dekstr's 2.5g - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-25-2007, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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dekstr's 2.5g

Hello,

First post.

I just started fish keeping a few months ago. I cleaned out my quarantine tank (12 x 8 1/4 x 6 inches and the specifications are exactly like this tank) a few weeks ago and it's been collecting dust ever since.


I've been considering converting the quarantine tank into a nano-planted tank because 1) I've spent so much of my limited money on it already(I'm a university (OR college equivalent for US) student living at home) , 2) nano-planted tanks look awesome (at least in Takashi Amano's setups--edit:and of course the ones I've seen on this forum! ), and 3) it seems quite budget-friendly. If my fish ever got sick I could always just use a plastic container to quarantine them in.



Filter: red sea deco art nano filter (up to 3 gallons / 12 litres) that I bought with the quarantine tank.
Lighting: either buying a new 27W Home Depot desk lamp or current desk lamp (looks exactly like this and website says 20W).

My tap water is treated through ion-exchange resin filtration (sodium based).

Tap water specifications (approximate):
pH: 7.5
Carbonate Hardness: 4-7 dGH (70-125 ppm)
General Hardness: 4-7 dGH (70-125 ppm)
Nitrate: below 10 mg/L

I want to do things right the first time, so I want to ask a few things from you friendly forum friends!

1. Heating: Any recommendations for a nice, reliable cheap heater? And I emphasize cheap.
2. Test kits: I already have pH, kH, gH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate test kits, don't want to spend any more.
3. Substrate: Aquasoil appears to be hard to find in Toronto and mail order is too expensive. I'm thinking of EcoComplete because I've seen it around before, but do they sell it in quantities that are just enough for this 2 gallon tank?
4. CO2: I'm thinking of DIY Yeast-based C02 in a plastic bottle with a regular airstone. I use this set-up for my regular lightly planted (contains Hygrophila polysperma, java fern, Cabomba caroliniana) 20 US gallon tank just to see what it does. It seems to lower the pH to about 7.0 when combined with peat filtration, decaying fish food/plant matter, driftwood tannins.
5. Plant fertilizers: I don't know much about this. I've thought about getting bulk dry ferts but it seems like overkill getting many pounds of chemicals (family members might suspect I'm doing a THC grow-op or making a bomb or something) for a 2 gallon tank. And if I'm getting liquid ferts, I don't know much about dosage. Since I won't really test the tank water conditions, I read about the EI method so I might do that.
6. Plant stocking: I'm thinking of some combination of:
- java moss, anubias and java fern attached to a small piece of driftwood
- Background: Cryptocoryne balansae or Vallisneria
- Midground: Echinodorus tennellus (pygmy chain sword) and/or Rotala wallichii
- Foreground: Lileaopsis or Glossostigma (yes I know hard to care for but challenges are fun)
By the way, I don't know these species' names/spellings from the top of my head.

7. Fish/invertebrate stocking: I read the nanofish list but haven't thought about what to stock it with yet. I'm thinking of getting the plants settled down and water cycled a bit before adding fish/invertebrates.

I'm willing to dole out big bucks for the substrate, but everything else would be on the cheap side if possible. Thanks for reading all this! Hope it wasn't too long. Any suggestions would be helpful and greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Dexter

Last edited by dekstr; 03-06-2008 at 03:07 AM.
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-25-2007, 08:45 AM
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Where abouts in Canada do you live? If you live somewhat near me, which is highly unlikely, im taking down some of my 10gls and have some plants/wood to get rid of.


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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-25-2007, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SearunSimpson View Post
Where abouts in Canada do you live? If you live somewhat near me, which is highly unlikely, im taking down some of my 10gls and have some plants/wood to get rid of.
I live in the suburbs near Toronto.
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-25-2007, 11:46 AM
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Have you considered marsilea for the foreground? I hear its easier to grow than glosso, especially if you end up keeping the 20 watt light (which is a cool lamp, anyways - especially for the price).

Can't wait to see it grow out.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-25-2007, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Huntereastin View Post
Have you considered marsilea for the foreground? I hear its easier to grow than glosso, especially if you end up keeping the 20 watt light (which is a cool lamp, anyways - especially for the price).

Can't wait to see it grow out.
Oh wow marsilea sounds good! Definitely gonna look into that.
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-25-2007, 05:39 PM
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You can try HC, I think they are easier than Glosso. Is there a Big Al's in your area? The Coralife Mini Freshwater Aqualight is only $34.99, not too expensive. I use that for my 2.5G.
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 10-28-2007, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Update: October 28, 2007

Okay, really quick update:
Today I bought an 11x14 inch 2mm thick piece of non-glare acrylic sheet from Home Depot. FYI: Manufacturer is Plaskolite, Inc. Total came to under $5 CDN.

1. Measure the hood dimensions of the tank, account for some leeway so it's not a super tight fit (29cm x 14cm). Note: The hood dimension is not the same as the tank dimension because of the top framing. Measure the area that the filter and other components take up at the surface leaving little space for gases (C02) to escape the tank.
2. Draw out dimensions on acrylic sheet with.
3. Score the sheet along the lines with a scoring knife against a metal ruler, going slowly the first few scores to make sure the line is straight.
4. Snap off the pieces.
5. Check for fit.
6. Adjust if neccessary.
7. Peel plastic film of off acrylic sheet.
8. Wash acrylic sheet with soap and water, dry.
9. Done!

