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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All!

I'm starting a journal for my first nano tank build. It's "9.98" gallons, so we'll just call it 10.

The hard scape is dragon stone, purchased from ADA Tank Supply on the Bay.

Substrate is Fluval Stratum, however that may change. I need to see how much this stuff will change my water parameters because the main focus when it comes to livestock will be neocaridina. I tested it in a bucket and dKH never fell below 2.5 and pH never fell below 6.8 so if that remains true in a tank, it'll stay. If not, it'll be scooped out and traded for something inert...

Light is the Chihiros RGB. The amount of PAR it pushes out is impressive. What's not impressive is it doesn't go as far into the red spectrum as I'd like it to. The amount of PAR it is giving me is about 90 in the center of the tank, 14.5 inches from the light to substrate. In the front it bumps up to about 100, I'm guessing that's due to reflection of the glass. In both front corners, I'm getting a reading of 80-85, in the back corners about 50. Again, I'm thinking this could have something to do with the glass, as the back panel is black, plus the stones may be having some effect there.

The next steps are to cycle it, get co2, and plant it...not in that exact order, of course, as the cycle is a long process. I'd like the tank to be aged a bit for the shrimp.

Planned inhabitants are golden back yellow neocaridina, pygmy cories, and various snails (most likely MTS and pink ramshorn). Other fish may be added as well, but the main focus will be the shrimp. However it's hard to say no to pygmy cories because they're so dang cute! lol

Planned plants are echinodorus aflame, crypt pink flamingo, dwarf hairgrass, staurogyne repens, buce, anubias, and alternanthera reineckii mini OR rosanverig - plus some moss for the tops of the rocks, maybe in lines while leaving the sides bare. The plants list isn't finalized but that's what I have in my mind's eye so far.

Here are pictures of what I have so far. PAR data and the scape. Any comments or criticism is welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: co2 diffuser ordered and shipped through Amazon. (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B074MLT716/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

After measuring, I determined that the UNS 45U glass lid should work perfectly on this tank. It has been ordered and will hopefully ship very soon. (https://buceplant.com/products/uns-rimless-tank-glass-lids-clips?variant=46102586957)

Living in a desert, evaporation becomes a big problem, so hopefully a lid will help with that significantly.

I already have co2 tubing and check valves on hand - as well as a regulator (UNS mini) and paintball tank adapter. All that's left for the co2 system is the paintball tank itself - I'm hoping on a tank this small, the co2 should go far.

The water has already cleared up significantly! However, I expect that to cloud up again once bacterial blooms are in full effect during the cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The water has cleared up significantly. I should have everything I need to get co2 up and running today. I’ll get it all put together and tested for leaks so it’ll then be ready for plants. I’m really looking forward to the lid because there’s already been significant evaporation in just the short amount of time it’s been up and running.




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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I had co2 for a minute. Got the diffuser dialed in to a satisfying 1bps or so. Then I turned off the solenoid and heard an audible hiss. Gas was leaking out of the pressure relief port!

Hooo boy, unscrewing the paintball tank gave me a good scare! Liquid ice sprayed out for a split second and I thought for sure it was gonna hurt. Luckily I came out unscathed only needing some clean underwear.

The cylinder was the last 24 oz one they had today, and it was a refurb. They did give me a warranty so the wife is being kind enough to take it back tomorrow since the shop is right next to her office. It did look pretty while it was up and running though.

Odd thing is it wasn’t leaking at first. I turned the solenoid on and off a few times...but after removing the cylinder, it’s hissing from that stem in the center.

Any ideas or advice?



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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Paintball shop is closed today, so I couldn’t get it fixed or replaced. Bummer, but I don’t have plants yet so it’s not that huge of a deal. The tank is still hissing today from the stem, so 24 oz of co2 is a lot more than I thought it would be. Either that or it was really overfilled and that’s what caused this issue.

Lid arrived today. It’s the one manufactured by UNS for their 45U/45S tanks, same dimensions.

It fits perfectly! I was worried something would be a bit funky because it’s for a different brand of tank, but nope! Fits like they were made for each other. I might get different plastic clips down the road for cosmetic/OCD reasons but it’s not something I’m bothered by right now, so it isn’t a priority.

