New Newbie tank journal-4 Gallon - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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New Newbie tank journal-4 Gallon

I think it's time for me to start a journal on my 4 gallon tank. Stumbling into this hobby roughly by accident, all I really wanted was to treat the betta fish I had inherited a bit better, and now I'm reading this forum every day and want to start a larger tank!

I inherited my standard blue/black betta after an art auction, where they had been used as centerpieces. (!) A number of my friends and I adopted them and took them home, though it took me a long time to to care for him properly.

I began with a desolate bowl and gravel, added a heater, added some cheap dry bulbs, which sprouted, to my great surprise, and then bought a fish tank for my birthday this spring, a Finnex 4 Gallon.

My first arrangement was pretty sad.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Ooops, then more.

The following are the basics now, three months into it.

4G
Aging betta fish, nameless
1 male cherry shrimp (female was killed by the betta)
Nymphaeas-unknown sp. Petco dry bulb
Aponogeton sp. which has flowered twice!
Echinodous--Red Flame or similar, the seller didn't know
Hygrophila difformis
Marimo
HC
Micro sword
Salvina auriculata

13W 6100K daylight bulb, so 3.25 wpg
HOB filter that came with the kit, with addition of ceramic media, sponge and floss instead of the carbon filter
25W Hydor heater
Eco Complete substrate with some gravel from his old bowl to seed it, and some much washed playground sand.
50% or so water change weekly, with some light gravel vacuuming and glass scrubbing

I've tested a bit, but I find it a little daunting, and there are so many variables I'm not sure what to test for first. Nitrates?

Current issue--slight algae problem that came with the Echinodorus. I trim what I can, but don't want to trim too much.... Have begun a very light Excel and Flourish schedule that essentially adds dilute solution once a day, but I don't have a good way to measure the dosing as of yet. Defaulting to less rather than more.

Feedback?
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 10:25 PM
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That's a cool little nano, cant wait to see some green in it

Ahh! There it is! Very well done on saving that beta..
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ahh! There it is! Very well done on saving that beta..[/quote]

I don't imagine he'll be much longer for this world, as he's about 2, and all the others from this same batch have died already.

So the question is: what next? I'm thinking shrimp only, as I like watching them, or maybe Rasboras? Though I couldn't have many at all....
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 04:28 AM
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very nice compact tank. I would get shrimp and perhaps some dwarf rasboras. Check out Franksaquarium he has some nice ones in stock right now


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Bk828--
How many will comfortably fit in a 4 Gallon? I know they are schooling fish, so is three enough? Four?
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 06:45 AM
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very nice compact tank. I would get shrimp and perhaps some dwarf rasboras. Check out Franksaquarium he has some nice ones in stock right now

I would aviod shrimp with the betta. I have seen mixed results from people that keep them together. Many people report that bettas will eat shrimp without hesitation.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 11:12 AM
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Bk828--
How many will comfortably fit in a 4 Gallon? I know they are schooling fish, so is three enough? Four?
oops didnt see the betta part. I think you are limited on the stock right now with the betta in there. Not sure if the dwarf rasboras will be attacked/eaten by the betta or if they would feel comfortable with a big fish in the tank with them.
As far as how many. You can go with 3-4. I have 2 different species of the dwarf rasboras in my 10g and one schools more than the other. But the schools are not as tight as say rummy nose tetras.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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New apartment!

So I moved, and the tank made the move just fine (thanks in part to suggestions I found here....)

But frankly I've been having an algae problem, and the move uprooted the HC and I cut all the leaves off of my wan little aponogeton in a fit of frustration.

So I think it's time for a rescape. I want to keep the water lily, and I like the wood and the echinodorus. All else is up for debate.

I seem to be really good at growing salvinia, and not much else. I'm using Excel, but the algae has been bad enough I've been cutting off leaves to try to control it, like you would a terrestrial plant. Wrong approach? I understood most aquatic plants grew pretty quickly in high light so I thought it would work, but there isn't a speck of a shoot from the aponogeton.

Thoughts?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 03:07 AM
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Yes, trimming leaves works to an extent. Sounds to me like it's time to back up on the lighting and increase your Excel dosing. I'd also throw a few Amano shrimp in there, they're great algae eaters.





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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2008, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Rescape--much better

Long delay---ahem.
Betta just died a few weeks ago--by accounts, he was at least 3, maybe 4, so a good long life.

But as such a prime opportunity to integrate the new plants more thoroughly and rescape.

Flora (and a big thanks to such lovely plants via swap n shop):
Purple bamboo
Two nymphaea stellata red
Cardamine lyrata
Singapore moss
Narrow leaf java fern
HC

Fauna:
One male RCS happy to have the betta gone
Space for something new!

Options:
Shrimp only
A pea puffer (and shrimp at risk)
Boraras sp.--but how many can a 4G hold? Enough to school happily, or not?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2008, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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The full tank

Full tank--looking a little bare, but I hope room to grow....
8 hours, 7100K bulb. Hydor Theo heater
Small amount of algae, though the most recent is a mildly disconcerting plum color on the wood.
I do get pearling, though from minor amounts of Excel and some surface agitation that sends bubbles down from the HOB filter which take a while to resurface in the turbulence. Is that normal to get pearling from? Should I go CO2 anyway, which I've been considering?

So many questions....
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2008, 03:10 AM
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Nice little tank

If I read correctly your "pearling" is caused by air bubbles created by the HOB filter sticking to the plants? In my understanding true pearling is oxygen bubbles created by the plant itself through photosynthesis.

About the CO2: I just "cured" the algae problem in my tank by increasing CO2 and using adequate water dosing. I also cut back the photo period a bit. The main problem I see in your setup would be preventing the CO2 from escaping. The HOB filter looks like it creates too much surface agitation. The less disturbed the water surface, the less CO2 will diffuse into the atmosphere. If you go the CO2 route you might try raising the water level so the water flows gently back into the tank.

Keep posting updates, I'd like to see where you take this.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2008, 03:11 AM
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Im jealous your bulbs actually grew. Which ones did you buy? I want to find the dry bulbs with the lilies, but haven't had much luck. Its looking great btw.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-11-2008, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you ka NUK and Wicket_lfe (which I read first as "wicket elf"--interesting visual)

I think there is some trapped air as a result of bubbles from the HOB filter, but there is clearly pearling from the bamboo and the HC that isn't trapped bubbles--it's coming from the newest leaves and is on the top, not underneath. Not a whole ton, but I have taken it to mean that I'm doing something a little bit right, at least. I can hope!

I thought I also understood that in nature surface agitation is one of the things that provides CO2, and the bubbles do seem to sort of get trapped in the turbulence and take a long time to resurface. That has been my best guess. But maybe I'm confused?

I read differing opinions on CO2 in this small of a tank--4g. I do dose Excel, 1 mL daily, but my schedule is too erratic to do it at the same time every day, so sometimes I go without once the lighting period has ended. I was mistakenly overdosing there for a while, and it did seem to help the algae problem, but with the shrimp I understand I should be careful.

At 8 hours, I thought that would be short enough of a lighting period, but maybe shorter?

The stellata bulbs--I might be a bit misleading. I started with the dry bulbs and it was happy and sending leaves to the surface for a few months, and then sort of...fizzled in terms of growth. So I got wet (sprouted) ones from an ebay source a few months ago, and they were partially rotten. I cut off the rotten bits and just shoved the remainder in there. So far so good, and I do think they are taking hold. Have also added small bits of root tabs under them, to see if that helps.

I'll keep posting. Thanks for the encouragement!
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