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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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What do I need

I want to build a nano planted tank maybe 3-5 gallons. I'm not sure on what I need as far as substrate and equipment. I don't want to do the co2 and I would like to build a tank that I can hide the equipment. I'm planning on actually building the glass tank myself. Please help with what pump, heater , and substrate. I love the bonsai tree look with the low green cover on bottom. Also what live stock can I have? I'm new at these so thanks in advance. I've kept reef tanks for 10 years but I know nothing about a planted tank.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 08:31 AM
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Welcome to the hobby man! Try to re-think your co2 decision if you have the extra $100! It will really add more options as far as plants go and help you achieve a better overall look. Since you mentioned the green cover you liked on the bottom of the tank, you should know that most good carpets require co2.. Even simple plants like Monte Carlo won't carpet without it. Achieving proper co2 levels in a 3-5 gallon tank will be very easy since the size of the tank is so small. Look into a 24 oz paintball tank and the aquatek mini regulator. The whole setup will run you a hundred and make your tank much less prone to algae if you choose a higher light setup. As far as substrate I prefer a blend of eco complete and black diamond substrate from aquariumplants.com

For the heater, it doesn't really matter but if you want to conceal it in the tank, search mini heaters on Amazon and you should be able to find one that fits your eye.

I'm not sure what you mean by pump, but if your in need of a filter check out Eheim and sunsun canister filters. Also Finnex makes a great model now for smaller tanks called the PX360.

Good luck man, I reccomend doing as much reading as possible before you setup! This article below helped me a bit at first. Trust me on the co2!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I'll re visit the co2 idea. I'm sure my son has a paintball tank. I didn't think about the canister filter because that's a big no no in the reef world. What about rocks and wood? Can I pick a piece of wood out of my yard and boil it or does it have to be "drift wood". I actually think my son has a bonsai tree in his closet that didn't make it. Where's the best place to get wood and rocks as far as websites go?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 06:15 PM
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I'd definitely recommend using a canister filter and you can also add an inline heater if you'd like so that you don't need to have to see it in the tank. I also agree with Co2 being a good idea as it allows you to grow more plants faster. Also if your looking for hardscape materials check out the sales thread or AFA's website.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2016, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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I'll look into the canister filters but where I want to put the tank there's not really a place to put the canister. What would be a good hang on filter to try and if I decided on an inline heater , what size would I need? I actually thought about putting the tank next to my reef but would my metal halide lights have an issue with the planted tank?
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2016, 10:45 PM
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the finnex 360 has clips so it can hang off the back of a tank, as long as you have ~6" between the tank and wall. Unfortunately, doing that wouldn't leave you any room for an inline heater.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-01-2016, 11:27 PM
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if you haven't already,you might consider a spec v. or spec III.the power filter is built in and hidden,and you can hide a heater in the filter compartment as well.I bought one for those very resons.

I do have a 16" planted + to replace the stock LED that comes with it though.

MTS? no,I just need one more tank...
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-02-2016, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtAnimals View Post
if you haven't already,you might consider a spec v. or spec III.the power filter is built in and hidden,and you can hide a heater in the filter compartment as well.I bought one for those very resons.

I do have a 16" planted + to replace the stock LED that comes with it though.
Yea I've looked at the spec 3. I'm also looking at the petco 3.7 , Aqueon evolve 8 and marineland contour 3. Just trying to decide. Any input on these would be helpful.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-02-2016, 08:21 PM
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The fluval spec v is awesome because it hides all the equipment (including the filter). I have it currently stocked with a Betta fish and a couple red cherry shrimp. Pretty low maintenance for the live plants, no co2. Fluval edge is also a great look if you're into the more modern feel.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2016, 04:07 AM
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I am in the later stages of putting together a 15x12x12" low tech nano that will have all equipment hidden but a mattenfilter rather than AIO.

Generally a planted tank needs about 10x turn over every hour to get particulates out of the water so a 5 gallon tank might do fine with a 50gph pump. I bought a 90gph Rio for my 8 gallon nano. Heater, depends on the room. My house is kept cool so I went with a 50 watt titanium heater although a 25 might work, glass tubes were much too long to work in the space available.. Pump and heater fit well behind the mattenfilter foam. A short bit of hose goes from the pump over the foam and serves as the return.

Plants do fine with any substrate you like. Plain gravel to sand to special planted tank stuff found at pet stores to ADA pelleted soil all work. You dose the water column or put root tabs below the rooted plants with a non nutritious substrate is all. Choose something you like the look of. If you are planning rooted plants then a smaller particle size is better than larger and small grained will look much nicer in a tiny tank too. Choose pool filter sand over pea gravel for sure. The special planted tank substrates are all fine but some are more attractive and finer grained. My big tank has ADA Amazonia, the nano will have sand, coarse sand sifted out and gravel and a variety of small to medium rocks as substrate.

