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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-13-2015, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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5g hex NPT office tank

I've had this 5 gallon hex NTP in my office since 2012. It fell into a state of disrepair and algae took over. Tore it down and rebuilt it better, faster, stronger.

Old tank:


The dark stuff on the bottom is pretty much a massive network of dracaena (lucky bamboo) and pothos roots. You can't see it, but hanging over the other side is like 10' of pothos vines.

Reset tank planted:


Reset tank has a substrate of backyard soil capped with gravel.

Plants are: some kind of spotted sword, some kind of ludwiga (I think), some other kind of ludwiga (ludwiga repens?), anubias, anubias nana, banana plant, anacharis.

There's more anacharis and two marimo balls in with my betta Nautica that will move in with her. Plus some bacopa that's in a nerite snail "spa" for bba.

I planted and set it up on 7/7/15:


("Front")


("Back")

The cloudy water settled a lot over the first couple days, but still kind of hazy by Friday. I was worried about colloidal clay, and tried a dose of Seachem's Clarify (our tap is liquid rock so I'm ok if it softens the water a little). It worked like a charm.

Tank on 7/10/15:


Also, I've built two hang-on baskets to plant the pothos in and reign in those roots, plus plant some dragon tongue (Hemigrphis repanda).
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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Pics from 7/16:

"Front"


"Back"


Overhead

Bonus shot of Nautica's 1 gal, forgot to post last week:



Updates:
7/14 added three male snakeskin Endlers Livebearers, two nerite snails, and "riparium" planters. I made some hanging planters out of shower caddies. Got J-Hook pipe hangers, cut them down, superglued them on. All ideas from these forums, thanks guys! The substrate is my own radical idea: floral water beads, which I'll be posting about separately.



I planted the old pothos vines, which look really pitiful after being in a tub outside. Hopefully they'll rebound. Also planted some Dragon's Tongue (Hemigraphis Repanda). The plant I initially used is about a year old and really wilted after being unpotted, so on 7/16 I pulled that and tried with young plantlets, which are doing GREAT.

So what I've figured out about riparium plants is: 1) it's much, much easier to remove damp soil from a potted plant than dry soil, and 2) plantlets handle the switch better than older plants do.

The new tank algae "hazing" is bba. Fortunately there's not a lot and the snails are doing a good job keeping on top of it. I take back everything I ever said about nerites. (They were less than effective in my previous tank, over run with green spot and bga.)

One of the Endlers seemed a little off from the get go, wouldn't hang out with the other two. He died after one day, and was replaced with a regular (wild type) Endler, who is doing great. They are ALSO eating the bba which is pretty awesome.

Most of the plants are growing, albeit slowly. The anacharis is growing quickly. The bacopa is melting it's old leaves but has lots of little baby leaves, so it's a wash I guess? The banana plant dropped a couple leaves the first week but seems to have settled down. The large anubias was doing poorly before the rebuild, some of the larger / older leaves had yellow edges, the yellow parts have melted but the plant overall looks better. No new yellowing.

Plans are: add a couple amano skrimps, trim the anubias and replant trimmings, add more riparium plants, add some floating plants, and next week (probably) move betta in along with additional anubias and marimo balls.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Pics as of 7/22:


"Front"


"Back"


Overhead


On 7/22, added trio of Amano shrimp. One looked poor from the start (had no food in his gut) and died that night. I decided not to replace. The other two are doing great. Watching them eat, I finally understand why shrimp tanks are so popular.

The nerite snails have been temporarily banished to the 1 gal snail spa, on account of their mollusc hanky panky. I don't want nerite eggs everywhere but I feel bad breaking up snail Romeo and Juliet. Ultimately I plan to trade in the lady zebra (boo is a tracked nerite so I know which one's which, haha).

On 7/29, rearranged some of the plants, added more anacharis, added two more anubias nana petite, and moved female betta in. I still have to replant some of the small ludwigia that was moved and weight down the anubias.

I have a couple large but tatty looking marimo balls, that I am debating cutting one up and tying it to some stones or craft mesh to make a "moss" carpet.

The pothos did not rebound but the dragon tongue is looking great.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 11:02 PM
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Looking good!

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According to my husband, I have a habit of jumping right in!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-30-2015, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jixie007 View Post
Pics as of 7/22:


"Front"


"Back"


Overhead


On 7/22, added trio of Amano shrimp. One looked poor from the start (had no food in his gut) and died that night. I decided not to replace. The other two are doing great. Watching them eat, I finally understand why shrimp tanks are so popular.

The nerite snails have been temporarily banished to the 1 gal snail spa, on account of their mollusc hanky panky. I don't want nerite eggs everywhere but I feel bad breaking up snail Romeo and Juliet. Ultimately I plan to trade in the lady zebra (boo is a tracked nerite so I know which one's which, haha).

On 7/29, rearranged some of the plants, added more anacharis, added two more anubias nana petite, and moved female betta in. I still have to replant some of the small ludwigia that was moved and weight down the anubias.

I have a couple large but tatty looking marimo balls, that I am debating cutting one up and tying it to some stones or craft mesh to make a "moss" carpet.

The pothos did not rebound but the dragon tongue is looking great.

Very nice! I have to ask how you knew you had a male or female nerite?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, here's an updated pic (7/31) of the re-arranging & new additions:


The plants are filling in and it's starting to come together!

Betta is getting along with everyone else, but eating all of their food (even the veggie wafers ). The skrimps hid for a couple days but were out and about today. One of them shed, and they haven't touched the shell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rushdoggie View Post
Very nice! I have to ask how you knew you had a male or female nerite?
Well, they can't reproduce in freshwater... but that doesn't stop them from trying! They spent an entire afternoon camped out in the front of the tank going at it (not actually much to see, basically they were hanging out, half the time with the male sitting on top of the females shell).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisy Mae View Post
Looking good!
Thanks!


