Questions for beginner's 5gal tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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Questions for beginner's 5gal tanks


I have tried two times to set up aquariums (but no luck), they didn't last; mainly because
I didn't inform myself and I didn't put too much attention to them, now I want
to try again; I don't want to make mistakes as before and I also want to get opinions on what I'm
trying to do.

I have seen some of the threads and pictures of the tanks on this forum and I think
I could get some help here.

My plan is to get something like this in a 5 gallon tank:

1.Hemianthus callitrichoides (HC)
2.Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis acicularis) or Micro Sword (Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae)
3.Riccia fluitans or Dwarf

The following are some questions that I have:

All will be set up in a 5 gallon tank.

1. Filter: I will be using a Tom Rapids Power filter PF-80 for 20 gallons. Will this filter enough
for what I'm trying to do?????

Link to see filter:

2. Lights: The tank's hood is for a 25w bulb and I have a Mini Compact Bulb Coralife 50/50.
Will this light be enough to grow the plants that I'm choosing?

Link to bulb:

3. Substrate: What kind of substrate should I use??... I read that the ADA Amazonia is good
but expensive and I can only find it online or can I use something like the
Eco-Complete Plant Substrate???, this is cheaper and can get locally.


I would appreciate the help since I am practically a beginner, any opinion or recommendation
can help me.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 08:00 PM
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2. you do not want the 50/50 for a planted tank. Go with the 6700K
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 08:07 PM
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Register is right, actinic (sp?) lighting is of no use in the planted aquarium really. Perhaps consider at looking at the Ott-Lite's. Google it up and you will find some pretty cool ones for cheap! If you look at the journal titled "The start of a nano project" by Craigthor those are what he started out using and they look really good. UglyGenius I believe uses them and even thinks they are just as good, if not better, than the ADA lights of similar size. If you hadn't budgeted in co2, I would try to do a DIY co2 setup that you can find strewn across the forums. I am not familiar with those filters, but alot of folks use a smaller canister (Eheim 2211), a red sea nano HOB (see the Long timer first timer nano journal by lookin' around), or the zoomed 501 mini canister. Hope some of this help.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 08:09 PM
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Also, Eco-Complete will be fine. I would recommend, not from personal experience, but from what others are saying Amazonia is awesome. Amazonia with shipping is actually around the same price of Eco-Complete if you just get the 3L bag which I believe would be enough for a 5 gallon. Not positive though
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 06:24 PM
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Your photo isn't visible to me...maybe have you set up your albums to be visible only to yourself/administrators? (I just caught myself in that mistake; all the photos looked fine to me but no one else could see them) or maybe a typo in the link to the photo...

25 w seems like plenty for 5 gallon (I think 5 watt per gallon would count as 'medium to high' in small tank; it would be 'high' in a larger tank, but they say the nano tanks take more intensity/wattage to be effective). That is a solid amont of light, so to take full advantage of that much light and keep the algae down you would want to do the diy CO2 (or 'pressurized' CO2). With CO2, this set up seems like it would be doable for good HC growth, but I defer to those with direct experience...(alternatively you might consider going 'low tech" with less light, no CO2 and low light plants and slower growth and less trimming maintenance )

Two pieces of start up advise that I have read numberous times in the threads: Plant heavy to start (helps reduce algae risk, because plants outcompete algae for nutrients) and do your water changes consistently on at least a weekly basis (50%).

For reading, I recommend looking up the Barr reports and reading about fertilizer regimes ('dosing'). And I back up the suggestion above to read and read the 'start up nano' journals in this forum...they all talk about the kinds of decisions they made at the beginning...

************************************************** *********************
One tank up...I suppose if I got rid of all these books I could fit in 8 more tanks!
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6g Planted Hi Tech? 12-21-2019 Start Date
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 06:46 PM
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Ott-lites are similar to any other 13w PC desklamp .. they just look nicer ...
So get a $20 27w PC desklamp from home depot or two 13w ones ...
That'll work alot better.

But seeing as how he already has a hood, go get a 23-27w spiral flourescent daylight bulb, will cost him a couple bucks and will be plenty of light.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-06-2009, 06:54 PM
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Eco-Complete is a good substrate. No problem there.
You might want a more powerful filter. Filters are super-important and pay dividends down the line.
None of the plants you listed demand high light. Medium will grow all of them just fine. DIY some CO2 with twenty-eight watts of CF (evenly spread over the substrate) and you'll be fine.

Your picture's not showing because apparently it's embedded in an attachment in a gmail message.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies, very helpful but I might halt the project to rise my budget , I'll be selling some of my airsoft gear that is collecting dust.
Once I sell all that I'll be back to this thread with my new project...

I'll need a LOT of help.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-25-2009, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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I just got an ADA MINI M and some other goodies but I ordered the DoAqua Music Glass MINI 10D and this thing is small!!! and I was wondering if it will work fine in the MINI M with pressurized CO2???


Please let me know if I have to change it , and if I have to which of the DOAQUA difusers should I get for the MINI M???

Last edited by MONARK; 06-25-2009 at 11:15 PM.
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