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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello!

I am new to the planted aquarium hobby. I have always liked fish and had a freshwater tank as a kid. Elapse 30 years, and my wife actually suggested that getting a fish tank for the kids might be a good idea. I think she was thinking a small fish tank for something like a betta fish or gold fish, but I took my opening and ran with it. so here it goes. (pics are attached)

Equipment:
Fluval Spec V with mods. Electrical tape covering lower back up intake. Cut holes in the pump outflow tube, metal mesh over the overflow, took out carbon and have 2 biomax bags in filter
Cobalt Neo Therm 25W heater in filter compartment
Stock Lighting
CO2 - Tippman 20 oz and Aquatek mini CO2. CO2 at 1 bubble/1.5 sec starts 1 hr before lights on and off 1 hr before lights off. Currently 3 hrs light/CO2 in AM and 4.5 hrs of light/CO2 PM (total light cycle 7.5 hrs). It coordinates when my kids are home and I like to look at it at night.
Manzanita wood (ebay)
Seiryu Rock (ebay)
Amazonia soil

Plants:
Amazon Swords (Petco from tank)
Mini Dwarf Hairgrass (Petsmart/Top Fin cultured)
Crypt Wendtii (local fish store from a tank)
Anubias petite (LFS from a tank)
S Repens (Petsmart/Cultured)

Future plans:
Plant: considering placing Blyxa Japnoica in the central portion as a midground plant
Fish: 5-6 Celestial Pearl Danios
Cherry Red Shrimp when tank is more established

Currently:
On day 29 of a fish-less cycle. I initially tried API quick start and dosed ammonia to 2ppm and it stayed there for 2 weeks and added the dwarf hair grass and s repens the first week. Eventually, I dumped a bottle of Tetra Safe Start and finally got the cycle going. Tests have been at 0 ammonia (dosing 2 ppm everyday), nitrite 2.0 and Nitrates 30-40. I did a 80% water change last week and planted the crypt and anubias at that time. I’ve been having some minor green hair algae and the rocks that I scrub off when I see it. Also been battling the white fungus on the drift wood that comes back soon after I scrub it off. I might leave it alone since I read that it usually decreases as the tank gets more established. Since I added the plants (Crypt and Anubias) last weekend from the LFS, I noticed 15-30 small white worms (~1-2mm long) on the glass that I am pretty sure are detritus worms. They are very small and I also see them floating around in the water column so I am pretty sure they are not planaria. They probably hitchhiked on the plants from the LFS because I did not see them at all before that. I am not currently feeding the tank anything but ammonia and ferts for the plants.

I plan on doing another water change this weekend and hope to get my hands on some blyxa japonica to put in the central part of the tank in the midground. I am hopeful the water change will help suction out some of the worms and any of the detritus from plant melting that may be feeding them. Overall, I think the plants are doing well. I’ve trimmed my hair grass 2x already and noticed pearling for the first time on my Anubias and Crypt yesterday.

My current questions are:
1) Should I be worried about the worms? I don’t have any fish in their right now, so I could nuke the worms with meds before adding fish if needed. Otherwise, I was thinking the CPDs might actually eat them as well.
2) I was also considering getting rid of the hair grass near the filter compartment on the left and replacing it Monte Carlo just to mix it up and I also like the look of it. Any concerns with the Monte Carlo growing in the tank with the stock light?
3) There are 2 rocks on the right leaning against each other creating a little cave. I have a little concern that there isn’t that much flow going through there and may cause a problem. Would you recommend me repositioning them and not having a cave? I also have concern that any shy shrimp/fish may hide in there all the time and wouldn’t be seen.

Any other suggestions are welcome. Thank you in advance!

Pictures are attached below. Since my kids requested a Nemo and Dory, my wife did make me buy the decorations and place them in the tank whenever the kids ask for it. I take them out whenever I can. ��

View attachment 866291

View attachment 866293
 

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Nice I like it.
Hello!

