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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new here to this forum. Was sent here by a fishgeek named Khandurian (sp).

I curently have four tanks running, 5 gal unplanted with crayfish, 10 gal planted experiment ... the water is green and the hair algae has tunred to dread locks!, a five gallon planted tank on my desk at work and a slightly planted 1.5 gal tank with a betta.

For the purposes of this I am most concerned with the 5 gal tank on my desk at work, the others are stable or experiments. This one, I'm reraly trying to make a show tank.

current settup:
5gal acrylic (not a hex, but the front corners are chopped so it does have six sides, but it's longer than it is tall or wide)
one 6500k 10 watt compact flourescent screw in, one incandescent
mini submersable filter from Elite (not stingray)
1 betta splendins
1 otto cat
some snails, but the betta takes care of the population for the most part
full size (coffee?) anubias ( 8 leaves)
2 x dwarf sag (sagitaria platyphylla)
3 x crypt lutea ( I split this and I'm amazed any of it lived (maybe 15 leaves on three rhyzomes)
java moss (tied to a rock and otherwise scattered through out
1 x corkscrew val
many micro chain swords

substrate is mixed sized gravel (pea to cashew sized) with some black aquarium gravel and some play sand, mostly around the sags.

temp 78, using visi therm heater

been testing with the API test kit for a few weeks now and here is what I mostly see:

Ph between 6.8 and 7 across the board, I suspect some user error in this, but there it is
NO2 has been 0 since I started testing
NO3 moves between 0 and 10, tap water had 10ppm so the plants are eating that up
Amonia is 0 across the board

I had been weekly or bi weekly water changes (20% or 1gal) but have slowed that to every other week due to test results and advice from fishgeeks.com.

I've had quit an adventure with this tank, cyano outbreak, learning about not using instant hot water taps, brown algae etc, etc. I solved the cyano outbreak with black outs. The brown algae was solved by the oto. I finaly got a test kit after having it up and running for a few months now.

I've started dosing with regular flourish. I had thought at first the flourish was causing my betta to get all stripey, but it looks like it was the instant hot water tap. I've been dosing once a week (10 drops a little less than half ml) for three weeks now.

So that is the state of things now.

What I want to do is replace the incandescent bulb with another screw in mini compact flour (50/50 actinic) that I have around. With more light I'm also looking at CO2, but would rather avoid this if I can.

Can I suplement the substarte? What about flora base? Claims to elimnate the need for a CO2 system? Flourish Excel is a no no I'm told cause of the val.

Any suggestions there?

Brought my camera to work but the batteries I brought (two unopened packs) all crapped out on me, so no pics. I'll try again soon.

Would love to hear folks suggestions, thoughts etc.

Also, i was thinking the fish in it now are kinda borring. They are not polutiong the tank quickly so i'm thinking of increasing the bioload. Maybe some CRS? Maybe different fish all together.

I've rambled enough.

Hi. I've already read a bunch of stuff on the site and looked at lot's of cool pictures etc. So far I'm really impressed! Nice job and nice community!
 

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Great first post - and welcome to plantedtank.net!

As for your questions, let me see if I can tackle a couple...

What I want to do is replace the incandescent bulb with another screw in mini compact flour (50/50 actinic) that I have around. With more light I'm also looking at CO2, but would rather avoid this if I can.
50/50 lights are a hot topic of debate and many argue that the actinic light does nothing for plants, isn't in a usable spectrum. Your 6500K is right on the money though, and 10,000K would also work well. Give it a shot - this hobby is all about seeing what works for YOU. You're absolutely right about higher light increasing the need for CO2 - many people want to avoid it until they realize how easy it actually is and how much of a difference it makes. Don't be too intimidated ;) This is my favorite link, more than you ever needed to know, but quite thorough! http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html

Can I suplement the substarte? What about flora base? Claims to elimnate the need for a CO2 system? Flourish Excel is a no no I'm told cause of the val.

Any suggestions there?
Yes, you can suppliment. I haven't used Flora base myself, but I haven't heard anything bad about it. If you've already got your substrate in place and don't plan on redoing it completely, I think root tabs would be your best bet though. Planted substrates like flora base or suppliments like laterite will make a goodly mess when added to an existing substrate without emptying it out completely.

