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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, so this is going to be a journal about my first real planted tank. I've got another 5.5 gallon and a 13 gallon with plants in them but they started as fish only tanks so they're lacking. The wife gave me the go ahead to start looking into a smaller tank for our room and she was very specific on it being 20 gallons or under. I started scouring the internet for the best prices on what I needed/wanted and she was quickly getting discouraged with the whole idea. Long story short, as I was looking around at pet stores and thrift stores for any deals today I came across this!



Like the title says, it's a 5.5 gallon that came with a 16" Finnex Stingray and a SunSun 602b canister filter. I got this for an absolute STEAL at only $25! Thats the price of the filter alone!

Now that I've got the tank and most of the hardware for it I need to come up with a plan on how I want to do this. I was thinking dirted tank capped with flourite or maybe EI dosing with just flourite. Not totally sure and open for suggestions. I'm a little worried about the light being too bright as I saw someone post a par reading for a 12" stingray and they got around 56 par at 12". I do have a glass lid though and im not totally opposed to using floaters, so maybe that should help from growing an algae farm. I'll be using excel, pressurized co2 just isn't in the budget. Anyway, suggestions of any kind are welcome and encouraged! Journey along with me in my first true planted aquarium!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Painted the back of the tank black today, turned out really nice.



Just have to let it dry completely and see if I can get this thing looking brand new. Any suggestions on how to clean a tank and used filter? I was thinking white vinegar or bleach diluted with water. Can I soak the spray bar and return pipe in vinegar to remove the gunk?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the tip! Did a little more today. The glass lid I have was a little too big and I didn't feel like filing it down so I de-rimmed it. Also there was a lot of gunk stuck between the rim and glass and I didn't like seeing it.



I like this scape, just need substrate. I think I'm going to be ditching the dirted idea, maybe some Osmocote and chelated iron sprinkled on bottom then capped with flourite black. Im thinking lining the back with different kinds of stem plants and then some kind of carpeting plant in front of the wood and around the rocks. Does this sound like a good plan?

Another thing is my filter is missing more pieces than I thought and I found replacement parts but they're almost the same price as some lily pipes I found on evilbay. Anybody use these inexpensive lily pipes? They're around $13 so no idea how the craftsmanship would be or if they would look just way too big on my tank. Thanks in advance to any replies!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow... This forum is dead... Anyway, was playing around with scape designs today and I came up with this.





So the first scape I posted I would probably try a little dutch style and the second one would be nature/river style with sand and substrate separated with rock and wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Most likely its just my inpatients.. Haha

As for plants I'm not sure, up front I was thinking some anubias Nana petite around the rocks and wood. I also already have some crypt wendti green, bacopa Carolinia, corkscrew val, water wisteria and rotala rotundifolia. The rotala is in really bad shape and I only have a few stems that are covered in bba so I'm not sure if I can salvage them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The wife caved and let me order this, http://www.co2art.co.uk/collections...products/advance-complete-aquarium-co2-system

Co2art complete kit, I'm also getting their paintball adapter with open and close valve. Should be a pretty sweet system no? I also picked up a stand today.

Ignore the tank, everything is just kind of in there still messing with hardscape and waiting for all the goodies to arrive in a couple weeks hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I think I found a scape I like.



Also I've picked out some plants so here's the list
- Rotala rotundifolia
- Hydrocotyle tripartita "Japan"
- AR mini
- Eleocharis sp. Mini

I also already have
- Corkscrew val.
- Crypt Wendtii green
- Bacopa caroliniana
- Water wisteria
- Java moss

Do you think that my finnex stingray will have enough par to grow all these plants? Especially the hairgrass?
 

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Nice start! I'm so jealous of your filter and CO2. What fish do you plan to add?

With CO2 you could probably grow anything. I use excel in my tank and I've had no problems growing regular DHG. Watch out for that java moss. It likes to take over everything and in nano tanks it tends to look messy. Make sure you stay on top of your macro dosing. The Stingray is on the low side, but still enough to grow algae if you let the ferts slip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My LFS normally has a good stock of exclamation point rasboras so I was thinking a shoal of those, maybe like 8 or so. They also have cherry shrimp, some kind of blue shrimp and black shrimp (can't recall the names). I'm leaning towards the blue if I can find out what they are and their care level. Funny you say that because when I got this tank I had to scrape the glass because it had a lot of green spot algae. Haha
 

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I've never done dry dosing. I have some 100ml bottles that I mix enough for one dose on a 100g tank (1ml per gallon), then add ~3-5ml once or twice a week after a water change. For micros I have RootMedic root tabs and occasionally add a pinch of a mix of iron and CSM+B after a large water change.

