2.5 gallon: My First Tank - UPDATE 6/20/09 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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2.5 gallon: My First Tank - UPDATE 6/20/09

Hi everyone. I just wanted to start a journal for my 2.5 desktop nano. This is not only my first planted tank, it is my first fish tank ever. I've read through this forum as well as tons of other internet sources to get some ideas and tips before starting my tank and found tons of helpful info. Well, here it is:

Tank: 2.5 gal from Petsmart
Filter: Red Sea Nano filter
Heater: preset 78 F from Walmart
Light: 23W CFL
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia

Flora:
Crypt Wendtii Red
Crypt Lucens
Anacharis (Egeria Najas)
Hornwort
Dwarf Hair Grass
E. Tenellus
Aponogeton Bulb
Java Moss
Salvinia Minima/Duckweed

Fauna:
Panda Cory (x2)
Feeder Guppy (x2, male and female)
Malaysian Trumpet Snail (x3)

PICS
1st: FTS
2nd: The guppies!
3rd: Panda #1
4th: Panda #2
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Last edited by ex225; 06-20-2009 at 09:03 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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So the post above is what my tank used to look like 3 days ago. I did a rescape a day after taking the pics, for a few reasons:

1) I liked the natural, wild, jungle look, but things were getting too overgrown and crazy. I had added the plants as I got them/salvaged them from other people/tanks and wanted to redo the entire scape now that I had most of the plants I wanted to use.
2) I wanted to open up more vertical space. With the crypts basically on either side of the tank and sending leaves everywhere, there wasn't much open space.
3) The hornwort kept shedding creating a carpet of pine needle droppings along the back. Also the duckweed/salvinia was looking really messy. Leading up to the pics above, I would have to throw out a handful of floaters every few days. Most of the time, the whole top would be covered.

Will post pics of rescape when the water clears up!

-edit-
removed aquasoil questions and posted into general forum

Last edited by ex225; 01-23-2009 at 10:26 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 02:45 AM
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great tank for a beginner! Keep the updates coming.

10 gal RCS colony Tank (RIP):
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 02:47 AM
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Ty raising the light.
It'll even the lighting distribution above the tank more.
Also hornwort is more meant as a floater than an actual stem plant.

It will look better once you get the plants sorted out, and scaped how you want it, and they get established.
Newly planted tanks usually don't look that spectacular.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks thestranger!

Viettxboii, yea the only reason I used hornwort was it was plentifully available and I wanted to create a forresty look in the background. I thought using cabomba would make the scape look smaller and out of proportion since cabomba looks slightly bigger than hornwort. I got rid of the hornwort in my new scape, it was shedding a lot.

Also, if you notice in the pics, I got a piece of white paper and wrapped it into a circle, and taped it to the end of the desk lamp. I thought there was too much light excaping out into my room and constantly in my eyes. I noticed though that doing this tends to make the sides of the tank not as well lit. Do you think I should just get a dimmer light and take off the white paper?

Last edited by ex225; 01-23-2009 at 10:51 PM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 03:39 AM
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Depends just raise it again, and if your cover is just paper, DIY something else up.
Because it may be more dimly lit, but it's more even in the end.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 03:57 AM
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As a fan of 2.5 tanks, (I have 6 currently and 2 more in the works), I have to say you are off to a good start here. I use inert substrates, sand or gravels so I don't have the muddy issues you have and no help with that. As for the scaping, It's looking good and from experience I can say you will change your mind very often as you get used to how your plants are going to grow in relation to the tank size. Finding the right plant, not just right type can take awhile.
In one tank I went through 7 Java ferns before I found the one that seems to be happy and grows the way I want it to.
As for the light. I found in most cases I like a clamp on desk type light with a screwin CFL daylight bulb. I back mine off/up to get the look I want with enough but not to much light and with the clamp I can angle it so it does not shine into the room. If the white paper is working for you on that desk lamp I would suggest raising it a bit to get light out to the sides more and try to angle it so it shines from front to back.
Hope that is of some help.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Anybody have tips on how to best replant Crypt Wendtiis? After the water cleared I noticed the the crown and roots (about 1 cm) was sticking out of the substrate. I tried to push it in gently while holding the crown but it was unsuccessful. The crypt just "bounced" back up and the aquasoil leached out tons of dust in the process. I can't see a thing right now.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 01:02 AM
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The tanks looks great, ex225. (When it's visible. Read your other thread about your cloudiness frustrations.)
My first bag of AS leached quite a bit of tannins into the water column. Water changes and filtering eventually cleared it up. Your problem sounds much more severe. You asked if perhaps you got a bad batch. I'd say, most certainly. Aqua Soil should not do that.
That said, I believe it will eventually dissipate, but this eventuality will be a consequence of your patience. It sucks that your first experience with AS is a bad one; it's a great substrate, but that means little when all you do is hear about it's merits and see the exact opposite for yourself.
Other than that, looks great. Twenty-three watts is a tad on the high-side, but not ridiculously so. Just keep an eye on algae and add CO2 if it gets out of control. (In my experience, thirteen watts on a two point five gallon tank is enough to grow most plants. Glosso will carpet and red plants will redden in that light assuming it's placed right above the water line.)
Hang in there. If you're glass-is-half-full kind of person, you can see your Aqua Soil fiasco as a really good learning experience on how to maintain a tank after a frustrating emergency. Especially since this is your first fish tank.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ugly Genius, thanks for the compliments. I've been watching your tanks evolve over the past few months and gotta say they look amazing. I hope I can learn to scape like that and develop an eye for it like you have.

