Brand New 3 gal Cube - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Brand New 3 gal Cube

I'm a newbie and just set up my first tank tonight! It's a 3gal cube and I went with dirt substrate. I'm all set up, but kind of lost as to where to go from here. I haven't set up a filter, so that's my first priority. Anything else I need? How long will it take to cycle?
I have a 13w CFL, 6500K light. Too much/too little? How long should I leave it on for? How far away should it be from the top of the tank?
Also, maybe someone can help me ID my plants. I'm pretty sure the one on the left side is a Crypt Wendtii, maybe the right is an Amazon Sword? I have no idea on the floating one.
Any glaring errors I need to fix or upcoming disasters you can see?
Sorry the photo is sideways!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a better photo of the top of the floating plant..
http://imgur.com/PB6rMr6
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 10:46 AM
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I think your ID of the two rooted plants is probably close enough. The floater looks like frogbit. I have a 3g unfiltered tank almost the same as yours, with two aquatic frogs in it, and use the same type and wattage light. I run the lamp 6 hr per day, supplemented by ambient light from a window 8 feet away. I found that when the light was 3 inches from the surface of the water, I got algae. I moved it up to 8-10 inches from the top of the water, and so far, so good, no algae. If the frogbit (?) grows enough to cover the top of the tank, you could move the light a bit closer, to increase the amount of light to the plants below. As long as you don't overstock the tank, a filter is not absolutely necessary, but you will have to do water changes. I sometimes use a portable power filter to clean debris out of my small, unfiltered tanks, before I do my water changes. One filter, for about 12 small unfiltered tanks. Keep us updated with new pics.

Why is the "next" tank, always the most interesting?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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It does look like frogbit! Thanks!
I'll have to play around with the light height I guess and see what happens. I need a timer for it too, so I have a more set schedule.
I'm not planning on putting much fauna in this one,so I may leave it unfiltered for now and see how it goes.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 10:44 PM
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You might want to gently pull the sword up a bit, mine got picky about having the crown (junction of roots and leaves) buried.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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I will do that! I was nervous about not planting them deep enough to where thy couldn't reach the dirt, but I guess they'll grow and expand where they need to.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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I added a HOB filter last night and woke up to crazy cloudy water. Hoping it's just leeching tannins from the dirt? Doing a massive (as massive as can be with a 3gal water change now.

My frogbit "shed" it's longer roots yesterday too. Is it stressed or is this normal? It still has roots, they're just newer and shorter without the fuzzy covering.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-23-2014, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Day 4 update. I'm having trouble with the tannins still, been doing massive water changes every other day to keep them down since I don't have any fish yet.
I've added several stems of moneywort in the back, they're kind of taking over and very messy looking. They are growing like weeds, already need a trim. Kind of sad the driftwood can't be seen so well... I might move it.
Plants seem happy, except the frogbit. Leaves are browning and falling off. Maybe I need to up my light? Right now I'm doing a 9 hour cycle, 6 of that with lights on. They get a nap in the middle of the day. There's some light from a window across the room, but it has frosted glass so not much is getting through and I doubt it's adding anything.

Edit: Sorry for the poor photo quality, just snapped a quick one with my phone.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-25-2014, 04:57 PM
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Oh Tannins brown, oh tannins brown..... Have a punny Xmas

Tannins can be a problem in new, dirted tanks. Eventually they will be all leached out, but only after you are sick of water changes. I have found that if I pre-wash the dirt a few time before I set up the tank, I have less problems with brown water. It is a lot easier to wash tannins out in a bucket , than in a fully planted tank with fish. I have also had some luck by mixing my unwashed soil (MGOPS) with 30% fluorite. The fluorite must soak up some of the tannins, only to be released years from now when I get complacent about my water changes

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2014, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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I will definitely soak it next time. I'm thinking of getting some Purigen to add to my filter, hopefully that will soak most of it up. Clarity has improved a bunch since I shortened the stem on the filter, so that's a start!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 10:47 AM
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Activated charcoal may also absorb tannins. It's pretty cheap so worth a try.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Haven't done an update in a while...

Here is the tank almost 3 weeks in. Still leeching tannins, but it's not so bad now. I've been using activated charcoal in the filter since I added the filter, not sure if that's doing it or it's just slowing down. *shrug*

I'm planning on getting a water test kit tomorrow or the day after, and if all looks good I'll add some shrimp!

Edit: The floating plants on top are mostly extra stems of moneywort. It's growing like crazy and I haven't decided what to do with it yet... Might just give it away. My frogbit is also up there... Can't really see it but it's broken off into 3 smaller pieces now and they all seem to be doing well.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Went to my local LFS and they had a dwarf crayfish with the best "personality." He was awesome so of course we brought him home. Drip acclimated him and added him a few minutes ago! Will break out my camera after dinner and take a photo. He seems happy!

Last edited by Blaqkbunnies; 01-11-2015 at 06:37 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 06:25 AM
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Purigen is your best bet to remove tannins. It's about a thousand times better than carbon.

Hope your crayfish does well! I'd be sure to overfilter, and be prepared for him to murder your plants. Dwarf crays are plant murderers. Actually all freshwater lobsters are...
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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Here he is!

Hopefully he's not too harsh on the plants, we'll see. Oh well if he is, they'll grow back!



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