I use this calculator.

Potassium sulphate (K2SO4): For a 100ml dose on a 100g tank, it says add 6.33 grams, or 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp + 1/64 tsp. I just added 1 1/4 tsp to keep it simple.

Monopotassium phosphate (KH2PO4): For a 100ml dose on a 100g tank, it says add 705mg, or 1/8 tsp + 1/64 tsp. My smallest measuring spoon is 1/4 tsp, so I added about half of that.

My tank is extremely overstocked, so I don't dose nitrate. But if I did, I would use potassium nitrate (KNO3) and skip the potassium sulfate. For a 100ml dose on a 100g tank to get 30ppm nitrate (no fish), you would add 18.3 grams, or 3 tsp + 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp + 1/16 tsp + 1/64 tsp. I would just add 3.5 tsp.

For trace, I usually mix iron and CSM+B together, but I see the GLA kit doesn't have iron. For a 100ml dose on a 100g tank, you would add 2.9 grams, or 1/2 tsp + 1/16 tsp + 1/64 tsp. I would just add 1/2 tsp since you don't want to overdose this stuff.

Or in other words, for 100ml containers (3-5ml dose):
Potassium sulphate: 1 1/4 tsp
Monopotassium phosphate: 1/8 tsp
Potassium nitrate to 30ppm (skip potassium sulfate): 3.5 tsp
CSM+B: 1/2 tsp


If you want to use 250ml containers (normal water bottles) with the same 3-5ml dose:
Potassium sulphate: 3 + 1/8 tsp
Monopotassium phosphate: 1/4 + 3/16 tsp (just under 1/2 tsp)
Potassium nitrate to 30ppm (skip potassium sulphate): 3 Tbsp
CSM+B: 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp + 3/16 tsp (just under 1 1/2 tsp)


You can mix the potassium, nitrate, and phosphate together in any combination, but make sure you don't mix phosphate with iron or trace. The phosphate will bind to the iron and make it unusable for the plants. I don't mix macros because I'm not sure how much fert you can add before the water becomes saturated.

Remember that EI is about giving your plants all they could want under the highest light conditions. It's very easy to overdose, so when in doubt, round down. The levels I state here are meant to be dosed 2-3 times a week in a high light tank, so I dose either 5ml once a week or 3 ml twice a week. A 100ml bottle lasts up to 5 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you for taking the time to write this up for me, unfortunately I didn't check here before finding a calculator and making my mixtures. So what I did was got two 500ml bottles filled with RO water and added 2 1/2 tsp of kno3, 1/2 kh2po4 to one for macro and 1/2 tsp csm+b for micro. Daily dosing of 10ml macro one day then 10ml micro the next the calculator determined this.
I figure this will be a good starting point and I can always adjust them later if need be.
 

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Looks about right to me, but you might want to double check with the experts in the fertilizer subforum. Remember that your plants' fert needs may vary as they grow, get cut back, and grow again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok so I forgot to take pics when I planted it but here's what it looks like about a month in.



Planted 3/11/16
- Hydrocotyle tripartita "Japan"
-True rotala indica
-Ludwigia super red mini
-Eleocharis sp. Mini (DHG Belem)
-AR mini

The Finnex Stingray is growing everything great. That being said I feel like I could have used a little more intensity or really probably just more spread as everything is kind of leaning in towards the light and I feel like the ludwigia could be more red. I just had to trim the dhg and hydrocotyle though as they almost tripled in size and I want the dhg to grow in thicker. Also I wanted to add shrimp and either ember tetras or exclamation point rasboras but ended up getting a pea puffer instead because my wife and son loved them at the store. Not sure how the puffer is going to work out because he refuses to eat frozen blood worms and I don't want any snails in this tank at all. I did set up a little tank to try to breed some snails so I can add them in once in awhile for him but I'd really like it if he just ate the damn blood worms haha.
 
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