Downsize to Nano tank....Suggestions PLEASE - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2019, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Question Downsize to Nano tank....Suggestions PLEASE

I currently have a 55 gallon (48"x12"x22") aquarium with some plants and fish. I need to downsize due to time required maintaining this tank while in nursing school. Any suggestions or advice would be GREATLY appreciated. How small of a tank can I go down to? 20 would be ideal. My fish are small so I hope that helps my situation. What would I need to get to complies this or what would I have to get rid of? I have listed fish below. PLEASE help

-5 guppies (2 female, 3 male)
-5 Cory doras Julia
- 2 rummy lose tetra
- 9 Neon Tetra
- one twig catfish

- java fern
- amazon sword
-madagascar lace
- anibus
-temple compact
- jungle val

Equipment:
-Aquaclear 70
-imagitarium power head (180 gph)
-Odyssea x4 T5 HO 6500K bulbs (only one running bulb running for 8 hours a day due to lack of plants, bad algae blooms)
-air stone (read it was redundant to run an air pump when you inject co2)
-DIY critic acid CO2 injection (mainly run co2 to keep my hard water at a lower ph, they inject co2 in our water to make it ph 7, after degassing its a hard 8ph. GH/kh off the charts.)
-pool filter sand substrate with seachem root tabs
- use to have lava rock in chunk (1ftx3inx8in) but it was covered in algae so I took it thinking it was holding algae
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 06:14 AM
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This is a difficult question I've recently gone in the opposite direction and am finding it easier to maintain the big tank thank I was the small one.
I suppose stocking is going to be a big factor, how many of your existing fish will you keep. Also is the current tank low tech ATM?

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallon View Post
This is a difficult question I've recently gone in the opposite direction and am finding it easier to maintain the big tank thank I was the small one.
I suppose stocking is going to be a big factor, how many of your existing fish will you keep. Also is the current tank low tech ATM?

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Also what filtration are you using?

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 04:27 PM
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In my opinion, you can fit all of those fish in a 20g long tank. Not sure what filter you currently have, but an AC50 would do fine. Make sure you have seeded media to add to a new filter if that's what you decide.

Would be easier if the guppies were all male so there was no breeding. Can you re-home the females? If so, I'd probably re-home the rummy nose too as they like a larger school. However, I've had a school of rummys for years that have been aging out and there are only 2 left. I won't re-home those as they are not going to be around for too much longer.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 07:31 PM
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What specifically do you mean by time required maintaining the tank?

Unless the reason for the downsize is because of space issues. IMO it would be more worth while to work with the larger tank to make it need less maintenance, then go through all the work of setting up a new smaller tank.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 07:28 PM
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A 20 gal long is an ideal shape for a non-CO2 tank. Keep your light low and and the plants will grow slow and not need too much maintenance.

Some of the plants might be a bit large for a 20 gal tank.

I think your fish stocking might be a bit heavy for a 20 gal though. Sounds to me like the best suggestion is to switch the tank to something that requires less maintenance.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your replies. Here is the information and pictures were added to the post. Thank you again

-Aquaclear 70
-imagitarium power head (180 gph)
-Odyssea x4 T5 HO 6500K bulbs (only one running bulb running for 8 hours a day due to lack of plants, bad algae blooms)
-air stone (read it was redundant to run an air pump when you inject co2)
-DIY critic acid CO2 injection (mainly run co2 to keep my hard water at a lower ph, they inject co2 in our water to make it ph 7, after degassing its a hard 8ph. GH/kh off the charts.)
-pool filter sand substrate with seachem root tabs
- use to have lava rock in chunk (1ftx3inx8in) but it was covered in algae so I took it thinking it was holding algae

I would much prefer to keep the bigger tank if there is a way to fix it. I have done a lot of research and my issues could stem from anything. Not only do I have algae, I now am flighting cyanobacteria. It could be the light bulbs are too old (bought off a guy used so I have no idea how old they are). I have used the light since November. It could be my hard water form the tap containing the algae or phosphates. phosphate kit expired, have one in the mail, will arrive tomorrow. could it be the tank in a sunny area? it doesn't get much direct sunlight though. I have looked into canister filters for more flow and filter surface area to filter but I do not want to spend the money if I can't solve these issues. I will admit I jumped into the hobby with what equipment I could find and with zero knowledge of growing plants but I am attached to this tank now and want to plants and fish to thrive.

