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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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5 Gal Bow Front

Wasn't sure if I wanted to start a journal, but here we are. At times I find myself under informed in aquarium keeping. With the help of this forum I hope to be ready to step up to a 55 gal this year.
Started with this glow light setup for glowfish zebras for the kids. It bombed and I lost all but one fish. He is still with us.

Then I started over with intentions of a dirt tank with sand cap. Started out good but had a lot if tannins from the rocks I picked and a huge algae bloom. Lost all my plants except two, which are now 4. Added a beta and some cories.

Just floated the plants for awhile and redid the tank again with black smooth glass.

After a bit I added sand and planted the plants. That was going well for awhile and started to get some algae on the glass. Rehomed Bob the snail and treated for the algae. All was well but two days ago I decided that sunscreen I haven't managed to kill anymore fish I really should try and get my plants healthier. I would eventually like to go filterless. So as of Thursday here's where I am.

Desk lamp with a 14w 5000k CFL bulb. On 8-10 hours.

1/2 in organic dirt capped with 1&1/2 in floramax

4 micro swords (I think)
1 leafy plant (can't remember)

50w adjustable heater.

Internal charcoal filter

Dual air stones.

1 female Beta

1 zebra glowfish (schooling fish, I know. He "schools" with Beta)

3 corie cats. (1 spotted, 2 albino)

Future plan is to add some nerites or ramshorns and MTS. Also put a small floater.








May move some inhabitants to the 55 gal when I get it. Until then I do frequent water changes. Would like to add more plants as well.

Z
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 04:49 PM
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Well first off when getting ready to set up your new tank look into a "fish-less cycle". As far as plants go EI or PPS dosing, PAR, and CO2 is some homework you should do. It seems like a lot at first but it really isn't to bad and once you have a good grasp on these things you are on your way to a successful planted aquarium.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advise. Will give those topics a good read. Have a lot if planning ahead before I go bigger. I just started using liquid ferts but haven't started CO2 yet. Really wanted to get this more heavily planted and low tech.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 03:41 AM
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The cory's and the beta seem to really like that jar.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 06:15 AM
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Flybum, if you want to keep it low tech, I would get some plants like Anubias, Java ferns, crypts, maybe some moss. These are plants that grow pretty slow, and don't need a lot of light or maintenance. You will need some kind of root fertilizer (tabs or dirt do the trick) for the crypts though. A slightly heavily stocked tank will should be enough fertilizer for the others. You may want to look into Otocinclus catfish (otos) instead of cories for that tank though, 3 cories might get to be a little much for the footprint of that tank once they are fully grown.

As for tannins, charcoal filtration and frequent water changes should keep the water pretty clear until the tannins finish leaching.

Also, fishless cycles are fine, but if you plant a tank heavily upfront, use seeded filter media that has beneficial bacteria in it, (you can pop a sponge or other media into the 5g tank for a week or more to get beneficial bacteria building up on it when you are getting ready to set up the 55g....or even just steal some filter media straight out of the 5g, call it time for a media change ) and keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrIte levels and do water changes when and if needed, you can do a cycle with fish. You just don't want to start out with the maximum number of fish. Fast growing stem plants (even ones like anachris which is cheap because mostly it's used for turtle food) and floating plants are great at soaking up excess ammonia and nitrIte (nutrients to the plants). I have even tossed stems in as floaters to do that job, and then removed them later. The added benefit if you get the plants locally is that they should still have beneficial bacteria on them.

OK that was a lot of information. If you are not familiar with what a fish tank cycle is, THAT is really important to know. But if you do it right, fishless cycling is not strictly necessary (I know kids (and adults too) can get impatient to get fish in the tank).

Good luck!

And I do recommend reading as much as you can, but it can also get confusing, so don't hesitate to post your questions as well


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3 year old Tibetan Terrier named Whisky
11 year old miniature Poodle named Cody
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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@ Oto Guy, they do like the jar. The cories are fun to watch and the Beta hangs with them quite a bit.

@ Karackle, thanks for the plant recommends. Stopping buy the "local" LFS tomorrow after work. Wish it was closer. Twenty minutes from work the wrong way puts me just over an hour from the house.

I have a fresh half to three quarter inch layer of organic miracle grow under the floramax. Would I still needs root tabs?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 01:27 AM
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I don't have experience with using soil under the gravel, but from what I understand, that should do the trick so you wouldn't need root tabs. If you find that the plants (especially crypts) aren't growing, you might want to consider some root tabs, but I think you could start without them since you have the soil


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Well, since redoing the tank a few days ago my swords are melting. Thought it was a hair algae or something but actually is the plant.

Will they recover if I just trim them?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 07:25 PM
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I haven't had swords in a LONG time and they never did very well for me, but if I remember correctly, they are similar to crypts in that they do not enjoy being moved much and a little melting is par for the course after a tank redo / being moved.

Someone will probably chime in and correct me if I'm wrong though

Also, I just realize our bettas match!


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Last edited by Karackle; 01-06-2014 at 07:40 PM. Reason: picture addition
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2014, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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That's fun, matching fishies. I put some water lettuce, a few trumpet snails and either pond snails or nerites ( too small to tell) in yesterday. Snails were free from the LFS. Swords don't show any more signs of melting. Parameters this morning were <.25 Amonia, 0 Nitrite, 10<20 Nitrate. These numbers are down from yesterday and everybody seems happy.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-06-2014, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Yup, been awhile. Finally got some time off and made some changes. Don't know what happened to the other pics in this thread. Must have moved them. Any way, the MTS won out over the pond snails. Fish are all doing well. Swords exploded. I had three that were rooted and they grew up instead of across. Had three big bushy swords from base to ceiling. Removed the lettuce, it was out of control. Water params were nice, last three months only did top offs. So today I rearranged things. Had some black algae stuff growing and despite the snailapalooza, it was just ugly. Pulled everything out and cleaned house. No more dirt, just some Flora Max append with pol filter sand for the cories. Root tabs for the plants. Save a portion of the old substrate and mixed with new. Split all my plants for more coverage. No grand design, just scattered. I've never "mowed the lawn" so swords are tall. Also changed from the stock charcoal filter to a zoomed 501. Had a culling of the snails, only a few made the cut. Here it is now.


Quick question. Will the plant I have tied to the jar do well there (roots grow down around jar) or should I plant it? Thanks.

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