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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Before I am blasted for this project, I am already aware of the low volume making me subject to fast swings. I also want to be clear that no "fish" will be living in this tank. It is a temporary home for RCS, a mini hull tank between my 5G RCS breeder and 5G "live-out" tank where my hulls eventually end up. My 5G breeder is in my bedroom, and I keep this pico hull tank next to it on my desk. My 5G live-out tank is downstairs in my grandmother's apartment, so I hull out shrimp at night and move them downstairs within the following days typically no longer than a week.

I started with a 0.5 gallon Marina tank, it has a deep center section that I was able to put dirt in keeping only gravel in the shallow outer ring. I also found this quite quiet AquaCulture pump, which is quieter than the Whisper 3i pump.





I needed to build a sponge filter for this tank if I wanted it to be functional at all, so I went to the travel/trial section and found 2oz and 3oz bottles. I already use the 3oz bottles to store liquid ferts in...here is a purple 3oz bottle inside the tank and I feel it is too large.



The 2oz spray bottle is perfect, compared to my 3oz bottle on the right.



I had a Whisper 3i laying around, so I removed the bottom air lift tube which has a nicer design than just an airstone in a tube (diy version). I cut the spray bottle down, made a hole for the air tube then drilled out the spray head base to snugly fit the lift tube. I made a sponge to fit with enough sticking out of the bottom for shrimp to graze on, but I will experiment with different sponges.




I tested this cap I made in a bowl of water to see if it directed the water to one side and it did not work it just made it louder, I have another idea I think will work better to allow the air to escape above the water but the water to leave out of one side. For the time being I cut the lift tube flush with the sprayer base and am using it capless while I fetch more caps to experiment with.





In the meantime I scaped the tank with a few rocks and some planted tank substrate that was given to me a while back...it is rocky black substrate with shiny tiny grains of a black glass material mixed in. As I said I put a small amount of organic dirt in the center probably no more than 1/2" or so. I left it this way for a week under high lighting so that the moss would grow faster having greater access to oxygen, I top it off using a turkey baster with water from my 5G breeder tank. I have some updates coming soon of the tank filled!



 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The moss grew quickly in a week, so I filled it up, cut the moss up more and distributed it. I also added some Giant Duckweed.




Here is the back of the tank, I am using an idler valve to control the flow rate then above that I have a check valve. I am using a bent glass tube to wrap over the top lip of the tank, it also keeps the filter where I want it...no need for a suction cup! The glass tube keeps the back of the lid from sitting flush on the rim so I need to notch this a bit more.




I had to run the filter with no cap on it for a while until I came up with a solution, worked fine!



5 days later I started planting it, I used Hair Grass in the back since Vals are too large. A nice Crypt Parva in the center was all I could think of, I think I will try Elodea in the back right corner. I also think I will wrap the filter body in Riccia. I added a Horned Nerite snail already because I can see algae growing on the glass, he cleaned that problem up right away. This will be the last time you see the tank clear since I can not run Purigen I decided to add tannins to the water via Almond leaves.






Here is what I came up with for a cap design that works flawlessly, one large hole low on the cap allows water only to exit...one large hole on the top of the cap allows air to escape and the entire thing minimizes splashing so I have no spatter to clean on my lid. I can see water being pushed out of the cap along with tiny tiny air bubbles so I know the flow and aeration is good!


 

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This is awesome! I love tiny tanks. I never filter any of mine under 1 gal. Even with shrimp, just an airstone, plenty of plants, and lots of water changes. Interesting work with the 3i mod, so tiny it's totally unobtrusive.
 

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This is pretty cool. I like DIY filter solutions. No heater? I'll assume you're running room temperatures? Shrimp can tolerate 68 degrees from my researches.

I have some Nonny's Biscotti cookie containers that are about 1.3 gallons. I need to find a low toxic way to remove the stickers on them, I think they would make a neat nano tank also.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks! I feel a filter is crucial to longevity. As for a heater I can not find any retail sold heater that is small enough so I was going to try to roll with room temp...however this room can get down to 60F during the days when I am not home. I could potentially make a heater small enough. I have to keep pushing the moss down because the snail gets under it and fluffs it up, but its doing a great job cleaning the tank. I am glad to see the Crypt Parva reaching for the light, and I added an indian almond leaf in the back behind the hairgrass.



I planted a few Bacopa/Moneywort along the back between the hairgrass, as well as Elodea in the back right corner!




Regarding the filter it is still working wonderfully, perfectly suited for this tank but I have more mods I want to make to it. The way it is configured the oxygen never makes contact with the sponge where the beneficial bacteria would thrive, so I may add a mechanical filter material to the cap where all the aeration is occurring. The thing is without designing it intentionally the cap is acting as a micro protein skimmer the way it bubbles inside...see the buildup around the air vent hole? I may have to throw the filter material in the cap away weekly but at least I will know I am physically removing waste every week. I have not seen an oil slick on the surface so this unintentional skimmer is working!

 

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Thanks! I feel a filter is crucial to longevity. As for a heater I can not find any retail sold heater that is small enough so I was going to try to roll with room temp...however this room can get down to 60F during the days when I am not home. I could potentially make a heater small enough.




Have you considered a terrarium heating mat?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I think I may only keep shrimp in it temporarily during the summer months, however snails prefer cooler temperatures so I will leave the horned Nerite in it.

I wanted to diffuse the bubbles more inside that cap, as well as provide more surface area for bacteria where the oxygen is (sponges below are before the air intake). I also started using filter floss in the bottle so I cut out some rounds.






I tied Riccia to the front side of it to help make it even less intrusive...I will tie Java Moss to the dark side soon.



I am liking the Indian Almond leaves as a background!
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I have grown out Riccia on the filter body, and added another almond leaf however I think I am going to remove all leaves because it provides too much extra food for worms and snails...there is an outstanding amount of buildup in the substrate already! Overall I am enjoying this tank, another plant I added was petite Anubias in the front right corner.



I am not going to use a heater, it is simply too late but I did throw a few hulls in to see what happened. I do think it is getting too cold here now because after a few weeks they do start to loose their color and become milky looking therefor I will stop until spring. The snail however I think will be okay, they tolerate colder temperatures. I added a Ludwigia stem for color, it stays red due to the high lighting this tank has and the hairgrass is also spreading fast due to the high lighting (left circle). In the right circle you can see a recently added Dwarf Sagittaria in front of the Elodea.


 

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Very nice! Thanks for the update, I've been very interested in this tank's progress.
I'm surprised at how little algae there is, especially with high light and slow growers like hairgrass and anubias. Are you doing anything to combat algae it or is it just not growing?
Great work with the nano aesthetic, it appears much larger than 1/2 gallon in photographs!
 

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Wow, the plants too? I have 3 horned nerites in a 10er and they only clean the glass and rocks. I actually originally got them to clean the glass, which was very successful. But that's very interesting that it goes for the algae on the plants! I had to switch 4 Amanos over from an old to tank to clean up my new string algae infested tank and they did the trick in 2 days! It was awesome.
 
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