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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, total noob here, but I have poked around a bit on the forum before posting.

I just got a standard 5 gallon glass kit from Walmart, and would like to start a planted tank with fish...I like pygmy corys, but that part isn't set in stone.

The first picture is the empty tank with filter. The mesh you see at the back is where I'd like to put a Java Moss wall. I would probably put an inch of black sand on the bottom of the tank. That leaves the ugly bare spot where the filter intake is (and that's where the hood cutouts are). I thought about using some of the extra mesh and making a 2 inch high barrier (2nd picture), braced with rocks (glued to mesh if needed). Inside the barrier i would probably use some kind of regular gravel that wouldnt get through the mesh, and plant a couple of crypts or just plop a mat of java fern on top. all that would be left is a bitty piece of driftwood for the center for the fishes to hide.

I just wanted your thoughts on that plan, or if you have better ideas (which I do not doubt). I just thought the "ledge-bi-level-effect" might look cool, but it might be too small a tank to pull off, so if you have alternatives, I'm all eyes.

Thanks!
 

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First of all, I think your idea of a nano pygmy cory tank is excellent. I have a 10g tank that is dedicated to pygmy corys and a pair of otos. I see no reason that you can't do a split level such as you intend. The fish will definitely appreciate the driftwood, java moss and any other hiding places you could provide such as small rock caves or ledges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well, it doesn't look so hot so far. My meager talent and budget aren't up to the task, it seems. :icon_cry:

The crypt on the left isn't going to last. They must have had it awhile, because the roots were huge, and I tore a lot of them getting it out of the pot and getting that wooly stuff off. I have a feeling that if it does make it, I'm still going to have to pull it because the roots wont stay under the gravel. I guess I need to find low-light plants that can make due with an inch of gravel...the fish are gonna need all the water they can get. I hope the moss wall in the back grows out soon...I'm a bit overstocked, and it would be nice to not have to do daily water changes forever.
 

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Well I don't see anywhere that you mentioned what type of substrate you would be using, but it appears to be regular old aquarium gravel. If so, that's going to be a huge part of your problem. Crypts are strong root feeders, so I think you'd need to use a tried and true planted tank substrate.

That being said, it looks like the crypt on the right, not left, that won't be lasting very long. Maybe it's the pic, but the leaves don't look healthy, whereas the crypt on the left looks reasonably healthy.

As far as removing the rockwool from the roots... you have to be gentle! You can't just start ripping away! But provided you either replace that gravel with good substrate, or stick some root tabs down underneath them, there's still a good chance that the crypts will bounce back after they melt away. It's a common occurrence with crypts.

Still, don't get discouraged, and just keep plugging away. It will be worth it in the end. Pygmy cories are such awesome fish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's small gravel...the special stuff for plants was a bit pricey and had sharp edges. I'll be sure and pick up some root tabs this Friday.
 

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Okay I just realized in your other thread that the plant on the right is a sword and not a crypt. That sword is going to be way too big for a 5.5g. I think you should replace it with something else, fwiw.
 
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