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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 6 gallon nano cube, with a missing pump.
im interested in setting it up as a planted tank... maybe a few shrimp or an interesting fish.



I am an experienced nano/pico reef keeper, that being said I dont know the first thing about freshwater... much less planted tanks.

I am fascinated with the ADA setups with discreet glass tubing that I see on this site, but I think it is best if I try to work with what I have until I know exactly which direction i want to go. I know im looking for a very minimalistic look.

I have several questions:
the tank i have has an 18 watt compact florescent light in it....is this enough light for a planted tank? I quickly found that it was inadequate for my reef keeping purposes. will i be severly limited to certain plants? im more or less hoping to achieve a bonsai effect, with ground cover and some large river rocks, and maybe a small piece of wood or an interesting decoration.

assuming that 18 watts will indeed be enough light, it is obvious that i need to change the bulb. what spectrum is best? any recommendations for my tank specifically?

my biggest question is regarding the tank setup itself and the circulation pump.

the tank has three chambers in the back, and the tank is missing a pump.

what is an ideal sort of configuration for my particular tank?

bioballs.....ceramic media....what is best? what size pump would be ideal. gph?

im aware that the AIO setup may be less than ideal...but unless it is specifically a bad idea for a planted tank, i would like to utilize it.

I would be more than thrilled if someone could point me in the right direction.

thanks in advance!
 

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Welcome fellow reefer;) I was in the same boat as you...there is some great info on this site. Hopefully someone will chime in and give you the rundown
 

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Welcome to Plantedtank!

From what I have heard from a few reefer friends of mine, it turns out that reef aquariums can, in fact, be simpler than planted tanks. But getting those plants just perfect, well that's part of the fun and the challenge.

In a 6 gallon tank, 18 watts will be on the low side. You will be limited in the things you can grow, unless that's how you want it. Mosses, Java Ferns, Crypts, those types of things would grow ok. For 6 gallons I would try getting something in the 25-35 watt range. Then you'd be able to grow just about anything.

As far as the circulation pump, I am not sure to be honest. I have heard Bio balls are not as good for planted tanks as other media, but since I've never tried them I can't speak to it specifically. Ceramic is probably better. Many of the guys here that run nano tanks use a combination of filter pads and charcoal/purigen and that's it. Personally, I use purigen/fine filter pad.

For the pump I would guesstimate that 100gph+ would be ok. You probably don't even need that much for 6 gallons though.

Hope that helps some. And again, welcome to PT!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lets narrow this down.

basically before I do anything I need to know what size pump to get
im guessing anywhere between 100-300 GPH will suffice. but I don't wanna over do it, or "under do it" I realize I wont be feeding coral, so GPH requirements may be much less.
open to suggestions:I would post links but apparently im too new here.:icon_mad:
Hydor Pico Evolution 1000 260GPH
Hydor seltz L20 185 GPH
maxijet 900 247 GPH

while I am ordering stuff, id like to stock up on whichever filter media is best suited for a planted AIO tank. Im also open to suggestions regarding substrate, and Co2 (might hold off until I can do a full blown Co2 setup.)

any good suppliers I should know about for freshwater/planted besided drsfostersmith.com? I usually use marinedepot.com, but thats mostly saltwater stuff.

thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks outlaw, we must have been typing at the same time...heh,

OK so 18watts is on the low side. I could always try to find a more powerful light in the future.....but would it look good on my tank? hmmmn...i guess that just goes back to my previous question about suppliers. ill have to keep researching. still open to suggestions.

I like the idea of just using a sponge/ filter floss and some purigen. very similar to my 2.5 gallon reef. I like keeping it simple, and effective. even when i had a 24 gallon nano reef, i just used an abundance live rock and a refugium with chaetomorpha algae in it. both systems have proven themselves super effective with regular water changes and good quality salt mix. im hoping to develop a planted tank that it equally simple, and just as effective.

im assuming that substrate and surface area on the plants and decorations provides enough surface area for the beneficial bacteria?

what type of water do you guys use? R/O DI?
 

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I have a freshwater JBJ nano 12gallon. I didnt have a filter as well. I turned a power head on its side and then got a tube to go from the output to the spout for the tank. its quite a bit of flow.

I use the bioballs and some ceramic media with no issues keeping my plants. But i do have high light 2x24 watt cannopy.

http://www.nanocustoms.com/

check that site out.
 

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Hey ryanlogic, I too took my first steps into the planted aquarium world with a tank about that size (5.5g). I learned a good bit from it, though it's been neglected for quite a while due to stepping it up to a 29g now that I know a bit more about what I'm doing. Here's some of what I learned from that first tank:

If low maintenance and simplicity is what you want, then low tech is the way to go. This is what I did, using 14W T8 over the 5.5. You'll be limited on plant selection, but there's all kinds of nice plants that will thrive. Anubias nana petite will and stays an appropriate size for the tank and grow just fine, if slowly, marsilea can be used to carpet if you like that look, etc. Pellia has done really well for me personally. Injecting CO2 isn't necessary, nor dosing ferts. I set up my tank with Eco-Complete, added some fish and shrimp and that's it.

For filtration I have a rapids mini canister filter set up. I think it's rated at 80 gph, and the flow is plenty sufficient I found. I have ceramic bio media and filter floss in it, and haven't worried about it, cleaned it, or had a problem with it since getting it running. Some people seem to have had bad experiences with this filter, but nothing has gone wrong for me. You might want to keep that in mind though. Also, the more heavily planted the tank, generally, the more flow you'll need. Ten times the tank volume in gph is usually fine. You can always add a small powerhead down the road though.

