Newbie planted 6g nano - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2007, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Newbie planted 6g nano

Hey everyone, I'm new here to Planted Tank, but I've been lurking the forums as a guest for a week or two, trying to get an idea of how to keep a planted tank. A couple days ago I took the plunge and have set up a tank with a few plants (what I could get at Petco), and have a fishless cycle starting. Here's what I have so far:

Tank: Eclipse System 6 (6 gal)
Heater: 25 W Marineland Stealth (80 F)
CO2: DIY with Nutrifin ladder (not installed yet)
Hood upgrade: 13 W, 6500 K, AHS retrofit (not installed yet)

The plants I have right now are a little sparse, and I'm waiting to see how they start to grow before adding more. In particular I really need some foreground plants. So far the plants I have are:

Microsorum pteropus tropica
Echinodorus argentinensis
Aponogeton sp. (sprouted from "Betta Bulb" kit, not sure species)

I know that the Argentine Sword will get big. My goal at the moment is to keep it trimmed back, and when it gets too big to manage, move it to a different tank. Petco also managed to trick me into buying a Peacock Fern, which I later found out is non-aquatic and won't grow in there, but it's in there nonetheless, I'll remove it when it shows signs of degrading. Here's the tank:



I'm not great at aquascaping, but I'm satisfied with the layout so far, let me know if you think there's anything that can be moved around to improve the look. I was also thinking of getting a black background.

In terms of fauna, my VT Betta will be moving from his 1 gallon bowl to this tank as soon as the cycling is complete. I was hoping to have some smaller community fish as his friends, perhaps a few Neon Tetras. If I understand the concepts correctly, the ammonia output from fish will eventually be converted to nitrates, which are beneficial to the plants. Any suggestions for stocking are also welcome!

Thanks for looking.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2007, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Alright, well I got a little restless and took the fern out. I decided since I was doing the fishless cycle to avoid being cruel to any fish, I shouldn't be cruel to any terrestrial plants by letting them die a slow death in my tank. So now he is happily planted in a pot, outside of the aquarium. Now I need more plants!
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:20 AM
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you could get a goldfish to speed up the cycle, or just put some food in there every day as a source of nitrates.

tank looks good though, what are your goals?


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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bsmith: I'm adding household (pure, clear) ammonia everyday, testing the ppm before and after. I aim for about 5 ppm when I am done adding ammonia. I'm also testing for nitrites daily, so I can see when the spike happens. After the nitrites get under control, I'll do a big water change, and then go shopping for fish.

What I'm trying to do is get a nice planted tank which looks good in my small apartment, and can house a few fish for viewing. I know I'm going to put a Betta in there, because he's miserable in his little 1 gallon bowl. I'd really like to put more fish in there (with the Betta), but I'm not sure what! Right now, I'm just focusing on the cycle, and getting some plants established in there. Any tips?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 01:23 AM
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Hey Pastamancer

Some betta do great in a "community tank". In my 2.5g, I had a betta and about 5 H. Fermosa. They got along fine, as well as an snail and ghost shrimp.

Now that being said, SOME betta are more aggressive and will just pick on other fish. I'll let the other guys chime in on possible tank mates.

Since your going planted, the extra coverage will help them all get along and your Betta will certainly appreciate the extra space.

Gook luck with the setup.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the vote of confidence! I'm wondering about sources for aquatic plants. Petco has proved less than great, as most of the "tube plants" are either non-aquatic or in very poor condition (I hope my poor Java Fern makes it!). I'm in NE Ohio, anyone have a good source for plants around there?

I'd really like to get some Dwarf Hairgrass, or Java Moss, and possibly an Anubias nana. There are some chain stores around here: Petland, Pet Supplies Plus, and PetSmart, but I haven't checked them all out. Any place you guys know of that has good plants?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-12-2007, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Finished with final exams today, and much to my surprise a package was waiting for me when I arrived back at my apartment! It was my AHS retrofit kit! I've been busy all afternoon installing it, and it's finally done. Here are some pictures of the retrofit:

Top of tank with mounting screws visible, I think I'll put some black electrical tape or something over these. As a side note, the little rubber on/off toggle no longer works after installing the new lighting system.



Here's the underside of the lid, showing the complete new lighting arrangement:



When the lid is closed the access flap is fairly restricted now, but you can still get at the filter and do daily feeding:



Lastly, my little unknown "Betta bulb" aponogeton has really taken off! It's growing like a weed. Anyone know what it is? I'm thinking A. crispus.



On a sadder note, apparently some snails hitched a ride from my LFS to my tank, probably on the piece of driftwood that I bought. The tank is too small for loaches, so I'll have to deal with them by hand. I was disappointed to find about 5 of them this morning crawling around the sides.

