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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
CURRENT FTS 3/31/2014

*****

So yesterday I acquired my first nano tank, a 5 gallon fluval chi!
First order of business was removing the filter holder.



I have no room anywhere in my apartment (with a 20 gallon and a 55 gallon), so this baby is going to sit right here on my desk. Don't mind the clutter.


I had this ryuoh stone laying about, so I decided it would by put into my nano.
I also have a bunch of ADA aquasoil, so in it goes.. and...


Front view


Side view

Hardscape? I am not totally sure. I was aiming for a cliff side type of thing.. not too sure if I achieved that effect. This is my first actual aquascape!

To come:
I plan on dry starting an HC carpet in the front. I also have to buy a 10" finnex fixture. And a filter.
I do have two AC20's around, so I'll probably use one of those in the mean time.
I plan on doing a DIY CO2 setup, which I already have running on my 20 gallon.

Planned planting:
HC
Blyxa japonica
DHG (perhaps)
Willow moss (undecided).

Stocking:
Shrimp (probably cherry)
Maaaaybe a betta. Maybe.

Please give me your opinions/criticisms/recommendations!
 

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Choco's Fluval Chi Journal

I like the scape! I honestly would use Blyxa in a tank this small. It just gets so big. It's root system can be very expansive. Other green mid ground plants like Tropica 049, Downoi, and Hydro Japan would work well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks horsedude!
I've actually changed the hardscape a bit, trying to add more depth.. and the illusion of a far off mountain cliff. Not sure how much of that was achieved, but here it is!



Tomorrow I'm expecting my two Finnex FugeRay's. More updates tomorrow, hopefully!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got a gift in the mail today! Two Finnex FugeRay, 10"!


I picked up two because I'm going high light, CO2 enriched, etc. Also planning a HC carpet.

Also, thanks to TAPS (The Aquatic Plant Society), which offered me some advice on my hardscape, I've changed it a bit.
Here it is with the lights on!



And a close up.



This'll be my final version of this scape, I'm done getting my hands dirty in the aquasoil! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
DSM started

I know I said the scape I had was the last.. but my LFS got an ADA shipment in and I just HAD to look through the stones they got. :D

So I bought about 2lbs worth, here's my picks.



You can also see my pots of HC that I bought to dry start.
After planting and rearranging and replacing some hardscape, here is the result!



That's plastic wrap around the top. Gonna air it out probably twice daily, and see what happens after a month or so.

My new filter selection is the Finnex PX-360, based on Youtube videos and reviews. Plus I am satisfied with my Finnex lights, so I have high hopes for the filter.

And an extra pic.. The light pollution from this thing is kinda crazy.. though when it's filled and full of life I probably won't mind. :biggrin:
 

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Random question: what movie/show/game is the toy robot on your desk from? I recognize it(I think)... but can't recall what its originally from...FamilyGuy did a parody on it as a school hallway monitor...
At any rate the tank looks awesome, can't wait to see the carpet grow in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
HC dry start, one week later: 3/8/2014

Front shot:


Top shot:


Compare to a week ago:


DSM has been a success so far. It's all growing really nicely. No mold that I can see, no algae. I don't see any yellowing or browning leaves, just healthy growth and runners all over.
Here's what I do.

I run the finnex lights for 12 hours a day. I have the tank covered with plastic wrap (completely) for all hours, except for two hours a day during the photo period when I remove the wrap completely. I let it sit for two hours uncovered. After two hours are up, I mist generously and cover again.

I've made a planting plan:


For the hairgrass, I'm going it mostly short, and having it rise to nearly the top of the tank in the back. I was considering going with e. vivipara or e. acicularis for the back, but I didn't want the species to mix. I still may go with another in back. Feedback on that? ;)

I bought some Petsmart p. helferi that was in pretty bad shape at the beginning of the week. I figured "why not?" and planted what I could into my other 20g tank (which is mostly fish only at this point). I'm running DIY CO2 and dosing 1/2 EI, just to feed my ferns and the downoi in there. Here's a pic of the downoi tonight:


When I first got it, it was all white, small and withered. It had no roots to speak of.
It's showing some growth, and it's actually green now. This little experiment seems like it's on it's way. When/if it grows out, it's going into the Chi.

Anyway feel free to leave me some feedback! Thanks for reading!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Time for another update!
HC is still growing in nicely. Here's a shot from tonight.



Comparing growth:

Last Sunday:

This Sunday:


I am noticing a little bit of yellowing and algae. Any thoughts?

1 and 2 show what I believe is GSA on my rock. I'll probably spot treat this.

3 shows that the HC has met the glass and is growing upwards.

The rest shows yellowing happening. I've read this is normal. I'll be flooding in a week or two so stay tuned! :icon_mrgr
 

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Looks great! Is this a typical technique to grow HC unsubmerged? I know it's a hard plant to grow so I always avoided it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yep, this is how most grow it emersed.
It's been pretty easy so far to grow emersed. Some people even put it in a Tupperware on a windowsill and grow it out..

I grew it this way because I want:
Strong root growth
Time to plan the plant choice
Add shrimp/ livestock right away

Hc seems to need high lights to carpet. As does most carpeting plants I think.
Thanks for the compliment too, glad you like it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Update time!
So, I'm late on this update. I did a lot of stuff this Saturday and I was beat, so I didn't update.

