Going to attempt a small semi-self-sustaining tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Going to attempt a small semi-self-sustaining tank

So I have no aquarium experience outside of having a few small unfiltered goldfish tanks as a kid. I got it in my head that I'm going to try for a relatively self sustaining tank with a few live plants, 2 or 3 nerite snails, and possibly a dwarf shrimp (no fish). I say relatively because I don't plan on sealing it off or anything, so I can still access the tank should the plants/animals need something, but no filters or pumps or anything else, just the bowl. I'm not sure the exact size of my bowl but I estimate it to be about 1/2-1 gallon. Basically I'm looking for any and all advice/criticisms from those who have experience with these types of setups. I've been doing a lot of research so I think my plan could work in theory, but there isn't a lot out there I could find on a very small, unfiltered set-up specifically. What I have planned:

I'm debating between using EcoComplete or Florite for my substrate. From what I've read EcoComplete seems to be the overall better option but could negatively effect the ph level? Since it's such a small tank I was worried this could effect the animal/plant health...let me know your thoughts. I was also planning on adding a layer of white sand on top of the substrate, 1) for aesthetic reasons and 2) I read it helps keep plants rooted. Let me know if this could be a bad idea however.

For plants, I got a few merimo moss balls and a Alternanthera Reineckii/Telanthera Cardinalis for the bottom of the tank. I want a good amount of plant life in there so I also decided to add duckweed since it won't crowd the bottom of the tank and I think it looks nice. I understand duckweed can get out of control but I don't mind thinning it out whenever needed. I admit I bought the Cardinalis on a total whim without researching while I was browsing my local pet store looking for ideas, because I thought it was pretty lol. After looking into it I'm worried this could be a little too sensitive a plant for this set up, but I have it now so might as well try since I can always replace it with something else later on. I plan on putting the bowl in a west facing window sill that gets full sun from the afternoon until evening, but I have a lot of windows in my house so the room still gets a fair amount of natural sunlight all day. Not sure if that will be enough light for this plant.

My biggest concern are the animals, I'd like to be as ethical as possible so if this set up isn't a good environment please let me know. Again I can't find much on keeping snails/shrimp in really small tanks and most sources reference 5-10 gallons as small lol. I'm not too too worried about the snails, since I gather they aren't picky and thrive in most set-ups. I would -like- to get a shrimp but I'm concerned it would be cruel to keep them in that small a tank, or if they are social and would be unhappy in solitary conditions (Don't want breeding obviously so I would only get 1). The biggest task is making sure I strike a good balance between there being enough animals to produce enough CO2 and waste to feed the plants, but not too much that the plants can't filter out ammonia levels or produce enough oxygen for the animals.

I plan on getting the bowl set up with all the plants first and waiting a few weeks for it to get established and ensure the plants are even doing ok. I'm kinda already decided against getting the shrimp, so I would then just add 2 snails and see how it goes from there, adding another snail or making changes if it's needed until the tank is fully established. I don't mind adding food for the snails every so often and doing occasional water changes, but I'd like to have the tank be mostly self sufficient and not require daily care. I understand and completely expect there to be a lot of trial and error with this project, but I'd like to go into it with the best starting point possible so I thank those of you who read this whole post and are willing to offer advice.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 03:47 PM
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Welcome to TPT.

Here are some examples: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10...-examples.html
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 07:06 PM
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Another place to source for good info on tiny nano/pico tanks is on reddit /r/jarariums a good amount of folks there with livestock flourishing in less than a gallon setups.

My tank journal.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af240 View Post
I'm debating between using EcoComplete or Florite for my substrate. From what I've read EcoComplete seems to be the overall better option but could negatively effect the ph level? Since it's such a small tank I was worried this could effect the animal/plant health...let me know your thoughts. I was also planning on adding a layer of white sand on top of the substrate, 1) for aesthetic reasons and 2) I read it helps keep plants rooted. Let me know if this could be a bad idea however.
The EcoComplete and Florite, those two substrates are very dense compared to the substrates like Fluval Stratum and Amazonia, but in price/volume they're equivalent since the organic substrates are less dense so a bag of the same weight may cost more, but the bag is also bigger. To get a certain depth of substrate it costs the same amount of money. BUT the organic substrates will grow plants better without having to add root tabs immediately.

Don't ask for advice. Ask for information, gather lots of information from different reliable sources. Then use the information to make your own advice.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 09:23 PM
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Self sustaining will probably need to be topped off with RO water. Then also as far as live stock it depends on how large it is and how heavily planted it is. I have seen a tank as small as 5 that is "semi self sustaining" that is heavily plant that has emergent growth with a few small fish, shrimp and snails. but thats all. This type of tank still needs top offs and or water changes though. Im just wondering what you mean by self sustaining?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 09:33 PM
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I have a 5g that used to have an autofeeder. I didn't know the autofeeder wasn't running for 3 months so I was still doing water changes and letting everything else just go... in retrospect... no food going in probably meant I didn't need to change water as much as I was. The guppies lived on shrimp for the period where the auto feeder wasn't running lol.

Hence I don't use an auto feeder now...

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 04:40 PM
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I've had a 1-2 gallon bowl set up for about a year and half now. There no filters or anything in the bowl, just a desk lamp providing light. The bulb is a 6500k 13W spiral CFL. I've had four crystal black shrimp in it since it was set up, and i've actually seen a couple of babies hanging out recently! I used aquavitro aquasolum for the substrate, which is a type of aquasoil, not sure on its nutrient content compared to amazonia or other aqua soils. I have a lot of plants in there and I think that is the factor to success with these small bowls. I think the plants are rotala indica, moneywort, anubias nana petite, marsilea hirsuta, and a few random clippings from my other tank

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 11:58 AM
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accidentally double posted
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