Advice needed --- 5 Gallon Planted Nano - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Advice needed --- 5 Gallon Planted Nano

Hello everyone!

This is my first post to the Planted Tank! I am hoping to get some sage advice on my newest reintroduction back into the hobby.

Straight to it:

NOTE: I will attach a photo of the tank after.

5 Gallon aquarium
HOB filter
Heater ~77

Nicrew 16-20 inch light (

Lumen 1800 lm
Color Temperature 9000K
LEDs 24 White + 2 Red + 2 Blue + 2 Green 36 White + 3 Red + 3 Blue + 3 Green
Wattage 18 W

Seachem Flourite substrate
Driftwood in center
(looking to add Cholla wood - not sure where yet)

Anubias Nana
Crypts Wendtii
Amazon swords
HC Carpet (I think it's HC anyways --> I got the seeds from Amazon, and they had Chinese writing ...)

4 Furcata Rainbow

1) 1 school of 4-6
2) 1 oto cat
3) POTENTIAL 3 pygmy cory
4) A filter shrimp
5) Some amano and/or RCS
Along with a beautifully planted aquarium

Here is what I did:
DSM method to start with the carpet --> it worked. However, when I filled the tank the carpet melted; I immediately trimmed it down to the roots.
Added the crypts + swords --> of course, some crypts started to melt, so I trimmed them.
The driftwood had the Anubias stuck onto it (some of the leaves started to melt)

My lighting cycle is on for 4-5, off for 4-5, on for 4-5 to allow CO2 to replenish in the off period.

The carpet started coming back, but it immediately had black blotches on it --> I read that HC prefers temps around 77 ish (my tank was at 80-81 at the time), I just dropped it down today.

I am just looking for tips, so I do not screw this up as I have no back up tank to resort to. I also appreciate all expertise (will it work? how to do it all. etc).

Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, nitrate = 10 as of last night. I am going to re do the test now.

Last note: 1 pest snail popped up (good sign for water conditions ...) should I buy 2 assassins asap?

Last edited by Tuister; 08-06-2019 at 07:07 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:48 AM
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Iíd skip the Otto and p. Cory, there better off kept in groups of 5-6 or more. Iíd go shrimp route.

Are you doing any fert dosing? Fluorite has almost no plant nutrients on its own. You need to dose water column so it picks up nutrients for plants to use at roots. Use a all purpose like thrive or fluorish but start dosing at about 1/3 strength till plants pick up a little growth speed.

You need some faster growing stem and floating plants. Donít cram swords against glass, give them some room to spread out a bit, theyíll look much nicer. Your carpet looks more like Marsilea hirsuta but itís hard to tell from crappy resolution this site makes you use, imgur just as bad.

You need to be testing for phosphate as well as PH, GH, KH.

As far as letting co2 build up when light cycle is off, doubt your plants are pulling enough co2 at this stage to make a dent in limited co2 you do have.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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This is the kind of advice I have been in search of - thank you.

Bottom feeders skipped --> will make a shrimp family.

Ferts: I have Seachem Flourish --> 3 days ago I dosed a very small dose, and I struggled as to whether or not I should continue ... I will. By water column, we are referring to the "layers" of water in the tank ... i.e. just dose directly into the tank (not the filter).

Fast growing stem plant: Currently, I have the 2 swords: one in the back right and one in the back left. To put a faster growing stem plant, I would have to remove one of these (unless you can see an opening/spot that would work better). Of the two swords, which one would you swap out (the right has the filter, the left has the heater), and what are my options for fast growing stem plants?

Floating plants: I had these mini-duckweed type plants in an old tank and they took over (I mean they kept everything in check which was nice) ... they blocked a tonne of lighting (which I am afraid for because of the carpet). I also do not want them to get all over my plant trimmers etc when I put them in the water; however, if this is the only option, I will proceed. What would you suggest for floaters?

The carpet: I'm amazed with your genus typing skill ... that is exactly what it is --> will my lighting be ok for these guys?

