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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2015, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Nano Newbie

Otherwise known as, "Hooray, I found my home!"

Brief bit of background (skip to the fish smiley if you can't be bothered reading!) - I recently bought my first house, then shortly afterwards was signed off work on long term sick. I'm going back in a couple of weeks, but now that I'm doing better and my house is more or less sorted, I want to add some aquatic friends to my life - partly so I have a home-based project to give me focus and ease the transition back to work, but mostly because I've wanted to set up a tank for ages and the time hasn't felt right until now.

Only snag is my house is very, very small; I don't have a sensible place to put a tank any bigger than about 10g. I love the look of the modern nano tanks, but from browsing various fish forums, it seems many aquarists don't agree with putting fish in tanks 10g and under, think that pretty-looking nanos are the spawn of the devil, and believe people like me who want to put one in their house should be hung, drawn and quartered for animal cruelty. I was starting to get disheartened - then I found this subforum, saw the pictures of some of the gorgeous setups you guys have, and thought I'd drop in and say hi.

I haven't bought a tank yet - I'm still researching, but I think I'd like to do a betta setup. My dad and I kept cichlids when I lived at home and I loved their personality, but I just don't have space for a cichlid tank in this house - I figured bettas are also beautiful and characterful, but have the advantage of being much smaller!

I know about fishless cycling, but I'm a complete newbie to nanos and planted tanks (not much point in planting out a cichlid tank, after all), so...?? Which nano tanks do you guys recommend for a betta? I'd like something sleek and modern looking; I was considering the Fluval Spec V but I'm open to suggestions. Also I have no idea at all where to start with plants - will I need to mod my tank to make it more plant friendly? All assistance greatly appreciated
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-10-2015, 12:12 PM
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Betta and...?

A common myth with Bettas is that they are lone wolves and can't be in a tank with others. Not true. I've got the Fluval Shrimp tank (either keep the background out, or find aquarium safe silicone glue to secure it), I found a second light to help out, and I've got a carpet of pearl weed starting and some rotala plants.

Fertilizers are another thing to consider.

But in the tank with my Betta are 3 corys.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Ah OK...thanks for the response I'd wondered about a snail in with him but I'd thought other fish might be a no-go. Could I do something like pygmy cories?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 02:34 PM
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With bettas it depends on the individual fish sometime as to whether they will tolerate tankmates. Growing up, I always had a betta in my community tank with no issues. However, in the smaller tanks I have now (5 gal and 10 gal), I've had issues with them chasing the other fish and have had to separate them and give them their own space. So in summation: larger areas, yes. Smaller areas, not always. They can be quite territorial.

Right now, I only have one betta in my 5 gal and in my 10 gal right now I only have 3 male guppies .. small and pretty. I plan to add a few more small fish to my 10 ... in a week or two.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Galathiel I'm not too fussed about other fish if I'm honest - it'd be nice if it was possible, but if there's a risk of things going horribly wrong, I'd rather not. I think I'll just go with a solo male betta; I'm really tempted by a plakat (better swimmers and less trouble with the fins, I believe?) in a spectacular colour.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2015, 05:07 AM
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I wouldn't say cichlids in a 10 gallon is impossible (probably not recommended by most). However, I am planning to revive a tank (have not had one in a few years) that is a 12 gallon JBJ nano (used to be a SW nano-reef) and eventually will be keeping a pair of Blue Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) in it once it is established with plants.

Lots of colorful tetras out there and pygmy cories I think would be all right as well.

I plan on doing PMDD (poor man's dupla drops) for liquid fertilizer and fluorite for the substrate. PMDD is basically dry ingredients that you mix together to make a concentrated liquid fertilizer that is much cheaper in the long run. Search the web for PMDD and you will find plenty of recipes for it along with where to purchase the ingredients.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2015, 11:03 AM
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Shelldwellers are right at home in a 10 gallon, although most are notorious diggers if going for a heavily planted tank. I have brevis kitumba cichlids, and they are the exception and only dig around the shell they inhabit so aren't destructive to my plants. They are great fish with a good personality. Two pairs would fit in a 10. Another good option is a dwarf puffer.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-13-2015, 12:00 PM
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The Fluval Spec V is nice looking. I've heard mixed things about the light. If you want to keep it stock, I'd suggest low light plants such as moss and Java fern. They are also super cheap and great beginner plants! Pygmy corys are great, even better if you want to put sand in the bottom of your tank. I actually recommend using a sanded bottom, something like black blasting sand if you can find it. Just supplement it with a couple root tabs across the tank if you go with root feeders. I bought a DIY liquid fert system on here from a guy and it would last you a long time in a 5G, even longer if you go with a 'low tech' set up like I am.

So my suggestion would be:

Fluval Spec V
Black Sand
Root Tabs/Liquid Ferts
Drift wood/rock formation
Mosses, anubias nana, java fern, jungle val, crypts (Low light plants)

Then stock lightly. Maybe a small school of pygmy corys would be fun to watch. Or a betta with appropriate tank mates. I think something that swims in the mid section and shrimp scuttling along the bottom would make for a great little tank.

I just realized you said Fluval Spec V, but that is a 5G tank, isn't it? If you have room for a 10G, I would go with a 10G.

The only thing you need to 'mod' to make your tank plant friendly would be the lighting and appropriate fertilizing. Root tabs and dry/DIY liquid ferts are cheap. I have about $40 spent in fertilizers and I bought both. But they will last a life time in a small, low tech, set up.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2015, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys - thank you so much for all the help and suggestions! I will let you know what I end up doing glad I found this forum!
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