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5g Hex Planted Tank Journal

6914 Views 22 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Homer_Simpson
Hey PT! I've had this 5g Eclipse Hex tank since June of this year. It houses my CT Betta, whose been with me since March, and 2 small pond snails. I decided to become serious if it was going to be planted, so I started this journal to get help/ideas to improve the tank. As of now, the tank is bare, but here are the stats:
5g Eclipse Hex Tank
2wpg-10w CF Bulb
Bio-Wheel Filtration
Whisper Jr. Heater- Constant temp of 78° F
CT Betta
2 Pond Snails
Plain Black Gravel
Here are some pictures:



I am desperate for ideas for the tank. (Plants, driftwood, rocks, etc). It may be hard finding rocks or driftwood as there is 20+ inches of snow on the ground here:rolleyes:. I'm thinking of Dwarf Hairgrass as my carpet if my LFS ever has a decent pot of it. Do you think I could fit in a small school of tetras(4), such as red phantom or bloodfin? Or 2 platies? My Betta was in a tank with 4 Neons before and never bothered them, so he's a friendly fellow:icon_bigg . I'm definately going to get an Otocinclus though. I need ideas:bounce:


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12.16.07-Dwarf Hairgrass & Co2

Today I was in the area of my LFS, so I stopped by to see what they had. Whenever they get Dwarf Hairgrass, it is all brown and mushy. Finally, they had a nice green pot of some so I jumped on the oppurtunity and bought it. I spread it out for it to fill in. Don't plan on getting anything else until after Christmas. Any ideas for a small school of tetras or 2 platies? Plants?
Full Tank:

Closer Look:

*Edit* Made a DIY Co2 today to boost growth:):

Tube going into filter:

Should I purchase an airstone to diffuse the Co2, or will the filter diffuse it fine?


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I'd upgrade the lighting if you can. I don't expect Dwarf Hairgrass to grow under 2wpg in a small tank, but maybe I'm just not very optimistic. :D

If you want it to have a chance of spreading faster, you'll want to plant it in very small groups (maybe 2-4 blades each).

That tank is a bit small for anymore fish. Otos need groups and I wouldn't keep 3 in that size tank. Maybe try some shrimp (ghost shrimp first) and see if they'll live. Otherwise, I think you are stuck with just the betta. 5g tanks are small, especially hex tanks. ;)

As far as plants go, 2wpg is low for a small tank (they need more light), so you might be limited. Some Rotalas, like Rotala rotundifolia might be fine. Whatever you get, get small leaved plants. Some Anubias nana 'petite' would be good too.
Thanks! I could easily upgrade the lighting as I have 3 sockets and 3 more 10w CF bulbs. I would just need to build hood:). How many more 10w bulbs should I put in?
Unfortunately, I've tried shrimp many times but all have died; I have well water if that makes a difference. There is a natural spring close to here that I could fill up a ton of empty milk jugs for the tank. Do you think they would live in natural spring water? I have an empty 1g tank that I could fill up with the spring water and try ghosties in there. If it works, I'll get the shrimp for this tank. Do ghost shrimp need a cycled tank or could I fill up the 1g, put some clippings of plants from my brothers tank in and wait a week, then put the ghost shrimp in?
I'll spread the hairgrass out more:)


I would pay attention to the water sprite before I did anything. I used to grow it in my tank and it was literally a weed. It grew out of control with minimal ferts and no co2 injection. If it grows pretty well for you, I would probably use that as an indicator of what you might be able to do with your current setup.

I am not very optimistic with the hair grass either, but time will tell. Based on the information that I have read regarding the wpg rule, it doesn't nessecarily apply to small tanks such as this. If I were running this setup, I would just keep it simple for now and go with what you have and see how it does before adding more plants/fish. Keep us informed because I would like to know how things progress.
I'd put 20w over it. If the reflector is crummy or they're coil bulbs I'd put 30w in and unscrew one if it becomes a problem.

I think I have my lighting well in order, having an opportunity to have 10w, 20w, 30w, and 40w over my tank. You see, my brother has a SW tank that he switched over the summer to a glass tank. He had the same tank as mine(5g hex) but had abandoned it after switching the the glass tank. He build a custom hood for it that is just sitting there not being used. It is very handy but he's making it better for his x-mas present from him to me. :proud: It can hold 4 CF bulbs, making 40w possible. Here is the type of bulb I am currently using and will use for the new hood: (I have the one in my current hood, one in the new hood, and 3 more extra ones, making 5 total)(sorry for blurry pic)

Current lighting:

Future Lighting:

Keep in mind, he'll surprise me with how he makes it look better. He'll also scrape off the salt that formed on lights and the reflectors. And, the 2 coralife bulbs in there will be gone. In one week I'll be upgraded:icon_mrgr

Any questions?

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Hm. I have the same tank too. That diy cover you're having built, does that displace the filter for the eclipse system? Or will there still be room for the eclipse filter at the top of the tank?

The biggest issue with these tanks for me so far is that the filter blocks out a lot of light, casting the back in relative shade.
there seems to be a gap left for in the hood as it's proprtions are't the same as hte tank., so that probably leaves room for a HOB i assume
Yeah, the filter that came with the tank blocks out light in the back, and will be taken out after the custom hood is put in. There is room for an HOB like Viettxboii said.

New Light!!!

