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Discussion Starter #101
Yep, it grows in almost any setup but will look different depending upon the environment. It'll be greener and more leafy when in low tech setups and more compact, often red, in higher light with CO2 and ferts.

I tend to prefer it in low tech setups because it's a darker green than most other plants and adds quite a bit of texture.

The Hygrophila pinnatifida, is that a plant that can grow in low-tech?
 

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The Hygrophila pinnatifida, is that a plant that can grow in low-tech?

I think its one of the most interesting plants-- kinda reminds me of Buce; but, has more of a "wood-land" look to it ( to me). Like you would find it growing on a log right next to some moss under the understory of massive firs and fallen needles.
The tank in the video with the plants you are considering, Jake, would be stand out amazing.
Im really hoping you'll do this look.
i have it both in my low and high tech tank. In my low it craws and attaches to the back wall of the tank. In high tech with CO2, it grows like weeds.

This plan has redish/orangeish under T5 and LED.
 

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i have it both in my low and high tech tank. In my low it craws and attaches to the back wall of the tank. In high tech with CO2, it grows like weeds.

This plan has redish/orangeish under T5 and LED.
Can you add a link to your journal/journals with it included? Id love to see it.
 

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Discussion Starter #104
I did a thing. Had gift card balance burning a hole in my pocket and there was nothing else I wanted from a reef supplier. What am I gonna do with this?





Because of its weird height, I'm gonna have to do something branchy and woody.

Thinking CaribSea Peace River or pool filter sand as substrate. Leaning toward Peace River because it's darker. Have already used up all my good tree-like structures of a suitable height, so gonna have to work on that a bit. Just need to sort through my driftwood collection to see if I can come up with something that's nice. Ideally I'll use ferns, Anubias, Crypts, moss, a Buce or two - my usual go-tos. I want a look that's leafy and more grown out than my usual stuff. Maybe I should try to get my hands on a bunch of tall Narrow Leaf Java Fern.

I could go with Aqua Soil and be fancy with it but I want this tank to house Neos (kH 2-3 and gH 7ish) and Heterandria formosa - at least until I have enough to stock a 5.5gal that I've yet to set up.

Probably won't start a new journal because it makes sense to keep the Specs together.

Note: Spec III won't remain on that countertop. It'll get tucked away on a shelf or placed near my workstation. But I may stick a standard 5.5gal there.
 

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I did a thing. Had gift card balance burning a hole in my pocket and there was nothing else I wanted from a reef supplier. What am I gonna do with this?





Because of its weird height, I'm gonna have to do something branchy and woody.

Thinking CaribSea Peace River or pool filter sand as substrate. Leaning toward Peace River because it's darker. Have already used up all my good tree-like structures of a suitable height, so gonna have to work on that a bit. Just need to sort through my driftwood collection to see if I can come up with something that's nice. Ideally I'll use ferns, Anubias, Crypts, moss, a Buce or two - my usual go-tos. I want a look that's leafy and more grown out than my usual stuff. Maybe I should try to get my hands on a bunch of tall Narrow Leaf Java Fern.

I could go with Aqua Soil and be fancy with it but I want this tank to house Neos (kH 2-3 and gH 7ish) and Heterandria formosa - at least until I have enough to stock a 5.5gal that I've yet to set up.

Probably won't start a new journal because it makes sense to keep the Specs together.

Note: Spec III won't remain on that countertop. It'll get tucked away on a shelf or placed near my workstation. But I may stick a standard 5.5gal there.
OOOHHHH- thats pretty. :surprise:
Now, I am the Java fern queen and have some for you -- do you want tall or very tall :)
But, like always- algae can be a problem in my low-tech tank.




This is the shorter one in aquarium:
 

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Discussion Starter #107
Copy away, @Streetwise!

My plan (I think) for my new Spec III is to copy parts of this Spec III:



I think I've identified the background plant as Cryptocoryne undulata 'Red' and that's what I want to copy. Now just need to find some of that somewhere that won't cost an arm and a leg. Maybe some that's already a bit grown out...

This is the only driftwood I could come up with because I'm running low on small pieces:




Slate will be beneath the substrate. It's shorter than I'd like but hoping taller, flow-y plants in the background and C. wendtii in the mid-ground will make it seem like nothing more than an accent. Thinking about Fissidens here and there. Maybe some Anubias nana 'petite' near the base of the wood. Foreground will be open with a tiny piece of driftwood.
 

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I like the driftwood piece-- it will be great with this look. Those wonderful crypts are really the focus anyways.