As for the Excel, I've had Vals that have melted because of it too, but I still use it regularly. They melted when I went above the normal dosing, but seemed to bounce back fairly well and haven't melted off again since - even with repeated overdosing. I can't say enough GOOD things about Excel. I think it is the best thing since sliced bread and I by it by the 4L jug. If you don't intend to do CO2, think about using Excel. If your vals melt - I'll personally send you some of my vals to replace them.

Speaking of that - any plants you're looking for? I've got some extra clippings, you can PM me your address and I'll mail them along for cost of shipping ($4.05) if you'd like.

i'm thinking of increasing the bioload. Maybe some CRS? Maybe different fish all together.
CRS (Crystal Red Shrimp) are expensive and delicate, but if you feel up to the challenge, go for it! Make sure to find a new home for your betta first though. Maybe he won't pick on the adults, but the babies would most likely be food. The RCS (Cherry Red Shrimp) are quite a bit heartier and more prolific, and the price has dropped to about $1/shrimp here on the Swap and Shop. These would be a great place to get your shrimp-keeping feet wet before trying the CRS. You can add small fish too - maybe some Endlers? I've kept them with mosquito fish (Heterandria formosa) with good success too. Many fish in this list will work - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/planted-nano-tanks/31095-nanofish-list-v1-0-a.html

Please feel free to ask questions, and again - welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was off over the weekend, so I did some stuff at home and went shopping.

I bought a box of Flourish Tabs.
I got the 50/50 bulb from the house.
I bought another batch of Red Cherry Shrimp ($.49 a piece at scalestfw.com in S.S. MD)
I did some minor maintenance on the tanks at home.

I came to work today with the intention of removing the oto and taking him home to my green water tank with the red cherries ... alas ... he is no more. First fish death I've had from anything other than old age. I must assume that the poor thing expired from my poor husbandry. Very sad and disaoppointed in myself.

But, such is life in the big pond!

Sooooo ....

I have set two tabs in the substrate. A bit much, but I'll stop the other ferts entirely.
I have removed the dead fish :(
I did a 20% water change and THEN tested for amonia and nitrites, both are 0.
I installed the 50/50 bulb. It's several months old and so the actinics should be pretty well burned out but the 10000k portion should still have kick.

A nice meal for the betta and a game of flair at the pen cap and he seems heppy enough.

As for the CO2 ... I'm running a DIY system on my experiment tank at home (10 gal, planted, 1.5WPG, red cherry shrimps). My problem is that this tank is on my desk at work and a bottle of fermenting yeast may be a bit much.

At 20 watts on this 5gal tank is CO2 required or just best?
Should the flourish tabs bubble? I's not much, but I've seen several bubbles come up.

I am still considering moving the betta out of this tank and replacing him with the red cherries and maybe something itty bitty (like some of the suggestions from the nano fish list). My favorite LFS has some tiny little livebearers that I think could work.

I'll watch the cyano
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here's a question for you folks ...

This tank is on my desk at work. It gets something like 16 to 24 hours a day of low ambiant light. I've reduced the photo period but added some light (two 10 watt coral life bulbs, one 6500K one 50/50 actinic/10000K).

Around the outside edge I am getting brown and green algae. I had a problem before with what I believe is cyanobacter and did a black out and it died.

What can I do to help prevent this?

I've just added two flourish plant tabs and so will stop dosing the flourish. I turn out the lights (the room, the tank lights are timed) at night when i close the shop, but the openers are in 8am. Also, the lights do not get turned off (even for 8 hours) every day.

I can do a 48 hour black out every two weeks or more if needed but would rather be able to see the tank. Any suggestions?

My plan for the moment is to let the plants grow out a bit, find some hard scaping material (currently none) and come up with a plan for a redux. I may try a DIY CO2 for this but I hesitate due to being on my desk at work ... maybe I'll risk excel and see how the val does.

Jen, thanks for the offer of plants, but I think there is no room at the inn at this point. I also want to let the plants there now grow out a bit before I do anything else.
 
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