Tank Update:
Wooo! I got my new hood all refurbished by my brother for Christmas! Right now, I have a total of 40w over the tank. Everyone said the hairgrass might not grow, but the good news is, is that it's sending out runners like there's no tomorrow! It growing very fast, same with the Watersprite.
Snail Update
I found 2 egg sacks on the wall of the tank, and added another snail that I found from my brother's tank to mine. I have 3 total.
Enjoy the pictures:) :
Full tank:





One of the many runners:


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I am still learning and no expert on this but based on your plant density relative to your lighting, you may end up with serious algae issues sooner or later, not to mention possible overheating issues.

I have the same tank that pretty much overheated with a 30 watt compact fluorescent. It had DIY c02 and fairly high plant density. You may have better luck. I finally tore the tank down, replaced the light bulb with a single 10 watt coralife colorax and converted it to a Diana Walstead Type Natural Tank, as described in the link below.

This is a picture of the tank after conversion.

If you are going to go with what you have, I would seriously suggest increasing plant density, reducing photoperiod to no more than 7.5 hours, and dosing with fluorish excel in addition to the c02 to prevent algae from getting a stranglehold on your tank. IME, it is a lot easier to prevent algae than to deal with once you get it.
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Wow, thanks for the heads up. When I had my 10g planted, it was going great until massive amounts of staghorn algae took over forcing me to tear it down and not use it. I hated every minute of it. I will be going to my LFS later this week or over the weekend and will purchase Excel and some background/midground plants.

Thanks a lot,

Wow, thanks for the heads up. When I had my 10g planted, it was going great until massive amounts of staghorn algae took over forcing me to tear it down and not use it. I hated every minute of it. I will be going to my LFS later this week or over the weekend and will purchase Excel and some background/midground plants.

Thanks a lot,

You're welcome :). And your tank looks good. There are some plants that are supposed to be sensitive to Excel. Some say dwarf hair grass is one. I had Egera Densa melt when I used excel. However, some say that if you work your dose up very slowly, say over a few weeks time until you hit maximum dosage, you should be fine. Just something to be aware of if you decide to dose excel.
Plants and Excel

Today I had the time to go to my LFS to pick up what I wanted. I got a bottle of Flourish Excel, 1 bunch each of Hornwort and Rotala Wallachii, and a small Anubias Nana. For the excel, directions say 5mL for every 10g, divide by 2 for a 5g gets you 2.5mL maximum dosage. So after a water change I would dose 1mL and work up every week until I reach the 2.5mL dose. For the 6 days after the w/c, it says dose 5mL for every 50g. Divide by 10, would get me to dosing 0.5 mL daily. I'll start at 0.2 mL and work up to the 0.5 mL weekly:
I'll start dosing Saturday after the weekly w/c.
Week One(12.29.07-1.4.08)
-After w/c saturday: 1 mL
-Sunday-Friday: 0.2 mL
Week 2(1.5.08-1.11.08)
-After w/c saturday: 1.5 mL
-Sunday-Friday: 0.3 mL
Week 3(1.12.08-1.18.07)
-After w/c saturday: 2 mL
-Sunday-Friday: 0.4 mL
Maximum Dosing reached, continued forever!
-After w/c saturday: 2.5 mL
-Sunday-Friday: 0.5 mL
Fish/Invert Update
The betta was moved to my 1g to help the tank cycle. This tank has about 10-12 snails.(mostly pond, 2 or 3 MTS)
Full Tank:




Anubias Nana:

Once the Hornwort fills in and covers the heater and intake of the filter, the hairgrass fills in, and when I boil a piece of driftwood and attach the Anubia to it, the tank will look perfect:)
Any suggestions?


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Looks great. I can't wait to see driftwood in there as your hardscape. The two shades of hornwort really compliment the hairgrass.

I've never kept anubias, but you may have to shade the anubias a little if there's too much light it. Keep an eye on it, since the WPG rule doesn't really work on nano tanks unfortunately.
Looking good Smalltank3! I hope your plants do well and you are able to sustain them without issue.

I would pay attention to Homer since he ran a similar setup and ran into issues. Homer is a good guy to listen to. If you are ever in the need for some nano sized wisteria for your tank, let me know. I think I could hook you up. You might like it depending on what you think of the water sprite. They look similar but the wisteria grows quite a bit slower under a decent amount of light.

Keep us updated!
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Very nice tank :)

In the future though I wouldn't use fish to jump start cycling: it can be harmful for the fish, and it is not hard to cycle without the fish. Just move some substrate, a plant, or piece of filter over to the new tank. You can even add a little food and let it rot and give off ammonia to help feed the new bacteria colonies. If the two tanks share a similar filter, you could even switch filters, (or part of the filter if it is a multi-layered one).

Keep us updated!
the tank looks great. You have enough light to grow anything. Wallmart now sells GE full spectrum 6500k CF spirals in 13w 20w and 24w, and they give off a nice color. you can have up to ten micro rasbora or celestial pearl danio and shrimp once the plants thrive and the tank is stable, but the betta would have to be moved.
Wow, thanks everyone!

This tank is fully stable, it has been set up for about 9 months. I do plan in the future, if every thing goes fine in my 1g, that I will have shrimp in this tank with the Betta. However, I will have some ghost shrimp go in this tank to see how the Betta reacts before getting cherries, bee, or tiger shrimp.
The snails are everywhere, but that's okay:) I don't mind the snails at all.


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