Aqueon 5gal Mini-Bow, low-tech (now with shrimp!) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-18-2010, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Aqueon 5gal Mini-Bow, low-tech (now with shrimp!)

Hello everyone! I was recently trying to decide what to do with my 5 gallon tank, and in the process found this forum via this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...urnal-r-i.html I kept several aquariums when I was younger, and always wanted to try keeping live plants. After reading that I was inspired to finally try doing so, since it looked possible to do so even in a small tank.

First, a brief history of the tank. Before this recent re-do, it had been established for about 4 months. A friend from work had told me about some sort of "cleaner shrimp" that he had bought to add to one of his community tanks. It killed a few of his fish on the first night, so he quickly realized that he had something else on his hands and wanted to get rid of it. I volunteered to take it in to save it from being flushed . I didn't really want to spend a lot of money and take up a lot of space at the time (didn't want to upset the wife by moving furniture around,) so I got something that would fit on my desk- this little 5 gallon tank. Well, when he brought me the shrimp and I started to look up some information, I quickly realized that it was a juvenile Macrobrachium...and they get big. I successfully kept him in the 5 gallon tank for the 4 months, but unfortunately he pretty quickly out-grew the tank and passed away. This left me with a cycled tank that just needed some cleaning.

I vaccumned the gravel and did a good-sized water change (about 75%) two weekends ago, and added some plants. Last weekend, I added fish. I'm using the filter system that came built into the aquarium, I have a 25w heater, and I changed the cruddy incandescent bulb with a 10w 5500k CFL from Marineland. For plants, I have Anacharis, Red Ludwigia, and Moneywort. For animals, I have 3 Glofish, 1 Oto, and 5 glass shrimp. The tank is probably a little small for the Glofish, but i'm hoping with some good aquascaping they'll be comfortable (and after all, my wife wanted them.) I'm still using the same plain gravel as a substrate, which I know now after reading isn't optimal, but I'm hoping the get away with it. I'm fertilizing with API Leaf Zone, which is the only liquid fert I could find locally. The Anacharis and Moneywort seem to be doing well. I had to trim and re-plant the Red Ludwigia last night because the bottom parts of the stems were rotting (these were also the only plants that I didn't trim the bottoms off of before I planted them because they had a few small roots...so they may have already been rotting slightly.)

I think I want to place some plants on the front left, something that will stay fairly small. I'll move some of the smaller pieces of Ohio flint to the right to make room. One of the Petsmarts near me has some Anubias Nana on small lava rocks that don't look too bad, so I might get one of those. I'm also looking for suggestions for other plants that will do well in this sort of tank, and which would be good for a newbie to planted tanks. Some sort of ground cover would be great too. Here are some pictures, tell me what you think!















Last edited by Chaos_Being; 07-17-2010 at 03:34 AM. Reason: Now a shrimp tank!
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-18-2010, 05:59 PM
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I really enjoy looking at smaller tanks. I think they're challenging in their own right to design/scape, but if I had to offer a piece of advise, I might advise to remove 1-2 of those smaller rocks. The 4 of them together look a little cluttered, but that's just one novice's opinion . By removing a few, it would add more room for some interesting plants for the midground. Anyways, I look forward to watching this one progress.
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-18-2010, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback! I'm sure that I'll be tinkering with it for a bit until I get everything right, and everything growing well. Then I plan on just letting everything take its own course.

I'm thinking about swinging past that Petsmart today to pick up one of the Anubias Nana plants (I know I should have bought one when I was there before.) That will go in front of the big chunk of flint on the left side. The other rocks will be placed more to the right to create a sort of wall. I was already placing the substrate higher on that side to give myself some room to plant the stem plants, so this may help me create this two-tiered sort of effect.

