First (and New) Tank and Progress - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-10-2018, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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First (and New) Tank and Progress

Hello, I've introduced myself here a short while back for my first planted tank. So here it goes anyways for those who have not read it yet.

My tank is actually a Top Fin 5 Gallon Retreat, seemingly the Fluval Spec V "competitor", featuring a rimless design and in tank filter which is just a half oval arched over 2 edges to make an in-tank filter. Anyways, I sealed the intake slots in the filter with hot glue, leaving only slots above 3 inches. I used Miracle Grow Organic Raised Bed Potting Soil as I could not find the Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil itself. I separated the soil from the peat and other bigger lumps of soil with a strainer and used the finer soil to use as the lower substrate. The upper substrate is the cap for the soil, consisting of around 5mm gravel.

For the equipment lights, I am using the stock light as well as the Finnex Fugeray Planted+ Clip-On, which I know is a complete overkill. The result is actually a 9.5"-10" distance from the light source to the bottom of the plants in my tank.

For plants, I have Crypt wenditti, Dwarf Sag, Microsword, Rotala indica, Rotala nanjenshan, Ludwigia glandulosa, DUCKWEED (crazy growth) and Water Wisteria. Surely enough, this was actually heading in a very heavily planted 5-gallon tank.

For livestock: 9 Neon Tetras, 3 Whitecloud, and 1 Dalmatian Molly fry.

For Filtration, as described earlier.

For fertilizers: Daily dosings of Seachem Flourish Excel and weekly dosings of Seachem Flourish (complete).


I have had this tank setup for around a month now and I've only now started to use Excel and I very much see the difference it makes for my Microswords and Rotala. I'm still having some trouble with the Dwarf Sagittaria as it seems to yellow up (some leaves) while the ones that don't shoot off so that I actually needed to trim. Same goes for the Indica and Ludwigia, though I might have to wait a bit more. I am dosing around 15 drops of Excel each morning with a photoperiod of about 8-9 hours, leaving the plants with blue light (is this necessary or affecting the plants?).

In all, the roots seem to have settled in and I realized I might have a snail infestation (bladder snails) as I'm finding a snail or two every day in the morning. What I find weird is, was an instant cycle almost. To this day, there is 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and 0 Nitrate, all this with fish added immediately. Of course, the fish are being fed flakes every day.

This being soil and a Excel fertilized tank, I was wondering if the CO2 emitted from the fish' cellular respiration and the decomposition of matter in the soil would be adequate CO2. Are any of my plants CO2 defused requiring plants?

Thanks for reading this long post, but here are some pictures of my tank; no it is no scaped at all tbh and is just tall background plants and short micro sword in the front, though you have to give me credit for planting all this with a pair of chopsticks!





Last edited by ShepherdOfShrimp; 07-10-2018 at 03:07 AM. Reason: Pictures
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-12-2018, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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bump. Any suggestions on whether I should take out some plants? The dwarf sags seem to be melting/dying but then shoots start springing up inches near where I planted them originally - thriving! The rotala are showing growth and the micro swords are showing slow signs of carpeting, but I'm getting algae...how? I am using excel. I'm still surprised and proud not a single fish died and I put them in the first day ha!

Water sprite also showing some slight decay.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 12:15 AM
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I would purchase new testing materials. It is biologically impossible to have 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and 0 nitrate in a tank that has fish. That is further compounded by the fact that you are using soil as the purpose behind using soil is the benefit plants derive from the decomposing materials. The nitrogen cycle is the fundamental biological process that allows plants to live and carry out photosynthesis.
Yellowing is normally nitrogen deficiency... which is unlikely in soil substrate. Your issues likely stem from the fact that you are driving the plants too hard with inadequate carbon. Lower your lighting and your photoperiod. I personally does 1ml of metricide (twice the strength of excel) in my 2.6 gallon tank. Excel/metricide is the main source of biologically available carbon required during photosynthesis
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-13-2018, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Ah okay! When I test different lighting heights and photoperiods, how long should each trial be? A week? A few days?

I sent my kit to a LFS as well as they're still saying virtually no ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate...does this mean rate plants use nutrients>rate of nutrients replenished?
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