4 Gallon Office Tank Journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-08-2008, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thumbs up 4 Gallon Office Tank Journal

Well this is day 2 of my first nano planted tank. After first picking up too coarse a gravel, I went back and changed for a smaller size. Man was it nice to only pay $0.60/lbs for it. My goal with this tank is to have a nice office planted tank. The equipment I am using is a small hangtop filter (rated for up to 5 gallons), a 13W PC lighting system, and a 4 gallon glass tank (yay for bent glass tanks).

Here is the first picture. I will post more as the water becomes clearer. Most of you are going to yell that there are fish in the tank already, but I used water from my LFS to get the cycle started yesterday and the levels were tested fine today from the same LFS. This is also the first time I have not use driftwood and instead some African dense wood. I think it is a pretty good setup for ~$200 including fish, plants, and plant fert.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 12:25 AM
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I think they stole the shirt off your back, shoes off your feet, and hat off your head if thats what you got for $200

It looks like a decent layout but I think for $200 you could have a small ADA cube and whatnot, in the future read read read a bit more online

-Andrew
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 12:44 AM
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yeah, I think that was a little overpriced, oh well, live and learn :P Im guessing the light was most of that price?

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstad View Post
...but I used water from my LFS to get the cycle started yesterday...
I hate to add to the pain, but if they told you your tank would cycle in a day using water from a cycled tank, then they took you again. The bacteria you need for a cycled tank is not very plentiful in the water itself. It's in the filter, the substrate, on the plants. The best way to jump start a new tank is to use a filter from a cycled tank.

However, the last filter I would use is one from a LFS. I'd also use their water as my very last resort. They get too many fish in and out which exposes them to more diseases. Given that most LFS use a filtration system that's all interconnected, if they get one batch of fish with a parasite, fungus or bacteria, it's then exposed to all the tanks. Sure, they probably use a uv sterilizer, but they are not 100%. It can only sterilize the water that's directly exposed to the uv light.

I hope the LFS is offering misguided information only because they are truly ignorant and not as a malicious attempt to have you keep coming back to fix problems you may have.

For example, if you cram a bunch of fish into an uncycled tank, then the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels will cause harm to the fish. The new fishkeeper sees his fish are getting sick and will run to the LFS for medicine. Then, if the medicine doesn't work and the fish die, what does the fishkeeper do? Runs back to the LFS for more fish! And the money keeps rolling in.

Do you have a Freshwater Master Test Kit to test the water? I'd strongly recommend using the liquid/test tube type instead of the quick test strips. The strips are not only more expensive per test, but they are much less accurate. You need to keep a very close eye on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. How they increase (or not) will tell you where in the cycling process your tank currently stands.

Since your fish are already well exposed to the water from the LFS, ask them for a handful of their gravel. Put that in some kind of netting (pantyhose works) so it won't get mixed in with your substrate (for aesthetic reasons). That will help to seed your tank with the bacteria it needs.

I'd also double check their fish warrantee.

Vicki Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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Pelvicachromis pulcher 'unknown' -- 29g - Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Moliwe'
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
 
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$200 for everything was not a ripoff. Considering the tank, light, pump was a kit for $54. All the plants varied from $3.99 - $8.99 and I have a good mix of that. I bought extra driftwood for $11.99 (mounted on slate). The substrate was $25. The gravel was bought twice for about $5 total. Then the other wood that is not used was about $6.00. Then you got the beta for $20, and 3 tetras for $11 total. Now top that off with the fish food, Flourish and Chlorine treatments, that is quite a nice deal factoring in tax in the Chicago area.

Also not to go on the defensive, but to the person who said to research more online before buying, I did my share of research but to buy everything either on sale or via online sources would be a complete pain. I figure I pay $20 more for buying in the store and get it all at once then wait for packages to show up at the door for a week. Now, if anyone has something constructive to say I would gladly welcome the comments.