The substrate is a perfect match.
 

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I think I've identified the background plant as Cryptocoryne undulata 'Red' and that's what I want to copy. Now just need to find some of that somewhere that won't cost an arm and a leg. Maybe some that's already a bit grown out...

It looks like my Cryptocoryne undulata 'red' - I got it at either PetCo or PetSmart (don't remember which). It was quite small (maybe 3"?) and was packaged like a ground cover, but grew like crazy. You'd have enough for several tanks that size from one package. The front grass looks like the mini dwarf hair grass I also got from PetCo/Smart (bought on a different day, still can't remember which store), so I'm guessing the owner of that tank shops at PetCo/Smart for their plants.



I'd offer to swap some of my already grown out ones, but they're having a seriously ugly phase at the moment (they're recovering, slowly).
 

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Copy away, @Streetwise!

My plan (I think) for my new Spec III is to copy parts of this Spec III:



I think I've identified the background plant as Cryptocoryne undulata 'Red' and that's what I want to copy. Now just need to find some of that somewhere that won't cost an arm and a leg. Maybe some that's already a bit grown out...

This is the only driftwood I could come up with because I'm running low on small pieces:




Slate will be beneath the substrate. It's shorter than I'd like but hoping taller, flow-y plants in the background and C. wendtii in the mid-ground will make it seem like nothing more than an accent. Thinking about Fissidens here and there. Maybe some Anubias nana 'petite' near the base of the wood. Foreground will be open with a tiny piece of driftwood.
What do you use to glue the wood to the slate? Epoxy?
 

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Discussion Starter #113
Welp, now that I've accidentally spent most of the day responding to PMs and reading through tons of tank journals (do this, people! It's wonderful), I guess I should update another of my own.

Not a lot going on with the Spec V. Keeping bacteria alive by dosing ammonium every day. Will snag some Black King Kong shrimp sometime in the next month or so.

Buces and Crypts are growing in and I've done a bit of re-arranging. Likely to add some more in the coming weeks.





Really tough to get a shot of the right rear corner where some little Crypts are finally growing in:




Right rear corner isn't really visible when looking at the front of the tank, as it's hidden behind a piece of driftwood covered in moss. But it's visible from my desk and looks pretty neat.

.....

Spec III is temporarily set up with a few Crypts so I can get a cycle going and get them growing. Will get photos of it at some point soon.

Have some additional branchy driftwood pieces coming sometime in the next week or two and will put together a taller bit of hardscape once it arrives. Then I'll add it to the tank, put in some Anubias or some of my larger Buces, hopefully some Java Fern, some additional Crypts and the tank will be good to go.

Haven't done many lush or overgrown tanks (that weren't moss-only) and am looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

Inhabitants will hopefully be some really dark brown/black/something Neos, depending upon what forum members have available. Will also have a few Heterandria formosa as I work on a larger tank for them.

.....

Been doing some brainstorming as I prepare another tank but am not yet settled on what it will be. I plan to house Heterandria formosa and Zebra Babaulti (because @Discusluv's Babaulti have turned out to be stunning) along with Neo culls. So it'll have some sort of sand as a substrate, rock or driftwood, all the everyday low-tech plants I already have and some Hygrophila pinnatifida because I've recently begun to appreciate it.

The empty tanks I have on-hand:


  • Deep Blue Professional/Seapora 5.5gal
  • 30cm rimless cube (7.13gal)
  • 8.7ish gallon rimless (slight) bowfront (like this)


Just need to get my ducks in a row and figure it out. Won't be running whatever I set up without a cover because I'll have fish. Kind of want to save the cube for the winter and set it up as a Pure Red Line CRS tank with this piece of wood I bought specifically for the tank about seven years ago:




They've both been waiting all that time for me to put them to use. How's that for planning and patience?

You can see why I'd want the cube to be a shrimp-only tank with little in terms of plants because the wood would be the focus. Maybe a Buce here or there but certainly nothing glued to it. Has lots of nice hidey holes for shrimp. A tank like that wouldn't have much in terms of lush plants to keep skittish fish feeling comfortable.

The standard 5.5gal is small and common. Everyone knows the drill with a tank like that. Have everything I need for it - including an old Finnex LED.

The bowfront would be easier to scape with lots of plants. Would have to get a new light for it - something like an ONF Flat Nano or Fluval 3.0 Plant Nano. It would be a bit difficult to cover without considerable expense. Unless anyone out there has any DIY ideas. Can't have anything janky-looking in my kitchen. Could DIY something out of clear netting and cut acrylic, I guess. Anyone have suggestions that won't break the bank?
 

