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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Updated 9/19/2018









Specs:

Tank: 5 Gallon (10 x 10 x 12in tall)- Fluval Chi (Removed factory lights).
Lights: Finnex FugeRay Aquarium LED. 4 blue LEDs/32 white LEDs. 4 watts. 7000Ks. 10 inches long
Filter: Eheim 2211 with Purigen bag added to media.
Filter Inflow and Outflow: CalAquaLabs Efflux F1 and Influx X1, respectively. Both 13mm in diameter.
Substrate: Aquasoil Amazonia I.
Hardscape: Ohko Stones / Dragonstones
Fertilizers: Seachem recommended dosage.

Flora:

Hemianthus Callithricoides 'Cuba'
Staurogyne repens
Fissidens fontanus
Alternanthera reineckii 'mini'
Lysimachia nummularia
Ludwigia repens 'red'
Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala indica 'bonsai'
Hemianthus micranthemoides

Fauna:

Ember tetras
Neon tetras
some pest snails - small enough to be ignored.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Hello,

I decided to do a rescape of my 5 gallon tank and this time around I wanted to use some aggressive hardscape. Since my tank is longer vertically than horizontally, I will go with tall rocks arranged in an iwagumi style, however I want this tank to be heavily planted so it will not be a classical Iwagumi. Anyways Here's a picture of how I want the scape to look, more or less. The rocks will actually be a bit higher than in this picture but the arrangement will probably be the same.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I came home from work yesterday, I got an unpleasant surprise. A lot of the plants were in very bad shape. I had left them in a bucket with water that I left outside, underestimating the unrelenting heat that has been going on here in Miami these past few days. They were there for the duration of just one day, but apparently the drastic change in temperature affected them quite a bit. They were not dead, but not looking good at all. At that point I realized that I had to plant them right away if I wanted any chances of them surviving. So at 2:00AM I finished setting up the scape and planting, knowing that I had to wake up super early today. I turned on the filter to let the water clear up and left the lights on all night. Let's hope that the plants can still make it. Not all were affected, it was mostly the stem plants. Lysimachia nummularia, Ludwigia repens, and Rotala rotundifolia got hit the hardest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Plants and Critters are In​



This morning I decided to introduce the shrimps. They were not confused by the change of scenery and went directly to scrape the substrate as they usually do. The background plants still are looking a bit pale and unhealthy, but I think they might be able to make it. Here is a quick shot.
P.S: I will clean the intake and outtake at some point during this coming week.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Week 1

All plants melted, (or are in the process of melting) all their leaves and are growing new leaves at the apices (tips) of the stems. They are starting to look like bare twigs, but I hope in time they'll start to look better. I am pretty confident that the stem plants will make it. Not so confident carpet plants and Phoenix moss will. In any case, it will be a very slow process until this tank starts to get in real shape.


This is the right side view of the tank. I created some sort of cave using the two rocks. The cave will become a nice element to play with using the plants


Also added some soil on top of these two rocks because I have some plans for it in the future.


This is Shrimba, The Shrimp King.


Bottom up shot


I know, I still haven't cleaned those intake/outtake tubes, but the tank looks damn barren and ugly anyways, so it's no big deal.


That's all for now, I will give it some time to grow and I'll get back with more pics once there's some development​
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Week 2​



Back from the Dead​

Plants are still fighting back. Looking better this week, but still delicate. Some of them are hanging by a thin thread of tissue. There's some slow, but healthy growth on the tips. I don't even want to touch them for now. I'll wait until there's about 3 or 4 inches of new growth for the stem plants and then replant those tops and get rid of the rest.​




↓↓↓Only Surviving Utricularia graminifolia↓↓↓​





↓↓↓Only surviving HC 'Cuba'↓↓↓





↓↓↓Shrimps through a magnifying glass↓↓↓

 

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Its coming along. My first planted tank was low tech, and when something happened to a plant, it melted or needed leaves removed, it was almost not worth it to try to regrow.

If a stem only recovers at the tip, figure it will take a month for it to reach the top of the tank, replant, then another 2 months til it fills in again. That is alot of work.

If you upgrade to CO2, the new stems will be at the top in a week or so and you can propagate and create new stems which will soon be at the top again.

IMO, either upgrade to CO2 or order new stems. I've never seen that degree of melt before. I think that kind of melt might be caused by stress from shipping. (Too hot)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Its coming along. My first planted tank was low tech, and when something happened to a plant, it melted or needed leaves removed, it was almost not worth it to try to regrow.

If a stem only recovers at the tip, figure it will take a month for it to reach the top of the tank, replant, then another 2 months til it fills in again. That is alot of work.

If you upgrade to CO2, the new stems will be at the top in a week or so and you can propagate and create new stems which will soon be at the top again.