How could I make this a "low tech" tank? I'm open to any suggestions. Please.

Bump: Thank you all for your replies. Here is the information and pictures were added to the post. Thank you again

-Aquaclear 70
-imagitarium power head (180 gph)
-Odyssea x4 T5 HO 6500K bulbs (only one running bulb running for 8 hours a day due to lack of plants, bad algae blooms)
-air stone (read it was redundant to run an air pump when you inject co2)
-DIY critic acid CO2 injection (mainly run co2 to keep my hard water at a lower ph, they inject co2 in our water to make it ph 7, after degassing its a hard 8ph. GH/kh off the charts.)
-pool filter sand substrate with seachem root tabs
- use to have lava rock in chunk (1ftx3inx8in) but it was covered in algae so I took it thinking it was holding algae

I would much prefer to keep the bigger tank if there is a way to fix it. I have done a lot of research and my issues could stem from anything. Not only do I have algae, I now am flighting cyanobacteria. It could be the light bulbs are too old (bought off a guy used so I have no idea how old they are). I have used the light since November. It could be my hard water form the tap containing the algae or phosphates. phosphate kit expired, have one in the mail, will arrive tomorrow. could it be the tank in a sunny area? it doesn't get much direct sunlight though. I have looked into canister filters for more flow and filter surface area to filter but I do not want to spend the money if I can't solve these issues. I will admit I jumped into the hobby with what equipment I could find and with zero knowledge of growing plants but I am attached to this tank now and want to plants and fish to thrive.

How could I make this a "low tech" tank? I'm open to any suggestions. Please.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 03:35 AM
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How often do you do water changes and what percentage and what are you dosing for plant fertilizer?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 04:11 AM
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I would start by reading this link about Blue-Green algae.

If you think your water has too much nutrients in it, the cause may be from not enough plants. I would look at adding quite a few low tech fast growing stem plants this link could offer options. Ideally a planted tank should aim at being greater than 70% plant mass according to this link.

Next I would look at getting a new bulb for your fixture just to be sure it is working as expected since you said the bulb age is unknown.

I would also test the nitrates, in the BGA link it says that low nitrates could be a cause for cyanobacteria.
The amount of fish you have in a 55 gallon could possibly not be contributing enough waste into the system to get the nitrates high enough, it may be worth it to get some more rummy nose tetras to both provide a school for them and to get the nitrates up if it needs to be raised.

Last thing I ask is you add Co2, but do you dose anything?
The other algae could be growing because the plants have co2, but no ferts causing them to fizz out and let the algae thrive on the left over co2.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 07:59 PM
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To be honest, your tank is a difficult shape to run as low tech. It is very tall and doesn't have lots of surface area for the number of gallons of water. It certainly is possible to do and many people have done so successfully - but - will be more challenging for you to learn on starting out. So please don't be too discouraged you are having troubles. It can be done! But will take time and effort.

Here is the best quick guide I have found for algae: https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...h-plllars.html
Because you said you have cyanobacteria, I wonder: Are you providing fertilizers? N, P, K, and micros? Do you have good filtration and water circulation to eliminate ammonia spikes? Are you keeping your substrate and filter clean?

This is the best guide I have found to planted tanks online: https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...h-plllars.html The website has tons of great information about both high and low tech tanks. The principles are the same for both types of tank, the only difference is what levels you adjust things to keep the tank in balance.

