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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After a few years hiatus. I saw a Betta at the pet shop that told me he needed a home. I've had moderate short term success with planted tanks in the past and thought that maybe I can get some more experience with this tank for future projects. So here we go... a low light, non-CO2 Betta/Shrimp tank.

3.7 gallons
3 watts LED on a timer with a current 6 hour photo period broken into two 3 hour blocks with a 1 hour siesta.
Onyx sand substrate (with a little crushed carbon mixed in) capped with filter sand

1 Betta
4 Nerite Snails (the kids love them)
Cherry Shrimp (coming after stabilization)
Thai Micro Crabs (considering)

B. monnieri
Lace Java Fern
L. arcuata (I know it's generally considered high light but I've had success with them in other lowlight tanks)
A. coffeefolia
A. nana petite
C. parva
L. mauritiana
Smidge of Marimo on the spider wood

Using the EI Lowlight dosing method as suggested by the Calculator.
KNO3 and K2HP04 in a 1ml solution dose.
CSM-B in a 1ml solution dose (I didn't add any DTPA Fe (11%), should I?)

This is what the tank looked like after planting.



A few days later and the plants have all perked up. The moneywort and Ludwigia are emerging from the water surface which is making me consider ditching the glass top. I've never had a problem with Betta jumping. A few shrimp might become adventurous however. Maybe I can DIY an open top that will allow emergent growth. I have extra C. parva, and L. mauritiana that I planted in an emersed setup so as not to waste them and I have several of the micro sword that I left in water that I'm going to use to fill in a few more of those bare foreground spots.



There's some bacteria bloom on the spider wood. Not unexpected. It should clear on its own. And if its still there when the shrimp go in they'll love it.

Not sure about the flow and circulation. In the first pic the water did visibly circulate around the tank but there was no surface agitation. In the second pic there is surface agitation but there is no visible circulation throughout the tank. Not sure which is the best way here.

What are your thoughts. I'm all about suggestions and input. I'm not entirely comfortable with the planted tank yet, lack of experience and past failures make the idea daunting sometimes but I'm constantly reading and learning and open to new ideas.
 

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Tank looks great! I've always leaned towards surface agitation when there are any stock that aren't labyrinth fish in tank. I do notice that I don't get the same growth rate with some plants when tank circulation is lower but really it only seems noticeable with crypts in my experience. BUT my focus in my tanks is always geared around happy healthy stock and if a plant isn't doing well it's removed if it's dying or left to stay the same or grow slow if it's surviving. So I am sure that more knowledgeable people will know why it matters or if it really does as I can't back up that thought with any particular facts just personal observations.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Just about 4 weeks in...

6.25.17: I had to remove the Bacopa and Ludwigia. They stems just kept rotting out and wouldn't take. I have a single stem of Bacopa left that I'm trying to revive emersed. I replaced them with C. Brownei on the left and Echinodorus pinwheels on the right. The tank has completely cycled by this point and the C. parva and micro sword are starting to send out runners and are doing well. The anubias and jace fern are doing well also.




7.2.17: As you can see the C. brownei is getting great growth. The pinwheel sword has that one leaf that is browning up, though the roots are clearly growing and establishing itself.

Should I remove this leaf?



Water parameters are stable and the weekly EI dose for lowlight tanks is testing at the right levels. I'm going to hold off on adding the shrimp until the micro sword fills in a little more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
7.09.17

Everything is coming along nicely. The micro sword is growing tall and sending out a few runners. Same with the crypt parva. All the Anubias are rooting wells and producing new leaves. I removed the rotting leaf from the pinwheel sword in the back and a couple of new leaves have started sprouting. I also threw in a stem of Red Stemmed Parrot Leaf in the back right to see how it will do.



Bruise is doing well too. He is taking food from my hands and enjoys a good "rub" on top of his head.

Only thing that is still lurking is the rotting leaves on the stem plants. First it was the Ludwigia and Bacopa (both of which I removed because the stems also kept rotting) and now the C. Borwneii.





Anyone have any ideas what might be causing this? I tested the water both before and after dosing this weekend and all the numbers looks good. <5ppm NO3 before dosing, 10-15 after. <.5 PO4 before dosing, 1-2 after. <0.1 Fe before dosing, ~1 after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)


Lots of progress, some set backs. The stem plants taking a long time establish. I took the tops of the creeping jenny (C. brownei) and replanted them in the back left. These tops were grown submerged only so I'm hoping there wont be anymore stem and leaf rot.

I added some dwarf hair grass in the fore ground. I think the contrasting textures between that and the L. mauritiana will be interesting.

There are two pinwheel swords in the back right. The one furthest to the right isn't growing new leaves but there is a new plantlet that shot off. The one on the left hasn't changed wince planting.

Will removing one or all of the older leaves stimulate new growth?

There are nerite eggs all over. I need to remove 3 of the 4 that are in there. They were only meant to be temporary anyway.

There's also some BBA growing on the spiderwood. I'm hoping the addition of the planned Amano's will take care of it (though I really want cherry's). Thought I might dose it excel or H2O2 before I get the shrimp. Ammonia and Nitrite have been stable so adding the shrimp wont be a problem.

The Java Fern has sprouted 3 or 4 new leaves. You can kind of see them popping up behind the rock amongst the Creeping Jenny.

As I mentioned the Ammonia and Nitrites have been non-existent. And my CO2 is measuring about 3.3ppm.

My PO4 levels are averaging higher than low light EI dosing recommends. Skipping last week's dose reset my N3 and Fe quit e well but my PO4 is still reading ~3ppm. I might have to dose my KNO3 and K2HP04 separately.

What are your thoughts?
 

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That looks nice.

Why is your co2 at 33 ppm without adding co2? Personally i think the hairgrass and microsword will struggle in a lowlight tank with inert substrate and no co2.
 

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If you're still looking into getting a crab for the tank, I would greatly suggest a pom pom crab! They're a little bit more pricy, but they're about twice the size, growing to be an inch and a half, making it less likely for your betta to make a meal of it. The pom pom crabs are scavengers, just like dwarf shrimp, but they use the filament (Hense the name pom pom) on their claws to catch the small foods that are missed by the fish. The instinct to hunt and use the claws have been completely bred out of them, and they're a little more unique than a TMC.

I have 3 of them in my community tank and they get along great with my 10 dwarf shrimp, 7 nerites, and my schooling fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not adding CO2. You can calculate the dissolved CO2 in your water based on your KH and PH. However, I did fail to place the decimal point, haha.

3.3 ppm based on the PH and KH.
 
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