Being that the tank is for neocaridina, I didn’t want the soil to soak up all of the KH, so I added a tablespoon of baking soda. Brought the dKH to about 23 degrees! Hahaha. In 24 hours, the KH was down to about 17.5 degrees, so I gave it an additional 24 hours and it remained the same. So I did two 100% water changes last night as a hard reset. Tested dKH and pH after the water changes and they were 4.5 degrees and 7.4 respectively.

The odd thing is today, 24 hours later, the dKH is still 4.5 but the pH is 6.8. Is it possible the soil can still alter the pH without buffering out the KH?





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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So for today’s progress, the paintball co2 tank was repaired with a new valve. I called the shop and they said they’ll reuse valves if they’re not leaking when they refurbish the tanks, and after explaining what happened, she installed a new valve for free. Can’t hook it up until tomorrow, though, because they use blue locktite and it needs to cure, fair enough.

So I added some tank water to a small bucket and squeezed out the sponge filter in the established quarantine tank that’s currently housing the shrimp. Gave that filter a good cleaning and poured the muck into the nano tank, creating a beautiful tank of brown water. Then I added about 2.5ml of clear ammonia which should have been in the ballpark of 3-4 ppm.

Interesting thing is I tested ammonia at 0.25 ppm before doing that, added the muck and ammonia, waited 10 minutes, then tested again...0 ppm ammonia? No way it can work that fast...

Gonna give it until tomorrow and retest and dose ammonia appropriately then test again. If it still shows 0 I’ll dose a second 2.5ml to see if that gives a reading. If not, it may be time for a new test kit.

Here’s a picture of the nasty tank. A couple MTS probably made it into the tank as well, so it has its first inhabitants.



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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I got co2 hooked back up today, and so far so good (about an hour and a half). Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Got the first bit of plants in there as well. Echinodorus aflames that weren’t getting enough light in the main tank, and I pulled all the dwarf hairgrass from the main tank because the cories are abusive and wouldn’t let it fully establish.

Planting in the Fluval Stratum was way easier than some of the reports claimed. I didn’t have any issues getting plants in and staying put, but this is only preliminary, we shall see long term how it goes.

I don’t like the placement of the diffuser, I’ll play with the position some more but for now it stays where it’s at.

Ammonia tested 0.25 ppm again, so I added 2.5ml of pure ammonia and tested five or ten minutes later, and got the same reading. Either the dollar store ammonia is weak as hell or my kit is bad. I can smell the ammonia from the bottle so I’m leaning towards a bad kit. What I’ll probably do is fill a 5 gallon bucket and add 5ml and see what happens. Bacteria doesn’t work THAT fast. Nitrite is testing 0, haven’t tried nitrates yet. Probably tomorrow.

Here’s a progress picture.



Edit: I couldn’t stand it so I moved the diffuser now lol. A lot less of the bubbles, if any, are making it to the surface. Doing 1 bps right now, it might be too much for livestock, but I’ll start there and adjust accordingly before animals are added (besides snails, but if they die, they die).




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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update: I planted some staurogyne repens from a tissue culture and added some AR mini taken from the main display tank. Rerouted the co2 hose so the lid can sit flush again. Finally did a WC for S&G’s.

I’ve been adding a bunch of ammonia daily and it seems to all be getting consumed, not to mention this dollar store ammonia is really mild. I think it’ll be enough to keep the tank cycled until biofilm grows and I can get more plants. Been thinking of adding a single fish of some kind to keep it going without dosing ammonia, but unsure of what. Maybe a male guppy or two? Anyone care to share any thoughts?

Co2 has been holding this time so I think that’s good to go now.




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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Today’s update: No pictures today because nothing has been added.

Ammonia is at 0.25 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, and nitrate near 10 ppm. My tap has 0 across the board so feeding the tank ammonia has been working. I’m not going to dose ammonia today to see if that 0.25 gets consumed.

Things seem to be progressing nicely but the absence of nitrites is making me slightly nervous, but it could be a result from adding a sponge squeezing from an established tank.

Can’t wait for the plants to establish. Still on the prowl for a crypt pink flamingo as a centerpiece plant.

Edit: I have been adding KH2PO4 and some CSM+B for the plants, but I have omitted the KNO3 right now since I’m dosing ammonia. Also used some NilocG GH booster.