I filled the tank! :icon_cool
Unfortunately I had to fill it a week early. The downoi was growing nicely, and I had great success growing it. I woke up Friday and it was all uprooted, and floating around the tank..

So I replanted.. and watched.
My kribs in the tank swam up to it and started nibbling on it! :eek:
So I decided to fill.

I took a trip to my LFS for my initial tank inhabitants, 3 amanos and 3 otos. I also wanted to pick up some DHG.

Of course nothing ever goes right. I was able to get the amanos and otos, but they were completely out of DHG.

Thursday they said they'd have more. I figured I'd get some from another hobbyist on here, of course not checking the weather.. Two days ago it was in the 60s. Right now it "feels like" 14. A "major snowstorm" is coming on Tuesday (seriously WTF), and Friday is set to be in the upper 50s.
NOPE.

Anyway, I went with a DIY CO2 setup.

Here it is before I put in the check valves.

I've had success using glass diffusers, so I grabbed one off ebay for around $12 shipped.



I've seen people say these are not good for DIY, but IME they've worked well.

I slowly filled the tank with an airline siphon added the stock, turned on the filter and let it do it's thing.

I also completely forgot to get a heater. Luckily I still had a 150w Hydor heater, so I'm using that for now. I bought a 25w Cobalt Neo-therm, and that's coming Thursday.

The 150w is overkill, I know. I am closely monitoring my temps. Good thing the Hydor is a great heater with a good thermostat.
*****
I woke up today and took a FTS.


As you can see the diffuser is really doing it's thing. I had it lower initially, but I felt that it was working almost too well and raised it. I also dosed my micros today.

A few hours later, a pleasant surprise!

Pearling!

I snapped some pics of my shrimp doing their thing.




I can't wait to plant the DHG. Sigh.
Anyway thanks for reading! For more pics, check out my imgur: http://chocological.imgur.com/

Leave me questions/comments! :thumbsup:

EDIT:
Forgot to add.
I'm doing an 8hr photo period, with all lights on, including the blues. To me, it makes it look nicer.

I run a single "moonlight" on one of the finnex fixtures at night.
I'm doing EI dosing as follows.
1/16 tsp KNO3 3x
1/64 tsp KH2PO4 3x
1/64 tsp Plantex 3x
1/8 tsp GH booster

I dose macros and micros on alternating days. I'm using one of these to dose:


I basically took what I was dosing in my 20g, and divided it by 4 as the Chi is 5 gallons or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I ran in to some issues here.
First issue: Cycling

So, my filter was not ready to be on it's own, despite running on my 20g for weeks. I am dealing with a mini cycle right now, having to change the water every two days or so from high Nitrites. Ammonia is undetectable, and Nitrates build up to acceptable levels, so any day now I'm expecting the cycle to be complete.

Second issue: DHG

I did make a thread here looking for some.. I eventually sourced some DHG belem, which is shipping Monday morning.
My LFS did get some.. e acicularis. E. acicularis grows taller than e. parvula.. but I decided to get it anyway, to cover the equipment. I've planted it in the back. It seems to be transitioning nicely.

Third issue: CO2

Early this week, I looked at my tank.. my otos were white, and my amanos were hiding. One came out, but was floating around the tank, twitching. After testing all of my params, I checked the CO2 charts and realized I was gassing my fish with a over 100ppm dissolved CO2. My DIY setup works too well. No wonder I had such success with pearling...


Just an interruption here.. I think my Otos are mating as I type this.. I just youtubed a video and they are doing the exact thing as in the video.. chasing each other around, doing what looks like a mounting thing.. sheesh..

Anyway, lol..
So, CO2.
I decided to run an airstone at night, and remove the diffuser. It's DIY so I can't turn it off.. it just sits in a cup of water with a little excel in it to prevent any nasties from growing on it. When the lights on back on, diffuser goes back in. I'm going to have to come up with a better solution, so I may just go with pressurized for it.

The neo-therm heater came too, and it's working great. It's really fancy and the ceramic has a nice heft.
Heft is good sometimes, and the thing feels like quality.

Growth has been good, the HC is really growing up and out.
The downoi looks great too. So far so good. :)

I'll post pictures tomorrow.
 

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Tank is looking great!

I had a similar Co2 problem running my first DIY setup, there is a way around it that makes makes it stable,

Amazon.com: Fluval 20g-CO2 Diffuser - 0.7 Ounces: Pet Supplies

Its bulky, yes but it allows you better control of just how much co2 gets absorbed into the water, this is not a "bubbler" its a surface diffuser, the amount u flood in there is the amount that gets absorbed into the water, and you "dose" your Co2 once every day.

It might work for you, it might not, it worked great in my 29g
 

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hope your shrimp and oto recover well from mini cycle and co2 (if the otos are getting it on in a new tank already they're probably be fine, don't think they'd be in the mood if they were getting gassed to death ^^)
Out of curiosity what are your params (pH, gh, kh, temp)?
I want to try shrimp and otos out soon, but I had read you should only put them in very well aged tanks (up and running 4-6 months) so its absolutely cycled and there's a build up of stuff for them to nom on all day. Since this is a new set up do you just you feed them a bit extra so they can kinda graze all day on the food (since there's not a lot of algae or micro organisms build up in there yet)?
 
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