I don't have any experience with a large tank like a 55 gal. My tanks are 10 gal and 29 gal. But here is how I maintain my tanks to give you some ideas:
Water changes 30-50% every month. More often when the tank needs attention. Less often when I forget.
Automatic fish feeder with flakes. When I remember to feed the fish, I offer something different for variety.
I top off evaporation with RO water. I have hard water and don't want to build up more minerals in the water than necessary.
I add dry fertilizer every time I do a water change. N, P, K and micros.
The tank is heavily planted, with mostly anubias. Also some crypts, vals, ferns, and moss. Anubias grows slowly so I don't need to prune often, and it can handle tank conditions well. Win/win.
I have plants in riparium planters at the water surface. So roots in the water, leaves in the air. This is the same purpose as floating plants, they soak up excess nutrients. I don't like floaters because I don't need them to block my light, so this works better for me. Plus I think they are pretty.
I have lots of cleanup crew. Cherry shrimp, pond snails, MTS snails, one mystery snail. They don't eat much algae, but they do a great job of cleaning up extra food and debris in the tank. This eliminates extra nutrients that would benefit the algae.
I keep sponge on the intake to my filter. Helps keep the filter cleaner, adds more surface for beneficial bacteria. Also a lot easier to clean than the filter. So I clean the filter maybe once per year (just rinse it out, wipe out any buildup). But rinse the sponge in tank water with each water change.
I use a split photoperiod with my lights. 5 hours on - 4 off - 5 on. I had a good balanced tank but still trouble with BBA until I changed to split photoperiod. So 10 hours total of light per day. Generally, for low tech, you want 8-10 hours of light per day. Maybe even less.

Some ideas for you to consider:
You need fertilizer for plants to grow. Are you using any? Yes, fish can provide some nutrients but they rarely provide enough and basically never provide nutrients in the proper balance that plants need.

Here is the best explanation for plant growth that I know of:
Plants need light, nutrients, and carbon (CO2) to grow. There are a whole bunch of different ways to balance these to allow plants to grow. There are better ways to balance these so that plants grow healthy. Usually, when plants are growing healthy, algae isn't much trouble (might still be there but not too much).
The thing with low tech is you are choosing to limit your plants' access to CO2. So that's the thing that will limit the plants growth. You need to make sure the plants have plenty of everything else or they will not be healthy. Depending on the plants, maybe will even die. So make sure you have plenty of fertilizer and plenty of light. You can always dial back the light a little if necessary, or use floating plants.

You may want to add a sponge filter. Maybe even another HOB. Are you getting good water circulation throughout your tank? Does your filter seem to be cleaning the water adequately?

You really don't have much plant mass in your tank. Consider adding more. Floating plants? Stems that grow fast and are easy? Slow growers like java fern, anubias, moss, that are easy but require less maintenance (also harder to diagnose problems though because of the slow growth)?

How many hours of light does your aquarium get? How intense is the light?
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your help. here is the information every one requested.

I do water changes every other week in average. I try to get close to a week but it ends up being 1 1/2- 2 weeks. I just got an aqueous water change system so that will help make it easier so I can stay consistent with weekly water changes.

I dose with sachem liquid nutrients. I use nitrogen, potassium, phosphate and flourish. I do the recommended dosage for non advanced dosing. I would have to look at the bottles if you want exact amounts. I dose when I do water changes.

I use a DIY citric acids, coke bottle co2 system. It last about a week before I have to refill. I have thought about getting a timed solenoid so the co2 shuts off with my lights but some say it doesn't matter with such a small system so I haven't bothered. If the co2 indicator sass co2 is high, I just shut it off until levels reach green.

I am lookin into adding anacharis to 20-30 percent of my tank to help grow fast plants. I have tried to add more rummy noses as I know they like bigger schools but the LFS's have not received any in awhile.

Lights- as far as the lights. Any specific bulb suggestions? should I use 2 bulbs for 8-10 hours or use 4 bulbs for 6-8 hours to start out until I get more plants stocked in the tank? I run my lights at one bulb now t5 HO 54w for 8 hours a day, use to do two until all this algae.

Fliter- I am looking into adding a canter filter that will replace the Aqua clear 70. I like the FX4 but it is pricey. I have heard Eheim canisters are good also. Am I right assuming I should get a canister filter rated for 70-100 gallons. I have looked into the sunsun 304B. its rated for up to 150 gallons and has a uv light. What would work best for my 55?

