearls with the other plants during the high-light/CO2 sections of the day. Everything looks to be cycled and I hope to have some Amanos in really soon to keep things under control. I'm scrubbing every couple of days in-between my weekly water changes to get the algae under control, but I'm hoping things settle soon. Also seeing the S. repens starting to reach for the light a little... wonder if I should up the dosing of the Thrive+ to like .5mL every day, but I'm scared it'll make the algae explode. Parameters still stable.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-01-2020, 05:50 PM
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I really like the scape, a particular challenge in such a small elongated tank! I am envious as I have the same tank. I have not gone high tech yet but am getting some CO2 gear now. I am also dosing 0.5mL of Thrive daily and am not as heavily planted as you. I have some algae but not much really. Maybe for the amount of light and CO2 you should be dosing more nutrients?

Plastic, yuck!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-06-2020, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Update! I did a huge trim today of the HC carpet and Rotala H'ra, and a good water change, and she's looking goooooood. (I promise the colors are actually brighter than they look in the photo hahaha )

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My dosing schedule has been adjusted a little to where I do about 0.75mL of Thrive+ every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday (and then 50% water change on Saturday, to which I add a little bit of Equilibrium to bring the GH up a little since my tap is like 3GH, and the tank is about 8GH). I'm so happy everything is growing in so lush and I think I'm starting to get the hair algae under control. Cross fingers that the plant mass starts to outcompete the algae for nutrients.

Getting some REALLY strong pearling during the day too!!!
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The ludwigia's been growing pretty slow but it's doing really well!!!
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Speaking of algae, I added 6 little Amano shrimp to the tank a few days ago and they're settling really well. I'm a little nervous about them even though the parameters have been fine and stable, I just want them to live and grow!! One is a berried female but I don't have any extra tanks to try putting the larvae in so I guess we'll just see what happens.

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Last edited by Katie92; 06-07-2020 at 08:24 PM. Reason: m
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-30-2020, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, what a doozy this tank has been. It's throwing some challenges at me but I'm still really happy with how things are progressing.

It's been a challenge trimming the Rotala macandra (not H'ra, as I'd thought) and getting it bushy, what I haven't done yet is chop it all universally down to see how it grows that way. The Ludwigia puts out beautiful leaves with pink undersides, and the HC grows like a weed.

Was dealing with some hair algae, and once I got that knocked down this thicker green algae (slime algae?) and/or cyanobacteria started appearing on the driftwood and rocks. I'm too scared to try dosing excel or peroxide for fear of killing the plants...

Also, I got a betta! He's great. Happy fish child. I don't *think* he's eaten any of the shrimp...which are neos, apparently, and not amanos.
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Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday I dose 0.75mL of NilocG's Thrive+. At some point during midweek (usually Wednesdays) I do a water test and look at ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, KH, GH, phosphate and pH. On Saturdays I do a 50% water change.

6.14: Getting overgrown!
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6.26: Several days after a big trim. Stem plants are getting ovegrown again.
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6.28: After the most recent trim. I'm sad the Rotala doesn't look as red but I expected that. Hopefully it brightens up as it grows back. I think I made the mistake of rinsing my filter media too harshly in some old tank water, and replaced my filter floss, which crashed the cycle a little and caused a giant nitrite spike. Ammonia's still been 0 the whole time but last week had several water changes and it finally seems like things are going back to normal. The betta and shrimp have seemed fine but I'm wondering if the melt on my ludwigia's and rotala's old growth is because of that spike.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 04:39 AM
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The scape looks awesome!

Rotala macrandra is supposed to be fairly demanding and one of the more difficult rotalas to keep so I think you're doing great. I don't have experience with the regualr red macrandra myself but I am keeping the green variant fairly successfully. Not sure about getting it bushy though. Their leaves are fairly big so if bush gets too thick, the lower leaves won't get enough light and will probably start dying off.

About the colour, a light fixture with RGB bulbs would probably help if your light only has white bulbs. I think they will probably get redder with lower nitrates as well.
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