IMO, either upgrade to CO2 or order new stems. I've never seen that degree of melt before. I think that kind of melt might be caused by stress from shipping. (Too hot)
Yeah, I get you. I want to upgrade to CO2 in the future, I still need to research a bit more into that. However, I am not particularly into high maintenance. I am kind of lazy sometimes, and fast growing plants mean that you have to be constantly trimming them back to avoid getting the tank too overgrown and causing carpet plants to uproot (happened to me once). I am ok with them growing slowly. It'll take longer, yes, to reach the desired scape, but it will also be easier to maintain that desired scape once you get there.

The plants I am using are all recycled from the old scape I had before setting this new one. I think the reason why they melted is that I placed them in a bucket of water that I left outside during a hot day. From one day to the next, the plants were looking extremely pale and the red plants completely lost the red color. Then there was a lot of melting and dying off.

I went from having a full carpet of UG, to just having three leaves of UG LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Week 3




A Visit to the LFS




I was going to wait until the stems grew more before cutting and replanting, but I realized that the stems were a bit damaged and the growth was stunted, so I cut and replanted the tiny tops I had.





But I realized this was very little plant mass and algae would soon come with fury if I didn't do something, so I went by the LFS and bought some more, nice looking plants. Pink tipped Rotala wallichii, some Hemianthus micranthemoides at the left background corner, and I can't remember the name of the other one at the right background corner (ID it if you know). Oh and also got some more Staurogyne repens to help populate the scant remains I had of it. The new plants I got have great colors, but I don't know if they will change them in my tank since I don't have CO2.





I got another FugeRay light... I wasn't getting even light spread using just one light, due to the rocks , but now I don't know if this is overkill... We'll see.





Here is a shot from above to show the plant arrangement clearer. The middle background plants will need some time to grow before they can be seen going over the rocks when looking through the front.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Week 4





Hurricane Irma

View of Irma from my balcony as the eye was 150 miles away.





I left my tank a bit unattended these past few days because there were some preparations to be made for the hurricane. I lost power for three days, so I placed the tank close to a window so that the plants could get a bit of sunlight (I was lucky since there are still many people without electricity). Apart from that, there was not much else I could do. Luckily, I didn't loose any fish or shrimp. Just got a bit of algae growth on the rocks (you can see a greener tint on them as compared to previous weeks). I will be buying an otocinculus or two in the coming days to help with that.





Staurogyne repens and Alternanthera reinekii 'mini' growing healthily.





I have noticed that a few of these mysterious plants have sprouted out from the soil in a few different spots. I think it is UG, but has a steam-like appearance too so I'm not sure. I'm waiting for it to grow more to determine what the hell it is.










Below are some pics of the neighborhood the day after the hurricane.

The damage wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, due to the hurricane loosing strength and changing path slightly in the last moments before landfall, but still many, many trees down, even some concrete light posts in my neighborhood. The Florida keys got the big hit, but it could have been worse... A lot worse.





That's all for now. More updates next week.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Week 5






First Trim Required






Some of the background plants have been growing fast. Especially the two species on the right. It is time for my first trim, but I wanted to post these pictures before I did, to show the full growth. You can see a couple of stems of the Ludwigia repens already growing up from behind the rocks, although it still doesn't look quite red as it used to in my previous set-up. The foreground plants are falling behind in terms of growth, as expected, but the UG is soon going to catch speed. I increased the Ember tetra population to a total of 9. they're hard to see since they are camouflaged with the rocks. I have been doing 25% water changes every other day to account for the rapid introduction of fish. So far they all look good.






I also bought this otocinculus to help keep algae on check, but I am considering also getting a nerite snail or two depending on how algae behaves.






I still can't say what this little plant is (directly to the bottom right of Ludwigia repens in this picture). I think it is UG, but it showing some strange growth pattern and the leaves look a bit different from what I am used to see in UG. The same exact plant has sprouted from around four different points on the substrate without me planting anything there... Mysterious.






Rotala wallichii is also going to be trimmed. It has lost a bit of the bright pink color it had when I got it, but it's still early to say how it's going to turn out.






Right side view of the aquarium. You can see the slower growing Lysimachia nummularia (bright green stem plant) being shaded by the towering stems growing around it. After trimming, that should help it get more light.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Week 6





I did my first trim last week and replanted some of the tops of Ludwigia repens 'red' because I want to spread it a bit more. I think I put too many different stem plant species when first adding plants and now it's looking a bit too chaotic for my liking so I will reconfigure the background slightly. I'm still thinking about how I want it to look. I might remove one or two species of stems at the back. Beauty in simplicity and all that. Ludwigia repens is staying for sure, but still need to get a denser bush. The Lysimachia nummularia is still not visible behind the rocks. Slow grower that one, but I like it so it will stay too.





I did a mixed bush of HM and Rotala rotundifolia here to make the scape a bit more natural looking. I like it so far. Might even add a couple of stems of Rotala wallichii to this mix.





