My planted 5g Hex (and a few questions) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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My planted 5g Hex (and a few questions)

Hey everyone, this is my first time posting here, so sorry if I ask things that have been discussed to death.. I tried to look around and get a feel for this forum before posting.

This is my first venture back into fish (aside from my Betta) in 5-6 years. I started off with a 12 gallon tank that was kind of planted and bred guppies and sold them to the local pet store. I later broke that tank down and got a ~65 gallon acrylic tank that I wanted to plant but the dimensions were ridiculously frustrating and I was extremely discouraged. It was much taller than it was long and the top only had about an 18"x18" opening for me to get into to plant the tank. So, that combined with tougher high school classes and now college made me break that tank down too. During this time I kept various small planted nano type tanks and kept Bettas in them.

Now that I'm on my own in an apartment now, I have been itching to start another planted nano. The only space I had to work with though is about a 1ftx 1ft plant stand, so I ended up with a Marineland 5g hex. It's definitely not ideal because of the small footprint, but that's okay.

The substrate in the tank is API pure laterite mixed with pea gravel and then some straight pea gravel on top. I got some Bacopa for the back of the tank (its currently pretty small right now though), dwarf hairgrass and crypts for the front of the tank and a java fern to balance out my massive driftwood. There is also a moss ball in there that is hidden by the driftwood and some riccia attached to a rock.

As far as lighting goes, I replaced the incandescent bulb that comes with the tank with a 10w, 5100K compact fluorescent one. Before I replaced the bulb though, I got two incandescent grow light bulbs (60w Spotgrow) that I have aimed at the tank. My plants (especially the riccia and the bacopa) are growing like crazy. I leave the lights on for 9-10 hours/day. No sign of algae at all.

I have just given my first dose of flourish today (approx. 0.25-0.5 mL)

I took out the activated carbon cartridge that came with the filter and put in some white filter media (kind of remind me of cotton only its synthetic... think lots of strings).

The day after I set up the tank I got a reading of 1ppm of ammonia, so I just left it alone and checked it every day until that started to go down. When I got the driftwood, it was already submerged in one of the tanks at the LFS (really nice place and the people are really knowledgeable...its called Bermuda Triangle and it's in Chattanooga, Tn). I was pretty happy about this because of the beneficial bacteria that would hopefully be living on the driftwood.

There is currently no fauna in the tank. I plan to have some shrimp, not sure about the kind yet though.

The water stats (as of today) are 7.4-7.6pH, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrIte, 10-20ppm nitrAte. Between 0-30 GH and between 0-40KH (I hate my current test kit for GH and KH... I have 0 trust in these results...they are test strips).

My first question I have is about hydra and other little "bugs." Currently, I have a ton of hydra and some white wormy things and some white dots that zip up and down the sides of the tank. I have been using the fenbendazole method and have had to repeat the dosage because the hydra keep multiplying. I have not tried to scrape any off of the walls because I have heard that they will grow from any broken pieces and the sides of this aquarium are very soft and easily scratched. How long does this method take? I was expecting it to take a few days but it has been 4 and there are more hydra now then there were before I started.

My next question deals with what can go in this tank. I'm okay with just shrimp, but would love to have a little fish or 2-3 of them to populate the top section of the tank, but like I said, I'm okay with just shrimp.

Lastly, are there any changes you would make to my current set up (be it plant placement, lighting, filtration, whatever)? I'm open to trying anything if it will make my aquarium healthier and more appealing.

Thanks in advance for any tips/comments you might have

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 05:26 PM
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How did you get hydra on a new tank? A 12x12x12 cubed would have been a better choice. I would suggest replacing the laterite/gravel mix with substrate. You could pick up a bag of fluval stratum substrate from any local fish store for about $15. You will have better results. If you replace the substrate you can thourghly wash the tank and plants and keep dosing de-wormer. Oh and fish well stick to nano fish. Like scarlet badis (my first choice) celestial pearl danio, chilli rasbora, ember tetra, micro rasbora kubotai, blue axelrodi, microrasbora erythromicron, the list goes on.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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I would love to know how I got hydra... I think they must have hitchhiked their way in on the driftwood/plants. I went back to the store where I got all of the plants and driftwood from and searched their tanks for any sign of hydra and found none. I am completely puzzled.

I'm stuck with the tank I have currently. It kind of fell in my lap at a great price. In the future I will be getting a different tank for sure, but right now I'm working with this thing.


How do I wash the plants? Just tap water?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 10:50 PM
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I can't help you much with your bug problems, but I do have a few other thoughts you might want to take into consideration.

I see what looks like dwarf hairgrass, and, a crypt of some sort maybe? Up close to the driftwood, behind the riccia. At anyrate, both the hairgrass and the clump of crypt/whatevers should be broken up and planted in smaller stands. It's time consuming, but will help the plants grow in faster.