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Welp, now that I've accidentally spent most of the day responding to PMs and reading through tons of tank journals (do this, people! It's wonderful), I guess I should update another of my own.

Not a lot going on with the Spec V. Keeping bacteria alive by dosing ammonium every day. Will snag some Black King Kong shrimp sometime in the next month or so.

Buces and Crypts are growing in and I've done a bit of re-arranging. Likely to add some more in the coming weeks.





Really tough to get a shot of the right rear corner where some little Crypts are finally growing in:




Right rear corner isn't really visible when looking at the front of the tank, as it's hidden behind a piece of driftwood covered in moss. But it's visible from my desk and looks pretty neat.

.....

Spec III is temporarily set up with a few Crypts so I can get a cycle going and get them growing. Will get photos of it at some point soon.

Have some additional branchy driftwood pieces coming sometime in the next week or two and will put together a taller bit of hardscape once it arrives. Then I'll add it to the tank, put in some Anubias or some of my larger Buces, hopefully some Java Fern, some additional Crypts and the tank will be good to go.

Haven't done many lush or overgrown tanks (that weren't moss-only) and am looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

Inhabitants will hopefully be some really dark brown/black/something Neos, depending upon what forum members have available. Will also have a few Heterandria formosa as I work on a larger tank for them.

.....

Been doing some brainstorming as I prepare another tank but am not yet settled on what it will be. I plan to house Heterandria formosa and Zebra Babaulti (because @Discusluv's Babaulti have turned out to be stunning) along with Neo culls. So it'll have some sort of sand as a substrate, rock or driftwood, all the everyday low-tech plants I already have and some Hygrophila pinnatifida because I've recently begun to appreciate it.

The empty tanks I have on-hand:


  • Deep Blue Professional/Seapora 5.5gal
  • 30cm rimless cube (7.13gal)
  • 8.7ish gallon rimless (slight) bowfront (like this)


Just need to get my ducks in a row and figure it out. Won't be running whatever I set up without a cover because I'll have fish. Kind of want to save the cube for the winter and set it up as a Pure Red Line CRS tank with this piece of wood I bought specifically for the tank about seven years ago:




They've both been waiting all that time for me to put them to use. How's that for planning and patience?

You can see why I'd want the cube to be a shrimp-only tank with little in terms of plants because the wood would be the focus. Maybe a Buce here or there but certainly nothing glued to it. Has lots of nice hidey holes for shrimp. A tank like that wouldn't have much in terms of lush plants to keep skittish fish feeling comfortable.

The standard 5.5gal is small and common. Everyone knows the drill with a tank like that. Have everything I need for it - including an old Finnex LED.

The bowfront would be easier to scape with lots of plants. Would have to get a new light for it - something like an ONF Flat Nano or Fluval 3.0 Plant Nano. It would be a bit difficult to cover without considerable expense. Unless anyone out there has any DIY ideas. Can't have anything janky-looking in my kitchen. Could DIY something out of clear netting and cut acrylic, I guess. Anyone have suggestions that won't break the bank?
That crypt in the first picture ( in the Fluvel V) is very pretty- has a pink tinge to it in picture. Interesting...
The tank is humming along and the buce are going bonkers! Mine is barely throwing off microscopic leaves...



I Imagine, by now, the Spec V is getting a great deal of beneficial, little creatures and microbes perfect for when you add the shrimp. You have been very patient- much more than I--- and most likely why I lost some Bloody Mary Shrimp to begin with. Poor things. This seems to have stabilized and Ive noticed that my most beautiful babaulti is berried-- some babies coming to you very soon. :)


Looking forward to seeing the Spec III come together as it will be very different than what you have done recently. Also, the shrimp choices you have coming up for all your recent builds are exciting to me- I haven't seen many varieties of shrimp actually in others tanks, but only in vendors photos. :smile2:


That wood piece reminds me of my hornwood branch- much too interesting too cover up in plants. It should be seen. Thank you for reminding me of this when I think of doing my upcoming vase. Although, not entirely sure yet if I will use this wood or the Malaysian wood. Or, maybe Ill go sans-wood- just make a jungle of stem plants-- lol!


Thanks for taking the time to share where you are. Its always a pleasure.
 

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Discussion Starter #115
If I can get that pink-ish Crypt to grow at any reasonable rate, I'll RAOK a bunch of it on the forum. It's taken a looong time to grow up from the rhizome.

