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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Updates on the newest page!

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I couldn't resist picking up a used Tetra Wonders 1.5 gallon off of Craigslist a few months ago. Because the tank wasn't in the best shape to begin with, I decided to turn it into a bit of a DIY with some of my leftover aquascaping materials.

How to cannibalize your Tetra Wonders tank:
1.) Acquire used, scratched-up tank from Craigslist.
2.) Rip off LED light with wire cutters and scissors.
3.) Buy clip-on lamp, add CF bulb
4.) Attach lamp to nub on the back of the top rim
5.) Enjoy tank that can actually grow plants

My current tank stats:
Tank: 1.5 gallons
Lighting: 15W spiral CF
Heating: None
Filter: Hagen Elite Mini
Substrate: ADA Amazonia II
Scape: Manzanita and smooth river rock
Flora: HC, Dwarf hairgrass, Marsilea quadrifolia, Rotala indica, Mayaca fluviatilis, mystery moss (Taiwan or Christmas), duckweed
Fauna: None yet, hope to get a mix of ~10 cherry red and crystal red shrimp

I'd love to add pelia and/or fissidens at some point. Maybe some Hemianthus micranthemoides too, tucked in behind the manzanita.

The tank has been up and running for about a month. Here are some progress shots:


Deciding on a hardscape...


Tank on its shelf.


First week. Tsu you idiot you forgot to soak the driftwood first. Hence the awkward stones weighing the manzanita down.


November 10. Looking good so far. Floating anachris and hornwort to help with cycling.


Nov 19. Growth. But the algae cometh.

Today: 3 day blackout due to hair algae invasion in the HC. Hope the algae dies and the plants do ok. :icon_conf It looked so good up to about a week ago. I'll take photos when I do the grand unveiling on Wednesday.
 

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i have this same tank :) i also ripped out the led light and have a CF sitting over it. it's currently just holding a bunch of extra java moss and riccia, but i'd like to do something with it one day. this is looking great:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update: Blackout worked! For the most part, at least. The tank's resident planarians went nuts during the blackout but are gone now that the filter and light are on full blast. There are still a few patches of the filamentous algae, but they seem to be "in remission". I'm not sure it's hair algae; I think it might be spirogyra instead. But no matter, it's under control.





Apologies for the weird purple tint. My camera is aging. :p

5 RCS will be arriving soon, courtesy of epicfish, and I also have some Süßwassertang on the way.

JennaH - you should try a moss lawn! All you'd need are a few stones to make an Amanoesque grassy field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It'll probably be another week or two before the duckweed needs culling. I was brutal before the blackout and took out all but about a 2"x2" patch. The stuff grows fast, but not quite that fast.

There might still be some out on my pond, but the pond goldfish has probably eaten it all by now. I can check, though. ;)
 

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Re that filter. I have the same and there is barely any bubbles. I do have some stocking over the vents. But apart from that the flow is very good, just no bubbles...

Enjoying this tank as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The tank is back to a 3 day blackout.

Turns out the spirogyra algae has an attitude. It's hard to get rid of (according to other people on here, apparently it's THE hardest algae to get rid of, joy. It loves good water conditions). The tank was fine for a day or two post-blackout, and then the algae came back en masse. So I'm going all-out on the algae: blackout, Excel, reduced ferts, reduced photoperiod for a few days.

Keep your fingers crossed that I'll be able to kick it. I'd hate to lose this 'scape. Where will my little shrimps live when they get here? :icon_sad:

@Destroyer551 - thanks! You probably won't want any trimmings until after I'm sure the spirogyra is gone. ;)

@Lindo - I've noticed that the Hagen Mini is very sensitive to things blocking the vents and/or sponge. A few tiny plant leaves are enough to cut bubble production in mine, so I rinse the sponge media frequently to clear it. That, and you need the venturi valve plugged in and open for maximum bubbling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bad news. :( After three days in the dark, the algae is still there. I'm dosing 1 ml Excel/gallon and hoping for the best. But if I can't get rid of the algae in another week, I'm going to give up on this project and rescape.
 

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Aw, is it really that bad?
To be honest I could care less whether I have algae or not.
As long as the tank isn't butt ugly or nasty, I'm fine with it.
 

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Look into the hydrogen peroxide method for killing algae. Basically you buy some H2O2, and one of those baby syringes for dosing medicine, turn off all the flow and go to town carefully squirting the algae. It will start to bubble and fizz almost immediately, then die. This method has worked great for me and hasn't hurt any shrimp or fish. The byproducts of the h2o2 reaction are just water and oxygen, and it begins to break down immediately when exposed to light (hence why it always comes in a brown/opaque bottle).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Destroyer - It's not that bad... yet. Problem is how fast the spirogyra algae can rebound. I'm going to wait and see what happens, but I worry that it'll take over the tank within a week or two. I don't mind a few algae spots, that's normal for a planted tank, but I don't want the 'scape to be nothing but algae. ;)

Python - I'll give that a try. So far I've squirted Excel directly on the algae, but H2O2 sounds like it might work better. The hard part is the HC: most of the algae patches are wound around low-lying stems of HC. Worth a shot, though!
 

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The fizz effect is very satisfying. Its like you can see the algae dying right before your eyes. And don't worry about the bubbles, its pure O2.
 

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Thanks for the info, good luck in the algae battle. Mine has red cherry shrimp in hence covering the inlets (now with thinner pantyhose) as worried about them being sucked in. Flow is a lot better now, thanks for the obvious advice :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good news! Between the Excel, the H2O2, the blackout, dropping K/FE, and adding the shrimp, all of the algae is gone. Whoo hoo! Python, thanks so much for suggesting direct application of H2O2 - watching the algae literally fizz away was one of my most satisfying moments as an aquarium keeper. I'm impressed that the H2O2 nailed the algae but didn't seem to bother the HC.



I added three cherry shrimp and one Amano, and I've got three more cherries waiting to join the crew sometime next week. I trimmed the scraggly Rotala down and stuck some of the bushier tips into the substrate to fill in the gap. Also added some Subwassertang on the driftwood and in the corners.









I'm thinking of getting a bright red stem plant to go in the center back.
 

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very cool. do you have any co2 running in there? and how many WC do you perform a week? Looks good to me, can't wait for it to fill out in a few months. BTW, what's that wrapped around the driftwood? Is it string?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Matt724 - No CO2, just Flourish Excel as a carbon source. I also have the venturi valve on the filter set to constantly aerate the water, which may help add a bit of CO2 to the mix.

Water changes are once a week, ~50%. The plants, especially the Mayaca and duckweed, do an amazing job of keep the nitrates low. I've tested water quality after a week, and nitrates are near zero, despite all the shrimp poop.

It's cotton thread wrapped around the driftwood to hold the Subwassertang on. :)

tuonor - thanks! I'm glad the problem algae is gone. Now all I get is a little bit of regular green spot algae, no big deal. And yep, that's moss and Subwassertang tied to the driftwood.

TANK UPDATES:

One of my female cherries is berried. Those guys got busy fast! I only had them in the tank for about 2 weeks when I noticed one of the females with eggs. And I just caught the other female mating with two males yesterday, so I may have yet another berried female.

Here are a couple of tank progress shots:

December 29


Yesterday. The filter intake is covered by a nylon stocking in anticipation of shrimp babies.

Speaking of shrimp:








 
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