Also the water levels were checked and were within reason. I am aware this is no substitute for the bacteria on the filter pads, etc. I am keeping a close eye on the situation and purposely bought tetras that I am iffy on keeping anyway. Sorry for the snappy remarks it just amazes me how people think your an idiot because you don't mind paying a competitive price for convenience.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 02:45 AM
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Your betta was 20 bucks?!?!?!? I've never seen crowntails go for more than 10 bucks. I've dealt with champion betta breaders that don't charge that for their broods...
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 03:16 AM
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i made my 60gal for around 120$ with out fish.tank 60$ filter35$ and sand substrate for about under 7$
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
 
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Yep but I had to go with something very small and this tank fits the bill. I find the normal 2.5 or 5 gal to be an odd shape for a desk. It was either this or getting the JBJ Picotype which cost even more.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 03:38 AM
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I'm sorry that your first impressions of plantedtank came off sour. When you list everything out, it comes out better. I wish you luck with your tank, and hope it turns out good.

-Chris

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 05:31 PM
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I like your tank. I think it is a nice layout that probably wont give you too much trouble with maintenance.

I have 4 2.5 gallon tanks and they can easily come out to over 100 bucks a shot if I add up all the stuff. I just don't have room for larger tanks.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 06:23 PM
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jstad - your tank looks good. You paid what you felt was a decent price, and helped support your LFS at the same time. Did you possibly make some mistakes setting it up? Yes. Are you a beginner to planted tanks? Yes. Should the more experienced members of this board provide more supportive guidance to beginners? Yes.

I suppose it's lucky that when Andrew and the others were beginners, they didn't get the type of feedback you were just provided.

Andrew's correct in saying that you should read as much as you can online but remember that much of what you'll read is someone's opinion, and sometimes, unfortunately, not comlpetely factual. Read some books and magazines as well. There are many ways to keep aquariums successfully. With experince, you'll earn what works best for you. Good luck with your tank!
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 09:27 PM
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Even if everything doesn't work out the first time it's always a learning experience. A lot of us are more frugal than others and could probably have much better uses for that $200. Alot of us on here would have done things differently than you, but not to say that your way wouldn't work out in the end. Good luck with it and keep us updated so I can start on my own nano office tank.

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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 10:28 PM
 
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So far your tank looks pretty good! I really like the no-black-rims look. I also like the mini-bowfront!

Aside from the water starting your cycle issue (which Complexity already covered)... I'd watch the betta and tetra. Sometimes they can get along, but tetra tend to be nippy and can nip/tear apart the bettas fins and stress him/her out. Also, bettas are a more solitary fish and sometimes don't like tank mates. One day you may find a tank of 3 dead tetra and one angry betta.

You may be at higher risk for such harassment due to the fact that the tank is smaller. A betta should have a 2.5 gallon by him/herself. And tetra are a lot happier in a group of 6 or more and a 10 gallon is the minimum to accommodate that.

Though, I have heard of 5 gallon tanks working out with a stock like yours... but most of the time, not so much.

IMHO, I'd ditch the tetra and keep either a single betta or a single betta and 2-3 ghost or cherry shrimp (if the betta doesn't see them as snacks! I'd try ghost shrimp out before cherry shrimp... ghosties are like $.10 a piece).

Of course, this is all after the tank is fully cycled.

Keep us updated! I would definitely like to see/hear more.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 11:23 PM
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Nice set up. As for price I think most did not realize that you have bent glass. The front corners have a radius, something that ADA does not. Personally I will not pay for an ADA tank especially the smaller ones.

I have a very similar tank as you and I really like it. And it was a bit more than most tanks of the same size due to the fact that it is glass and very clear high quality. In addition having rounded edges on the front corners.

Waiting to see more of your scape.


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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-12-2008, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Unfortunately the beta took a dive and is now in fishy heaven :-\ The levels still seem reasonable within the tank and I am not sure if its the fact the water seems a little cold or not. I am used to keeping newts and terrariums so cooler water is not a problem. I am thinking that a heater would be a good investment. Lesson learned
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