New JBJ Picotope- plant/light questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Red face New JBJ Picotope- plant/light questions

I just ordered a 3 gallon jbj picotope to have on my desk at work (I need a "happy place!"). I'm new to all of this (so pretty please keep responses somewhat simple). I had a 10 gallon tank when I was 12 with a goldfish, but that's about it. I'm looking at keeping a betta in the tank, and possibly a couple ghost shrimp (open to advice/recommendations on that).

I really love the look of narrowleaf microsword, and was hoping to have that carpeting the bottom. The problem is, the light that comes with the tank is 9 watts. Is that going to be sufficient light for planting, or will I need a different bulb/fixture? I admit I wasn't planning on doing any planting when I first came up with the idea of a tank at work- but after seeing all of your beautiful pictures I can't imagine NOT planting.

Also- I can't seem to find a straight answer on how high the microsword grows. With a small tank I don't want something that would get super high and take up too much of the space, right? An inch or two seems like it would be perfect? Also thinking of adding a custom lid to the tank.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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One more thing- what type of substrate would you guys recommend? Something special or would sand be ok?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 01:59 AM
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I recently set up a 3G Picotope. I really love this little tank. I'm very pleased with it. I'm not sure about that particular plant but it would work well for a Betta. You could check out the sticky in the lighting forum but I'm using low light plants in my tank. I did change out the stock bulb for a mini aqualight bulb.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2011, 05:43 PM
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My picotope's first incarnation had microsword, check out the link in my signature to see what it looked like. I have a 27 watt desk lamp that sits over the tank and it seems like it has done a pretty god job.

I love my pico, even though it is a bit neglected right now.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 01:52 AM
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Picotope

Regarding sub-strate, I'd stick with gravel. I tried laterite, covered with gravel and had to tear it all out and start over -- it was really messing up the water.

Would love to hear more opinions re: microsword...

GB
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 11:50 AM
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I really like my Amazonia for the substrate. It works well for the picotopes. One 3L bag works perfectly. But do those water changes!!! Lots of them!

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 01:21 PM
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There are many types of micro-sword; Regular(?), Brazilian, Narrow leaf, ect. The Narrow Leaf variety, though you can trim it to whatever length you desire, grows 6+ inches in my tank (See pic to left of post).

I think cottagewitchs idea of amazonia is a good for substrate. I have never used it personally, but the concensus is that it is one of the best, and since you are only dealing with a 3 gallon tank here, the cost (+ Shipping which has always turned me off) should not be much of an issue for such a small quantity. If not there are plenty of other quality planted substrates on the market. Rinse em, and they should all do fine.

Im assuming that the 9w light you mentioned is one of those mini-deco PC bulbs. IMO, If it is the proper spectrum (about 6700K) it should be good for that tank. Depending on how high off the tank it sits, I would call it moderate light.

One of the problems with picos (especially one that is gonna sit on your desk at work) is that ppl want them to look "clean". This means you probably won't be running a bunch of light, CO2, ect... In that case, you need to be patient and select plants that aren't as demanding. Finding a carpet plant that works for you is therfore going to be more difficult.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-10-2011, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the replies and advice. I think I'm actually skipping the whole carpet plant idea for now- it seems too difficult to start out with. I ended up going into our LFS and buying some java moss and some driftwood, and a few pretty rocks.

I also got one other plant, but have no idea what it is. Impulse buy, I guess. The store owner was busy and the younger kid who was helping me wasn't sure what it was.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 04:27 PM
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I tried a JBJ picotope for my first planted tank and had mixed success, but I really didn't pay much attention to what I was doing. I tried to grow cabomba (didn't even know what it was when I bought, I just bought a plant that I liked the look of).

The light that it comes with, if I remember correctly, has a kelvin rating suited for saltwater, not freshwater. It's 50% actinic, I think. I'm not sure if they make a freshwater 6700k bulb for that fixture or if you're better off getting a different light.

I'm not sure what substrate I used, I'm guessing I just used plain gravel. I'm trying black fluorite now in my new planted pico. I'll be following this thread--the picotope is a sweet tank.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well I got my tank planted (actually re-planted, because I wanted to do sand instead of gravel) yesterday. I got impatient while rinsing my new "ceramaquartz" substrate so the water is a little white/hazy. I'm sure some water changes will take care of it. When I get it cleared up I'll try to post a few pics
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 09:41 PM
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Can't wait to see it!

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