I am new to the planted aquarium hobby. I have always liked fish and had a freshwater tank as a kid. Elapse 30 years, and my wife actually suggested that getting a fish tank for the kids might be a good idea. I think she was thinking a small fish tank for something like a betta fish or gold fish, but I took my opening and ran with it. so here it goes. (pics are attached)

Equipment:
Fluval Spec V with mods. Electrical tape covering lower back up intake. Cut holes in the pump outflow tube, metal mesh over the overflow, took out carbon and have 2 biomax bags in filter
Cobalt Neo Therm 25W heater in filter compartment
Stock Lighting
CO2 - Tippman 20 oz and Aquatek mini CO2. CO2 at 1 bubble/1.5 sec starts 1 hr before lights on and off 1 hr before lights off. Currently 3 hrs light/CO2 in AM and 4.5 hrs of light/CO2 PM (total light cycle 7.5 hrs). It coordinates when my kids are home and I like to look at it at night.
Manzanita wood (ebay)
Seiryu Rock (ebay)
Amazona soil

Plants:
Amazon Swords (Petco from tank)
Mini Dwarf Hairgrass (Petsmart/Top Fin cultured)
Crypt Wendtii (local fish store from a tank)
Anubias petite (LFS from a tank)
S Repens (Petsmart/Cultured)

Future plans:
Plant: considering placing Blyxa Japnoica in the central portion as a midground plant
Fish: 5-6 Celestial Pearl Danios
Cherry Red Shrimp when tank is more established

Currently:
On day 29 of a fish-less cycle. I initially tried API quick start and dosed ammonia to 2ppm and it stayed there for 2 weeks and added the dwarf hair grass and s repens the first week. Eventually, I dumped a bottle of Tetra Safe Start and finally got the cycle going. Tests have been at 0 ammonia (dosing 2 ppm everyday), nitrite 2.0 and Nitrates 30-40. I did a 80% water change last week and planted the crypt and anubias at that time. I’ve been having some minor green hair algae and the rocks that I scrub off when I see it. Also been battling the white fungus on the drift wood that comes back soon after I scrub it off. I might leave it alone since I read that it usually decreases as the tank gets more established. Since I added the plants (Crypt and Anubias) last weekend from the LFS, I noticed 15-30 small white worms (~1-2mm long) on the glass that I am pretty sure are detritus worms. They are very small and I also see them floating around in the water column so I am pretty sure they are not planaria. They probably hitchhiked on the plants from the LFS because I did not see them at all before that. I am not currently feeding the tank anything but ammonia and ferts for the plants.

I plan on doing another water change this weekend and hope to get my hands on some blyxa japonica to put in the central part of the tank in the midground. I am hopeful the water change will help suction out some of the worms and any of the detritus from plant melting that may be feeding them. Overall, I think the plants are doing well. I’ve trimmed my hair grass 2x already and noticed pearling for the first time on my Anubias and Crypt yesterday.

My current questions are:
1) Should I be worried about the worms? I don’t have any fish in their right now, so I could nuke the worms with meds before adding fish if needed. Otherwise, I was thinking the CPDs might actually eat them as well.
2)I was also considering getting rid of the hair grass near the filter compartment on the left and replacing it Monte Carlo just to mix it up and I also like the look of it. Any concerns with the Monte Carlo growing in the tank with the stock light?
3)There are 2 rocks on the right leaning against each other creating a little cave. I have a little concern that there isn’t that much flow going through there and may cause a problem. Would you recommend me repositioning them and not having a cave? I also have concern that any shy shrimp/fish may hide in there all the time and wouldn’t be seen.

Any other suggestions are welcome. Thank you in advance!

Pictures are attached below. Since my kids requested a Nemo and Dory, my wife did make me buy the decorations and place them in the tank whenever the kids ask for it. I take them out whenever I can.

View attachment 866291

View attachment 866293
Sent from my LGL84VL using Tapatalk
 

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That number of CPDs will hide a lot. Either more or dither fish will help them come out. Once you get some fish in there they'll take care of the worms, so free food.
 

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Tank looks really nice. Just 2 things to think about: amazon swords get very large and have a huge root structure. it could get pretty messy in there if you decide to remove it after a year or so. But it looks so nice now.

I've also had the CPD's, which are beautiful - when you get to see them. If this tank is for the enjoyment of your kids (yes, I know you're excited, too) , I'd probably stock it with about 10 male endlers or 10 chili rasboras, instead.

I have 2 Spec V's and love this tank.
 

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Tank looks really nice. Just 2 things to think about: amazon swords get very large and have a huge root structure. it could get pretty messy in there if you decide to remove it after a year or so. But it looks so nice now.

I've also had the CPD's, which are beautiful - when you get to see them. If this tank is for the enjoyment of your kids (yes, I know you're excited, too) , I'd probably stock it with about 10 male endlers or 10 chili rasboras, instead.