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Today’s update: No pictures today because nothing has been added.

Ammonia is at 0.25 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, and nitrate near 10 ppm. My tap has 0 across the board so feeding the tank ammonia has been working. I’m not going to dose ammonia today to see if that 0.25 gets consumed.

Things seem to be progressing nicely but the absence of nitrites is making me slightly nervous, but it could be a result from adding a sponge squeezing from an established tank.

Can’t wait for the plants to establish. Still on the prowl for a crypt pink flamingo as a centerpiece plant.

Edit: I have been adding KH2PO4 and some CSM+B for the plants, but I have omitted the KNO3 right now since I’m dosing ammonia. Also used some NilocG GH booster.


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The rockwork looks really nice. So far so good! Keep us posted.:smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The rockwork looks really nice. So far so good! Keep us posted.:smile2:
Thank you! I'm hoping to get some corydoras pygmaeus as future inhabitants once the shrimp colony is established, that way any lost younglings aren't too painful. I think the rock work will help them hide and find shade when they need it.

I want to add moss to the tank but I'm relunctant to attach it to the rocks, don't wanna ruin their look. We'll see. lol
 

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Valiisneria will get way too big for a 10 gallon. It looks like you're getting CO2, so you could probably go with any variety of stems if you don't mind trimming (Potential suggestions: Rotala rotundifolia or H'ra, Hygrophila siamensis, Limnophila, etc.). If you want something with less maintenance, you could go with something like Anubias, Lobelia cardinalis or a larger Cryptocoryne.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Valiisneria will get way too big for a 10 gallon. It looks like you're getting CO2, so you could probably go with any variety of stems if you don't mind trimming (Potential suggestions: Rotala rotundifolia or H'ra, Hygrophila siamensis, Limnophila, etc.). If you want something with less maintenance, you could go with something like Anubias, Lobelia cardinalis or a larger Cryptocoryne.


I was thinking of doing a wall of either hygro pinnatifida or rotala indica bonsai/ammania bonsai, but I don’t want them to get too red as I think that would keep the crypt flamingo from standing out. Something green would be awesome, maybe with red highlights. I was also looking at erio vietnam but I’m afraid of it, even though it’s supposed to be “easy” for an erio.


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I was thinking of doing a wall of either hygro pinnatifida or rotala indica bonsai/ammania bonsai, but I don’t want them to get too red as I think that would keep the crypt flamingo from standing out. Something green would be awesome, maybe with red highlights. I was also looking at erio vietnam but I’m afraid of it, even though it’s supposed to be “easy” for an erio.


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Sounds like a good plan. I like the Hygro pinnatifida out of those, but all would work. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Today’s update: I received two orders of plants. The first one contained one pinwheel Amazon sword. I decided to give it a shot because it’s a dwarf variety (supposedly), so it should do well in the background of a nano tank. And it contained 12 baby stems of pogostemon helferi downoi. The pogo was a bit smaller than I anticipated and it’s leggy side shoot growth, so I topped a few and planted them in the nano, and planted the rest in the main 40 breeder to see if they’ll grow out. They clearly came from low light conditions as they’re small and long, but hey it’s also clearly submerged growth so, as long as they adapt to my parameters, they’ll grow nicely!

The second was the tissue culture of crypt flamingo! That’s what got me fired up. I was able to split 6 plants total from the cup. I planted four in the nano and two in the 40 breeder to see if they’ll take. Fingers crossed for success!

In the background I also decided to plant some pogostemon yatabeanus from my main display because it grows at a decent rate and I think it looks beautiful, and planted a green-ish trimming of alternanthera lilacina. This variety of AR is a moderate grower for me but when it colors up, it’s intense, so maybe it’ll be a good fit.

I didn’t test the parameters of the tank today as I’ve also been busy with chores, but I suspect they’re okay. Still no algae bloom and the plants are doing well so far.

I was going to trim the staurogyne repens and dwarf hairgrass today but since there’s no melting on the staurogyne and very little on the grass, I’m going to let them grow and establish for another week before the first big trimming.

The light is still only being ran for four hours a day for now until growth gets more dense. No need in risking a big algae outbreak, it’s a marathon, not a sprint (unfortunately lol).

That’s all for now, I’ll keep this thread updated with anymore progress! Enjoy the pictures!




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