The Planted Tank Forum banner

5g High-tech Nano Cubes

7697 84
Hello!
I used to keep a few fish (guppies) a decade ago with fake plants but loved the look of aquascapes and the process of caring for them. I had a little bit of space on my desk so starting my first planted tank with a nano. I've read nano tanks, especially one as small as a 5 gallon, are not beginner friendly but I'm hoping I can figure it out quickly with lots of research and advice. And lots of water changes ;)

I had taken notes and pictures since day one but have only gotten around to making an official tank journal 2 weeks later so I will backfill the history with posts

Here are the starting stats of the equipment:
Tank: AquaOne Nano 30 all-in-one glass tank with curved edges (30cm x 30cm x 30cm with a built-in sump thing, 5g/22L)
Filter: Built-in powered by the included AquaOne Maxi 101 Powerhead (400L/h). Filled with sponge and 600g of AquaOne BioNood (ceramic noodles)
Heater: Not used for now
CO2: A DIY system made of yeast, sugar, and gelatin. Stainless steel diffuser that feeds straight to powerhead intake
Light: Chihiros WRGB2 30cm
Substrate: Gravel base to lift the back, ADA Amazonia v2 (about 4cm deep throughout the tank)
Ferts: LCA All-in-one Shrimp Safe. Sounds like it's an EI recipe
Hardscape: It was advertised as Seiryuu stone but I have a feeling they're actually Ryoh stones

Starting plant list:
  • Eleocharis 'Belem'
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Lindernia rotundifolia 'Variegated'
  • Micranthemum sp. Monte Carlo (I later find I actually got pearlweed (Hemianthus Micranthemoides))
  • Staurogyne repens

Fauna:
- None. Planning on shrimp and eventually fish

Since this is my first tank after awhile I started with 2 weeks of a dark start to give the filter bacteria a head start. Filled with aqua soil, hardscape, and filter media and kept at 28 degrees with the filter running and API QuickStart. Only did a 30% water change after a week.

Received the plants on Jan 12 and did a 90% water change. A lot of these plants seem like they were grown emersed judging by the earthworms in their roots so I am fully expecting some melt. They came sealed in some Ziploc bags that were further heat sealed with a little water in them, pretty decent condition on everything.

Water params via test strip:
GH- 180 ppm
KH - 120 ppm
pH - 7.5
NO2 - 0.5 ppm
NO3 - 20 ppm

Local water is pretty soft so I'm guessing the sky-high GH is the stone leaching whatever limestoney goodness into the water

12/1/2022
Plant Botany Leaf Nature World


Water Plant Vertebrate Pet supply Organism


Wow, so many problems. I tried to set up my DIY CO2 system the night before my plants arrived but the silicon sealant had a hole and pressure wasn't building up. Slapped on some extra sealant and hope tomorrow it holds. Plants should be Ok, I think

I had so many problems actually planting everything. I tried planting the foreground and midground after draining down to the substrate, then filling up and planting the stems. My struggles to plant the stems just uprooted everything. Some of the "Monte Carlo" I just left as a tuft sitting on the soil or held down with pebbles, hoping their roots would grow into the soil. As long as it doesn't float away, I'm hoping they'll catch? I'm pretty sure I mauled the Bacopa monnieri stems with my tweezers. I dunno if you can see, some of the Stauro is sideways, the roots were sideways on the stems so I planted as much of the roots as possible

I'm starting with a 6-hour photoperiod, 1 hour ramp, at 50% power to ease into it
1 - 20 of 85 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
13/1/2022

Plant Botany Light Leaf Green


The day after I took this picture to show off how much my desk was sagging, I needed 2 Australian $.20 pieces (about same thickness as US quarter) under the left legs to level the tank. It's a cheap IKEA particleboard tabletop that's served me well for a decade so I can't complain too much but I need to keep an eye on that.
The Lindernia rotundifolia keeps floating away and I keep trying to plant them again. I've trimmed some of them in an attempt to make them easier to handle. The nice slope in the aqua soil has gotten flattened at the back from repeated attempts to push those stems in them argh. The CO2 system still has leaks so checker is firmly blue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
16/1/2022