I have 2 Spec V's and love this tank.
The only thing more hidy than a group of 6 CPDs is a group of 6 of their cousin Emerald Dwarf Rasbora. CPDs seem outgoing compared side by side with EDR.

Chili are nice but if you're really into the look of the CPDs then you'll need more or a dither fish, I don't know how well Chili rasboras do as dither for CPDs, I've only kept them in a species tank. But a mere 4 trigonostigma espei(Lambchop Rasbora) was able to bring 6 of my EDR out into the open. Lambchops are slightly smaller than Harlequins, but have less of a black wedge and more orange in it's place.
 
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Welcome, and really nice start.

You’ve got very nice rocks, but I can hardly see them, based on the pictures. Perhaps consider a little bit of substrate ramping front to back, and getting them a bit more upright. I can’t really tell what face would be most interesting - that’s up to you. Getting a bit more vertical balance would look nice, in my opinion.

I agree with the amazon sword comment above - they can get huge. One sword I bought at 5” is now fully outgrowing my 40 breeder, after maybe 8 months. Some dwarf or mini sword varieties are available, but usually not in the pet store tubes. I have picked up anubias nana and java fern in those tubes that have done exceptionally well, so I have no issue with them. Super cheap in comparo.

The stock light on the Spec can grow most stuff, no issue. I’d only suggest a change if you don’t like the color, layout, want programmability, or if you just really like something else.

You may also want to consider an all-in-one liquid fert. Perhaps start at half the recommeded per volume for a while, and increase when you feel like it needs it.

Caves may give your fish a hiding place, but oftentimes nervous fish will be seen more if they have that hide available. You can arrange a cave with a back to the side glass, so you can still peer in.
 

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Ever think about painting the back of the tank black? It will help your focal point, make plants and fish pop more, and hide everything behind the tank. Super easy to do and super easy to remove later on. I would take out the Amazon sword now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks for the comments and suggestions

Updates:

I bought some blyxa from the LFS and added them last night. Even though it's only 1 plant, my wife really thought it improved the looks of the tank. It’s her favorite plant in there now.

Coincidentally, she suggested doing something with the background of the tank too because the light switches in the background are tacky. Will definitely look into getting a background now.

I thought my cycle had finished because my nitrites were finally testing 0 the last few days, but the are back up again after planting the blyxa and doing a water change so I’ll re-test again tomorrow. Hopefully I didn’t screw something up and restart the cycle.

I'm going to run with the stock light for now and see if the growth maintains. If seeing issues, I'll look into the Finnex lights. There are several varieties of Finnex (24/7, Fugeray, etc) so would need to figure out which would work best.

Thanks for the heads up on the swords. That's a bummer. I like the leafy look on that side of the tank. I’ll pull them out tomorrow and look for some replacements. What would be a good replacement plant that has that leafy look but not outgrow the Spec V? I was thinking java fern might be a good choice. Is there a particular species that won’t grow taller than 7-8”?

@Proteus01 I agree about the rocks and layout. I lucked out with the order of rock from ALM on [Ebay Link Removed] Believe or not, I played around with the layout and tried to ramp the substrate from front to back as much I could. It’s a little better than it was originally, but I probably couldn’t create much more of a ramp without committing to buying another bag of aquasoil and replanting some stuff. But I do agree with your criticism. After lurking and reading a lot of other spec threads, I now understand why people say the Spec V dimensions make it difficult to aquascape. With the narrow anterior to posterior width, it’s very difficult to fit the rocks in and create a different level.

Lastly, for livestock, although I had originally planned on CPDs, I have since changed my mind after reading repeatedly how shy they are. I am now leaning more towards chili rasboras. The tough part is actually finding these little buggers at a LFS. I have never actually seen them in person at any LFS. After calling around, I may have found a LFS in So Cal that said they get them regularly so will check with them next week. I would plan on getting 10 chilis if I can. A more controversial choice is going with green neon tetras instead… another fish I have also not been able to find or have seen in person. That particular LFS had them in stock . I do have reservations after reading how neons, and even green neons my need more space than the Spec V provides to thrive.

I am not going to go with endlers for the same reason that I am opting out of CPDs which is I would prefer it if the fish were not easy to breed. I don’t want to have to deal with fry. Also, I don’t want to have to explain the birds and the bees yet to my kids if they see the eggs/fry and more importantly, I don’t want to explain why the parents are eating the babies. :surprise:

Attached a pic after adding the blyxa. Will be pulling/replacing the swords tomorrow. Thanks for the help so far!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
plant identification

Also, here are the two plants that I believe are varieties of Amazon Swords that I planted in my tank near the filter compartment. I attached a photo if of them in the pots when I bought them. It's the two plants in the center that don't have a label on them. Can anyone identify them? I just wanted to make sure before I pull them out of my tank. Thanks!
 