Pictures:

Finished acrylic hood.

Comparison: Non-glare side versus normal side of acrylic sheet.



After this coming Thursday's class, I'm getting flourite substrate, plants and heater. Then I'll find the spare thermo-meter somewhere in the house.
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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I'm so excited I finally got the fluorite today from Big Al's!!! Cost me a small fortune of $30 + tax. Plus got 4 Red Cherry Shrimp for my other tank.

Less words more pictures!

A bit of peat for bottom layer:

Flourite Black!!!!!


Note how cloudy the water is. Not sure if you can see it, but I placed the hood cover on top of the flourite to not stir up dust once water was added. Didn't really work, but at least the flourite wasn't moved around at all. Lesson: Wash flourite before use! As well, I think either the house is not level or the book shelf isn't.


Decided to move tank from desk to book shelf. Barely fits but looks a lot cooler, plus I think the light will reflect a little better. Look how bright it is! Also, you can see the DIY C02 bottle on the bottom shelf.


Haven't bought any plants yet. Probably a bad idea as algae will get a head start. Any ideas on how to scape the tank? I don't feel like adding any hardscape, my plan is to just add a lot of glosso and hairgrass. And still haven't decided the fertilizing method. Maybe regular dosing of flourish and excel? Probably won't buy dry ferts because 2.5G is hard to dose and I'll be left with infinite amount of chemicals where I sleep.

More to come!
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 03:27 AM
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Great start - can't wait to see what you do with it!

You're right, it does look pretty cool on that bookshelf. I can't tell, but if it's particle board (looks like one I used to have...) then be careful of splashing. Particle board likes to swell up and look nasty, even if you get just a tiny drop on it. It might be worth your time to put down a waterproof mat or piece of plastic under the tank. Luckily it's only a 2.5, so it isn't too tough to move!


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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 03:42 AM
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i see that your water is treated with a sodium based softening system, i think that those arent the best for planted tanks, or maybe there just not good for softining water. im sure someone more versed on the subject will interject if its no bueno.

btw i really like your light!


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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
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Hey JenThePlantGeek,


Quote:
Originally Posted by JenThePlantGeek View Post
I can't tell, but if it's particle board (looks like one I used to have...) then be careful of splashing. Particle board likes to swell up and look nasty, even if you get just a tiny drop on it. It might be worth your time to put down a waterproof mat or piece of plastic under the tank. Luckily it's only a 2.5, so it isn't too tough to move!
Great advice! I actually overtopped the tank at first and spilled a bit of water. So I took out the tank, dried it up.

And you know the plastic wrapping that comes with the cases of waterbottles? I quickly made a DIY waterproof mat with that material. It's quite thick and tear-proof (have you ever tried getting a water bottle from the case?). I basically siliconed all the edges and roughly cut out a sheet to size and glued it with silicon.


Also, the light is from Home Depot for 19.99 CDN + tax. Found a 27W spiral CF bulb in the basement and that's what I'm using. Decided not to use the original halogen light after some researching. Halogen light is essentially a terrible plant light, kind of like incandescent lighting. Lots of heat but little light.

bsmith782, I'm not sure whether the sodium-based ion exchanger adversely affects the water to affect plant growth. Definitely gonna look into it though.

edit: From my understanding, sodium chloride (normal salt) exchanges its sodium part for magnesium and calcium parts. So with less magnesium/calcium, the water hardness decreases. But there's a lot of sodium in the water. Not good for the plants as it might damage their tissue. Another better ion-exchanger resin is potassium chloride, as potassium is good for plants. But it's more expensive.

I doubt my parents would prefer to switch to more expensive salts just for my fish tanks though. Hmm...
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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 05:39 PM
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dekstr, Big Al's got a shipment of new Tropica plants, you might want to go check it out. If you are interested in Glosso, Big Al's Oakville have them.
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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 06:50 PM
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do you have a faucet that doesnt have treated water going through it?


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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 06:51 PM
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do you have a faucet that doesnt have treated water going through it?
Try an outside spigot - most people don't spend money to water their lawns with softened water! Generally these are just straight up tap.


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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 06:56 PM
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I have a similar Home Depot $19.99 desk light on my 2.5g. Although mine is a 27w PC tube. I have the same filter as you, but I'll be doing Excel for Co2.
If you're going to try HC, you should get some Excel to spot dose the HC, in the event that Clado pops up.
Eco should be fine. I had some aquasoil left over from another tank, so that's what I'm using.
As for the heater, don't bother unless your house has widely fluctuating temps. Shrimps and most tropical fish do fine in the low/mid 70s, provided it doesn't change too much over a short period of time. In fact, most folks who breed shrimp will say that they generally like slightly cooler water anyway.
If you're worried about the hardness, you can mix a little epsom salt in with your water changes (probably ~1/2 tsp or so), which will increase the GH. Add a little baking soda as well, if you want to increase the KH.

-Ryan

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