I've used laterite in lots of tanks before. I've never had terribly good results with it when that was my soul source of fertilization. While I realize it's a small tank, a bag of substrate is expensive and will change the look dramatically. So, I guess my suggestion, if you like the lighter colored pea gravel, would be to pick up a bag of Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil. These can be had (even this time of the year!) from most nurseries or walmart for ~$4 a bag. A half inch, maybe even 3/4 of an inch layer underneath your gravel will help your rooted plants immensely. If you don't want to do a total tear down at this point, make a slurry of the soil and water and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then, push the cubes down into your gravel.

As for the fish front, there are LOTS of tiny little fish that would be quite happy in that tank. If you're looking for something that stays more towards the upper region, I'd throw out a vote for a croaking or sparkling gourami or two. Otherwise, in the nano tank forum there's a pretty excellent list of nano fish sticked at the top. There are some interesting choices in there.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bbird930 View Post
My first question I have is about hydra and other little "bugs." Currently, I have a ton of hydra and some white wormy things and some white dots that zip up and down the sides of the tank. I have been using the fenbendazole method and have had to repeat the dosage because the hydra keep multiplying.

My next question deals with what can go in this tank. I'm okay with just shrimp, but would love to have a little fish or 2-3 of them to populate the top section of the tank, but like I said, I'm okay with just shrimp.

Lastly, are there any changes you would make to my current set up (be it plant placement, lighting, filtration, whatever)? I'm open to trying anything if it will make my aquarium healthier and more appealing.
Hey! Welcome to the forum! So concerning the hydras, since you don't have anything in there right now you could easily double the dosage and use .1g for your 5 gallon. This might be an issue later on if you plan on getting nerites or brigg snails as they seems to kill them even after several water changes... but other besides that fenbendazole won't affect shrimp or fish. I have never tried scraping it off but I would image you'd be fighting a losing battle.

I am a huge fan of shrimp myself so I would go only shrimp :P. But if you must get fish I would FIRST buy some shrimp (neocaridina like RCS if it's your first time) and let the population start up. After you hit 20+ shrimp and have berried mamas then add the fish. Whatever fish you add, unless its pleco's or other algae eaters, they will eat baby shrimp. That's why you want an established population first.

I like your setup with the diagonal driftwood. Consider tying some moss or some other rooty plant so that it'll attach to the wood. That will add more incentive to look up near the top of your tank. If you decide you want shrimp AND fish definitely get more moss. Tie it to the driftwood or leave it along the bottom, but the shrimp will thank you for the extra cover.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-21-2011, 06:12 AM
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How do I wash the plants? Just tap water?
I would place the plants in another bowl or empty gallon water jug for a day. Then scrub the leaves or stems or whatever you can rub without damaging the plant. Finally transfer the plant into your tank. This will minimize the chance you'll get hitch hikers like hydra and snails. With hydra it's based on luck as they can stay in a curled ball for quite some time.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2011, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Pooky125:
thanks for your response! I Think I will get some potting soil and just redo the tank a bit since I already need to take the plants out to get rid of the hydra. Thanks for your tip on the dwarf hairgrass and the crypts. I'll do that once I put in the new substrate (after thanksgiving probably). I've only ever had experience with different types of tetras and rasboras and other small schooling fish of that sort... I'll have to do some research on gouramis.

diwu13:
Thanks for the advice on the shrimp and hydras. I definitely plan to just get shrimp first and let them multiply. If (when) I have too many babies, I have a professor who is interested in them for food for his hydra culture (apparently he feeds hydra to frogs). If I get fish, I was thinking some of the small rasbora species, but I really don't want to make them miserable since the swimming area at the top is quite small.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2011, 06:02 AM
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You're welcome! I hope some of that was useful information. Just make sure when you get the potting soil, it's the organic stuff. Miracle grow or Scott's, I believe. I use miracle grow and have had excellent results. You're probably going to want to wait a few weeks after putting soil and plants in to let everything adjust and make sure you don't have an ammonia spike from the soil. If you have test kits, it would be worth testing every few days to see what's going on. I don't, so I just let it sit for 2 or 3 months before dropping in anything. Mostly that seemed to work.

You said you didn't know much about gouramis, so I thought I'd give you the 3 sentence lesson. They're a labyrinth fish, related to the betta. They breathe air, blow bubble nests, and can range anywhere from roughly an inch long, to several feet. Sparkling or croaking are the two smallest readily available types, though all the chocolates and licorice I've ever kept have also stayed quite small. Primarily they're fairly peaceful, shy, humorous little guys. I've always enjoyed keeping them immensely.

As for the rasboras, if you pick your species carefully, you shouldn't have a problem. Boraras maculatas and boraras micros come to mine. Both stay under an inch long, including tail, and do quite well in small tanks. Boraras merahs would also suit you fine, and get a little more colorful then the maculatas or micros. Both, if fed well and kept in a decently well planted tank, get some lovely colors though. Certainly don't discount them if they look pale and bland in the LFS tanks. I've found them to be hardy, easy to feed, and pretty adjusting to any and all water conditions I've thrown at them. Pretty much the ultimate nano fish. (I've also recently discovered I have a sick obsession with rasboras that perhaps needs to be contained...)


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