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My suggestion for the leafy plant on the left would be a small crypt. I have Crypt lutea in my spec v and it looks awesome. I was also able to find crypt luteal hobbit tissue culture on Amazon and I love it. It is really small at about 2 to 3 inches max and is a deep burgundy color in submersed form. That could be spread around in different spots for a nice accent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks! The crypt lutea looks like it would fit the bill. Says it grows to 4-8" which is perfect. I'll see if I can track it down tomorrow at a local store and if not, may look online. I'm nervous about ordering on line right now since it's pushing 90-100 degrees during the day right now.
 

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Another option for the amazon sword would be a hygro corymbos compacta

Hygrophila corymbosa 'Compacta' - Green Leaf Aquariums


As for fish, if you wanted endlers over chilis (both around the same size and both stay near top of tank), get all males - these are easily sexed, there's a big difference - and there will be no issues with breeding. With endlers you have a choice of all one color patttern, or many different ones. With either chilis or Male endlers, you'll have a nice active tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I pulled the swords yesterday and replaced them with more crypts, hygrophilia corymbosa and a sword compacta (hopefully). After your suggestion, will look into the male endlers instead of chilis for the tank since they are larger and easier to source. I run my tank without the lid to keep the temperature down. With the lid on, the tank runs 1-2 degrees hotter (79-80 degrees). I have some concern about jumpers, but in looking at most of my nano fish options, it seems like all of them have the potential of jumping.
 

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Nice find on the rocks. Now I want to copy you, and set up another nano.

Nearly all fish jump, though some are much more likely to go on an adventure into the unknown. If a solid top is no good, a mesh top will work - the appearance isn’t as nice, of course, but the fish don’t care.

That temp is maybe a bit high, which can cause issues in a small tank with an evening temp drop - too much swing. Not an alarming temp, just on the high side. I suggest you watch the behavior, see if there’s signs of stress. If not, you’re all set. If so, think about getting a small fan (like computer fan size) to blow over the top. If you have sunlight on it at all, that would add heat, of course.

You’re off to a significantly better start than me, when I set up a tank for my son. I wish I’d found this forum earlier. Well done.
 

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I second the male endlers! Lovely little fish with a lot of personality considering their size. Would recommend getting 5 as they can have problems with bullying in small groups - I've witnessed some pretty brutal aggression in my group, resulting in a trio instead of two couples. Mine are in an open tank though and I've never had any issues with jumping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Update:

After adding the plants last week, I am having some algae problems. The hygrophilia corymbosa didn't make it either. It melted away in a few days. Some of the leaves have been dying on my S repens, so I've been trimming them. The mini DHG on the far side of the tank, farthest from the filter compartment, has been growing quickly, but the mini DHG closest to the filter and near the larger plants hasn't been fairing as well. It may be getting less light than the other part of the tank. I am not sure why. I haven't really changed much in the tank except exchanging the swords out for the new plants. Luckily, my tank does not get direct sunlight.

Still waiting for the tank to finish cycling before adding fish (endlers). The nitrites are still present on my tests. I got excited last week when the nitrites were 0, but then they were back the next day. I'm holding off on doing any big water changes, but I think it messed up my cycle last time I did it.

Still seeing detritus worms on the glass and floating around in the water column. I am anxious for this cycle to finish so I can add the endlers that will hopefully get those worms under control. Plus, my 3 year old twins keep looking at the tank and tell me "need to put fish in there". :| I also want to get some RCS, but will try to wait a month or so after the fish to let the tank stabilize. I also want to observe the fish for a while in case any disease comes up that may need copper treatment before adding the shrimp.

here's a picture of it 5 days ago after I replanted. It's got more algae going on right now. Hoping it's just new tank syndrome.
 

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Yep, new tanks get algae blooms.
Algae is a good sign you’re getting cycled. Once plants get more established, they’ll take more nutrients, and algae will keep a lower profile. I like to do just a bit of manual cleanup to keep the algae off my plants and front glass. I let it live elsewhere, and it makes the rocks look more aged.
 

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Following along. I have a 15L nano side project that I'd like to try as a low-tech and your post (esp plant choice and light/co2 program) has helped me along. Cheers.
 
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