Nano Planted Ideas-New to Planted Tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Nano Planted Ideas-New to Planted Tanks

Hello all. While I've been keeping a reef aquarium for the past decade. I've thought on and off about small planted freshwater tanks. I setup a small Eclipse 3 gallon once with live plants but the plants never really grew, just became covered in algae. I want to do it right this time.

I still would like to keep the Eclipse 3 setup just for the look but this is what I'm thinking to mod it.

1. I retro fitted a 13 watt PC and small fan into my current Eclipse 3 gallon reef setup. I'd like to do the same in this planted tank. What bulb should I use? A Coralife white light or is a plain old $4 dollar 13 watt PC bulb at the hardware store sufficent for plants?

2. Biowheel-Should I remove it?

3. I'm using bottled distilled water in my reef. Would that be good to start this tank or is conditioned tap water better since it has other nutrients in it?

4. What is best for the substrate? Sand, pea gravel, lateralite products, mixture of all?

5. I got the fish I want picked out. A few colorful platys, some neon tetras and zebra danios. Are these good choices?

6. Are there any easy invertebrates out there that would be good to keep? I seem a few large shrimp at my LFS. I've heard of freshwater clams as well.

7. Need some good beginner plant choices for this setup.

7. Any good books for smaller planted tanks that you would recommend?

Sorry for all the questions. There maybe more as I progress in learning about these beautiful tanks.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 04:28 PM
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1.) 13 watts is not sufficient if you would like foreground plants or any plants with color in them. I'd look to be in the 20 watt area for your lighting especially if you plan to use CO2 and ferts. Try to find a "day light bulb" which should be around 6400k. Oh and personally i prefer white light to the orange/yellow light we are used to using in our homes.

2.) I've never used a biowheel so I'll let other people advise you on this one! But I would think its just an added something for good bacteria to cling to so why not?

3.) Many people here suggest you use half RO water mixed with conditioned tap water. You don't want a lot of those extra nutrients in your tank because it may cause an imbalance which could encourage algae. Personally I never use RO water-its to expensive.

4.) Eco complete and flourite are a favorite on this forum. I have flourite but many people make their own substrate with kitty litter, sand, potting soil, etc.

5.) Platys arr to big for your tank and you most definitely can not fit all of those in your 3 gallon tank. I suggest 1 or 2 scarlet badis if you dont mind feeding them live food. Maybe some boraras brigittae but they are schooling fish and would prefer to be kept in groups of 6 or more (you could fit 3 in your tank). Your best option would be shrimp! but I know thats kinda boring. Check out the nano fish list, its a sticky in this forum, and try to find fish that stay below an inch.

6.) Shrimp are great to keep in your tank! clams not so much. People have had trouble with them dieing and you not knowing about it. They will just foul up our water. You also wont see them as they will bury themselves in the substrate. Also, they are filter feeders I believe so unless you can provide food for them I'd stay away from clams! As for what kind of shrimp I'd go with smaller shrimp since you are making a nano! Cherry shrimp and crystal red shrimp are readily available on this forum in the swap and shop section.

7.) Beginner plants are easy low light plants like java fern, java moss, duckweed (ewww), just google low light aquarium plants and you'll find some nice ones. Or maybe go to the low tech part of this forum and see what they are using!

8.) Dont go buy books!!!!! Everything you need to know is on this forum or similar forums! You cant find anything in a book that you cant find here! welcome and good luck!

2.5 Gallon Iwagumi
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 05:33 PM
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The plants you choose really determines everything.

I have a stock Eclipse 3, with gravel substrate, and it's packed with wisteria and hornwort. No algae, no ferts, and no maintenance other than a 50% conditioned tap water change every week or two. The plants rengb6 suggested would also do well in this tank.

If you want plants that require more light, things get more complicated because as light increases, you reach a point where CO2 and ferts are necessary to keep the plants healthy and algae away.

For lighting upgrades, plain old $4 PC bulbs work just fine as long as they provide enough light for the plants you choose. I prefer the "Daylight" variety (6500K) because the more common "Warm White" looks way too yellow in a planted tank to me.

Biowheels lose CO2, so remove it if you supplement CO2. In a filter this small this reduces biofiltration quite a bit, but the plants will also act as a biofilter as long as they're plentiful and healthy.

Plain gravel is fine for many plants, but plants that are heavy root feeders or that spread through the substrate will do much better in a more advanced media. Which substrate tends to be a personal choice, as they all have their quirks. I personally use Soilmaster Select in my high-tech tank.
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