Need a Schooling about Low Tech, Low Maintenance, Hard to Kill Plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Question Need a Schooling about Low Tech, Low Maintenance, Hard to Kill Plants

Application is a desktop 2.5 gallon, unheated betta / maybe shrimp tank with a zebra snail which I am trying to keep as clean, neat and uncluttered as possible. (I just don't have space on my desk for extra stuff.) Tank will have a low flow rate with a filter set up to keep the water in the bio filter as long as possible to keep the nitrates and ammonia down. Nitrites become the problem, and I am hoping live plants can help with this.


Low tech plants are the goal. I want to avoid a CO2 injector and the “soil” type of substrate. Would like plants I can just stick in the gravel / sand and let them go (maybe stick a plant tab under them).


What I am currently thinking is a driftwood / moss bonsai tree, a christmas moss back wall and maybe some wisteria and really short “grass” if I can figure out what it is called.


QUESTIONS:
Is this a reasonable attempt at a low tech, living, nitrate / nitrite mop?
Are the better plants to use / grow giving the existing conditions?


Need to build a hood for the tank. Given that I do not want a cord, that leaves me with battery driven LEDs. Have built LED array lights before. It's repetitive but not actually hard. I know I am going to want some warm white for general illumination. Am pretty sure sure I am going to need a lot of reds and some blues for the plants.


QUESTIONS:
What wavelengths will be needed for mosses, wisteria and the like?
How many lumens am I going to need?
Will I need to add in some IR and UV?


Thanks much!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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LLA, thanks for the reply.

Buce is Bucephalandra?
Mini christmas moss sounds like a perfect candidate. Want to keep everything small to maximize the available water space in a tiny tank.

The soil type substrate stuff is something I just don't know anything about and the interwebz is full of contradicting information.

Thanks for the lighting link.

Am trying to minimize what I have to add with the tank to my desk, and I just don't have space for a desk light and do not want another cord. This is the reason I am looking at building a battery driven LED grow light of sorts.

Current plan for the tank has just a single air line running to it. Trying to avoid and internal box filter and the usual HOB's. Am really starting to wonder if an undergravel might be a good option if I have some root feeders in it.

With the initial cycling, I am pretty sure I am going to be running an additional 2.5-5 gallon bucket for the first couple of months just to have a decent water volume to keep things stabilize well and let the bio filter get a good hold on its new home.

Guess what I need to research is "how to build an LED aquatic grow light".
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 01:32 PM
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you should be fine with just a little sponge filter on your air line. don't do undergravel filter. that could get really messy

for the lighting stuff i would post in the lighting section... the LED guys will be all over your custom battery powered LED hood build. they love that crap. you'll see what i mean... you will really need to be careful how powerful you make your light build. especially if you are putting it in a hood. too much or too little light will screw you over big time

if you stick to easy stuff like mosses, anubias, etc you should be fine with low light. wisteria IMO is far too large of a plant for tank that small. grass might be a challenge. if you really want grass with lower light setup you should implement dirt/soil

i also disagree with the idea that you should limit water changes. water changes are usually beneficial for everything
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ID jit View Post
Am trying to minimize what I have to add with the tank to my desk, and I just don't have space for a desk light and do not want another cord. This is the reason I am looking at building a battery driven LED grow light of sorts.

Current plan for the tank has just a single air line running to it. Trying to avoid and internal box filter and the usual HOB's. Am really starting to wonder if an undergravel might be a good option if I have some root feeders in it.
Sounds like what I was doing with the Nat Geo 1g Easy Clean. Kept it ridiculous simple by only having moss. That stuff just needs light and moving water. In such a small tank the moss really grows out a lot and I find just the moss and maybe something floating is already a lot of stuff in there. I'm having trouble now that the moss is all up against the sides and now I need to clean the sides so I can see into it.

USB reading lights... so awesome for $3. I've updated my light since the post tho. Shoulda covered the metal with some silicone tho since I disassembled them for v2.
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Don't ask for advice. Ask for information, gather lots of information from different reliable sources. Then use the information to make your own advice.

Last edited by FishRFriendz; 02-21-2017 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Also
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Klibs, thanks.