A few days later

Plant Light Grass Terrestrial plant Wood


Finally got the DIY CO2 working! I had followed the guide and recipe in this video but the part I was missing was the hole needed to be smaller than the airline tubing I was using. That way the too-small hole would 'pinch' the airline tube, helping to alleviate some pressure off the silicon sealant I was using in the bottle caps. Anyways, the bubble rate is 1 bubble per 3 seconds, which has made the drop checker a nice green. Bubbles!

Water stats:
GH- 120 ppm
KH - 60 ppm
pH - 7.2
NO2 - 0.3 ppm
NO3 - 20 ppm

The relatively low NO2 and NO3 has me hopeful I can stock shrimp soon.
The Lindernia rotundifolia are all straightening and growing, which is a good sign. The Bacopa monnieri is half and half. Half of it is thriving, half of it is melting away into nothingness. I think the ones that are dying are the ones whose stems I mauled when planting
All the foreground and midground plants seem the same. Just some leaves melting in the 'Monte Carlo'. I'm hoping there's roots under those clumps but I'm too scared to lift them up to check
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
19-1-2022

Plant Plant community Nature Botany Vegetation


Skipping ahead a few days. First, the water params
GH- 180 ppm
KH - 200 ppm
pH - 7.2
NO2 - 0.7
NO3 - 30

Wow, those stem plants are really growing. The foreground/midground... not so much. I've read Stauro can be slow-ish at first but the carpet should have been taking off in a high-tech environment.
Also, 1 bubble per 3 seconds is way too much for this tiny tank. That drop checker is screaming yellow. I need to figure out an adjustment before I can get shrimp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
21/1/2022

Plant Vertebrate Leaf Botany Rectangle


So today, Green Aqua comes out with a video explaining planting technique. Why couldn't they have come out with this 2 weeks earlier?! As soon as I finished watching the video, I went back and replanted EVERYTHING. It looks so much better. I also cut and replanted some of the Lindernia rotundifolia, I hope it wasn't too early.
I'm noticing some diatoms/brown algae on my Stauro leaves, but diatoms are normal for this age of tank... I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,606 Posts
Welcome back to the hobby! Good start to your tank back. You haven't mentioned testing for it yet but you will want to check for ammonia before adding livestock to the tank. Ammonia and nitrite are the two things to look at to determine if your tank has finished its cycle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
24/1/2022

Plant Nature Leaf Terrestrial plant Organism


I haven't mentioned it in previous posts but I've ramped up the lighting to be a 7-hour cycle, 1-hour ramp, 60% power. Now that the foreground is planted properly, I really want to give the carpet maximum light. But I also don't want to blast it too much because I don't have an algae crew yet. The brown algae or melt or whatever is really eating into all my Stauro now. But at least my foreground finally seems to be thriving. I'm seeing lots of bright green new growth and pearling everywhere.
I've remade the DIY CO2 to try and slow down the bubble count. Instead of 250g sugar, 250ml of water, and 3 gelatine leaves, I'm adding an extra 1/2 gelatin leaf to try and slow down the rate the yeast is eating the sugar. My CO2 system sprung another leak though, so I ended up switching from silicone bathroom sealant to hot glue gun for that instant setting time. Seems to have worked! My bubble rate is now down to 1 bubble every 10 seconds. I'll keep an eye on it over the next few days, want to get the shrimp soon
I think I need more plants, specifically a Ludwigia Super Red or Alternanthera reneckii as the hero plant and some moss on that big rock. Maybe even some Anubias or Buce
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome back to the hobby! Good start to your tank back. You haven't mentioned testing for it yet but you will want to check for ammonia before adding livestock to the tank. Ammonia and nitrite are the two things to look at to determine if your tank has finished its cycle.
Thanks! I forgot to mention I got one of those Seachem Ammonia Alert cards. It was reading 'Alert' (0.05 ppm) in the first week but it's now settled into 'Safe' (< 0.02 ppm) and the tank has recently come down from a minor nitrite spike, so it seems like it's pretty well cycled?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,606 Posts
Thanks! I forgot to mention I got one of those Seachem Ammonia Alert cards. It was reading 'Alert' (0.05 ppm) in the first week but it's now settled into 'Safe' (< 0.02 ppm) and the tank has recently come down from a minor nitrite spike, so it seems like it's pretty well cycled?
Definitely get a liquid ammonia test. Those cards are frankly not perfect. It will save you a lot of time and frustration in the future if all your livestock dies and you are trying to figure out why.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
25/1/2022

