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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I set up a 5.5 gallon nano tank a few weeks ago. The substrate is about 1" of loose peat, with 1" of sand out of a river on top of that, with about 1/2" of gravel on top of that. It started off a little higher, but the peat and sand have compressed. So far, the only ferts have been a Jobe's Plant Stick broken into two pieces and inserted into the substrate near the rooted plants.

Lighting is two 10W full spectrum flourescents from the aquarium section of walmart in a hood I made out of acrylic. The hood is pretty low quality because I didn't have any proper tools, just a dremel and some epoxy that claimed to work on acrylic, but doesn't really. At least it was cheap.

For plants, I started out with an A. Crispus which was mostly dead and a small amazon sword that wasn't in much better condition. I took these out of the pots/wool and planted them in the substrate. I also got a few stalks of anarachis and hornwort, both of which were absolutely covered in multiple types of algae. I scavenged some driftwood from the shore of Lake Superior, boiled it, and put it in the tank with a betta.

This was taken about a week after the tank was set up:

Larger version

The original leaves on the crispus and the sword all died, along with the old growth on the anarchis. I didn't get the dead leaves out of the water soon enough (rookie mistake), and ended up with a pretty bad outbreak of BGA. I cleaned this up, finished the light hood (the tank had been lit from a light bulb behind it for a while), and added three platies to the tank. I also tried reducing the photoperiod from 10 hours to 8. The BGA stayed away, but I ended up with some diatoms, so I've increased the lighting to 9 hours again. Now I have a bit of green spot algae on the glass, but I think things are starting to stabilize. The hornwort has started growing with the addition of the platies; presumably that raised the nitrate levels to the Hornwort's liking.

There has been a lot of new growth in the tank, and along the way, I got some dwarf hairgrass and some java moss (still very new). As soon as I can find a nice rock under the snow, I intend to put one in the front right of the aquarium with some java moss, but here's a picture of the tank now:

Larger version

Edit: I can't make images from Flickr work...? They work from other sites. Click the links I guess.
Edit2: I moved the images to photobucket
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I took a look at the tank at 11pm tonight, and noticed some water on the dresser near the tank. At first I wondered if I'd somehow spilled some when doing a water change, and I started mopping it up, only to realize that MY TANK HAD SPRUNG A SMALL LEAK around the base. The leak was slow, but worrisome; it might break loose at any minute.

Not having a bucket or a net, I ran to the car to head to Walmart, and called a friend. She had a bucket, and while at Walmart, I bought a net and the only tank they had. For now, the fish and plants are in the bucket, and tomorrow I'll be upgrading to a 10 gallon and attempting to figure out why my 5.5 started leaking after 4 weeks of being fine.

Thankfully, no water damage to my apartment or furniture.
 

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Wouldn't pay any attention to that comment. Probably the same person who tried to Hijack medicineman thread. I believe his name was FALON. Seems to me that someone is joining the site just to post garbage like that.



Well, I hate to feed the trolls, but that's really not cool. Try offering suggestions instead, jerk.
 

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Sorry for that bit of unpleasantness.

Anyway, good luck with the transfer to the bigger tank. I do have one suggestion, strictly from an aesthetic standpoint. When you set up the substrate in the new tank keep the peat about a half an inch away from the front glass. That way when you lay in the sand you won't see the layers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a good idea bharada. I'm also thinking about leaving the gravel out of the mix; it didn't seem to do much other than get dirty and make planting harder. Should I include the peat moss at all? The sand I got was pretty dense, so I think the peat moss gave the roots something a little softer to grow in. Yes/no?
 

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That's a good idea bharada. I'm also thinking about leaving the gravel out of the mix; it didn't seem to do much other than get dirty and make planting harder. Should I include the peat moss at all? The sand I got was pretty dense, so I think the peat moss gave the roots something a little softer to grow in. Yes/no?
What is your goal with this tank? I know Wasserpest has successfully used a similar substrate in some of his tanks so it is a viable method. Hopefully he'll chime in and give you some first hand information on the matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't know that I have much of a goal with the tank for now. I'd just like to grow some nice plants and have fish in there. I'm also planning on getting some cherry shrimp in the future, especially now that I have to upgrade to the bigger tank. The only real restriction is that the tank does and will not have any tech other than lighting and possibly ferts; I don't need any sort of bubbling or machine noises in here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Will5 - The problem with the tank was that it leaked :icon_roll I doubt that peat moss was the culprit there. Plant growth had been pretty good, up until the tank became ill-suited for aquatic pets.

Anyway, the new tank is set up, and it looks huge compared to my old tank. There will be some pictures once the water clears up enough to see anything. My betta turned nearly white living in the white bucket over night; I figured he'd take a few hours at least to regain his color, but amazingly, he was back to looking normal within a minute of being moved to the tank. Nobody has died yet, they all seem happy.
 

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Well 10g tanks are awesome! Did you just buy the 10g kit with light? The Peat could be nice for things like crypts but can get VERY VERY messy. I would suggest spending the $15-$25 on a good substrate for a 10g tank you only need one bag. Commonly used are Eco Complete, Flourite, Soilmaster Select, Florabase, And of course the favorite ADA AS (aquarium design Amano aqua soil) I think those are the most commonly used ones, Someone add one if I'm missing it!

Bettas and platies don't mix well at all with RCS so either keep them or RCS not both in the same tank please... Its VERY VERY VERY VERY>>>>> risky.

The tank probably leaked because of a bad seal, there might be a warranty on it but it probably isn't worth the trouble.

