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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

First a bit about me. I had a 75 gallon FW tank for about 7 years befor i decided to switch over to Reef. Been at that for the past 16 years. So I do not consider myself a beginner. However, I am very much a beginner with planted aquariums. having said that I have watched many You tube vids and read many articles that explains the basics. However I know depending on where you get the info. it may vary. also know that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Having said that IM HERE TO LEARN FROM ALL OF THE EXPERTS, so please steer me in the right direction. I'm open to any and all suggestions for help. so here goes: and I thank you in advance.

I just set up my first planted tank. Purchased a fluval spec 5. so this is a nano. but has an 8500K LED light and two blue LEDs that come on at night for viewing. This is a 5 gallon but I have high hopes for it. I will take pics and try and upload it here is I can figure out how in the next few days. the pure laterite is messy so I'm hoping it will clear by morning. carbon and filter floss is working to do so. clearing up little by little. ok so I have three rocks and the premise is a canyon looking crevase. with a river channel running through it. one side of river is a higher slope to the back right corner. left side is a milder slope with the smaller rock. 100% of flow is top left side and I'm pointing it to top and back wall as not to cause too much disturbance.

Are you still reading? ok here are more details. :)

Water:
all water is RO water as I use this exclusively on my reef tank. except I use water through the last stage DI (deionized water). i decided to use straight Reverse osmosis water without the DI part for the fresh water as DI is too soluble from what I understand for Fresh water fish. Correct?

substrate:
first layer pure laterite 55 OZ.
second layer mix of the laterite and below
last layer Carib sea: flora max.

Livestock:
5 small neon gobies
2 small fancy guppies
1 small ghost shrimp
1 small blue shrimp
1 small albino cory
1 small black and white striped cory.
2 gold snails
(I have kept the above successfully in this tank but have no idea what the plants will do to the balance? as fish get larger they will need to be given back to the store and I know this and prepared for it. right now though these are tiny fish. cory being the largest at .75" everything else is smaller). if the general concensus here is to get rid of a few fish... please advise as I have no idea what to expect with the plants. from my understanding they should work sybyotically with the bio load of the fish and food waste. food management and bio load is kept very very small.

plants:
by topfin- dwarf hairgrass - eleocharis parvula, Telanthera Cardinalis, 4" compacta - hygrophila Corymbosa Stricata, peacock fern - Selaginella willdenowii, also have this tall grass looking plant (sorry dont know the name but was told that its an easy plant by petsmart <oh boy hope thats correct). the above were suggested on line.

Set up:
fish were acclimated and tank was cycled befor starting tonight to do the planted setup part. Laterite went in first then took some and mixed it with the carib sea flora max (black) as direction on the laterite container said. used that for the middle layer and then toped off with a final layer of flora max. (black). Rocks went in with minimal disturbance. then white sand went in for the river through the crevase. filled the tank back up with existing cycled water but kept the fish in small container seperated while I do the planting as not to stress them too much. lost only one ghost shrimp through the whole process as he jumped out of container. ok acclimated and cleaned all gel and substrate on plants as per container directions and let the plants stand in tank water for a couple of hours. began planting and finished it all in about 4 hours. cant imagine doing this on a large tank. I can now see that some things might be easier though in a large tank. However, to fill it must cost some major $$$.

ok i have no idea what I'm talking about. just trying my best to do the right thing by these plants. I have not yet invested in a C02 system but intend to. for now all I have is the following. seacem's flourish excell and API's leaf zone.

short term Goal:
to keep these plants alive. I have no problem doing so with the fish but have absolutely no idea about how in a planted aquarium.

long term Goal:
Automate as much as possible and purchase miniature Co2 system so any suggestions for this sized tank would be appreciated. I currently have an aquarium plants co2 regulator on my calcium rector for my reef so am very very familiar with the apparatus. However my reef is not a nano.

LET ME HAVE IT!
what am I doing wrong?
What have I done right?
What needs to change?
what do I need to do to keep these plants alive?
do they have a chance?
what pruning set should i get?
how often do they need pruning?
and how to prune these plants?
how long will they take to root?
do I need to upgrade lights? if so which? spectrum to get? i want to stick to LED's though due to electric consumption related to reef tank.
 

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Did I understand you correctly ? Did you put a 55oz box of Laterite in a 5g tank ?
I worked/w an air conditioning person for a while and after trying unsucessfully to
assemble a valve one day he asked if there were any directions in the box I was
holding. Since I looked at him out of the corner of my eye he sort of read my mind and said..."when all else fails...read the directions."
So did you just buy the 55oz box to be sure you had enough or did you use all of it in that 5g ank ?
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Substrate sounds fine as long as you don't have it much more than 2" deep. And I'd keep doing tons of water changes to pull out as much laterite dust as possible. IME unless you pull it out of the tank, that same dust cloud will get raised every time you do anything inside the tank, and I"ve had plants killed by the dust settling and totally coating their leaves.

Livestock:
5 small neon gobies
2 small fancy guppies
1 small ghost shrimp
1 small blue shrimp
1 small albino cory
1 small black and white striped cory.
2 gold snails
(I have kept the above successfully in this tank but have no idea what the plants will do to the balance? as fish get larger they will need to be given back to the store and I know this and prepared for it. right now though these are tiny fish. cory being the largest at .75" everything else is smaller). if the general concensus here is to get rid of a few fish... please advise as I have no idea what to expect with the plants. from my understanding they should work sybyotically with the bio load of the fish and food waste. food management and bio load is kept very very small.
Neon gobies? Aren't those SW fish? Do you mean Neon tetras?

