Sampster 5.5 Iwagumi Attempt - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Sampster 5.5 Iwagumi Attempt

Hi everyone. This will be my first attempt at the Iwagumi style. I decided to try it in this 5.5 gallon that I got for free from a friend. Before this I was doing high tech everything in my 15 gallon and was eventually not able to keep up with the maintenance. I decided to turn the 15 gallon into a grow out tank for my cherry shrimp and certain plants to trade or sell. I figured having the 5.5 as my focus tank would be a lot easier and would take much less time on maintenance. On top of this, since its so small, and its the Iwagumi style, I wont be thinking of the huge number of plants that I should throw into it, as well as fish/inverts. I am keeping it simple. I tried low tech, high tech, and am now settling for what I have as money is tight and I cant keep completely changing my expensive tanks monthly!

Here is the end result plan:

Tank: 5.5 Gallon Bowfront
Lighting: 10 inch CFL fixture from Catalina Aquariums:1x 13w 10,000K and 1x 13w 6500K
Substrate: Amazonia Aquasoil II 3 liters, Bacter 100
Rocks: Ryouh Stone x3
Flora: Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides), Dwarf Hairgrass (Elocharis acicularis), Staurogyne repens
Fauna: Yellow Shrimp, 6x Pygmy Corydoras, 1 CPD, 1-2 Otocinclus Catfish
Ferts: Estimative Index
CO2: Fluval Pressurized CO2 Kit 20 grams
Other equipment: Replacing fluval diffuser with a nano diffuser from The Shrimp Lab, Bubble Counter/Check valve from Green Leaf Aquariums, drop checker from The Shrimp Lab

Plan: The plan is to have a simple tank that I wont be trimming 24/7 like I was doing on my 15 gallon. Since I got a free tank, and have been wanting to try a nano Iwagumi, I will be using what I got. Its a little different than most peoples Iwagumi in that I left the rim (not sure if I want to try and remove it or not), am using a bowfront tank, and wont be using all ADA products. I want to make this as simple as possible for ME. This might be a lot of work for others. This is meant to fit around my busy schedule. That means a little bit of tweaking every day once the tank is complete.

I am using 3 Ryouh stones for my hardscape. Dont worry about critiquing the hardscape now as I have already laid down the HC. I spent a good amount of time getting these rocks right where I wanted them. Like any of your own personal tanks, they should please you more than others.

After positioning the stones I made it so the soil was short to tall from front to back. Then laid down the HC. Boy I would not want to be planting this submersed! 3 pots took me a very long time! I tried to spread it out the best that I could. After planting I filled the substrate with water and wrapped the top of the tank with plastic. I am leaving the light on as long as I can. From when I wake up to when I go to sleep. I am averaging about 16 hours a day. I am spraying the plants every few days with water.

At first I was worried that my HC would melt like many others has but I have seen a decent amount of growth after 2 weeks. The obvious growth told me I was able to start this journal I am going to keep the dry start going until I am pleased with a full carpet. Once the dry start is done I will add in the dwarf hairgrass and maybe some stauro. Then I will add in my yellow shrimp followed by the pygmy corydoras.







Was having trouble getting good pictures on this. It looks so much better in person. Hard to see with the humidity. I'm just glad its working as I can see the end result already!

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 03:32 AM
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WOO looks good, I am doing the same thing right now in my 5.5 rimless. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...5-project.html

Are you using a fertilizer mix to mist the tank? If so how did you mix it, I have access to dry ferts and flourish comprehensive and an 8oz. spray bottle but I am baffled as to how much fertilizer to mix in!

Love the stones btw!
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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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I am just misting with tap water right now. I was just going to wing it on the spray mix. I have NPK in dry ferts as well. I'm just gonna put a very tiny amount in the bottle. Maybe just a pinch or smidgen. Like 1/16mL or 1/32 mL. I dont want to do TOO much because the water might get fungus. Nice tank btw. We might be using the same fixture! Only place you can find good lighting IMO.

Thanks about the stones.