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-20-2015, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Pics as of 8/6:


"Front"


"Back"


"Top"


The Amano skrimps & trumpet snails

So after two months of searching for malaysian trumpet snails, I finally found some in one of the display tanks at the lfs. I got 10, mostly adults.

Two of them (or the same one twice, who knows) found their way into the filter. Which was fine until the got down to the intake. Clack clack clack clack clack... they were fine, though.

In the meantime, Nautica the betta decided to jump... into the planter basket. She couldn't get back out because of the water beads. I fished her out (hehe) and less than an hour later she jumped... into the other planter. So I lowered the water level until I could get some floating plants, and that worked.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2015, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Pics from 8/13/15 (I'm slowly catching up, lol)


"Front"


"Back"


Top

Finally made it to a pond store and got frogbit, water spangle (salvinia minima), and salvinia oblongifolia. I'm happy to get some floaters but none of them were on my "want" list (azola, red root floaters, or Salvinia Cucullata).

I ended up putting the frogbit in the tank, but I think I'm going to switch to the oblong or do a mix. The oblong is my least favorite from overhead (it's not bad, just, the other two are nicer looking), BUT it has the best hanging roots.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2015, 06:10 AM
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I love this!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-26-2015, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, well, I'd stopped updating this but have still been taking pictures. So we're going to do a bit of a time jump.

8/20/15:




8/27/15:





After adding Salvinia oblongiolia, pretty much all of the overhead shots look the same. So I won't post much of them anymore.

For some reason I didn't get any photos in September.

10/2/15:

"Before pruning"


"After pruning"

Most of the maintenance on this tank is cutting roots from the hanging baskets, and replacing the media in the hanging baskets. The water beads were an interesting experiment, I would not use them again. They keep ending up in the tank somehow.



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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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So, it's been a while. Let's take a look back in time.

11/3/15:




11/12/15:




11/25/15:




I will have current photos soon. Over the past year, a lot of plants have died: all the floaters, ludwiga, banana plant (fun story!).

The anacharis and spotted sword are fine. I'm surprised the sword plant is still going strong, I thought it was the most iffy of the original set up. That or completely take over the tank-- but it hasn't.

The anubias is doing great. The the regular one had gotten pretty big, and the nana has produced a bunch of babies. There were also a couple windelov java fern plantlets that I threw in there, which have grown up.

The hanging plants (pothos, dragon tongue) are great. Kind of out of control actually.

Fish and inverts are doing well. Nautica (betta) has a tumor, but seems to be okay. The trumpet snails had a population explosions (surprise!)... my fault, overfeeding.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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9/14/16:




Nautica the betta developed a large cyst or tumor. I set up a hospital tank and took her home 10/21. She has not responded to treatment, but is still active, eating, and has good color. She'll be staying in the hospital tank until the situation resolves, whichever way it goes.

On 10/24 I picked up another female betta.

10/25/16:




Here are some decent fish pics:



On 10/31 one of the three Endlers died. On 11/7 a second Endler died (although a body hasn't been recovered). Water parameters were perfect. No signs of illness, but I do not know if Nautica's issue was contagious or not. The new betta doesn't seem to be harassing them. I've had them for over a year... could it be old age?

R.I.P. Cheetor 2 and 3.

On 11/1 added a new Nerite Snail and bucephalandra*. The buces melted immediately. We'll see if they rebound.

The Nerite is pretty neat, it's a tracked pattern, but instead of red, it's yellow. If the dang Endlers weren't dropping, I'd have a yellow theme going here. I've circled him in this pic, and bonus, he's next to the sad buces before they went to pieces:


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2016, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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* So, quick story about the bucephalandra, called "How to Kill Your Bucephalandra Without Even Trying". I know, the title needs work.

I always wanted buces but they were too expensive. Was shocked to find some at Petco. There was some mold in the gel substrate, but not on the plants, still was able to get them 1/2 off. What a steal! Then I proceeded to have a lot of external personal drama, so fooling with the plants was not a priority. Unfortunately they were neglected over the weekend, at which point, the mold spread to the plants

On Monday I was able to get them out, scraping off the crud as best I could. They seemed to have plantlets / offshoots, so cut them up. In retrospect... probably a mistake. To get them to stay in the spot I wanted them, I glued a piece a gravel to each cut plant. To give the glue time to cure before putting in the tank, I kept them in a wet papertowel in a covered cup, intending to transfer them to the tank after 24 hours. However, life again messed up those plans, and they stayed in the cup for two days. By the time they went into the tank, they looked terrible. Pale, shriveled, wilting, dropping a few leaves. Ugh. I'm pretty sure at that point they were doomed. I tossed them in anyway. Less than a day later and all plants melted all of their leaves, except one hold out that has two leaves (the larger plants had like 15 - 20 leaves before). So... we'll see what happens. Maybe they'll recover. Maybe not.

In other news: struggling with brown diatoms and green algae (yay). Ammonia / Nitrites / Nitrates keep testing fine, so I have to figure that one out.

Anubias petite is very happy though! They are bushy with plantlets, I'm just getting to pulling those off so I can put them where I want them. The large Anubias is getting overpowering, and, it needs a weight to bring it down, right now it's hovering a couple inches above the gravel, looks ridiculous.

I took some pictures of the betta's while they were in cups, since I could get better shots that way.

Nautica:



New girl (tentatively Firestar):


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