3 Gallon - First attempt, looking for advice - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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3 Gallon - First attempt, looking for advice

Hey all!

So I am almost perfectly new to planted tanks though I've had an interest in them for a while now. I've recently decided to make my 3 gallon Marineland Crescent into a fully planted. I'm definitely looking for some advice. I've been looking through the forum and reading loads today but am still unsure about some things. Feeling a little overwhelmed as well.

The tank has been running for a good while now (at least 6 months) and everything has been running pretty smoothly. It's been very basic with just regular gravel, a few fake plants, small ornaments, and a few months ago I thought I'd throw in some live plants to see how it would go (completely uneducated). I'm annoyed that I can't remember exactly what I bought but they look like Java Fern to me. Though I thought I had bought some amazon sword. They've been holding up pretty well for having little to no light though obviously there needs to be a bit more pruning now.

I have an endler's livebearer, mystery snail, and an ADF. The frog and fish are still small though the snail is at least an inch and a quarter. I can always move stuff if you think this would be a problem for a planted tank. I'd rather find out now than starting stuff and finding I'm setting myself up for failure.

Basically, I want to re-do the whole thing. I bought myself some FloraMax to use as substrate and I'd like to use either some mopani wood or some stones (or maybe a small amount of both). Does anyone know if buying the mopani as aquarium ready would be easier on the tank than the regular reptile stuff?
I'm also hoping to change out the Tetra Whisper 10i with a Marina Slim Power Filter. One of my main questions is what sort of lighting should I use?

Will it hurt my fish to work around them gradually? Like changing out the substrate and leaving it for a bit and then adding the hardscaping etc etc. I'd be looking to use either some dwarf hairgrass, java moss, dwarf subulata as ground cover and I'm still researching for other plants.

Wow, now I feel even more unprepared than ever. I suppose I really just need to know if I'm on the right track with my brain thoughts or if I'm going in a horribly wrong direction.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 04:30 AM
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First off, what are you planning on doing for lighting? I can't really tell on my phone but those look like swords to me. Your lighting will let us know what types of plants you can put in there. Dwarf hairgrass needs above average lighting. Java moss and dwarf sag don't but dwarf sag stays smaller under high lighting in my experience.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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I wasn't quite sure at this point. I think it will be easier for my tank space if I can get a desk lamp and buy the right bulb for that. I've seen others use those. This is actually one of the things I am most stumped about.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 06:04 PM
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Nice looking tank.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by artresz View Post
I wasn't quite sure at this point. I think it will be easier for my tank space if I can get a desk lamp and buy the right bulb for that. I've seen others use those. This is actually one of the things I am most stumped about.
I'm sure that will work. My smallest tank is a 4 gallon and I'm using the stock LEDs. I'm not growing any high light plants in there though. The high lights plants I have are in my 10 gallon under a T5 HO.

Have you considered a clamp on LED?

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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The tank comes with one but it's very weak. I bought a 5100k 10w marineland fluorescent bulb.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 11:10 PM
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The tank comes with one but it's very weak. I bought a 5100k 10w marineland fluorescent bulb.
Makes sense. I've seen plenty of people pick up a desk lamp at home depot and use it on their nanos with great success. Your tank is small so just one should suffice.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 04:16 AM
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Hey there, tank looks good. +1 those look like swords...

Anyways, your plan seems good, with a few notes:
- Add the new filter and run them both for a few weeks. Swapping them out at once would result in a severe reduction in your biological filtration and you could experience a re-cycle. So just run them both for a few weeks to seed the new filter and then you should be fine to take out the old one.
- If you can buy mopani "aquarium ready" then I would go for it. As I understand it the mopani leeches tannins quite heavily for a while. So if it's been cured in water to reduce the amount of tannins that will leech then that sounds good.
- I would remove the fish to do the re-scape. Just put them in a temporary bucket or something with your plants, an air stone, and heater (if you use one) and then empty the tank completely. Re-set it up how you like, including plants if you have them. Slowly fill the tank and re-acclimate the fish. Also try to keep your filter wet. You could stick it in the bucket if you wanted.

Lastly, for lighting I haven't really gotten a firm grip on that yet... I'm a reef guy so normally my mindset is "more light!". I think you want a decent amount though. So a desk lamp with the right bulb would probably be fine. Actually the 10w lamp you have would probably work fine IMO.

Good luck!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips so far! =]

The swap over went well. The new filter I bought didn't fit with the lid on so I left the old filter in. It takes up too much room inside the tank so I will be replacing it eventually with a different internal filter.

Now I'm just messing around with the hardscape. I've decided to go with some rocks instead of the wood because they were easier to find, though I may end up changing my mind...

I also bought myself some DHG from work but I won't be putting it in for a little bit yet until I like the rock placement. I'm still trying to decide on what to use for some ground cover. I'm thinking HC (dwarf baby tears) or glosso. But I may have to work out the CO2 before I try.

I have absolutely no idea what to use otherwise for the rest of the tank (mainly the background). I won't be keeping the swords.

I'll probably post a picture once I figure out the rocks.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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So here's an update. I'm pretty happy with the rock placement now, I've included the picture of the before as well just to show you. (Crappy cell phone picture.)

Looks like I'm going to just cover the bottom with DHG in order to keep it simple for now. The stuff in the back is Cardamine Lyrata which I plan on keeping shorter-ish and more bushy like. I'd like to put in another smaller plant but I'm not sure what at this point.

I've got both filters in there at the moment, so hopefully soon it won't feel as crowded when there's only one.

I'm using flourish at the moment for ferts and hopefully a DIY CO2 system in the near future.

BEFORE


NOW



Should I add more of the DHG?
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