Welcome aboard!

-Andrwe
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I didn't get the kit; the store only had one tank when I went, and being in a bit of a pinch, that's the one I bought. Now of course the hood I made for the 5.5 gallon doesn't fit, so I need to either go price out one at the store or build another of my own. I learned some things last time, so if I build another one, it *might* not suck. I don't have access to many tools here though.

What would go wrong with a mix of platties/betta/RCS? Would the fish harrass the adult shrimp, or just eat the babies? I don't expect or particularly want any babies from any of the species to make it to adulthood, because then I'd have to find a home for them. The platties are very docile, and while the betta is inquisitive and a bit aggresive at first, he seems to lose interest quickly. He chased the platties for a day, but now he ignores them unless they get in his way at feeding time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's a particularly bad picture of the bucket my fish overnighted in. You can't see much, other than how cramped it was.

I elected to go with just peat moss and sand from a creek bed this time; no gravel. I like the look better, at least for now while it's clean. There are also a few rocks, which form a nice little cave. The only lighting at the moment is the hood from my 5.5 gallon (two 10W bulbs) balanced sideways on top of the tank; that will have to change soon.



A full tank shot:

When replanting, I noticed that my apongeton crispus had split into two bulbs, which were easily separated. It's hard to tell in the picture, but they're planted a few inches apart. There's also a runner with a new sprout on my sword.

Right side:

The large rock and the small rock form a small T shaped cave with two entrances. I'm still hoping for some shrimp, unless someone gives me a convincing reason not to have them in that tank (see my previous post).

Here it is from the end:


I don't know how so many of you get such good pictures of your tanks, unless you have fancy cameras. Sure, my water is still a bit murky and there are lots of air bubbles on everything from the sand, but it seems like I can't ever get a very good picture. What gives?
 

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What would go wrong with a mix of platties/betta/RCS? Would the fish harrass the adult shrimp, or just eat the babies? I don't expect or particularly want any babies from any of the species to make it to adulthood, because then I'd have to find a home for them. The platties are very docile, and while the betta is inquisitive and a bit aggresive at first, he seems to lose interest quickly. He chased the platties for a day, but now he ignores them unless they get in his way at feeding time.
Well it's basically a hit or miss with betas. Some are fine, and others have hunted every single freakin shrimp down in some people's tanks. Platties get a bit big as well and aren't exactly shrimp safe and might eat them one way or another. Go to the shrimp section if you need more convincing.

Either go with fish. OR shrimp and maybe some 2 ottos and like 3 dwarf corries since otto is 100% safe with shrimp (only 100% shrimp safe fish) and Dwarf corries are generally pretty safe and won't eat too many if any baby shrimp..

Tank looks pretty good but I think your HG is pretty much dead.:(

-Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, the hairgrass is pretty much dead; it came to me that way. However, I've been noticing some new bright green blades, so I'm hoping it makes a comeback. There's not really any way to separate the living from the dead that I know of, so I'm stuck with it for now. :-/
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In the two weeks since the last post, quite a bit has changed. I got some hygrophilia polysperma sunset from spypet (thanks!), some ghost shrimp (10, although a few have died), and five white clouds. I also figured out some tricks for getting better pictures - setting my camera to 'spot focus' works far better than its normal 9 point focus for taking macro pictures. They turned out pretty well, although the back of the tank has some algae (I apologize; I haven't cleaned that surface as it is much harder with all the plants back there). I'll start it off with a full tank shot:


Excuse the cut-off 2-liter bottles in the foreground. I've started some seeds, and the 10 cent deposit on a bottle is far cheaper than a proper pot. As you can see, the tank is kind of a jungle.

But that's okay; I like the look, and my platy is expecting once again. Here she is:

My java moss is finally starting to show some new growth. I got it off ebay and although it arrived looking okay, I think it had frozen at some point in the shipment, because it looked real bad and didn't grow for over a month.

The dwarf hair grass was in the same condition, but it too is rebounding:

You can also see the small rock on the left side of my tank here. It's red sandstone that is local to the region. The new growth on the hygro sunset is showing very pink colors. I don't fertilize, so my nitrates are probably close to zero.

Here's one of my ghost shrimp doing a headstand


My anarchis is growing nicely and looking healthy. I have two 13W GE 6700K bulbs over the tank; seems to be enough light for this plant. It's turning into a little forest which is dense enough the adult fish don't swim in there. It's a haven for the shrimp (and soon the fry).


The Amazon Sword has essentially stopped growing while it puts its energy into the plantlets. This one has gotten big, but doesn't have any roots yet:

Once it grows some roots, I intend to transplant it and grow it emersed. Anyone have tips to offer on doing that?

Occasionally, my betta gets angry at his own reflection.


Here are some more pictures showcasing the plants and fish.





Of course, no tank is without algae. In addition to the stuff on the back glass, I have some short hairy algae on the leaves of the sword and apongeton. Except for the one strand in the picture, it's all very short (5 mm or so). The platies seem to snack on it, but don't get rid of it. I figure it's probably not a big deal, but does anyone have a good way to get rid of it?
 

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Wow the tank looks great IMO, I like the dense forest look! The shrimp and fish must love it :) Maybe you should introduce some snails to the tank to get rid of that algae ;) I heard Nerite Snails are best for algae and don't reproduce like crazy like other snails do.
 

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I heard apple snails can grow quite huge:icon_surp If I were you I would not get another and maybe not even keep the current one ... I would go with Nerites, MTS, or Ramshorns :)

MTS burrow in the sand so that is a bonus ;)
 
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