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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings, I was introduced to Bettas a couple months ago. After loosing them all, I learned about water testing and planted aquariums. I’m hooked! I thought a “nano” tank would be easier to maintain so I got a couple of them! Now, I’m juggling 5 tanks, all 5g and under. Some have fish, some are cycled, and some are somewhere in between. The tank that I want to journal here is my 3g planted tank. Specs are as follows:

3gal UNS tank
HOB filter
Air pump (PM only)
(3) shrimp
(3) white cloud
Anubis
Java fern
Java moss
I forgot the name of the tall plant
UNS substrate and sand

Long story short, the tank cycled and then everything went to 0 (even nitrates). My LFS suggested adding white cloud to keep the cycle alive.

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Feedback, tips, and tricks appreciated!
 

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looks nice! You certainly picked good hardy plants, although the stem plant, hygro difformis, may be too “bulky” for 3 gals.

what are you keeping your cycle alive for…Your tank is def fully stocked!
 

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75g, 33L, 2g and play tanks
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The cycle wouldn't stop, it will eventually even out. The other route you could have gone is to add fertalizer to the tank. either through root tabs or through liquid dosing. The cheapest and possibly best way since you have five tanks, is to do some research. I would start by searching on this website first. Anyway, you can purchase different nutrients in dry form and from there you mix the appropriate amount and add it to the tank. Ask questions about this, but again, first do some searches here and on google. Ask the questions here that you cannot find answers to.

Just so you know, nano tanks tend to be a little more difficult actually. There is less everything, so a mistake can become a big mistake much faster than a larger tank. Larger tanks just have more beneficial bacteria and just plain more water to dilute and issue.

Back to the 0 Nitrates. More info would be needed if you want use to help with that. Like how long was this tank cycled? How long have the plants been there? How long have the fish/shrimp been in there? From there we will have a better idea. My initial thought is just that the plants are keeping up with the bioload, but it could also have to do with spikes that can occur because the nitrogen cycle was interrupted and is adjusting to the fish or new plants. Though you do generally want some Nitrates, at least in a tank with plants. at least 5 ppm I would say.

Anyway, overall I say you're doing great with this tank. And I would let everything settle in for a week or two before making anymore adjustments. Bioload is good now, plants look good. Though I do agree with Jason, that plant he mentioned, in the back right might be a bit large for that tank.

Lastly, in the future, for that nano experience, go with Ember Tetras or Chili Rasboras or something of that nature. again, look some stuff up. The whiteclouds are great, but there are more "nano" types of fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
looks nice! You certainly picked good hardy plants, although the stem plant, hygro difformis, may be too “bulky” for 3 gals.

what are you keeping your cycle alive for…Your tank is def fully stocked!
Thank you!

I went with the hygro difformis because my plants were slow growing and I needed a "win". It is growing, but the leaves that are growing out of water have black tips. I'm not sure what it is. I don't have a CO2 tester.

You know, that's a good question, what am I keeping my cycle alive for? I wanted to get a little fish to throw there but I'm having a hard time finding something that can live in such a small tank. Do you have any suggestions?

The cycle wouldn't stop, it will eventually even out. The other route you could have gone is to add fertalizer to the tank. either through root tabs or through liquid dosing. The cheapest and possibly best way since you have five tanks, is to do some research. I would start by searching on this website first. Anyway, you can purchase different nutrients in dry form and from there you mix the appropriate amount and add it to the tank. Ask questions about this, but again, first do some searches here and on google. Ask the questions here that you cannot find answers to.

Just so you know, nano tanks tend to be a little more difficult actually. There is less everything, so a mistake can become a big mistake much faster than a larger tank. Larger tanks just have more beneficial bacteria and just plain more water to dilute and issue.

Back to the 0 Nitrates. More info would be needed if you want use to help with that. Like how long was this tank cycled? How long have the plants been there? How long have the fish/shrimp been in there? From there we will have a better idea. My initial thought is just that the plants are keeping up with the bioload, but it could also have to do with spikes that can occur because the nitrogen cycle was interrupted and is adjusting to the fish or new plants. Though you do generally want some Nitrates, at least in a tank with plants. at least 5 ppm I would say.

Anyway, overall I say you're doing great with this tank. And I would let everything settle in for a week or two before making anymore adjustments. Bioload is good now, plants look good. Though I do agree with Jason, that plant he mentioned, in the back right might be a bit large for that tank.

Lastly, in the future, for that nano experience, go with Ember Tetras or Chili Rasboras or something of that nature. again, look some stuff up. The whiteclouds are great, but there are more "nano" types of fish.
Thank you!

I just started with Flourish Excel yesterday and plan to daily dose. I also have Flourish but I'm not sure it's a good idea to daily dose. Back to the black tips, I'm not sure if it's over fertilizing or a deficiency. I'll post pictures in a couple hours.

I wish my LFS would have explained that nano tanks were more difficult!

Questions: Do I need bubbles via air pump at night and/or need to CO2 tester? Should I move the hygro difformis into another tank? I have a 5g with goldfish (from the local fair) that could use it but, I'm afraid they'll eat them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Please help! Leaf ends that have grown out of the water are turning black!
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Tested, added a daily 1.5 mL dose of Florish Excel, and moved air pump to 5g goldfish tank…
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Did a 20% water change after this test. I hope the new air stone and 20% water change helps lower the nitrates!
 

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5 gal goldfish tank….you’re going to get a lot of grief for that around these parts! That’s not gonna do well unless you’re changing water very frequently. Much larger tank needed….