The swords: If I pull the swords closer into the tank, I became worried that they would inhibit carpet growth/overtake the crypts ... will it be ok if they are planted closer to the crypts (the sword on the right has some crypts around it, and I am leaning on removing the one on the left (as some flowy plants may cover the heater better).

PH, GH, KH: What am I looking for here ... consistency? My intuition is saying my PH is around 6.7 right now ... the rest I cannot guess --> I will test tonight.

Again, thank you so much.

2 last notes:

1: After the carpet was trimmed down to the roots, it sprouted new leaves (green ones) and then they got some black splotches on them ... why?

2: Of my 4 Furcatas, the alpha male eats the tetra color flake food like crazy ... but the other three are not/eat it then spit it out (they are only 2 days in the tank). Will they eat soon, or do I need to change up the feed?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:30 PM
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Yes by water column I mean tank water.

If I was to come over help you the 1st thing I would do is move that Aquaclear 20 to left so output is in center of tank, then move heater to right so itís right next input tube so it pulls in heat and is evenly distributed throughout tank. Then fill tank so water is up to top rim. Then filter I would adjust output to probably half speed +-.

What you want to see is a nice brisk but not aggressively hard current coming down center of tank at a angle, hitting front wall in center and sweeping a current over whole gravel plain of front of tank. It will keep debris blown up/moving so filter can pick them up and also makes sure that micro currents of well oxygenated water and fertilizer in water is well circulated within gravel bed. Healthy substrate and bio filter it provides=healthy tank.

As you currently have it running with output of filter just dropping straight down in back corner 90% of your substrate is a dead zone. Get substrate/tank circulation setup right and you might find that black holes in carpet will disappear within a couple weeks. Potassium deficiency is main culprit in black necro holes in leaves but can just as easily be because of improper nutrient circulation across leaves and into substrate bed. Get the circulation fixed 1st, do light 1/3-1/2 strength dosing of fluorish and observe changes in tank over next 7-14days.

Donít worry about Furcata, they come from streams with slightly brisk currents. You want to target a PH closer to 7 for them also.

Iíll cover more of your questions later but have to go to work now.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much; I await the next response!

I changed the filter location, and I pushed the heater close to the input. I noticed an immediate shift in the flow —> fantastic. I topped up the tank but not to the top yet; I need to get a glass top so these fish don’t jump out. I think this will impact the overall water and substrate quality immensely.

Upon moving the filter, I immediately noticed my swords open right up.

I dosed Flourish, albeit, a bit more than I should have - but I think the tank will be just fine.

I have those black necro spots on some swords and Anubias plants (I am not surprised seeing as how it’s likely a nutrient deficiency and the lack of dosing with the amount of plants). Should I trim off the leaves that have these spots?

Also, just to note, I have hornwort floating in the corner —> I’ll attach an updated photo when I can. And will the tank be ok without co2 and/or excel?

Note: Furcatas are all eating ... patience it seems, haha. Also found a pest snail ... should I buy an Assassin and plunk him in, or just see what happens?

Thanks again!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 09:46 AM
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OK, home from work, got my beer.

Snail, if you got him out just go on snail patrol and watch for little ones and pull them out any time you see them, hopefully you got it before it laid eggs. But all snails are not bad news, I actually keep pink pearl ramshorn in my little 7gal tank, their actually a quite beautiful species of snail and only plant they eat is my floating plant which grows out of control anyway. Snail poop is good fertilizer and full of all kinds of beneficial microbes.

On glass top donít completely seal up top, to want gas exchange between water surface and atmosphere. Iíd leave about 1.25Ē on front and back edges. If water starts condensing on underside of glass you need more airgap. Proper air circulation letís ammoniaís escape from aquarium as well as letting water absorb CO2 and oxygen.

Go to hardware store and buy you some fiberglass window screen the cheap stuff, itís about $4-5 for a big roll. Cut you out strips and glue to front and back edges of glass with clear silicone. Itís very easy to cut out around filter or make little notch where power cord for heater goes into tank. If your handy cut a little strip of plastic for along front edge, glue it on and glue on a little handle so you can lift front flap to throw food in. If you want just make front flap 2Ē wide for easier access when feeding.

