Yet another 5.5 journal - The Beginning - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Yet another 5.5 journal - The Beginning

I have recently done a total redo on my 5.5 gallon AGA tank. In its past life, it looked a little like this . That crypt wendtii green in the back left eventually turned into a monster, reaching the surface of the water and it had probably 30 leaves. The dwarf sag didn't last long before I moved it to my big tank. At the end of its life just imagine a few more plants and a ton of algae. All kinds of it. Everywhere.

That little stump had about as much hair algae as moss, the humongous crypt and the plants I had added were infested with brush algae, and the glass was covered in that type of algae that tends to grow on glass. I added an Otocinclus sp. to at least try to clear the glass, which he accomplished in a mediocre fashion. I had chosen to put Fluorite substrate in the tank, which I didn't like at all from the moment I started washing it. The tanks only inhabitants, aside from the aforementioned Oto, were a small group of cherry shrimp.

What I took from this experience was that if I didn't create something I liked, I was less inclined to take care of it, and after accumulating so much algae, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it without much hassle.

So I decided to redo the tank. All the shrimp and the Oto lived in a five gallon bucket, complete with a Hagen Elite Mini and small heater, for about 10 hours. The Fluorite was thrown away. The plants were thrown away. Pretty much everything but the tank, light and filter was thrown away. After scrubbing one side pane of glass with paper towels and water, I remembered hearing about using vinegar. That stuff cuts through algae with hardly any effort, and it makes the glass nice too.

Anyhow, I went out and bought a bag of Eco Complete, as I've used it before and like it. Also purchased were a couple neat rocks and plants. One pot of HC and one of Dwarf Hairgrass - the acicularis, not parvula, unfortunately, so I have those little "dots" on the tops of the stalks. I also got a can of black Krylon Fusion and painted the back of the tank. After a few hours of setting up and planting, with a meal thrown in there, it now looks like this:



That was a week ago. Sorry for the picture quality, my cell phone doesn't deal with the light very well...but I'm getting a decent camera for X-Mas so I'll be able to post better ones then. One thing I did add was a small sponge over the intake after I found a few shrimp bodies chopped up on the bottom the next morning I never used one before, but I guess the extra plants and algae gave them something to hide in. Also I put in another Oto, but I think I'm going to move him into the big tank soon.

Here are the specifics and my questions for you guys.

Tank: 5.5 gallon AGA with the rims because I like being different
Light: Home Depot Special
Filter: Aquaclear 50 HOB - makes a nice current and not too strong
Ferts: Nothing currently. I have Excel and Flourish, but I don't really know how much to dose. I may also get a manifold for my pressurized Co2 setup later when I get more growth if it seems like the plants need it.

So my questions. First, I think I want to add something to hide the filter inlet and heater a bit, especially since now the filter inlet has a big white chunk of sponge on it. Maybe something grassy or bushy that will grow about 5-8" tall. Also, fish. I'd like a few in there, but I'm not sure on what type. I was thinking some CPD's since I saw some for cheap at an LFS, but after reading I think my tank is too small and they would not like the plant set up of an Iwagumi-inspired tank. I really like the looks of the Dario dario, but I've never seen them around here.

Also, please post your thoughts. I'm pretty sure I want to stay away from wood, and I know my substrate sloping is kind of bad, but let me know what you think!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 09:36 PM
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Lookin goos so far. If you want a nice plant to cover your filter intake I will suggest rotala verticilaris.

Top.


Front after a trim.


Also, so you dont have algea problems and get the most enjoyment out of this tank I suggest getting a pressurized co2 system ASAP. Constant co2 is one of the largest parts of keeping an algea free tank.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 10:31 PM
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You could try Blyxa to cover the inlet/sponge. That's fairly grassy. I'm assuming that you want a grass/rosette plant instead of a stem due to maintenance issues?

An alternative to the sponge is to use a piece of stocking, which is what Im using in my 2.5gallon, since a sponge would be so obtrusive in such a small tank. That would also be easier to hide.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 01:30 AM
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bsmith, what kind of anubias is that on your driftwood?

crudnugget, would something like a java fern planted in front of the filter intake work for you?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2009, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, I think I am going to look for some Blyxa to put in the back right behind the bigger rock as I am kind of going for the grassy look.

Here is a picture of the tank today



I just got a new camera and haven't figured it out quite yet, so everything looks a little more yellow than it actually is in real life, and don't mind the algae wafer remnants in the front middle.

The HC has started spreading slowly, and the hairgrass is spreading even slower, although I have noticed some new growth. Also, I found an Anubias nana petite I thought had died when I cleaned out my 40 gallon tank so I put that in, that's not it's final placement though, if it even stays in this tank.

Overall, I think the growth is slower than it could be, and I am thinking of moving the one Oto and 2 cherry shrimp into the big tank and doing an emersed style growout to get a decent carpet going. Thoughts on this?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2009, 10:45 PM
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I love the rocks!

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, time for another update. I got some Blyxa japonica from an LFS and I planted that in the back right. I took out the last remaining Otocinclus and put him in my big tank, so now the only inhabitants are two red cherry shrimp.

HC is still doing well but growing SLOW. Hopefully when my regulator gets here, I can figure it out and get it running. Then I may get a splitter and hook up a diffuser in this tank too. Would pressurized CO2 help the HC grow a bit faster? You can see that the bigger leaf of the Anubias nana petite is yellowing, but the other leaves are looking good.

Question: since I now only have 2 shrimp as my bio load, I was thinking of removing the AC50 HOB and replacing with one of those Hagen Elite Mini filters. They push 58GPH (manufacturers claim) and that seems like it would be enough for 2 shrimp. Thoughts?

Anyway, here are some pictures I took. Still figuring out my new camera











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