Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Beginners low-tech nano
Hello everyone. Been lurking for a while and I've finally decided to set up a planted FW tank. FYI I'm actually a reef guy (nano-reef), though I've had aquariums in some form or another for the last 18 years or so. So really the title is technically wrong. I'm not a beginner, though this is my first planted tank. Recently I had to take down my reef tank in order to re-do my floor. So while that's down I figured I would start with a simple low-tech nano.
One thing I like about the planted tanks is their simplicity, especially in the visual regard. The iwagumi style has always fascinated me, even though I don't know much about how to actually set one up. I think the saltwater hobby is also starting to realize that some of these same design principles look good with reefs too. The trouble is finding the right fish to give scale to the whole thing.
So here's my plan. I would appreciate any feedback!
Tank: 3/4g glass rimless with curved front corners (bought at meijer for $25)
Filter: Cascade mini internal filter (it's really really small, so maybe an HOB or canister is in my future, just not yet)
Heater: 50W - If I get a HOB filter I may get a smaller heater and put it in there. I'm thinking 72-75 degrees?
Lighting: No clue... I've got a few T5 HO fixtures, but they would like like 6 of these tanks... So I'm inclined to run some DIY LEDs. I'm thinking in the 4,000k - 5,500k range, 3-5 CREE xp-g LEDs w/out optics @ 700ma. Until I get that built though, would a cool white 10w CFL in an aluminum reflector work okay?
Substrate: I'm lost on this one... From what I gather I can goto the hardware store, get some osmocote and sprinkle that down 1-2 tbsp, then over that I was going to either put down Seachem Flourite, Caribsea eco-complete, or Caribsea floramax. It looks like they're all about the same price, $20 or so for 15lbs or so. I'm sorta leaning toward the fluorite. I like the fact that after an initial thorough rinse it shouldn't cloud the water too bad when the substrate is disturbed.
1 male betta
4 tiny fish. I like the galaxy rasbora/celestial pearl danio, the ember tetra, and I like neon tetras also but if I can go with something a little less "the norm" that would be nice.
A cherry shrimp would be cool too, if compatible with my livestock.
Some sort of short ground cover in the front, I was thinking java moss tied to some thin slate, trimmed to 1-2cm
Some hair grass in the back trimmed to about 8cm
1 or 2 anubias - petite nana maybe? Something slow growing and leafy, but won't grow too big too fast.
Some rocks. I don't know enough about those yet except to say I want some cool ones. Can you put polished granite into a FW planted? Slate would also look cool. I'm thinking 3 pieces cut/broken into a cool shape sticking up right next to each other in the middle of the tank.
I want to keep this low-tech. So no Co2. I was thinking of dosing some of the "excel" which people seem to have good results with, as well as some type of liquid fertilizer as needed. I'm assuming that with a good substrate and liquid fertilizer I won't need root spikes given the plants above?
Anyways, looking forward to setting this thing up asap. Would I be fine to just start this one up with water right away? I've read a little bit about the dry start method, but how can I know if that will work best for my setup? Finally, I've had my filter running in another tank for about 2 weeks now, so I'm planning on using that to establish the nitrogen cycle vs. bacteria in a bottle or going through a regular "cycle".
Last edited by ajmckay; 08-14-2012 at 03:03 PM.
Reason: new info