There are tons of critters roaming around. Daphnia, seed shrimp, other little white specks, a few detritus worms, a few non-planarian flatworms. They don't show up in all of my tanks but I love it when they do.

That's awesome about the Babaulti!

Sometimes it seems silly to allow something as simple as a piece of driftwood to be the star of a tank. Certainly does to me. But in instances like this it almost has to be.

Some try to shy away from the planning stages and aren't realistic with themselves about trials and tribulations. I find this hobby works better when all the good and bad is shared. And planning? It's half the fun. Sometimes it takes years to put something together - like with the 30cm cube. I knew when I got the tank that at some point I'd want to shut down some of my PRL tanks and that day is coming soon.

Definitely a good idea to let others see that tanks, more often than not, look less than stellar for quite some time in the beginning. Important to see that patience is easily 50% of the hobby.


That crypt in the first picture ( in the Fluvel V) is very pretty- has a pink tinge to it in picture. Interesting...

...

I Imagine, by now, the Spec V is getting a great deal of beneficial, little creatures and microbes perfect for when you add the shrimp. You have been very patient- much more than I--- and most likely why I lost some Bloody Mary Shrimp to begin with. Poor things. This seems to have stabilized and Ive noticed that my most beautiful babaulti is berried-- some babies coming to you very soon. :)

...

That wood piece reminds me of my hornwood branch- much too interesting too cover up in plants. It should be seen. Thank you for reminding me of this when I think of doing my upcoming vase.

...

Thanks for taking the time to share where you are. Its always a pleasure.
 

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Thanks for creating this journal. It's been an interesting read. I'm thinking of getting a small tank for my home office and the Spec V may be a real good fit. Quick question if you don't mind. My experience is with tanks ranging from 20 - 120 gallons. I don't have an overstocking habit. For example, my low tech planted 120 only had a dozen or so small fish in it. I no longer have the tank due to a relocation, so will be starting from scratch. I have no experience with FW shrimp, just SW shrimp when I had a reef system. Am I asking for trouble with trying my first small tank, and shrimp at the same time?
 

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Discussion Starter #117
I don't think you're asking for trouble. 5ish gallons isn't that small.

Would just recommend you spend 3-4 more weeks reading about shrimp, parameters, all that and making sure you fully comprehend it all. Generally, make sure nothing seems overwhelming or confusing. Then start with something simple like Cherry Shrimp.

If you have the space, a standard 10-gallon aquarium would be easier to scape and plant. Would also be cheaper. $15-$20 for the tank, $25 for a filter, $25 for an LED fixture. Also gives you twice the water volume, so stable parameters are a bit easier.

Thanks for creating this journal. It's been an interesting read. I'm thinking of getting a small tank for my home office and the Spec V may be a real good fit. Quick question if you don't mind. My experience is with tanks ranging from 20 - 120 gallons. I don't have an overstocking habit. For example, my low tech planted 120 only had a dozen or so small fish in it. I no longer have the tank due to a relocation, so will be starting from scratch. I have no experience with FW shrimp, just SW shrimp when I had a reef system. Am I asking for trouble with trying my first small tank, and shrimp at the same time?
 

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Thanks for the reply. I'm in my research phase at the moment and my first thought would have been a 20L but I have never tried a nano tank before. I'll keep lurking and reading. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #119
Parameter update:

Typically, I cycle shrimp tanks with 2-3PPM of ammonia/ammonium. Once cycled, then I drop things down to about 1PPM for a few weeks before adding shrimp. But I decided to try something different.

Bumped this tank (and my others that are shrimp-free) up to 2PPM last night to build bacteria up. Since it's going to be a while before I can add shrimp, I figured it might be interesting to see how long it takes for the tank (and others) to be able to handle twice as much ammonium as they've been getting.
 

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Discussion Starter #120
Time to share a photo of the Spec III:




Crypts in the back will grow to the top of the tank and flow forward, essentially (hopefully) giving the tank a jungle look. Crypts in the middle and toward the front will be shorter.

A better look at the Crypts:




Glued on another piece of Manzanita to give the hardscape more height. Used a zip tie to hold it in place and forgot to remove it... so it's in there for good. Maybe I'll hide it with some Anubias nana 'petite' at some point.

Thought about adding moss but don't want it to disappear in what will ultimately be an overgrown tank. Moss is something that can easily be added later - possibly attached to a small piece of wood in the front of the tank. Could even use Fissidens fontanus. Nothing is set in stone but I'm excited about having a tank that's nothing like the rest of my boxes of water.
 
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