I have noticed the Ludwigia is growing with an orangy color as opposed to the dark red it used to have on my previous setup. Maybe it's still not completely settled in? I did use a DIY CO2 system on my old setup for a short period of time, so maybe that has something to do with the redder coloration it had then...





Midground plants growing nicely. Rotala indica 'bonsai' emerging from behind the rock already. Once it grows more I'll cut tops and replant to increase bush size more towards that empty patch on the right.





I will be adding a surface skimmer soon to get rid of some of the oil/protein build up.





More pictures next week. Feel free to leave some feedback.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Week 7





The Aquarium is starting to look more mature, but there's still a bit more maturing to occur. The Lysimachia nummularia is still hidden behind the Two bigger rocks. It is supposed to grow in front of the Ludwigia repens 'red'. Probably in a couple of weeks more it will start to show the first stems. Also, the foreground plants still need to grow a lot more. That is the section of the tank that has been growing the slowest, but I am not surprised since I only had tiny amounts of it left after the mass die-out.

I removed one of the light fixtures after coming to the conclusion that two was simply too much. With only one, the plants have enough light, and there is very slow algae growth that can be controlled.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Week 9






Captain Black Beard Algae






That is right, I am starting to see BBA on the rocks. For some reason I always seem to have issues with this algae. It is still not too bad at this point, but if it gets out of control it can cover all the rocks. Does anyone knows an effective way to get rid of these? I am applying some Flourish Excel on some areas and waiting to see if it does anything. Other than that, everything else looks fine. Plants look happy and are growing nicely.





Front





Right side of tank - I trimmed the right side background plants to put them at the same level of the Lysimachia nummularia so that this one gets more light and catches up with growth. Foreground plants gaining space, but still not filling out the area.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
week 18





Fighting the Pirates



Haven't posted in a while, but here are some pics. What's new? I bought a nice red/purple betta fish. His name is UltraViolet or just UV. His last name is Radiation:icon_bigg:cool:. Carpet plants have now gained speed and are close to covering the entire foreground. I had a little accident with the stems at the right back, so they will need some time to recuperate and get back in the game. I am fighting some BBA that is growing all over the rocks, and I am making some improvement to keep it on check. Enjoy the pics.





Here is the betta fish. It is a bit aggressive with the tetras and with the shrimps, but nothing too crazy. tetras are really fast swimmers and shrimps have lots of places to hide so It's all good.





Before (three weeks ago)
Captan Black Beard has invaded





Now
I've been keeping the algae on check using Seachem Excel solution which seems to be effective against it.





The Rotala indica bunch after first trim, growing the new shoots.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Week 24








Not a lot has changed at first glance since the last update a few weeks back. However there were some small changes. For one, I had to remove my beautiful betta fish "UltraViolet" due to a sudden and complete disappearance of every single Red Cherry Shrimp I had. I always thought that some would survive predation due to the heavy planted tank. To be honest I am not sure what happened but every single one disappeared. I only noticed because it had been a few days since I had seen any Shrimp until I came to the realization that there were none left. It's such a shame because the betta looks so pretty in this tank... I suspect that it might have been caused by a small ammonia spike that I experienced recently and maybe the shrimps had to come out of their hiding places and got picked by Mr. UV one by one. None of the fish died, though.






I have been noticing that every two days or so there are a lot of small leaves and plant parts floating on the surface. Here is what I removed since the last time I cleaned it two days ago. This is a sign that there is something off. I thought that maybe it was the water circulation which has been a bit poor. I cleaned the filter and put it back at full pressure to see if the nutrients circulate better this way.







Here is a shot of the Fissidens fontanus. It looks a bit ratty and for some reason it grabs a lot of dust particles. Maybe that was also due to the poor water circulation. Maybe someone can give some insight into this.







I have been fighting the BBA with Seachem Excel. I started applying it to the bigger rock first, now I am doing it to the middle rock. As you can see it is almost clear of BBA. I haven't started applying it to the small rock and you can notice a big difference because this rock is entirely covered in this stuff. It takes time but little by little I've been removing it. In a few more weeks it should be pretty much under control.​
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Week 29








Just a quick shot to show some of the progress. The HC on top of the rock has grown and is cascading down the rocks giving a nice effect but it will need some trimming soon before it goes out of control. HC carpet on the bottom also needing some trimming at this point. For some reason the UG is slowly despairing and the HC is taking it's place. Don't know why because usually UG is hardier than HC. Everything else is looking good. The scape is still a bit disorganized but I am more focused on the growth quality now. As you can see from the pic, I also have some floaters that I am testing how they look on the scape. I am still farming the stems behind the rock, but they are gaining speed.​
 

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Your tank looks fantastic! It's really grown in now. The Fissidens fontanus has really filled out. Mine also collects particles. I use a turkey baster to gently blow water across them from time to time, and that seems to take care of it.
 
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