I am learning a lot from this experience and glad that I did have the 2.5 to learn on. It's a very easy size to manage and deal with. I think it's pretty likely that I will cap it with something if I don't see the problem going away in a few months.

That being said, do you have any recommendations for a topper, something that will be comfortable to cory bellies? I want to do either sand or mixed pebbles since they seem to be $5/bag from Home Depot. I'm sure the sand would be good but it might eventually shift to the bottom dusty layers of my AS. Also the pebbles seem to be too big to succesfully cover the AS unless I have like a 1" thickness of it. I like the look of eco/flourite better but don't want to spend more than I have to for only enough to cover my AS.

I do think the 23W light is overkill. That's 9wpg! I moved the lamp to a lot higher than it is in the pics. At the time, this was the only CFL I could find in my house that looked full-spectrum-ish. All the other ones seemed kind of yellow. Is it vital for plant growth to have full spec or will it be fine with a yellower light?
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 04:20 PM
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Hey, ex225.

You're welcome and thank you for the compliment, too!

Two point fives are great tanks. Perfect for learning on in the sense that they're really difficult to maintain, let alone 'scape. The frustrations you're having in it are good frustrations as they are very good learning experiences and if you can make it through them, you're well on your way to becoming very skilled in this hobby.

As for a topper, I'd go on the swap-n-shop and post a WTB of a small amount of Eco-Complete or even some more Aqua Soil. (I'm doing a rescape of Riven Revolutions today and I might have some AS left over.) I've used Flora Base in the past and liked that stuff, too. It only lasts six months, but I hardly ever have a 'scape last that long. (I'm terribly addicted to the creative side of this hobby; rescapes are the only way I can curb a potentially worse Multiple Tank Syndrome addiction. And I've already got four tanks!)
You may also want to consider upgrading your filter. It will help speed the removal of cloudiness and after that's done, you will notice that you will have to perform fewer cleanings and water changes because of the increased filtration. Just a thought.

I've never tried bulbs outside of the 5,000k to 10,000k. I've taken the popular advice of people on this forum that anything below or above that is less-than optimal. Within the 5,000 to 10,000 range, I find the higher end of the spectrum to be more aesthetically pleasing to me, but this is just personal preference and is independent of effects on plant growth.
I'd try to find a thirteen watt square or straight pin compact fluorescent light fixture. Those are perfect for that tank. I like the Ott-lite task lamps, but depending on where you live, they are hard to find.

Anyway, keep it up.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-26-2009, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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UG, thanks for all the great advice! I bit my lip for the past 2 days and with 20% WCs and lots of patience, the water finally cleared up. I trimmed off a bunch of leaves yesterday. It looks like the wendtii didn't take the rescape + brown water very well - there's only about 3 whole leaves that didn't melt. Some of the lucens turned yelllow. I had to cut off about 5 anubias nana leaves with the 4 remaining showing some browning around the edges.

The big problem now is with the panda cory. It is showing some really weird lesion-like, fuzzy cotton-looking stuff coming off of its body as well is the top part of its tail rotting away. I posted a thread about it here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...tml#post773163

If anybody knows what this is, I would relaly appreciate the help. So far, I have about half a tablespoon of aquarium salt dissolved in a little bowl and I am slowly adding it to the tank.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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Update 6/14/09

So, here's a long, picture-heavy update of what's been going on with this tank. This post's update goes to about 1.5 months ago. Still need to upload pictures from the past month. Look out for another update in a week.

