Help setting up new tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Question Help setting up new tank

Hello Everybody,

I got referred to this awesome Forum from a very nice guy at the pet store, he gave me good advice and told me to check with you guys for you all have great knowledge and could help me get started the right way.

So, this is what I want to achieve and would much appreciate all your suggestions.

My Goals:
Since I live in a small apartment and don't have much space, I'm interested in buying a small tank (this one in particular: Mr.Aqua 7.5 Gallon
  • I intend to house one betta, a bristlenose pleco, and 3 shrimps (If the filter can take it, a school of max 5 neon tetras).
  • I have some driftwood and seiyru stones to do some aquascaping I have in mind (see image attached)
  • Then have some other plants to provide a look (like on the attached image below) and some other plants that can provide refuge for the betta and the shrimp.

A bit of history
I had a Fluval Edge (with LED lights) and I tried some white sand for the beach look, and then some Azoo Plant Grower Bed on the back to put the plants, but later realized I failed.
Some times the current generated by the Filter started combining the substrates and ruining the looks.
I tried planting some baby tears which was quite difficult to get them to stay planted on the Azoo substrate (I glued them to some stones and re-planted them) and they all melted away.
Tried a plant and it was just dying (I don't remember the name of it but looked like the Alternanthera reineckii)
Ttried some flame moss which didn't die but started getting to dark green or brown, lost its vibrant color from when it was at the store
Finally some subwassertang (which was hard to make it stay together) and christmas moss, both of which seem to have survived the best.
This tank had no CO2 injection.

Due to my failure, I need to start again but this time with some more direct advice from all of you as my individual research led me to failure.

I was thinking to just use sand (I bought caribsea super naturals white sand) and perhaps some root tabs, get some CO2 and timers to turn it off at night, then use an airstone to at night to increase the agitation on the surface to increase O2 and release the CO2.
Will need to find some good lighting too.

Anyway, I'm placing myself in your good hands to get a good start and a beautiful planted tank with some nice fish to enjoy it.

Thank you all in advance,
~ Alpha
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 10:04 PM
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I suspect you'll get a few(at least) more replies after the "home from work" thing happens so I'll try to be tactfully direct. You've obviously been interested in these type of tanks at least long enough to pick up a few pieces of the associated info about them so as to be able to know the need for CO2/w one like the bottom picture.
But other than hiring someone to build it for you, experience can't be bought.
This forum does facilitate borrowing some though and a few have started out(or
would lead others to believe they started/w one of those tanks as a first project)
with that type of tank sucessfully.
But spending the money to build it, and then maintaining it in that state of
appearence...well that may prove to be a very noteworthy thing indeed without
having some experience/w a tank of lesser requirements first.
I'd even venture to say that some of the more experienced people end up with
an "algae farm" on their first try at one of those as they require at least moderately high light, everything that goes/w it AND a pretty good level of expertise...IMHO.
But it has and can be done so long as you know it's likely to have a couple of oopses
along the way and that working through those is actually where the experience comes from. I just lean towards suggesting that a person start out/w something just a tad bit
less demanding to get a bit of experienced based sucess established before trying
one of those is mostly my thoughts on it.
One Betta and three shrimp(which sometimes get along but not normally) for that size tank is actually a livable level of inhabitants or just 3-5 Tetra's perhaps...but this
"Stocking proposal" is most of what gives me the tendancy to suggest a slower start for you. Pleco's have 2-3 x the normal level of waste as regular fish do so keeping them in smaller than 20g is difficult to say the least if the water quality is to be kept up.
So not trying to discourage you from having your tank but rather trying to discourage you from having a disaster on your hands to contend/w.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight the opposite direction...

Last edited by Raymond S.; 03-19-2014 at 10:49 PM. Reason: more info
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Raymond,

Thank you for your response, I think you are certainly right that probably there will be more views after people are off of work.

I very much appreciate your response, thank you for your honesty, and truth to be told, I'm not expecting to achieve a tank like the one in the picture for as you say very well, I'm pretty much a novice.

All advice I take gladly, and I believe as you say, that I will have to try and make some mistakes to learn and earn experience, but if I can leverage people's knowledge, I'll learn from their mistakes, not repeat many of them and make new ones

Thanks again.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 11:56 PM
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I don't know all the details of you previous tank, but I'd venture to say that you had problems with your plants due to inadequate lighting. Some of the plants you mentioned require medium to high light, and the stock LED lights on all the Fluval tanks are basically only good for low light plants. You didn't mention anything about fertilization (substrate or water column), and that probably led to some of your difficulty in being able to keep your plants alive.

I recently rescaped my Fluval Spec 2. It looked like crap before with jungle val being the only plant that was doing well. I had flame moss and another type of moss that wasn't doing well. However, I'm now adding Excel and liquid ferts, and all the plants including the the moss are doing much better. I'm even seeing growth in the rotala that I have planted, which didn't exist prior to the rescape.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Hello RCS0926,

Thank you for your response, from what I understand, the fertilizer was the "Azoo Plant Grower Bed"

From what I read around on the forums and some other places, my baby tears died probably because of two factors
* Lack of CO2
* That I had to bury them so they would stay planted on the Azoo substrate
I think that you are right that the LED lights may not have been enough (according to specs, they are 7600K)

Goals Revised - Stage A : Setup and Plants
  • How to achieve a simple setup that looks kinda like the image attached on the first post (sand plus root tabs? substrate combination with some sort of way to not get messed by the on-the-back filter?)
  • What sort of plants could I use for the carpet-like look on the image attached? and some advice on to plant them correctly.
  • What kind of plants I could use to provide some nice environment for a Betta and Shrimp?
  • What kind of setup I need to keep the plants alive (type of lights? substrate? fertilizers?)

Goals Revised - Stage B : The fish
  • Get the tank Cycled
  • Provide a livable environment for the fish (turn off CO2 at night if any and get an air stone to increase O2, all based on answers from Stage A)

Thank you again.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-20-2014, 04:55 PM
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Raymond is giving you some good advice. My advice, keep reading there is a lot to learn and lots of places/resources to learn it from. The forums here are very good. Don't get discouraged if you find more than one answer and even conflicting advice, its common as everyone has their own experiences and opinions. Keep reading and you'll start to get a consensus. If you really get stuck come back and ask.
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