Fluval Spec V Low Tech Newbie Help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Fluval Spec V Low Tech Newbie Help

Hi guys, new to the forum and the world of planted tanks. Want to start out small, so I picked up a used Fluval Spec V. Want to keep it nice and simple (and cheap). I plan on doing a low tech planted cherry shrimp tank. Can use all the help I can get. So here it goes, and please bear with my newbie questions...

What substrate would you recommend? And how much substrate would be needed?

What would be good low tech plants to start with?

Is the stock light sufficient enough or do I need additional or alternative lighting? If other lighting is needed, what do you recommend (looking to stay with LEDs)?

How do I go about cycling since I won't be having any fish to start the cycling process?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-14-2016, 05:01 PM
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Have you had an aquarium before?
The stock light for a fluval spec is fine for low light plants like java fern, anubias and even crypts. If your new to this I'm not sure I would start off with cherry shrimp, I find amano shrimp to be pretty tough, and although not as colorful they are much larger and so for me they are more fun to watch. I use flourite for my tanks, I think the rule of thumb is about two inches but I usually go over that because I want good depth for the plants to root in.

Hopefully others will chime in and give you some help, you should also check out the tank journals forum to get ideas of how others have set up their tanks

best of luck
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-14-2016, 05:47 PM
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I think cherry shrimp are an excellent choice. They are pretty hardy unlike the others such as crystal shrimp. Also, even if you do plan on adding fish sometime in the future it's probably best to establish your shrimp colony first, starting with about 8 shrimp. They will be less prone to stress and any fry that hatch will not face predation.

There are a few substrates out there, such as Aquasoil, that seem particularly beneficial to shrimp. I know that ADA, Seachem, and fluval all produce this type and it has the added benefit of keeping your pH down. Whatever you choose I would keep it dark and fine grain to allow for full coloration and natural grazing behavior. I would recommend at least an inch in depth at your shallow point (if you're going to slope with your aquascape)

Cycling beforehand is important as shrimp will most likely not survive through an in cycle. A member on this forum, Diana, has posted several great fishless cycling instructions which I highly recommend looking up. The only thing I could possibly add to those would be to make sure whatever source of ammonia you use to cycle does not have surfactants (i.e. Soap) listed in the ingredients. Some stores; target, Home Depot, and lowes just to name a few stock bottles simply labeled Ammonia yet still have surfactants. Good rule of thumb is shake the bottle: if bubbles collect at the surface it has surfactants. I found the bottle I used at a local hard wear store but I've read several other posts where Ace hard wear carries the kind you'll want.

Lastly, when reading up before starting a cherry shrimp tank of my own, I had found several posts where the ability of the shrimp, because they have such little bio load, to maintain the cycle was questioned. I luckily(???) had a few snail egg clutches hitchhike into my tank while cycling and their population somewhat exploded which I believe attributed to my steady cycle. Hopefully others with more knowledge on this than myself will chime in.

Fluval specs have really great oversized filters and I think was a good choice!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-14-2016, 05:53 PM
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For substrate I like Caribsea products. I use either Eco Complete or Super Naturals sand. For the sand I've used both Tahitian Moon and Sunset Gold and like them both.

Get a piece of driftwood or two and tie or glue some java fern and some anubias to the wood. You could also try hygro compact, or some crypt wendtii.
The stock light is fine for these plants.

You can cycle using ammonia and should read up on that. You'll need the API Freshwater Master Test Kit to be able to test your water parameters.
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