Plant Terrestrial plant Grass Groundcover Shrub


So this was a bit concerning. That bright green growth on my Monte Carlo turned out to have an unexpected twist. I'm expecting small round leaves like how I got the plant (original growth circled in blue) and the new growth is longer and narrow (circled in red). Looking on other threads in this forum, it looks like I actually got pearlweed, which apparently looks like Monte Carlo when grown emersed but when growing submersed, it can become a stem plant. I contacted the seller and they were really nice and gave me a refund, which I'm pretty happy about. I still really want a Monte Carlo carpet so I'll be ordering some soon but I'll leave the pearlweed in at the moment because I need the plant load to fight these diatoms.

Water params
GH- 180 ppm
KH - 240 ppm
pH - 7.0
NO2 - 10 ppm
NO3 - 80 ppm

Looks like I have a bit of a nitrite/nitrate spike. It might be the result of all the melt that's been happening, will see if a water change and more API Quick Start helps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Definitely get a liquid ammonia test. Those cards are frankly not perfect. It will save you a lot of time and frustration in the future if all your livestock dies and you are trying to figure out why.
Darn, I was hoping to be lazy about that test. I did want the liquid nitrite and nitrate tests too (as I'm using test strips atm), I might as well bite the bullet and get the API Master Kit. Thanks for the advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
27/1/2022

Now all caught up! I finally got new plants!

Plant Plant community Nature Leaf Botany


New additions:
  • Ludwigia Super Red Mini
  • Mini Christmas Moss
  • Bucephalandra Sekadau
  • Limnophila Hippuridoides (thrown in for free by seller, yay!)
I got these from a different Aussie seller, Aquarzon, who seemed a lot more legit, they had written all their own notes on all their listings. We've had a really humid, hot week so some of the plants had melted a little in transit but they were all salvageable with a little trimming. I kept seeing aquascapers on YouTube using superglue to attach moss and epiphytes and was always suspicious but damn, that stuff works well.
I made some space in the back middle for the Ludwigia, super excited to see it grow out. After fighting floating Lindernia rotundifolia for so many days, I'm getting pretty decent at planting stems now. However when I tried to shift some of the Stauro to make room for the Limnophila Hippuridoides, it just fell apart, most likely because all the leaves and stems were covered with brown algae at this point. I think I really need to take these diatoms seriously and start dosing Excel. Most of my remaining Stauro have some degree of diatom coverage as well. I've seen signs of hair grass, green dust, and staghorn algae previously but physically picking them out and water changes have kept those at bay so far. My CO2 rate has been on the low side as well, so that's not helping.

