new 5 gal low tech shot in the dark - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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new 5 gal low tech shot in the dark

First post: don't know what I'm doing!

Set up a 5 gal planted tank in hopes that it will one day act as home to some shrimp and bring my life joy. Hoping to learn from this and possibly heavily plant my 30 gal krib crib this summer.

Read some of the Walstad stuff, and decided that I'd try it. The idea appeals to me, and I think that it will be interesting to see everything thrive or die, and to try to figure out why.

Substrate is layered. Bottom: clay litter; mid: sieved potting soil taken from old well-loved succulent pot (cactus died when the cat decided it should), and some soil that's been sitting in shallow water with some java moss for about a year; top: gravel. The litter layer has expanded considerably since I filled the tank.

Started by layering substrate, then added water slowly. Tried to get air bubbles out, but I've missed some. Then planted the plants, filled completely, and then did a 50 % water change a couple hours later. Did another ~50% water change this morning. Will start to monitor pH in case the clay is causing pH drop, as I've read high CEC substrate can cause this issue. Hadn't planned on monitoring many water quality parameters beyond initial readings unless something visibly goes wrong, since I plan on keeping this a very low maintenance setup. If things don't work with my water then it's probably not meant to be.

Plants are (as much as I can recall; not too familiar with plant species yet): cryptocoryne, rotala, anubias, java moss.... and a couple others (including a floating species). I went with easy species that the LFS had in stock. I plan on starting another 5 gal later this week with a different selection of plants. Had some pearling after the plants had been exposed to air yesterday. Much more subdued today.

I added some old wood from my krib tank. The wood was inherited, has lived in the tank for almost 10 years and I believe that it was collected locally. Looks like conifer to me.

Light is a 13W 6.5K CFL in my former bedside lamp, on from 6:00 to 21:00, with a 1 hour siesta from 13:00-14:00. Hoping to replace the lamp with something that will provide more even coverage. Sitting maybe 8 inches from the water surface.

Keeping water temps around 76 F.

Plants came with a free snail, and a small clump of what I'm guessing are snail eggs.

I don't expect much from this tank or my abilities.

I will update.

I welcome criticism if there's any around.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 11:29 PM
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It will fill in over time. Good start.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 11:55 PM
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That looks terrific! I am attempting to also grow some new plants, so I would like to see how this works out. Careful about the snails, they could multiply into the thousands!!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2018, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Psalm18.2! I'm hopeful!

Thanks, FishLover345! I will keep this updated.

A more complete list of the plants:

Planted :

Cryptocoryne undulatus "red"
Rotala rotundiflora
Bucephalandra sp. "red"
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis

Flotaing:

Salvinia adnata
Pistia stratiotes (? pretty small and I've never seen one before, so ID is based on google)

I noticed the pH had dropped into the 6's, so I did a 50% wc with water from my established krib tank (pH ~7.2), and added some crushed and whole snail shells from the same tank. pH has been holding around 7 since I tried to address it. Having problems keeping temp constant from day-night; find that I need to turn the heater up for the evenings, and down after the lights come on in the morning (kind of expected, I guess, given tank volume.)

I also added a floating airline tube corral for the floating plants to keep them under the light, and to decrease shading of the Lilaeopsis until I can get a better light system.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-13-2018 at 11:58 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-10-2018, 09:22 PM
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nice !
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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1 week update.

I set up a new tank (tank B) on Saturday, because it's all I could think about all week. I started a DIY CO2 setup for tank B. It's been running for a little over a day and seems to be running nicely, although the homemade sponge diffuser is quite crappy. Gotta find my airstones. I changed the substrate in B; ~1:1 mixture of peat/organic potting soil and a pool sand cap. I was really smart and didn't wash the sand first. I sewed together a java moss wall using plastic screen and 8 lb test fluorocarbon mono, plus some crappy suction cups. Didn't really research how to do it beforehand, so hopefully it will work well enough.

The first tank (tank A) is running along smoothly. The stem plants have all grown, and I think that the Lilaeopsis have grown a bit, as well. I added some duckweed from a local pond, and a mossy rock from a stream that drains the same pond. I also added a caddislfy larva from the stream that quickly started to hyperventilate and is now missing. I apologized, but it's probably too late for us.

I bought a current USA freshwater LED to run both 5 gal tanks, but it was too short and had colours that I didn't really like. I ended up ordering a couple (1 for both 5 gals, and 1 for the 29 gal that I will plant this summer) of beamswork lights from the US, so they will get here this week. 2 lights shipped to Canada were only slightly more expensive than the one I bought in a local store, but with higher output and better intensities for the important spectra. A Finnex 24/7 planted + 30" is $275 on amazon.ca right now. Thanks, Canada!

Planted tanks have given me an excuse to crack open the limnology and plant physiology textbooks that have been taking up space on the shelf, which is a big plus. Anyway this is fun and a great way to spend my money, and my lady love is on board. In fact, she is excited about the prospect of a dwarf pea puffer in the future, once the tanks have filled in.

Thanks, @trigger5!
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-13-2018 at 11:58 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 01:31 PM
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The multiple tank syndrome has begun. Lol

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