A little bit of ground cover to the left-center would look nice too I think, and maybe some moss on the larger rock? For ground cover, from what I've seen, I love the look of Dwarf Baby Tears, but not sure how well they would grow with 2 wpg? A lot to learn still...
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-18-2010, 09:14 PM
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The glofish are unsuited for that tank. They are banned in the UK and California due to them being glofish genetically modified. Danio rerios (Zebra danios aka glofish) need a least a 20g long with a power-head. They are really active. I am sorry but there really no way for them to be comfortable. Perhaps dario dario or a betta for this tank would be better. Heck having it as a shrimp only tank would look awesome. I also recommend taking away a few of those rocks as they look cluttered. Looks good though. I would not recommend getting baby tears though, perhaps start out with a moss mat.


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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Well, with any luck I'll be able to get a larger tank in the near(ish) future, and then they could be moved. (I'm already trying to convince the wife that a big tank in the living room would, in fact, be a great idea.) At least they are eating well for now, and seem to enjoy schooling through the plants. I think I remember having them (Zebra Danios, not Glofish) in a 10 gallon tank before with success, but that was quite a while ago...

Anyways though, I did pick up an Anubias Nana from one of the local Petsmarts that surprisingly looks pretty good, and I re-arranged some of the rocks to create more of a "wall" behind which I made the gravel deeper and elevated where I have all the stem plants. I may remove the one all the way to the right, it is rather irregular shaped and is the same color as the one next to it. I think some moss would look good too, either as a mat or especially on top of the large rock on the left, cascading down. Suggestions on a moss type? For now though, I will probably leave it alone for a bit to see how well the current plants take, before doing anything else.

New pic:


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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 09:01 AM
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wow...thats looking really good!!!
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you

I'm thinking a small Java Fern on top of the large rock to the left would look good, and fill in that little space. Nothing too big though, as the filter intake is there. That side is a little shady, but I figure a Java Fern would work. The surface is mostly smooth, but there is a hollow covered in small crystals that should eventually serve as an anchor for the roots.
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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I got a different light for the tank today- I swapped out my 10w Marineland CFL with a 14w "daylight" CFL from Home Depot, the same sort that one would normally use in houshold lights as a replacement for 60w incandescent bulbs. I wish I knew this sort of bulb would work beforehand, because it fit perfectly and was a third of the price of the specialty bulb I bought! Much brighter looking too...I was a little concerned that the other bulb wasn't putting out enough light for some of my plants, the Red Ludwigia in particular. That plant shed a few more leaves today, but it looks like it has signs of new growth on the tips so hopefully it is taking to my tank. The Anacharis is already visibly longer (no surprise there, from what I have read,) and the Moneywort seems to be rooting and showing some new growth too.

However, like Caton posted above, I'm starting to see some bad behaviour out of my Glofish. One is slightly larger than the other two, and is incessantly bullying the other two. It patrols the tank, while the other two hide in a corner. If they venture forth, they get chased back immediately. Seeing as how I haven't had them very long, I'm thinking that I may want to use the 14 day return policy at Petsmart and bring them back this weekend. I feel like a bit of a noob, however I did read some reports that danios would work in 5 gallons. I guess you can't believe everything on the internet, huh

So, I'm looking for suggestions. The Oto and the 5 Ghost Shrimp (shrimp are awesome!) are definitely staying. I'm thinking either a Betta (if it won't be too agressive towards the Oto and shrimp,) or maybe a small school of Neon Tetras? (which is what I had been leaning towards getting before buying the Glofish instead.) Guppies, perhaps? Going to do some more research...help a newbie out (I may as well be one, given the amount of time that has lapsed since I've had an aquarium )
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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I had one glass shrimp die last night...I guess that's not too unexpected for a Petsmart shrimp though. The other four still look fine. There is still some definite aggression with the largest Glofish...it was chasing the smaller two back into their corner when I fed them this morning. I wish I had known they would be unhappy in a small tank. Plenty of sources I found said danios would do ok in a small tank. Like I said, I had some of them in a 10 gallon tank before with success, so I figured I would try again even though my current tank is smaller. You live and learn I guess.

I have three ideas for replacements, and am still open for suggestions. I'm trying to keep my choices (for now) limited to fish that I can buy locally though. (Petsmart basically, since I'll be using their return policy for the replacements. If there are any good specialty stores near me I'm unaware of them.) Eventually, when I get a bigger tank I may like to try some more uncommon species.

