Plans for a pico tank. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Plans for a pico tank.

I want to make a pico planted tank for my desk. The smaller the better, but I do want it enjoyable to look at.

I am thinking of going with the Aquatic Gardens Mini-Life Aquarium One Gallon Kit. I can always replace the lighting with a custom hood and I have 2 spare 13 watt compact fluorescent retrofit kits (need new bulbs) if the lighting it comes with is not good enough. I assume the filter that comes with it will be fine. I don't intend to install a heater, so the plants/inhabitants need to be able to handle S.CA weather.

For the substrate, is there anything I can use that comes in a small amount instead of buying enough for a 10g tank?

What are some good plants to help break in a tank so it doesn't have a huge algae problem to start? I know they should be fast growing, but what are some of the recommended types I can use temporarily breaking one in?

I think I know what plants I want, but going to do a little more research before going into it. Basically it has to be short and I want some grassy types for mid/back ground and some low lying ones for foreground. Probably will add driftwood/rocks for some landscaping.

As far as inhabitants go, not to sure yet. I am guessing only shrimps would really work in such a small tank. I do like threadfin rainbow fish, honey gouramis, white cloud minnows, or even bumblebee gobies. Would any of those fish be okay? I will probably keep some ghost shrimps to start out since they help clean the tank...

Anything I am forgetting about?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 08:10 PM
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I don't know that you need fast growers in that small a tank. I did a pico for my wife (5x5x10, so just about 1 gal) and what I put in it were some narrow leaf Java fern and Anubias 'petite' nana (both tied to Manzanita twigs), and a couple of stems of Hemianthus micranthemoides. I bought a small bag of black aquarium gravel (5#), but only used a couple of handfuls. I put a 7w RedSea vase light over it and use a RedSea nano HOB filter.

Except for a small bit of diatoms and green spot in the first couple of weeks its been running fine.

I have my wife doing a PPS dosing schedule and adding a couple of drops of Flourish Excel every other day. She's also changing about 1/4-1/3 the water twice a week.

Livestock include 2 Cherry Red shrimp, one Endler Livebearer, and a Scarlet Badis.


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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I might use petite anubias, but probably don't want java ferns. I think the type of plants I need will require more than just gravel.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-20-2005, 12:38 PM
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A couple of things. First of all, you might want to wait a bit before adding your fish or shrimp. Just like in a larger tank, let the plants get growing before adding the fish. You will have much less of an algae problem that way. For CO2, you can just use a small DIY CO2 bottle and run an airline hose into your tank. If your tank is high enough, you can use a hagen ladder, but if your tank is lightly planted, I would just stick the hose in there and call it good.
As for plants, some of the best plants I have found for nanos are as follows:
Riccia (branchy and grassy)
Hemianthus Micranthemoides
petite nana
R. wallichi
Hemianthus Callitrichoides
dwarf java fern
Any of the mosses
All of these plants are small and won't crowd out your tank. I also tried using Didiplis Diandre, but it had a tendency to grow wide and hog tank space. It is easy to trim down the stem plants and you will find they don't grow as quickly under the low wattage lighting of a nanotank anyway. My R. wallichi grows small, fine, bristles that only get a little pink towards the top of the tank. They have an attractive efffect on the tank though.

Two 1 GA desktops, a 5 gallon, a 2.5 gallon, a 10 gallon, a 20 gallon, a 25 gallon, and two 75 gallon tanks, all planted.
I am an expert on algae, so ask me if you have questions. I know how to grow it, just not how to get rid of it.
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