Aquasoil problems subsided after a few days. Did a major rescape, picked up some pygmy cories, and made a few java moss carpet mats using window screening, thread, and moss!


These guys are one of the most interesting and fun fish to watch. Love their spastic/floaty movements. It reminds me of a hummingbird. Their schooling/shoaling? behavior is quite entertaining too. Tried to salvage the green bits of my anacharis and clamped them to fishing weights. They also serve to hold the moss mats down.


A few days later, I felt bad for the lonely panda. It was sulking around by itself so I got it 2 buddies. Approaching overstocking levels here but I do 50% water changes every few days since it's so easy with a 2.5 gallon, so I'm not too worried about the water quality.


YAY! The lonely panda is MUCH happier. Here they are, suspicious of me snooping around with my camera.


FTS. You can see the 2 java fern leaves I bought at the LFS for $0.30 each tucked behind the heater. I didn't want to buy the huge bunch for $5 and I'm hoping I can grow some out with the tiny rhizomes that are attached to those leaves.


Started getting massive diatom and GSA problems. Shortened photoperiod to 8 hours and got myself one of these little guys. I'm starting to get worried about overcrowding. Waiting for my emmersed 10 gallon to grow in with HC so I can move the fish and make this 2.5 a dedicated shrimp tank.


Diatoms got eaten up in only a couple days! A few weeks later, this FTS. Look at that aponogeton GROW! Java carpet is coming along nice. E. Tenellus is taking over the right side of the tank. Also my little stubs of anacharis were salvaged after all! I swear, there were some days where the anacharis grew at least an inch overnight...


I love taking sneak shots of the pandas. They are awesome. Notice the ramshorn. I started off with 1. Then added a second that I found in my waste water bucket. Now I must have at least 500 combined in all my tanks. I don't mind though, they are fun to watch, don't eat any plants, and act as a clean up crew.


OK, at the risk of majorly overstocking, I picked up 6 free female guppies from craigslist. Over the past couple weekends, I started up a 20gallon long, DIY stand, and filled the 10 gallon emmersed. All the fish in this tank will be moved into the 10 gallon in a week after the 10 cycles (using Aquaclear20 off an established tank and overloading with plants). Also keeping up with 30-50% WC every couple days and watching water parameters. So far so good. About 0/0/20-40, pH 6.8


Java moss carpet removed. Put it in the 20long which I filled with 3M Colorquartz sand. Wanted to make a cory friendly bottom and didn't want to risk getting another bad batch of aquasoil. Replaced open areas with a few E. Tenellus runners.


These guppies have so much personality! I could watch them for hours. They also seem to like watching me. Sometimes I look up from studying and they are staring at me, like in this pic. Kind of creepy sometimes.


Moving day! Preparing for the 3 hour trip back home and get these fish into their new 10 gallon home Notice the 2 leaves of java fern have grown abundantly. Leaves are maxing out at about 3"s though. Could it be due to the shallow water/high light? I'm hoping to attach them to a piece of driftwood in the future for my 20long.


Thanks for reading all the way down here! I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. Be on the lookout for my 10 & 20long journals as well as updates to this tank.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2009, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well, here's a quick update.

I had been lazy on trimming/aquascaping this tank before because
1) knew I was going to move out so wanted to save a complete rescape until then
2) wanted to get plants to grow out as much as possible before moving them to my other tanks
3) didn't want to deal with the massive aquasoil clouding and turning into dust issues I had in the past.

It's been a month since I've settled back in at home and here is the tank in its current state:


lopsided 3/4 view:


Plant list:
HC in front
Dwarf Hairgrass in rear corners
E. Tenellus along back
Crypt Lucens in denter
Crypt Wendtii in front center (not shown because this crypt melts anytime something touches it. it'll grow back within a few weeks though)

Experience really is the best teacher. I can now successfully rescape this tank and keep clouding to a minimum. A combination or VERY careful filling, changing out filter sponge every day, and frequent water changes does the trick.

Well, let me know what you think and what fish you think might do ok in here. I'm thinking maybe a single betta or guppy fry grow out tank. Eventually I'd like to add some RCS.

Last edited by ex225; 06-22-2009 at 06:45 AM.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2009, 10:46 PM
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Ooo looks nice! HC looks like it was done the right way, painstakingly. Well worth the time and effort.
I think shrimp would be your best bet, most fish won't do well in such small tanks and unless you've got a very calm betta they get too antsy in these small tanks and uproot everything cuz they are so skiddish. I know from experience. My RCS seemed to love being in the 2.5 though!


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