Water params:
GH- 180
KH - 180
pH - 7.0
NO2 - 3
NO3 - 40

Looks like the nitrite and nitrates have come down, phew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Looking so sweet! I got the same ludwigia yesterday but I got mine from tissue culture so the plantlets are tiiiiiny.... but super cute looking already. Can't wait for it to grow.
Nice! I didn't even know you could get Ludwigia Super Red from tissue culture, wow! I had to really trim down most of mine after transport melt so most of it is hidden behind the big rock. Hope yours grows soon too
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,682 Posts
Nice! I didn't even know you could get Ludwigia Super Red from tissue culture, wow! I had to really trim down most of mine after transport melt so most of it is hidden behind the big rock. Hope yours grows soon too
it's a local place and they have a lot of stuff in culture. It's pretty cool. The plants are green when they're babies, they're so tiny but fully formed, little stalks of about 2 inches with tiny leaves just a few mm across.... it's really funny when my tiny juvenile chili rasbora swim next to my tiny juvenile ludwigias it looks like a little world in miniature :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Finally got fauna in the tank yesterday! I got from a local seller:
  • 8 juvenile cherry red shrimp. Apparently sakura to fire red grade. Some of them haven't finished colouring up completely so we'll see
  • 5 blue ramshorn snails
I had originally wanted 10 shrimp but I was clearing out the seller's last Reds. She was offering White Snow "cherry" shrimp as well but doing some research, only Cardinias come in white? My GH and pH params are too high for Cardinias so I declined but man, that would have looked so sweet. Maybe in the next tank or rescape if I change out the hardscape.

Anyways, I spent the afternoon drip acclimating the shrimp and snails, should have taken pictures of that. Ran an airline tube from the tank to a bucket on the floor where I dumped the animals and their travel water into. I probably should have dosed with Prime since the snails had pooped a bunch in transit but turned out OK in the end. Let it drip at 1 drop a second for 3 hours (controlled the flow with a clamp since I don't have a valve) to let them acclimate to the temperature and TDS and once it looked like the volume had doubled, transferred them to the tank. Since they're so small, it was hard catching them in a net, had to suck some of the shrimp up with my meat baster. Once the animals were in the tank, I turned off the lights for the rest of the day to keep them from being stressed. The snails definitely didn't like the light, I could see one of them immediately start to burrow in the 5 mins before I turned off the lights. It stopped as soon as it went dark though

Plant Plant community Ecoregion Natural environment Terrestrial plant

Plant Insect Terrestrial plant Natural landscape Grass


They seem to all be OK, I could see the shrimp swimming in the dim ambient light of the room and when the lights came on this morning, they were jetting around the tank. I can see them picking away at my brown algae so am hesitant to feed them quite yet. The snails are BUSY, they demolished most of the brown algae on the rock and half of them are working on some melted leaves I didn't manage to clean out yet. I am just really afraid of them multiplying too much, I really don't want to have to pick them out and stomp them.
Here is the tank atm

Plant Plant community Natural environment Natural landscape Terrestrial plant


I did a trim of the grass right before the shrimp came in, I'm so glad I bought wave scissors for this. Some more of the Ludwigia Super Red Mini had melted, probably still stressed from transit so I snipped off the dying bits and transplanted what I could behind the rock. The bit you can see poking up is doing really well though, its growing. I also glued a small stem on top of the rock, that seems to be staying alive too. I ordered some (hopefully) real Monte Carlo coming next week so I will be getting rid of most of the pearlweed then. I might keep a small bush of it around, since I heard it's super good for shrimp fry. I've been dosing Excel via a syringe to try and save my Stauro but might give a few days break to let the animals settle. Maybe they can help it too by clearing the brown algae suffocating it.

Water params after an 80% water change right before shrimp arrived:
GH- 180
KH - 80
pH - 7.0 (I think the test strip is off, my pH pen is telling me 7.8)
NO2 - 0.5
NO3 - 20
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Finally got the last of my plants for awhile. What's changed:
  • Replaced most of the pearlweed with Monte Carlo
  • Added some red root floaters
I ordered 2 lots of the Monte Carlo, the floaters were a free bonus from the shop. I had been considering them if I got a fish that needed shade, so score! How the tank looks a day after planting

Plant Plant community Flower Terrestrial plant Organism


I left a bush of the pearlweed in between the 2 rocks as I heard it's excellent for shrimp fry. The snails are all still going strong and I've managed to count 7 shrimp so I'm not sure if I've lost one. They are difficult to count since they're so active! They've been doing a great job at cleaning up a lot of the algae and dead plant matter. Unfortunately, it looks like they haven't been able to save another of my Staurogyne repens.