Another good online supplier to maybe check out or consider would be bigalsonline.com. I know many people here use and are happy with them.

Anyway, I typed a lot and hope I helped out some. I've never kept a reef, but I'm really liking my planted tanks, and this hobby. Let me know if there's anything I forgot, and good luck. Ah, and welcome to TPT!

Edit- Caught another question. I use treated tap (well) water and have been doing just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
awesome Doc. thanks for the information!

looks like I will get a pump rated around 150-200GPH with a flow adjustment. edit:decided on minijet 606(should be adequate and reliable)

I will have to bother the plant forum for some ideas regarding an aesthetic, low laying ground cover that can thrive in my lighting conditions.

Is there a general consensus regarding substrate? what do people overwhelmingly prefer to use? I wont need to buy a lot, so I am willing to buy the best quality (within reason). what is easy to work with, aesthetic..etc.
 

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There is no such thing as too much flow in a planted tank! That pump should be fine, I used a larger version on my 12g NanoCube.
If you're going to stay with 18W, then go with Marselia minuta. It will carpet in lower light, but will take a while to do so. You CAN use any naturally carpeting plant as well, such as Utricularia gramminifolia, but whichever you choose will just take longer to carpet. If you can even find a 24W bulb, you can open the possibilities of pretty much your choice of ground cover.
As far as substrate goes, ADA Aquasoil Amazonia is my personal favorite (and I've used a number of different ones out there) and you can find a ton of people on this forum who will agree with me. I believe a 3L bag should give you at LEAST a 1.5" layer if not more. As of right now, the only place I know of carrying it online is here. It's full of nutrients and as far as I'm concerned it looks the best out of all options.
Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
awesome

thank you so much rrrrramos!

so im thinking about growing the carpet out before filling the tank with water.....would that work with Marselia minuta? I read a few threads that were talking about this method as superior, because it cuts down on initial nuisance algae issues, and promotes growth of a thick carpet faster. obviosly I have some research to do before i know exactly what im going to do.

I was thinking about using dwarf hairgrass in conjunction with microsword as my background cover..i am assuming those would have to be planted after the carpet was established, and the tank was completely filled.

the reason im not keen on upgrading the hood on this tank is because i will likely build another setup with a super awsome light, and super awesome discreet Co2 setup, canister filter etc.... for my living room. this one is going in the kitchen, and will likely become a home for a dwarf puffer(later).

this tank is just practice. basically giving me a reason to frequent the forum and learn a whole bunch.

almost forgot is this soil the same as the amazonia? just a different color? or does it have different properties?

thanks again.
 

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Sounds like a good plan. Growing the Marselia Minuta emmersed for 6-8 weeks before filling the tank will give you some great results. It's true that it also makes the initial cycle much faster/easier. The hard part is being patient. :)

I would be careful with growing Dwarf Hairgrass with another plant together. Hairgrass looks awesome, but it's also very invasive. You need to constantly trim the runners or it will quickly spread to your whole tank. That being said, if you aware of it and willing to do the necessary trimming, it would be pretty nice looking.

I second the suggestion of using Amazonia soil. It's good stuff, and in a tank that's nice and small like that, you only need one bag.

Great stuff in this thread. I'm excited to see what you come up with!
 

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The only thing about growing the M. minuta emmersed is that it will grow 4 leaves and taller when grown emmersed. After adding water it will go back down, but for most ground cover, growing emmersed does present better results.

I haven't used any Aquasoil other than Amazonia, so I can't comment as far as that...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
interesting, honestly I'm a little confused. Is it because the lower light intensity doesn't usually cause the algae problems that the emmersed growing method is intended to prevent? Or is your reasoning due to the slower growth rate of Marselia minuta associated with the less powerfull lighting?....or does it have something to do with some other characteristic of the plant in lower lighting conditions?

sorry for all the questions.and thanks in advance!:biggrin:

I've seen a few nice looking tanks witha sand layer over the soil. Is this purely aesthetic? are there other benefits to this practice? Or reasons to avoid doing so?
 

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interesting, honestly I'm a little confused. Is it because the lower light intensity doesn't usually cause the algae problems that the emmersed growing method is intended to prevent? Or is your reasoning due to the slower growth rate of Marselia minuta associated with the less powerfull lighting?....or does it have something to do with some other characteristic of the plant in lower lighting conditions?

sorry for all the questions.and thanks in advance!:biggrin:

I've seen a few nice looking tanks witha sand layer over the soil. Is this purely aesthetic? are there other benefits to this practice? Or reasons to avoid doing so?

There are a ton of benefits to dry starting a tank. The tank is essentially cycled a week or two after adding water. The plants take root much easier. There is no algae to deal with.
The only thing with the M. minuta is that it will grow tall, it's emmersed form, and will convert to its submerged (short) form after filling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There are a ton of benefits to dry starting a tank. The tank is essentially cycled a week or two after adding water. The plants take root much easier. There is no algae to deal with.
The only thing with the M. minuta is that it will grow tall, it's emmersed form, and will convert to its submerged (short) form after filling.
thank you, that makes sense. im going to try to find a large quantity. and just hope it grows happily.
 
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