Groundcovering plants like baby tears and hairgrass are out of the question without bright light and CO2. A tree with moss or Anubias 'Petit' as the canopy would be fine and you could use a different moss tied on rocks as groundcover. Moss will grow into billowing clouds, you'd pull the rock out, trim and replace. That way you could vacuum up the gunk and keep the moss rinsed clean. See if flame moss grows well in low tech and use as 'grass'. Lots of different mosses used for trees but Anubias 'Petit' would be a nicer contrast.

If the tank is 5 gallons or less you'd probably be better off with shrimp than fish. A betta would be reasonably happy but unless you are going for Ferdinand the bull under a tree out of scale. Seeing that written down, actually seems quite a nice idea! Tiny nano fish are generally used in small schools and your tank seems like it will be a bit small for a school of fish. I am planning to stock cherry shrimp and allow any snails that show up to stay so no betta for me. Amano shrimp can be okay with a mellow betta but I doubt little cherry shrimp would be happy.

I really like the Spec a lot. Seems a really good choice to me as the filter workings are neatly hidden. I had the materials to make my little tank on hand but if I wanted a nano right out of the box this one would be very high on the list


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2016, 11:27 PM
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+1 on the Spec V. Out of the box it seems like it would meet your needs the best.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2016, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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At first I didn't like the spec v but I read a thread on here where someone made a wooden base and a canopy for it and it looks a lot better. I'm going to look at what livestock I can keep in one. Any suggestions on shrimp type or small fish?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
I am in the later stages of putting together a 15x12x12" low tech nano that will have all equipment hidden but a mattenfilter rather than AIO.

Generally a planted tank needs about 10x turn over every hour to get particulates out of the water so a 5 gallon tank might do fine with a 50gph pump. I bought a 90gph Rio for my 8 gallon nano. Heater, depends on the room. My house is kept cool so I went with a 50 watt titanium heater although a 25 might work, glass tubes were much too long to work in the space available.. Pump and heater fit well behind the mattenfilter foam. A short bit of hose goes from the pump over the foam and serves as the return.

Plants do fine with any substrate you like. Plain gravel to sand to special planted tank stuff found at pet stores to ADA pelleted soil all work. You dose the water column or put root tabs below the rooted plants with a non nutritious substrate is all. Choose something you like the look of. If you are planning rooted plants then a smaller particle size is better than larger and small grained will look much nicer in a tiny tank too. Choose pool filter sand over pea gravel for sure. The special planted tank substrates are all fine but some are more attractive and finer grained. My big tank has ADA Amazonia, the nano will have sand, coarse sand sifted out and gravel and a variety of small to medium rocks as substrate.

Groundcovering plants like baby tears and hairgrass are out of the question without bright light and CO2. A tree with moss or Anubias 'Petit' as the canopy would be fine and you could use a different moss tied on rocks as groundcover. Moss will grow into billowing clouds, you'd pull the rock out, trim and replace. That way you could vacuum up the gunk and keep the moss rinsed clean. See if flame moss grows well in low tech and use as 'grass'. Lots of different mosses used for trees but Anubias 'Petit' would be a nicer contrast.

If the tank is 5 gallons or less you'd probably be better off with shrimp than fish. A betta would be reasonably happy but unless you are going for Ferdinand the bull under a tree out of scale. Seeing that written down, actually seems quite a nice idea! Tiny nano fish are generally used in small schools and your tank seems like it will be a bit small for a school of fish. I am planning to stock cherry shrimp and allow any snails that show up to stay so no betta for me. Amano shrimp can be okay with a mellow betta but I doubt little cherry shrimp would be happy.

I really like the Spec a lot. Seems a really good choice to me as the filter workings are neatly hidden. I had the materials to make my little tank on hand but if I wanted a nano right out of the box this one would be very high on the list
This is great info. Thanks a lot. I didn't know the baby tears wouldn't work. That was actually what I was looking at for bottom cover.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2016, 02:57 PM
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Tiny fish like boraras brigittae or danio margaritatus would probably be OK in a spec v.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-05-2016, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Tiny fish like boraras brigittae or danio margaritatus would probably be OK in a spec v.
Those look cool. How many would work?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 04:43 AM
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Those look cool. How many would work?
Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine published a book on freshwater nano fish, and in the book they have suggested stocking lists for tanks of different sizes. One of their lists suggests stocking a 5.5 gallon tank with 9 boraras brigittae. Since danio margaritatus are about the same size, I imagine you could stock a similar number.
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