Plant Vegetation Terrestrial plant Organism Grass


The one circled in blue is barely hanging on with a little sprout still hanging in there. The red circle is some dead stems and roots of the lost one, looks like the snails and shrimp have already started stripping it. I still have 3 stems left of my original 6, let's hope they turn around. Really wish I had gotten at least the snails earlier to combat the diatoms.

Latest water params:
GH- 180
KH - 120
pH - 8.2
NO2 - 0.5
NO3 - 20
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Plant Plant community Flower Green Light


So a few learnings and updates. I used to have my flow output just jetting out from a small cutoff tube. It was angled towards the surface, hoping for a little agitation but it was hard to keep it from blowing away any Lindernia rotundifolia that happened to droop near it. So I took the chance on trying a spray bar kit except the attachment points are a little weird for it, hence it being angled like that. To be honest though, I might end up replacing the cheap Aqua One powerhead that came with the tank and get a whole new system. It tends to rattle so I need to lubricate it once every few weeks with Vaseline.

Otherwise, shrimp are doing well, I can see them molting roughly once a week and I've counted 7 so maybe only 1 died? The snails have laid eggs and have just hatched. I decided to leave them for now, let's see if I come to regret that decision. The diatoms are just exploding, and hair grass algae is starting to show up everywhere, I suspect it's because my DIY CO2 slowed down. A few good shakes and the rate is back up to make the drop checker lime green again. I was trying to spot dose Flourish Excel to keep the hair grass algae in check but am worried it might be smashing my moss
On the plant side, the carpet is coming in nicely. The pearlweed and hair grass are exploding, I need to trim them this weekend. Some of the moss is struggling on top of the rock, maybe the Excel, maybe the high light. The Ludwigia is struggling too, the lower shoots behind the rock aren't getting enough light or flow of CO2.

Speaking of the rocks, they are really spitting out calcium. I can definitely notice my TDS going up by 20 every day. I would love to go to a weekly water change schedule, especially after stocking fish, but it looks like it needs to be at least 30% bi-weekly for now to lower the TDS from 300. I'm pretty sure most of that TDS is calcium because the water deposits on the aquarium are crazy. I have ~30 TDS tap water and can halve that with Brita filtering. With a 30-40% change, it lowers the TDS of the aquarium to 200. I might need to try to shrink the rock somehow or replace it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,682 Posts
your rocks are beautiful and I love how they look with the mosses attached... too bad they're throwing off your water parameters. The whole tank honestly looks really stunning to me. I adore red root floaters, wish I could give them a shot but they wouldn't love my current low tech setup. Such an awesome pop of color though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
your rocks are beautiful and I love how they look with the mosses attached... too bad they're throwing off your water parameters. The whole tank honestly looks really stunning to me. I adore red root floaters, wish I could give them a shot but they wouldn't love my current low tech setup. Such an awesome pop of color though.
Thanks! I ended up removing the big rock, could not break the thing. I might try to get a smaller rock, maybe even some wood. I would like a little bit of calcium leeching, it's good for the cherry shrimp.

You should definitely give red root floaters go, they don't need CO2, just need decent light to make them red. It might actually be good for a low-tech setup since they'll absorb excess nutrients and help your plants outcompete algae if you ever have trouble with that. Although, if your plants are suffering from nutrient deficiencies, they'll only make it worse The other thing to watch out for is if they shade plants that need light, I have to corral mine sometimes to stop stunting my poor Ludwigia like they're trying to do in that last photo
 
1 - 20 of 85 Posts
Top