You'll have to change out almost every fish in this stock list. I'm glad they're all babies right now, but almost all of them either get way too large for a 5 gal tank, or need to be kept in schools which would be too much bioload for this size tank.

The shrimp and fancy guppies being the sole exception. Though if you have both sexes of guppies, you'll soon be overflowing with them lol You could keep these in the tank though, and add a few more shrimp to round out your stocking.

Otherwise I'd start from scratch and go with species that are scaled to this size tank. Dwarf rasporas, many species of killifish, other dwarf shrimp, smaller species of tetras would be good options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Neon tetras is what I have. sorry for the confusion.

as for laterite. I think I may have used too much. Is the tank doomed? do I need to start over? I was actually looking for fluval stratum but none of the LFS had the stuff. Should I run carbon? the tank cleared up but I do see some red on leaves...

returning some of the fish tomorrow... agreed way too much in there.

OK still listening to any advice you have for me and appreciate very much your input lauraleellbp and Raymond S..
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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No, your tank isn't doomed!lol

The way I see it, you have two options:

1) remove some of the laterite and keep doing water changes and cleaning up as much of the dust as possible. Drawback- you'll have a lot of work ahead of you to get all that dust under control.

2) start over; pull all the substrate out of the tank and give it a really good rinsing before putting everything back together. Drawback- you'll have to pretty much cycle the tank all over again. (Though keeping the filter established should help some... still, it's only a 5gal tank, and those are hard to keep stable when you make big changes like messing around with substrate.)
 

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Sorry I felt an urge to be "colorfull" with the way I put that. You can use up to 2x as much as they recommend...but best to follow the directions on Laterite...too much
iron in it to just guess at it. I put an entire box(55oz) in a 10g mixed/w Flourite.
Everything grew great...for about a month. Then almost every plant in there rotted off at the sub and floated up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry I felt an urge to be "colorfull" with the way I put that. You can use up to 2x as much as they recommend...but best to follow the directions on Laterite...too much
iron in it to just guess at it. I put an entire box(55oz) in a 10g mixed/w Flourite.
Everything grew great...for about a month. Then almost every plant in there rotted off at the sub and floated up.
Its no problem, I appreciate your help and I know I made some mistakes and I'd rather correct it if i could. I'm here to learn.

I re-read the box and...well I used all of it in a 5 gallon tank, OOPS... AND... I was reading the directions when I set it all up too. PROBLEM, kids are a major distraction and its their tank I'm setting up so they were helping. If you have young kids than you know what I mean and understand. I did rinse the stuff very well until the water ran clear. I'm guessing the tank is doomed??? should I break it down and start over? I have plenty of the carib sea flora max (top layer) unmixed with flourite. I did a 20% water change this morning and cleaned the filter out. took some pics tonight which I will upload here. Should I stop dosing Iron completely? I do see fresh buds on some of the plants. However, one plant I purchased looked bad to begin with and is actually looking just ok now. I also put three root tabs

So please tell me other than the plant rotting at the roots is there any way to tell things are not going well? Things seem to be looking ok but I will upload pics so that I can get guys/gals with expert eyes on the plants to tell me so or not.

I appreciate and thank you for your continued help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No, your tank isn't doomed!lol

The way I see it, you have two options:

1) remove some of the laterite and keep doing water changes and cleaning up as much of the dust as possible. Drawback- you'll have a lot of work ahead of you to get all that dust under control.

2) start over; pull all the substrate out of the tank and give it a really good rinsing before putting everything back together. Drawback- you'll have to pretty much cycle the tank all over again. (Though keeping the filter established should help some... still, it's only a 5gal tank, and those are hard to keep stable when you make big changes like messing around with substrate.)
I missed your note above... I feel a little bit better after reading what you wrote. Is it the dust? I dont plan on planting any more but will prune if things grow. On occation I guess I might plant something here or there but tank is small. If the Laterite is kept undisturbed would it be ok? some have suggested that the substrate will be too high in Iron causing rot in the root system.

I know from experience with other tank systems that sometimes disturbing the tank will cause more harm than good. I will post pics so you can tell me if what you see is good or bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Note: only three plants that were added after the posting are Umbrella plant - Spathiphyllum Wallisii and Cryptocoryne undulata 'red' and a moss ball. I stopped all purchases/planting and dosing except Excell 1/2 ml/day (seachem) since learning of this potential hazzard.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Def get some tank pictures posted, I think you have a few non-aquatic plants in there. I put 0 stock in the big box store plant labels, and they DEFINITELY do not know the difference between bog vs aquarium plants 9x out of 10.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Tank pic right after I picked up the rock on left so there is some debre. *** PLEASE IGNORE THE BETA FISH. its going to be out tomorrow as I'm changing out the bowl for him. He's real freindly with the fancy gobies. Note: the backround was placed just for contrast. I will be switching that out when I have everything else settled.


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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
THIS WAS MY INSPIRATION... The idea was to create a natural landscape. I'm not sure I achieved that but one thing is certain to happen. Nature will take its course. I hope for the better, LOL. :D

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Guys/Gals:

Have been watching some vids on dirt tanks. I noticed that:

a. they are implemented on larger tanks with much more sophisticated tanks
b. main thing is that they cap the dirt with a layer of gravel.

I'm not suggesting doing a dirt tank. However is there a way to cap the substrate somewhat? perhaps black sand? so it will hopefully sink to the bottom through the existing carib sea flora max (which is real porus stuff) and cap the laterite... Is this possible? prevent tear down?
 
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