Here are my ideas, to go with what will still be in my tank (1 Oto, and 4 glass shrimp now):

- 1 Betta, and 1 or 2 more Otos
- 5 or 6 Neon Tetras
- "X" number of male Guppies

Like everyone else I'm sure, I've kept Bettas before and they are awesome fish. When I was very young, I had a 10 gallon tank with a breeding group of guppies. I'm uncertain if they would do well in a 5, but I do know that having a breeding population in a 5 would likely be bad! As for Neons, I've never kept any but I've seen a TON of the nanos here housing Neons, so they must be a good choice!

Eventually, I would love to get some Cherry Shrimp, but for now I'll be sticking with the Ghosts.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 01:33 PM
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A group of rainbows - P. Gertrudae. Beautiful, hardy, loaded with personality and will cohab with a betta if you want one.



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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 06:26 PM
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I love gertrudae's they don't like my water though. I use to keep them, and they spawned once but never lived very long.

I just thought I would say the socket on this tank is dual sided. Modifiying it slightly can make it hold 2 x 14 watt bulbs which is what mine runs. Modifiying it requires you to drill a hole to move the socket over and then hack out all the interior plastic so a 2nd bulb will fit.
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-20-2010, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Those are nice looking fish! I doubt that I would be able to find any locally though I will keep them in mind.

Mikaila, really? I'll have to check into that!
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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I ended up having some spare time this evening, so I decided to correct my choice of fish. The three Glofish went back to Petsmart, and an indigo blue Betta with red highlights came home with me I had planned on getting two more Otos so my lone Oto would have some buddies to school with, but they didn't have any this time.

I can already tell the Betta is happy in his new home, especially after being stuck in that tiny little container at Petsmart for who knows how long. He definitely wanted OUT while I was acclimatizing him, and once he was freed he immediately went and explored the whole tank and his new neighbors. I think he paused and looked closely at each one of the Ghost Shrimp, much to their chagrin (they backed up and waved their tiny claws at him.) I then put a black background on the tank, which must have been just reflective enough (made of a shiny plastic) that he started flaring like crazy at the back of the tank. So long as he doesn't terrorize the other fauna in the tank, I'll most likely go ahead with my plan of 2 more Otos when I can find some. I've grown to like the little guys.

I'm still looking for something to get growing on top of the large rock on the left. I actually saw some Java Fern while I was getting the Betta which looked pretty good, but it was bigger than what I think would look good in that space. I know I want some moss there. I may just try to make a little moss mountain there, perhaps with another rock on top of the one there to give it some height. Another Anubias Nana might look good there too. I'm open for suggestions here!

I'm still not completely happy with the line of rocks either, that will probably get re-arranged. I did a partial water change while catching the Glofish, and replaced the filter media (it had been in there since I had my Macrobrachium in there, and was pretty nasty.) I removed the carbon from it this time, as I didn't know previously that carbon would absorb ferts. That means the ferts I put in last week had gone to waste...I plan on dosing again tomorrow morning as I think the plants could use it. They don't look quite as vibrant, and I'm seeing a tiny bit of melting on the Anacharis.

The tank also got moved from my comptuer desk upstairs, to my bedroom downstairs. It suddenly hit me today that the 2nd floor of my house gets unbearably hot in the summer, which would almost certainly overheat the tank. It's been fairly cool so far this year, but not for long I'm guessing.

New pics! They don't look as good as some I've seen here, I need to fine-tune the macro feature on my camera...














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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 04:08 AM
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Your tank looks wonderful, really pretty. I love the different rock colours and the way they contrast with the gravel. I particularly like the more random way your rocks were organized in your first pics.

Just lovely! Congratulations
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 07:12 AM
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Tank looks great , whats the bushy green plant at the rear middle ?
My only criticism is the gravel , not good for plants as u said but the grain size looks too big for a nano , smaller grain size would give a better sense of scale , but good job well done .
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