Have the filter stuff all worked out. Have a dirt simple thing half fabbed up and working on a price list for an external canister with a air lift / gyser pump if the perk filters in the rear corners are not enough. Sponge filter has the same drawbacks as any internal box filter... an ugly way to fill up valuable realistate. Undergravels have their pros and cons. Part of my thinking is that if I could get some plant to root deeply enough, the might just eat up the much that will ineviable end up under the undergravel - sort of like groing plants on a compost pile.

Agree with you on the water changes – you really have to mess up badly for a water change to damage anything.

LIGHTING FORUM... will definitely lok into it. Will probably save me some trial-n-error time and materials.


FishRFriendz, Thanks

There is a lot to be said for clean, neat and simple... I think it is not popular because it is not the easy way. I think once you have a tank with little to no visible aparatius and learn maximize minimal equipment, there really isn't any going back to cluttered and cumbersome.

Nice job with the reading lights!

My plan is right down to the bare bottom.... 5mm bulb LEDs glued into a 1/8” plexi sheet with resistors and some recharagble 9 volt batteries as a power source. One resistor off the common ground to get down to 4 volts or so and then another resistor to match the voltage to the LED.

Thanks for the heads up on the moss corralling issue.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Klibs, thanks.

Have the filter stuff all worked out. Have a dirt simple thing half fabbed up and working on a price list for an external canister with a air lift / gyser pump if the perk filters in the rear corners are not enough. Sponge filter has the same drawbacks as any internal box filter... an ugly way to fill up valuable realistate. Undergravels have their pros and cons. Part of my thinking is that if I could get some plant to root deeply enough, the might just eat up the much that will ineviable end up under the undergravel - sort of like groing plants on a compost pile.

Agree with you on the water changes – you really have to mess up badly for a water change to damage anything.

LIGHTING FORUM... will definitely lok into it. Will probably save me some trial-n-error time and materials.


FishRFriendz, Thanks

There is a lot to be said for clean, neat and simple... I think it is not popular because it is not the easy way. I think once you have a tank with little to no visible apperati, and learn maximize minimal equipment, there really isn't any going back to cluttered and cumbersome.

Nice job with the reading lights!

My plan is right down to the bare bottom.... 5mm bulb LEDs glued into a 1/8” plexi sheet with resistors and some recharagble 9 volt batteries as a power source. One resistor off the common ground to get down to 4 volts or so and then another resistor to match the voltage to the LED.

Thanks for the heads up on the moss corralling issue.

I do not see LeBeau. There is no strudel. I Know NUTH-THINK!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 06:27 PM
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Hate to be a stickler, but why is the tank unheated? You're planning on getting a heater right? Unless you live somewhere warm enough for the water to be a stable 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit, a heater is a necessity for bettas.


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinmo View Post
Hate to be a stickler, but why is the tank unheated? You're planning on getting a heater right? Unless you live somewhere warm enough for the water to be a stable 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit, a heater is a necessity for bettas.


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good point, many people forget that bettas like high temp ~80 degrees


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 07:55 PM
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There are some ppl that don't believe betta even belong in a 2.5g tank. So I was assuming he was going to have to just do invertebrates which get along fine at room temp.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Klibs, thanks.

Have the filter stuff all worked out. Have a dirt simple thing half fabbed up and working on a price list for an external canister with a air lift / gyser pump if the perk filters in the rear corners are not enough. Sponge filter has the same drawbacks as any internal box filter... an ugly way to fill up valuable realistate. Undergravels have their pros and cons. Part of my thinking is that if I could get some plant to root deeply enough, the might just eat up the much that will ineviable end up under the undergravel - sort of like groing plants on a compost pile.

Agree with you on the water changes – you really have to mess up badly for a water change to damage anything.

LIGHTING FORUM... will definitely lok into it. Will probably save me some trial-n-error time and materials.

Bump: FishRFriendz, Thanks

There is a lot to be said for clean, neat and simple... I think it is not popular because it is not the easy way. I think once you have a tank with little to no visible apperati, and learn maximize minimal equipment, there really isn't any going back to cluttered and cumbersome.

Nice job with the reading lights!

My plan is right down to the bare bottom.... 5mm bulb LEDs glued into a 1/8” plexi sheet with resistors and some recharagble 9 volt batteries as a power source. One resistor off the common ground to get down to 4 volts or so and then another resistor to match the voltage to the LED.

Thanks for the heads up on the moss corralling issue.