That same window screen material you can roll it up in a tube 3 layers thick, glues it shut along back and bottom and make strainer sock that will fit over input tube of Aquaclear to keep shrimp from getting stuck to input.

Hornwort, Iím like meh. It not for me, itís messy. Me Iíd rather have my small colony of red root floaters. A OMG no to duck weed, thatís the herpes of floating plants. Hereís red root floater from top, little 1cm sized leave on a mini vine. Note little float ring I built to keep it out filter down pour area and where I want it. I have exact same light as you and exact same filter, just on a 7gal bow front tank. Itís perfect sized floater in little tanks like ours.

Here you can see it from side with nice blood red roots hanging down. Itís actually redder than that photo looks, white betta always screws with white balance of photo when heís in shot. Also youíll see little pink ramshorn that I keep.

The other plant you see there is rotala rotundifolia and thats what I mean by a stem plant. Your swords and crypt plants are crown plants, crown at base/substrate level and leaves come up from that point. Anubis are rhizome plants, kind of a vine that needs to be kept above gravel or attached to wood/rock and creeps along from there sending up leaves as it goes. Now that youíve moved heater and input tube to filter you might consider a stem plant in front of those. The crypt youíve got back there now might not grow in as tall as you think afternoon few months. Your nicrew light is actually pretty good med powered light at 9Ēish depth of your tank, crypt when grown in stronger light tend to grow shorter and more squat rosettes, put exact same plant in dimmer light leaves will grow more elongated.

A small clusters of longer stem plants along back wall between sword on left and heater/intake tube might look pretty good and give you some balance to design. Different textures, different colors make tank more interesting

Some rotala indica doing itís pretty in pink thing as it grows closer to surface and gets more light.

Iíve got some of this ludwigia super red mini in my quarantine tub downstairs dealing with pest snail problem that Iíll be adding to my tank once I get through that problem.

In my little 7gal I donít do CO2 but I wouldnít dissuade you from doing it, no doubt it can accelerate grow and provide vibrancy to tanks health. But Iím all low tech/low maintenance these days and donít want to deal with that kind of tech anymore.

Got to go, iPad battery running down and donít want to lose all this typing.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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I feel like a kid in a candy shop - but the candy is knowledge. Your tank is exactly what I am aiming for.

Here comes the stream of follow ups and the photos (I am not sure how to embed them like you did, so I added them as attachments)

1) PH, GH, KH: I will test up the PH and try to aim it close to 7, if it is not, I will probably ask for advice to neutralize it (I suspect it will be though - with water changes especially). What am I looking for GH and KH?
2) I will go get some floaters today -- the red roots are beautiful. How did you make the ring?
3) Image 6 is a top down view of the landscape of the tank ... I am not sure how to move this hardscape and plants around to fit well -- without impeding the carpet -- Would it make sense to group up the crypts instead of spreading them (all on one side -- maybe give some negative space above them) and then counterbalance with the root plants a rotala species on the side with the heater and filter?
4) Image 1, 7, 11, and 10, show the black necro spots - trim 'em?
5) Image 4 shows some holes in the anubias - trim 'em?
6) Image 6, the swords are planted close to the wall, if I pull them out will it impede on the crypts?
7) Image 8 and 9 show the black necro on the carpet -- will they wilt and regrow as the ferts stabilize?
8) When filling, leave 1 inch or so from the top (black trim) of the tank or literally to the TOP? At 1 inch, I don't think the fish would jump out anyways, especially if I have floaters. If I use this mesh to cover the top, then could I go higher with the water (as it will still allow air exchange)?
9) Image 2 is the front view of the tank with the filter and heater change.
10) Image 12, the crypts, like you said, have started making baby leaves instead of those beautiful elongated ones --> with my current setup/with the rotala species, how can I encourage them to grow the long ones (maybe the floaters will help reduce light, but not too much so it doesn't inhibit the carpet?).

Once I have an idea of how to "move/replant" these plants, then I will go buy the indica species (when I buy it, should I dip it in something to kill off pest snails? If so, what?).

Thanks a bunch,

Last edited by Tuister; 08-06-2019 at 07:07 PM.
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