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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. First post here on PlantedTank, glad to be here! Newbie to FW planted tanks but I've been keeping SW reef tanks for a bit. Wanted something small, quiet and relatively low-tech/low maintenance to put in my bedroom (reef tank is in the living room) so after a few weeks of deliberation, I ended up picking up a Fluval Spec.

Here's what I've got so far:
- Fluval Spec
- Stock filter media (foam insert, carbon, Biomax)
- Stock LED lighting
- Stock pump
- Water, gravel and stones from an established tank
- 3 Neon Tetras
- Java Moss

Andddd here come the questions:
- I currently have it in an area that COULD get a few hours of direct sunlight if I keep my blinds open during the day. Was wondering if this would be a good idea for better plant growth, or if it would just cause additional algae growth.
- Are the bioballs a bad idea? I have heard varying opinions on this but I left them in since I don't have a huge amount of rock or driftwood or anything inside the tank for the nitrifying bacteria to propagate on (just the gravel, really).
- Is tap water + dechlorinator okay to use for water changes or topoffs? I have a RO/DI filter that I use for the reef. My building has copper piping so I don't think straight out of the tap would be a good idea but I might be wrong.
- Any ideas for other low-light/low-tech plants would be much appreciated :proud:

Got some great tanks on here and am definitely going to be sticking around. Hope to have some pics up soon!
 

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Welcome back to the world of freshwater! That is, I assume you've started with FW then moved to SW somewhere down the line.

Check this out for bio medias:
http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/showthread.php?88677-Beginners-Guide-to-Filter-Media

I'm not a fan of java moss because of it's wild character, but I'd recommend the usual nano plants:
- Fissidens moss
- Anubias
- Java Fern (windelov, philippine, or trident... no experience with needle leaf/narrow)
- Various crypt species
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! It's coming back to freshwater in a way. Parents had a FW fish only tank for a while that got me interested back in the 90s. Fast forward to me graduating college and moving out and starting SW with my friend's old nano. Now I have a bigger SW nano (30g) and wanted to dabble in planted FW so here I am!

I guess I'll probably just leave the bioballs in, don't plan on having a huge bioload but it couldn't hurt.

Thanks for the plant tips, will definitely keep an eye out and add maybe one or two more species!
 

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My nano and shrimp bowl get partial diffused light sitting next to a window. I have the blinds partially open and they get a few hours of light. I have not experienced any unwanted algae explosions but I do have my tanks heavily planted and regulate the light like a brutal taskmaster.

If you can swing it, just get a few gallons of the water from the giant water dispensing machines at the grocery store. We have Culligan here in Orlando for example and it is a R/O unit. I use it for my water and top offs keeping five gallons at bay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I left my blinds partially open today so I'll see what the tank looks like when I get home (specifically the water temp). Heat is an issue in a smaller tank, in addition to the algae growth. Not sure how heavily planted I'll have it but we'll see :)

With regards to the water, not sure if it wasn't clear but I already have my own RO/DI unit at home. I guess a couple gallons here and there for changes/top offs shouldn't be a problem. Won't be taking TOO much away from the reef tank :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright so I don't think the tank would be good with ambient light (at least not in the summer). It was up around 85 degrees today which is probably a bit too high.

Anywho. Picked up a couple of new plants today - some Amazon Swords to fill in the back corners and a Banana Plant to go front and center. Very nice prices at my LFS (Coral Aquarium in Queens, NY).

And some pictures!




 

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Anywho. Picked up a couple of new plants today - some Amazon Swords to fill in the back corners and a Banana Plant to go front and center. Very nice prices at my LFS (Coral Aquarium in Queens, NY).
I think I may have seen you there today! I was looking at the plants, too, at around 6 or 6:30pm. Your tank looks great!
 

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Your tank does look good, just keep in mind that the swords will probably change radically from their appearance right now. They are usually cultured emmersed, and change to an immersed growth form after they are planted in a tank. No big deal, but I have seen begginers freak out when there amazons start "dying" off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi, thanks for the kind words! Unfortunately two of the three Tetras died on me (a few days apart) for no apparent reason. Third one is still active, eating and going strong. I am considering giving him back to my LFS and possibly going with a pair of African dwarf frogs or possibly some shrimp. I have also added a pair of nerite snails for algae/uneaten food control. Haven't had algae issues though, which I attribute to my RO/DI water :)

In terms of the lighting, it seems to be good for the plants I currently have. The swords look great and the banana plant has sprouted two new leaves already. I am still looking down the road to replace it with a GU10-type bulb though. (PAR 30/38 might be a bit too much.)
 

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So I have a question. I put some gravel on the bottom of my spec and I planted some stuff from Petsmart. I also have one fish in there. The problem is that when the food for the fish needs to be cleaned out, I use a gravel vacuum. That vacuum causes the plants to release from the bottom and float around.

How do you clean your spec?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The nerite snails I have keep things pretty clean. I also use a method I carried over from my SW tank - use a turkey baster to (gently) blast any debris into the water column, and then use it again to suck it out for good.
 

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The nerite snails I have keep things pretty clean. I also use a method I carried over from my SW tank - use a turkey baster to (gently) blast any debris into the water column, and then use it again to suck it out for good.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. The turkey baster is exactly what I needed! Now if only I could get my plants to not get brown spots!
 
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