thank you again for your replies. can't wait to hear what every one thinks
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-01-2019, 11:04 PM
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A 20 is a nice size tank to maintain (20L or 20H). You could:

a. keep the aquaclear 70 and just turn the flow down.
b. get a budget LED fixture (like Beamswork DA FSpec) and a cheap controller ($13 for S2-Pro out of China, for example) so you can get controllable, dimmable, medium light.
c. for low maintenance, if you want to keep doing CO2 (which I would) the lowest maintenance is probably a CO2 tank/regulator/needle valve. Paintball setups are probably cheapest. You can feed the co2 directly into the aquaclear, and only have to worry about it every few to many months depending on the size of the CO2 tank. If budget is important, continue with the DIY CO2. Don't blast CO2 - for low maintenance and less fiddlyness, think medium-to-low light and medium CO2.
d. keep the neons and the cories, trade the other fish for more plants.
e. to help with algae, get more plants. Easy stems (ludwigia repens, rotala rotundifolia, pearlweed) and mosses will help compete with algae. If you have a local aquarium club, that's a great way to get cheap plants.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 12:04 AM
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Sorry, but I am not very familiar with most of the equipment you are asking about. I have an Eheim canister filter and I like it, it is very easy to use and manage. But I don't know much about the other brands, and you may well be able to find something that will work just as well for you at a much cheaper price.

You may get more answers if you post your questions in the low tech section of the forum, or specific questions to lighting or equipment forums. It seems like this part of the forum isn't visited often, and your current questions aren't specific to nano tanks
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TropicPlant55G View Post
Thank you all for your help. here is the information every one requested.

I do water changes every other week in average. I try to get close to a week but it ends up being 1 1/2- 2 weeks. I just got an aqueous water change system so that will help make it easier so I can stay consistent with weekly water changes.

I dose with sachem liquid nutrients. I use nitrogen, potassium, phosphate and flourish. I do the recommended dosage for non advanced dosing. I would have to look at the bottles if you want exact amounts. I dose when I do water changes.

I use a DIY citric acids, coke bottle co2 system. It last about a week before I have to refill. I have thought about getting a timed solenoid so the co2 shuts off with my lights but some say it doesn't matter with such a small system so I haven't bothered. If the co2 indicator sass co2 is high, I just shut it off until levels reach green.

I am lookin into adding anacharis to 20-30 percent of my tank to help grow fast plants. I have tried to add more rummy noses as I know they like bigger schools but the LFS's have not received any in awhile.

Lights- as far as the lights. Any specific bulb suggestions? should I use 2 bulbs for 8-10 hours or use 4 bulbs for 6-8 hours to start out until I get more plants stocked in the tank? I run my lights at one bulb now t5 HO 54w for 8 hours a day, use to do two until all this algae.

Fliter- I am looking into adding a canter filter that will replace the Aqua clear 70. I like the FX4 but it is pricey. I have heard Eheim canisters are good also. Am I right assuming I should get a canister filter rated for 70-100 gallons. I have looked into the sunsun 304B. its rated for up to 150 gallons and has a uv light. What would work best for my 55?

thank you again for your replies. can't wait to hear what every one thinks
I'm no expert on lighting, but for right now until your plants grow in to combat the algae I would run just 1 bulb.

For the bulb it really seems like the industry has changed over to primarily LED however from some searching this bulb on amazon "Wave Point 2-Pack Tropical Wave HO T-5 54-Watt Universal Aquarium Lamp" looks pretty good. (Just copy and paste the contents between the quotes into amazon search as I'm not sure amazon links are allowed here).

Your photoperiod duration of 8 hours is the standard as far as I've researched for my own tank so I would run just one bulb for 8 hours a day to control the algae.

The canister filter you listed sunsun 304B would work, just realize the quality assurance might not be great however there tons of replacement parts for it if the need arises.
Also I would get the one without the UV just to be safe and limit things that could go wrong with it.
Before you decide on it I recommend researching a little online and on youtube to make sure it's something you want to invest in over something more expensive, but possibly better quality.

Since you are dosing ferts I would try to get those water changes done once a week so that they don't have time to build up to high levels in the tank as this could possibly be a contributing factor for the non-BGA algae growth. I believe the recommended percentage is 50% every week when dosing ferts to prevent buildup.

Last edited by Quesenek; 03-02-2019 at 03:19 AM. Reason: Added something
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 03:14 PM
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What percentage of the tank volume are you changing when you do a water change?
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