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My first planted tank - Fluval Flex 57L (15G)

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Hi guys

Thought I'd finally bite the bullet and register as this is the forum I come to when in need of some help. Only been reading posts in the past so thought I should register to get involved.

I started my first tank - a Fluval Flex 57L - two weeks ago and I am currently going through the cycle process. Once cycled, I'm planning to keep some guppies and shrimp (hopefully happily!).

The tank is currently set up with the following:
* Caribsea Eco-Complete Black
* Grey Mountain Stones
* Planted with Eleocharis Parvula, Staurogyne Repens & Rotala Rotundifiola
* Extra added Biohome Ultra "mini" media (500g separated into two bundles)
* Dosing with ferts once a week as per the instructions (can't remember the name or I would include it)

Was planning to inject CO2 but after installing the drop checker, it remains at green so I'm unsure now. Shame that I've spend over £140 on a nano system. I think I'll set it up and dose at 1 bubble every 10 seconds or so just to get some extra CO2 in there? Any thoughts on that would be great.

As I said above, currently going through the cycle process using Dr Tim's Freshwater products and sitting at week and a half mark with high ammonia and nitrites. Ammonia taking longer than I thought to come down again but I'll be patient. Definitely not the 1 week suggested time Dr Tim states.

Had posted this earlier this morning but it's never appeared so I'm trying again. Included some photos below of the tank from when it was first scaped, to it being filled, to it being a week or so into it. Definitely starting to see some plant growth now.

Also seeing some green algae growth on the rocks (you can see this on the last picture) which I believe is down to the level of light. I had the lights set to on between 7am and 8pm but now I've reduced this to 3pm to 9pm instead. The tank doesn't sit in direct sunlight but it does sit in a very bright room that had a white wall outside it which could be reflecting some of the sunlight hitting it into the tank. Again, any thoughts on that would be great?

Really looking forward to what the tank has in store for the future and hoping for not too many problems. I'm here to learn so if you have any suggestions/tips, please let me know.

Thanks
-Derek

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I just bought the same exact tank last weekend. LOL... Wife wanted a new tank in the living room... not sure which way I am going with it yet...
As far as the shrimp... if you are going to do the dwarf shrimp, the lower and upper slits that go to the filter will eat the baby shrimp and maybe some of the larger "dwarf" shrimp... you may want to try to put a mesh or sponge over the intake sections.

I must say though, your tank looks very nice.

Also, I read... guppies could eat shrimp (mixed reviews, but at the price of the dwarf shrimp... may want to not spend that much money on a meal for the guppies)... may want to cross check compatibility.

Bump: You may want to also look into snails if you got a lot of algae already (after cycling). Or maybe less light.

Not sure on how long you leave the lights on per day, but maybe try to cut back 25% ? I am sure someone here could tell you more on the algae on the rocks...
 

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Very nice looking tank you got. the hair grass should look amazing when everything is filled in!! Im still a beginner with planted tanks, but what i have learned on this forum is that algae is caused by a lack of healthy plant mass. your plants are just starting up, as they have just been added. they need to settle first, develop roots etc before they take off and start growing healthily. Therefore, algae have a chance to establish. A cheap and easy solution would be to throw some fast growing plants or floating plants in there (floating plants are even better as they don't need to root and they take co2 from the air and thus will provide healthy plant mass from the get go). Personally, i threw in some sylvinia natans and duck weed in my tank and i did not experience algae at all. Another option is to add floursh excel or easy life easycarbo in there. It provides co2 to the plants but has the added benefit of killing of algae.
 

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What i also notice is that your rock layout is very symmetrical. This does not look very natural as in nature symmetry is rarely seen. This is why aquascapers try to avoid it. Also, it is advised to use uneven numbers for the same reason. You have used 4 main stones. Personally, i would take out one and go for three. Put the biggest on in about 2/3 of your tank (again, avoid putting it in the middle to avoid symmetry) and tip it over a little as is has been tipped over by the current. Use two smaller stones on both sides to complement it, and place the smallest stones to complete the scape.

Here is an example of a classic iwagumi layout with 3 main stones (saizon iwagumi)

Water Plant Transparency Fish supply Aquarium


There are plenty of guides on the internet about the iwagumi layout btw if you are interested in reading more about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Shadelin - I've already covered the intakes with some plastic mesh, stuck onto the inside of the tank as the baffles on the inside of the column make it too hard to get my hand far enough down. I've cut the lights back to 6hrs per day (3pm - 9pm) as it's very light here just now so thought it would best to have late afternoon/evening light rather than during the day.

Bump: Stijn Grundeman - Thanks very much for your comments. I'm really hoping the hair grass fills in as I also think it'll look amazing.

In regards to your Iwagumi comments - I'm really not that bothered about the rules or anything like that. There are actually 5 stones in the tank (perhaps you missed the smaller one at the front?). I want a tank that I like the look of rather than having to stick to rules, symmetry, odd numbers etc. I realise that the Iwagumi tanks are beautiful and a lot of thought goes into them, but it's not for me. I liked the stones I bought and this is the layout that I've gone for. But thanks anyway!
 

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I think your going to need something to gauge your Co2 and I don't think 1 bubble/10sec will be adequate. If you have a drop checker already and its green all the time I would question the indicator fluid. Where did you get the indicator fluid? what DKH is it?

Dan
 

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Shadelin - I've already covered the intakes with some plastic mesh, stuck onto the inside of the tank as the baffles on the inside of the column make it too hard to get my hand far enough down. I've cut the lights back to 6hrs per day (3pm - 9pm) as it's very light here just now so thought it would best to have late afternoon/evening light rather than during the day.

Bump: Stijn Grundeman - Thanks very much for your comments. I'm really hoping the hair grass fills in as I also think it'll look amazing.

In regards to your Iwagumi comments - I'm really not that bothered about the rules or anything like that. There are actually 5 stones in the tank (perhaps you missed the smaller one at the front?). I want a tank that I like the look of rather than having to stick to rules, symmetry, odd numbers etc. I realise that the Iwagumi tanks are beautiful and a lot of thought goes into them, but it's not for me. I liked the stones I bought and this is the layout that I've gone for. But thanks anyway!
Definitely go for what you like! its your tank and you have to look at it.

Regarding the co2 i think 1 bubble per 10 sec is indeed too low for growing hair grass. I would either up the co2 or add flourish excel.
 

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I am a little confused here. You have a green drop checker and do NOT use Co2? If that is the case then your checker solution is off. You are not going to get a drop checker green without injecting c02. I personally think the scape looks great. To maintain that look you are mostly likely going to need C02 for proper growth and to combat algae. My guess is you will probably end up using a ceramic diffusor if you get a c02 rig. Just so you know, I also have a 15 gallon tank with an Atomic diffuser and I run 1.5bps on it at 35psi. One bubble every 10 secs is a waste of time. You will probably end up running about 2bps with that set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To all the drop checker comments - the solution was blue when it was put into the tank and now it's stayed green ever since. I'll re-do it tonight to see if there's any difference. I'm new with this so it's all learning. The drop checker was bought as part of a CO2 system from CO2Supermarket (online). I presume the dKh is 4? It's pre-mixed and only labeled "Drop Checker Solution".
 
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