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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 06:32 AM
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Agh very nice, I just added like 2-3mL of flourish comprehensive to the 8oz. bottle and filled it with tank water from another tank, what fixture are you using, Catalina 26w pc? What temp. lights do you use? They sent me 10k boo and idk where to look for 6500, home depot didn't have any.
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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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I'll add macros to the mixture sense the substrate is full of micros. The fixture is the 10 inch 2x 13W compact lighthouse hood with a 10,000K and a 6500K. http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1232 I got both bulbs from them. Just had to add as a note that these were the bulbs I wanted. I called them to make sure I was getting these.

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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 03:10 PM
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Yep, I added a note too and they wrote on the box that they are out of 6500. I have mine setup with that light on top and a cf pointed at the front of the tank too haha
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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Update: So the dry start is for sure working! The growth is already double since the last pictures. I will add some more pictures in a day or two. I am planning on doing the dry start until it is a full carpet. I added some Iron chelate, along with tank water from my 15 gallon, to my spray bottle. I just sprayed it over the tank today so we'll see how that works out. This is great for me as I'm in no rush to start up this tank with inhabitants. My current big project is my 46 gallon saltwater tank. I am planning on a tank full of coral and need to get the equipment that can handle this! Money, money, money.

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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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So about a week ago I lost half of my carpet over night. I have been growing out the HC since my last post. It was growing incredibly slow but eventually filled up completely. Out of nowhere, over night, the whole left side of my tank turned black and died. I am thinking that the problem was that I let the water level get too low. On top of this I accidentally left the top uncovered for a few days. Very disappointed as I had a full carpet and now I have half a carpet. That also took two months to grow out. Not going to give up! I will figure out this dang plant!

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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Some pictures. I know I exaggerated the amount that died away but it is still a very large patch.





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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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I'm hoping I didnt fill it back up with too much water.

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post #11 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 02:30 AM
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I think you did. I keep mine level with the substrate, or it there are slopes I cut the difference.

I don't know about you, but my misting every day or every second day keeps the water level topped up. I don't leave the saran off. I only peel it back to air out while I mist and then close it up again. It's worked great for me so far.


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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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I do the same. Everything happened when I did nothing for a few days.

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post #13 of 47 (permalink) Old 06-22-2011, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Everything is back on track. The carpet is already starting to fill up the dead spots. I am not sure about the hairgrass in the back yet. It seems to be used a lot and I'd like to try something different. I might try out some Lilaeopsis brasiliensis (micro sword) to give a different feel for this commonly used layout. Gonna mess around with the emersed growth for another month or two and then I'll order my new equipment.

I have a Fluval 105 empty so need to get the parts for that. For media I'm most likely going to seachems matrix or fluvals bio media, cuprisorb, and filter floss or sponges.

I read a little bit about CO2 not being needed in aquariums so small but I am still going to try out the fluval mini CO2 system. I also dont want to mess around with the baby tears and I would like supported growth.

I assume that I wont like the diffuser that comes with the fluval system so I will probably buy a glass nano diffuser. Along with this I am getting a 2 in 1 bubble counter/check valve. Hopefully these all fit to the right tubing!

Lastly, I need a drop checker. Not sure which to go with yet. I'll probably use the same ol' same ol'.

After the equipment I'll get everything settled in for a week or two and will order my yellow shrimp. Will start out with 10 or 20. The other inhabitants I am looking to add are pygmy corydoras and one or two otocinclus cats. Not sure on top to mid swimming fish. Trying to find some smaller fish other than CPD's. I'll look into some of the small rasboras.

Thats all for now.

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post #14 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Just ordered my mini CO2 system, drop checker, and bubble counter. I am breaking down my reef tank so I will probably recycle the eheim 2213 I have on there and use it on this tank instead of the fluval 105. This tank is going to either move into my room or my kitchen before I fill it up as I am getting rid of the ugly iron stand it is sitting on.

The HC hasnt been doing too good as I am not keeping up with misting and filling the water level. Really tired of re doing the seran wrap!

Once the water is in I'll give it a few weeks and then look for some yellow shrimp to add. After this I'll try to find some pygmy corys

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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 04:28 AM
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Should've gotten a larger unit. The units JaggedFury doesn't cost much more, and lasts way longer than those Fluval units, especially with the 20g.


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