I do not see LeBeau. There is no strudel. I Know NUTH-THINK!
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 02:16 AM
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It's possibly not a problem with the moss, i don't have a feel for how large a 2.5g is, but it does grow fast if you hit it with a lot of light. I'm growing it fast on purpose, but its hard to clean the front sides and back.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 02:29 AM
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I agree with the need for a heater if you are raising Betta splendins (typical show/pet store Bettas). They need temperatures closer to 80°F as well as a tight lid to keep the heat and moisture in. Breathing cold dry air is not good for their labrynth organ and can lead to health issues over the long term.

I always thought a standard 2.5 was fine for Bettas, but my current halfmoon has me thinking differently. He is extremly active and most definately needs something bigger. I'll hopefully be getting enough plants this weekend to stock a 5 gallon I have that has almost the same floor space as a 10g.

I usually feel kind of guilty using the quick reply... my replies are rarely quick.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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2.5 gallon is about 12" long, 6" wide and 8" inches deep. (You have probably seen them with 2 dividers and 3 bettas in them)

That begs the unanswerable question of "How much is a lot of light?". Since I am building the array, I guess I start thin and add rows as needed. Still trying to figure out how much of which wave lengths is best and if IR's and UV's will be needed.

Have a 50 string of LED christmas lights. think I with start by spacing out a 5 x 10 matrix of holes in a piece of cardboard and see what that looks like on the tank.

In my ignorance, I always thought bettas were a fairly robust and tolerant of room temp fish. Starting to feel badly for the purple/red one I had in a gallon glass jug with two holes drilled in the bottom for feed and return lines to the filter. 6" x 12" acrylic cylinder probably wasn't so good either. Both of those fish lived for years on a live brine shrimp diet with no appearent distress or fin issues.

The heat retention and moist air thing does simplify things a bit. I can stop dealing with the hinge issue and just build the light to fit the tank with pass throughs for the pick up and return lines. Oh boy, Now I get to figure out how to hide and inline heater and how to balance temp between a betta and shrimp that have a 50% of not being dinner.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 12:47 PM
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They have small heater's for small container's that heat the glass from the bottom and as heat rises,,they help maintain stable temps.(no easy thing in small volumes of water)
I work for school district, and over the year's have seen many such small container's with beta's left in room's overnight with no heater and room temp's that drop into low 60's F on night set back of boiler's/heat pump's in winter.
Also seen these same tanks left in classroom's over night,or sometimes all summer where temp's can soar to 80 degree's F
Within a couple hour's of AC going into night set back operation during summer month's.
Some offices also employ night set back periods to conserve energy.
Even with heater's, these small container's are more difficult to maintain steady temps as well as water chemistry.
Many fishes lost and replaced is what I have witnessed for year's.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ID jit View Post
2.5 gallon is about 12" long, 6" wide and 8" inches deep. (You have probably seen them with 2 dividers and 3 bettas in them)
Is it glass? Man I'd like that in my office if it was glass. Have some green spot algae that just won't come off with a sponge(need a razor). It is a bit thin in width, these Nat Geo 1g are 6"L x 6"W x 8"H so your's is pretty much two of these side by side. Now I really want a new tank for the shrimp, cuz your tank sounds like fun, tho still growing space problems like that Nat Geo 1g.

Go shrimp and forget the fish. There are 2"D x 2"H sponge filters that should be plenty for shrimp bio load.

I'm actually planning an upgrade replacement for my 1g. Something a bit more square tho, like a 25C(10" cube). Moss, anubias petite, attached to PVC tubes or cholla wood. Floating dwarf water lettuce/salvinia minima/red root floaters. I want no rooting plants so that I can move them when I need to catch or clean cuz I don't want it to be a big hassle in the office while coworkers are around.

The thing I liked about the Nat Geo was that water changes are easy with the collection bucket built into it. With control over the rate of drip, I can set it and come in to work in the morning and just empty the bin and refill the reservoir in the cabinet. This also keeps the tank topped off. Less hassle in the office.

With a real aquarium, water changes get more intrusive, will have to have a bucket and siphon tube, refilling becomes an actual chore, as well as topping off. There's clean minimalist aquarium, but also the surrounding maintenance needs to be minimal in the office(gotta get to work!).

Don't ask for advice. Ask for information, gather lots of information from different reliable sources. Then use the information to make your own advice.

Last edited by FishRFriendz; 02-23-2017 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Also
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