Fishless cycling continues. Saw my first nitrites this morning when I tested, so I know that the bacterial colony is there, just working slowly to get established.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-12-2007, 08:22 PM
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Very nice little nano!

Moses
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-12-2007, 09:35 PM
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Pastamancer: Sounds like you've done some reading and you're on a good start to nano-dom.. or something. It's relieving to see somebody take the time to check things out before going crazy and regretting it.

But I wouldn't mind giving my opinion since you asked for suggestions. Just an opinion.

If this was my tank I would forget doing the fishless cycle. Why? Well, it sounds like your betta is in a 1 gallon bowl. Is it filterless? If so, then he's going to be a heck of a lot happier in his own filtered tank with plants. If it does have a filter, then what I would do is take that filter and run it at the same time as your new filter. That should "seed" bacteria into the new system and help it get going. Don't stop checking parameters as there still could be a little cycle. But with plants and a filter, I think he'll be fine.

Snails? No big deal. I don't think they place any real threat to your system, just an eyesore. Normal ones just pal around and eat detrius. It's fun to smash 'em too.

As for the top of the tank, I think you'll be much happier if you spray the heads of the screws with black spray paint. Take 'em out, screw them into a cardboard sheet and paint the heads. Easy peasy. Just let 'em dry before you put them back in.

Like Dirkgent said, a Betta MIGHT be ok with others, but there's a very good reason they were called "siamese fighting fish". There just might not be enough room in a 6 gallon for your guy AND friends. I'd also pass on Neons. They really act better in a school and it's my firm belief that a 6 gallon is too small for them. Fish that don't do a lot of moving might be a better fit, otocinclus or something maybe.

http://www.bettatalk.com/ is a good place to check for betta info.

As for plants, Java Moss is fairly bulletproof and can be used in many ways so that's a good one. Anubias petite nana, probably also good. The rest is hard to say.

Hope that helps!

Currently resetting...
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-12-2007, 10:01 PM
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I've got a 6.6 gallon with a male betta and three otos. The betta seemed slightly aggressive towards the otos the first day, but I think he was just checking them out. After that, he pretty much ignores them, except for the occasional inspection of what they're doing. I have heard of bettas that will kill any other living thing within their site, so keep an eye on this for the first few days if you add anything else with him. I was confident with mine because he seemed pretty easy going when he was by himself. But their personalities differ greatly. He'll be the barometer as to what you can and can't have with him. I would keep it simple, though, since I believe you will have a greater chance of success by keeping only fish that are bottom dwellers or don't move all that much. That's why I believe just about any tetra should be ignored, at least for now anyway.

Hope this helps and good luck.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-12-2007, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Where'd you guys get your Otos? I've been to most of the pet stores in town and I don't think I've seen them. Is there another common name they go by?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2007, 04:26 AM
 
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Try the swapNshop section of the forum for plants! good deals and awesome plants.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2007, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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A local planted tank enthusiast was able to get me a giant ball of Java moss! It's way too much for my tank, but i broke some smaller pieces off the large clump and added them to my rock and my driftwood. I plan on making a moss rope to disguise the tank plumbing and heater you can see in the back right corner:



I moved my aponogeton behind the rock, it looks like it's going to be a tall plant and I think it'll be better in the background. Still working on an Anubias nana for the front right corner, and hopefully some HC for the front left foreground. The silver you see with the moss are plant anchors from Petco, planning on removing them once the moss attaches itself to the log.

Big nitrite spike today! Almost through the cycle. Hopefully by the end of this weekend I can move my Betta in, and look around for some fish. Still haven't decided what else, although now I'm leaning away from tetras. I add aquarium salt to help my Betta's slime coat, I've heard mollies like slightly salty water, maybe I will investigate them.

Better pictures will be coming soon. I'm giving myself a digital SLR camera for Christmas, so hopefully I can get some excellent shots of the tank. Thanks for looking!
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2007, 07:32 PM
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Nice looking Java moss! I think moving the bulb to the back was a safe bet too.

HC might not work too well in your tank. With the larger substrate you have in there it's going to be difficult to plant, and 13watts might not be enough to get it growing. I can't say for sure of that though.

I'd skip mollies as they get fairly large, and unless you get all females, you'll probably get babies. Plus you have a betta, which can fight as we've established. A goby or two MIGHT be another fish to look at, depending on the salinity, brackish or fresh.

Currently resetting...
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-13-2007, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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Yea, almost immediately after posting I also determined mollies would be a bad idea, although I really do like some of the species I've seen at the fish store, I'll wait until I have a bigger tank (bigger apartment first!). I do like the idea of 1 or 2 gobies. Bumblebee gobies seem like reasonable fish. Doing some research now.

Update: Gobies are fin-nippers. They're out. If I can find Dwarf Livebearers, I'll probably go with them.
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