I don’t think your wisteria is gonna do well growing out of the water unless you live in tropical humidity. I wouldn’t bother trying to keep its emersed growth alive. It’ll dry out, turn black and look ugly.

I don’t think your 3 gal needs excel…i never thought that was good for fish/shrimp health. Your slow growing plants will do fine without it. Don’t think you need any NPK ferts either with your high bio load. I would consider flourish (comprehensive) for trace elements, but on the low end of dosing guidelines, once a week.

hope you’re doing min 50% weekly water changes as well with your bio load.

air pump is a good idea for your tanks. If you don’t have injected CO2 you do not need to keep the air off during the day, nor do you need to ever test for CO2. keep Em on all day. running air also doesn’t impact your nitrate levels at all. Only way to lower nitrates is with plant growth or water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
5 gal goldfish tank….you’re going to get a lot of grief for that around these parts! That’s not gonna do well unless you’re changing water very frequently. Much larger tank needed….

I don’t think your wisteria is gonna do well growing out of the water unless you live in tropical humidity. I wouldn’t bother trying to keep its emersed growth alive. It’ll dry out, turn black and look ugly.

I don’t think your 3 gal needs excel…i never thought that was good for fish/shrimp health. Your slow growing plants will do fine without it. Don’t think you need any NPK ferts either with your high bio load. I would consider flourish (comprehensive) for trace elements, but on the low end of dosing guidelines, once a week.

hope you’re doing min 50% weekly water changes as well with your bio load.

air pump is a good idea for your tanks. If you don’t have injected CO2 you do not need to keep the air off during the day, nor do you need to ever test for CO2. keep Em on all day. running air also doesn’t impact your nitrate levels at all. Only way to lower nitrates is with plant growth or water changes.
I've been doing water changes daily!! Two buckets and my Python siphon. I have another 5g that I'm waiting to cycle before I split them up. I'm also shopping for a larger tank. What do you suggest? I have 7 of them in total. Another issue I'm facings is finding a stand strong enough to hold the weight of the tank and fit the décor of our house.

What do I do w/ the wisteria? Keep cutting it??

Thank you for the heads up on the Excel. I wish I read your post before doing my maintenance this morning. I love watching the shrimp clean up. I don't want to harm them. I'll take a break on the Excel. I do 50% water changes weekly. I've also been adding Flourish.

I do wish I could speed up the slow growing plants. Everyone has a different opinion on CO2. Setup doesn't look too complex but since I have a smaller tank, I'm scared of overdosing and killing my shrimp

Also, could I add snails to my 3g setup? The shrimp aren't cleaning the walls.

Here's what I did today. Unfortunately, it was before I read your post.

Tank 3:
3g Planted w/ shrimp & white cloud
Annubis, Wisteria?, Java Fern and Moss
HOB Filter
UNS Controsoil

PH: 7.8
NH3/4: 0
NO4: 0
NO3: 0
WC: 50%
Excel: 0.5 mL
Flourish: 0.25 mL
Stability: 3.25 mL

Tank 2:
1g planted w/ white cloud
Annubis and driftwood
HOB filter
UNS Controsoil

NH3/4: 0.25
NO4: 0
NO3: 5
WC: 50%
Stability: 0.75 mL

Tank 1:
1g w/ goldfish (ICH)
White sand and driftwood
WC: Top off
Melafix: 0.5 mL

Goldfish 1:
5g w/ goldfish (ICH)
Gravel, white sand, a small piece of driftwood, and annubis
HOB
NH3/4: 0
NO4: 0
NO3: 5
Melafix: 2.5 mL

Goldfish 2:
3-4g w/ NO FISH (cycling)
Gravel and a small patch of Java Moss I'm trying to grow
HOB
WC: 50%
Fritz 7: 40 mL
Stability: 5 mL
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tank 3: Still no NO3. Gotta grab another air pump for this tank. And maybe some tiny snails?
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Tank 2: Still cycling
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Tank 1: I know it’s not ideal but trying to treat ICH and waiting for Goldfish 2 to cycle
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Goldfish 1: They seem to like the pump!
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Goldfish 2: Cycling
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Please don’t flame me- I know, the setups aren’t ideal. The goldfish were from the fair. It might sound heartless but, I’m hesitant to invest in a huge tank for free fish. The plastic tanks were given to me for free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Added a few snails to help with the window algae; although they seem to like the driftwood better.
Today’s update:
Drinkware Plant Rectangle Fluid Liquid
Is my White Cloud pregnant??
 

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Ive never kept goldfish, but I think you’d need 10 gal+ at minimum. id do some research online. Also fair goldfish = feeder goldfish, so not really the pretty kind FYI.

zero nitrates is not a bad thing! You have a low tech tank with slow growing plants. There not gonna die if you have low nitrate readings. And loading with ferts won’t make your plant grow much faster. If you want to fertilize, just keep things low.

im Sure many people will say excel is perfectly safe, just my opinion. I don’t think it’s worth it for the results you get.

since your a newbie, I wouldn’t do CO2 for a while, until You get the hang of the low tech thing. Again Just my opinion. But there’s no reason you couldn’t in a small tank. There’s no substitute for co2 if you want fast plant growth.

personally, I wouldn’t add snails to your 3 gal. You already have enough bioload, and snails tend to poop a lot and many kinds will multiply more than you want. In a nano tank, you don’t necessarily have the room for a full cleanup crew. There are trade offs for the small size, and sometimes you just need to do the maintenance (ie wipe down the glass yourself!)

as for your wisteria, if your gonna keep it in your 3 gal, youre gonna have to keep trimming the tops, or just Deal with the fact the portion that grows out of the water won’t stay pretty. Such is life….
 
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