My 5.5 gallon nano project - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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My 5.5 gallon nano project

Well, as my husband says I am spending WAY too much time on a little tank that doesn`t even have any fish yet! I thought today (after yet another rescape/rearrangement) seemed like a good day to go ahead and start a journal thread and maybe get some input.

I bought the tank and stem plants on August 21. I received the filter and started it on September 2.

Here`s the tank today.



Substrate is plain gravel with laterite in the bottom layer. Light is the popular Hampton Bay desk lamp. Filter is an Azoo Palm. Setting up DIY CO2 soon, no ferts yet except a few sporadic doses of Flourish.

On the 2nd, a few hours after I set up the filter for the first time, my ammonia read .5 ppm, nitrite 1.0 ppm, and nitrate 5.0 ppm. I am not adding any ammonia source! Something`s gotta be decaying and I bet it`s this guy.



That was my first swap-n-shop purchase and it went a bit awry. It arrived here in Phoenix while I was out of town and unable to stalk the mailman to avoid it sitting in the sun. I think it`s a goner. I`m leaving it in there though, both from stupid hope (maybe a bit of the rhizome survived and will rally?) and because, well, it`s cycling my tank!

Anyway, I had some questions. I am going to fill in some more wisteria behind the driftwood. I thought something medium-sized, narrow and upright like Blyxa japonica would look nice in front of the wisteria on the left side of the tank. Is that plant appropriate to this scale and this light?

Any suggestions for how to fill in the right side? I think maybe it needs some hardscape?

I need to get some fauna in there soon (guess I`ll wait for the cycle to complete.) I was going to get a copper halfmoon betta but the breeder isn`t responding to me and now I`m having second thoughts. I`m going to some trouble to keep the plants proportional to the tank, so maybe the fish should be proportional too? My LFS sells spotted rasbora, and I do love shoaling fish -- could I do 6 of those and some shrimp?

OK, I think that`s it for now. Thanks to anyone who gets through this and has advice!
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 10:31 PM
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I really like your set up one the left. Won't that stuff on the right need a lot of trimming?
Sorry I don't know all the hard to spell names of any plants. lol

My planted tank. 55 gallon fluorite substrate over soil, 64 watts of light, excel twice a week. Weekly water changes. Angelfish pair, guppies, BN plecos and otos. Redone 11/13/2012
One non planted tanks. 75 gallon.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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I really like your set up one the left. Won't that stuff on the right need a lot of trimming?
Sorry I don't know all the hard to spell names of any plants. lol
LOL, no prob. It`s rotala indica (um, I think) and I saw something from Amano that said with frequent trimming it will become bushier, shorter, with smaller leaves so that`s what I`m aiming for!
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 10:52 PM
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Is that needle leaf java fern? If so, trim off the brown leaves, if the rhizome is still green, it will grow new ones

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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Is that needle leaf java fern? If so, trim off the brown leaves, if the rhizome is still green, it will grow new ones
Yes, it is, and I will do that, thanks! I can`t tell if the rhizome is green but some of it shows promise. Yay!
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 11:31 PM
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this is a great looking tank, the plants look great!
does rotala generally take in more nutrients through its roots or its leaves? im looking at filling up my 5g with it, i've got some in a bigger tank.

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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2008, 11:41 PM
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Yes, it is, and I will do that, thanks! I can`t tell if the rhizome is green but some of it shows promise. Yay!
As long as the rhizome isn't mushy, it'll sprout new leaves.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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As long as the rhizome isn't mushy, it'll sprout new leaves.
Oh, I am so glad I posted, I had no hope earlier this afternoon!

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Originally Posted by demosthenes View Post
this is a great looking tank, the plants look great!
does rotala generally take in more nutrients through its roots or its leaves? im looking at filling up my 5g with it, i've got some in a bigger tank.
Thanks! I am under the impression that rotala is not a heavy root feeder. I wasn`t going to add root tabs to it (while I think I will with the wisteria.) I`m still a novice though, so take that with a grain of salt and I`ll let you know if I learn otherwise!
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Today ammonia is 0 ppm, nitrite 1.0 ppm, nitrate 10 ppm.

Shockingly to me, pH is still 7.2 despite the addition of driftwood! Either the buffering capacity of my RO water is more than expected (I only added GH booster!) or the tannins mostly leached out already (it was soggy when I bought it.)

The breeder got back to me, and I think I am going to stick with the betta plan. I think I will pick him up two weeks from today. (He`s only 7.5 weeks old today!) Any guesses on whether my tank will be OK without a fishy ammonia source for that long?
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-05-2008, 11:55 PM
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If you're trying to grow branchy rotala quickly, let it reach the water surface. Mine starts branching heavily once it's at the surface, at which point I clip and replant the multi-stemmed tops. My experience is with R.rotifundiola but I assume it holds true with the similar indica as well.

Some additional driftwood to the right would be attractive, but is not necessary. It's extra space to plant.

Have you considered a foreground plant, or do you want to leave the gravel bare?
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-06-2008, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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If you're trying to grow branchy rotala quickly, let it reach the water surface. Mine starts branching heavily once it's at the surface, at which point I clip and replant the multi-stemmed tops. My experience is with R.rotifundiola but I assume it holds true with the similar indica as well.
Ah, yes, I see it doing that in my tank. I`ve already trimmed most of the stems once but I`ll stop for a bit and see what it does!

Quote:
Have you considered a foreground plant, or do you want to leave the gravel bare?
I`m worried that my skills and my setup aren`t up to growing a nice low compact carpet, so I was working on some options there. Probably leaning toward growing midground type plants almost to the glass but keeping an inch or two of gravel bare? I could be convinced to try a carpet though!
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-06-2008, 01:55 AM
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I think the reason you see it starting to get bushy is that you're trimming it when it hits the water's surface.

Even if it hasn't reached the surface, you can still clip it and new stems will grow from the nodes where you clipped it, giving a bushy appearance.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I haven't done much trimming except removing the dead leaves from the java fern. I'll snip and shape the rotala a bit more soon, but I love that it is throwing off new growth at the base! I always heard stem plants get leggy at the bottom!

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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 09:01 PM
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Moss looks great in a 5.5. Tie it to a rock or diftwood. A flat rock with moss makes a great foreground and on driftwood it makes a good midground. Here are a couple of pics of moss in one of my 5.5. They have grown in a lot since these pictures. I really need to update my tank profiles. The first pic shows a rock with moss and driftwood with moss behind it. The second pic shows a rock with moss and behind it is upright rocks that are half buried in the substrate with moss on the top part making a rock wall.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Moss looks great in a 5.5. Tie it to a rock or diftwood. A flat rock with moss makes a great foreground and on driftwood it makes a good midground. Here are a couple of pics of moss in one of my 5.5. They have grown in a lot since these pictures. I really need to update my tank profiles. The first pic shows a rock with moss and driftwood with moss behind it. The second pic shows a rock with moss and behind it is upright rocks that are half buried in the substrate with moss on the top part making a rock wall.
Ah, cool, I was thinking of incorporating moss but didn't know where to affix it since my driftwood is getting pretty full (well, if/when the java fern bounces back.) A rock to form a rounded midground or foreground moss mound sounds great!
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