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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!

Well, this is my first time posting here and my first time setting up a planted freshwater aquarium. I've done a few saltwater aquariums successfully in the past so I'm hoping this project won't be as difficult. Somehow I have a feeling I'm wrong.

Here is a rundown of what I have:

3 gallon desk aquarium
3 stage power filter
18 W compact fluorescent with 50/50 14,000 actinic & 7,400 daylight
(lighting came with kit)


For substrate I'm using Seachem Onyx. I would have preferred EcoComplete, but the lfs didn't have any and I was excited to get started and purchased the Onyx instead. I was told to use Spring water by the lfs if I didn't have RO water available. This tank is being placed on my desk at my office. My desk sits near a very large window in our auto showroom. ( lots of light from outside) I have a feeling the little light that came with it will be too much and is designed for saltwater aquariums. Can I make it work or will I have to purchase a new one ( which I'd rather not do, since I already have one).

Here are some questions that I have. Should I use co2 or go without? I also purchased FloraPride plant fertilizer made by TetraPlant. Again, I would have preferred Flourish but they were out. I have absolutely no idea which plants I will be getting since I'm still doing research on them. I know they will have to be very small maybe dwarf plants of some kind that do well in nano tanks. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

So, that's it so far. I know I've probably made some mistakes already because of my impatience so you can give me a tougue lashing now before I go too far with this. I'm willing to correct any mistakes I've made no matter what. I really want this little guy to look nice.
 

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Welcome Cajunqueen, with a small 3g tank you dont need co2 excel would be fine. You can search the swap forum for great deals on plants, there's always something in there. Good luck, and again Welcome to PT!
 

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^actinic really changes the way plants grow. They tend to be way more bushier....the actinic in my tank really fubared my HC it went from lil tiny leaves to all super bushy big leaves.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Orlando for the welcome. I'm really glad I came upon this site. I always read the articles in my subscription of TFH. I knew my lighting wasn't quite appropriate for this kind of tank so I guess I'll modify it. It looks like the actinics have to go. It's a shame cuz they look so pretty. What about the substrate? Is it ok?

You know what? I'll try to post some pics of the tank to show you what I've done so far. I know you guys are tired of seeing other people's tanks and answering the same questions over and over but as you can tell from my post, I can be a bit anxious.

If the lighting is the only problem so far, then I'm doing good! I'm really glad I found the plant list on this site. It is extremely helpful. But now I have to go through all of them and decide which plants to choose.

If anyone has any more suggestions I'd be grateful.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pics for you to see

Here is the front of the tank











The side of the tank

 

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Thanks Church for the reply. I know its bare but I'm not sure what kind of driftwood or rocks would be best to put in it. I was told that real driftwood would stain the water and certain rocks would raise the ph. Is there a list somewhere that I can go by to judge which ones a safe? Also, which websites are good to order plants?
 

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I think the general concensus is that the best way to mail order plants is by purchasing them from other hobbyists, here in the Swap N Shop forum. As far as driftwood, if you by a piece of driftwood from an actual aquarium shop, it will probably already have been boiled and "prepped" for aquarium use, and I doubt you'll ever have a problem with leeching tannins. That's mostly for when you are procuring your own driftwood from natural sources. And as far as rocks, stay away from rocks that contain any lime or calcium. The best way to know for sure is to take a sample of the rock, drop some dilute muriatic acid (or vinegar works, too) on it, and if it fizzes, it ain't good.

Petrified wood is always a safe way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great advice Church! Now I think I have an idea what I want. Tomorrow I go to the lfs for driftwood and rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here is one pic of a possible layout. My co-worker helped but I think there are too many rocks for such a small tank. What do you all think? I also have a few pieces of driftwood and some smaller light colored rocks just in case this layout is no good. I really wanted something simple since this is my first project.

 

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Looks like its going to be nice once it gets plants and everything in there. I would say there are too many rocks in there though. With the limited space in the tank you will probably want as much room as possible to put your plants in.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here are some of the other supplies that I am considering. I really like the driftwood piece.


 

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Discussion Starter #14
With just the driftwood.....


 

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I really like the first rock layout, but remove the front 3 rocks and the back left one. One rock would be find. You can also add the driftwood in the place of the back left one if you want. Thats just my opinion though. It looks great!
 

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use the wood vertically supported by 1 or 3 of your smaller rocks.
worth a try aye.
I agree but use rocks with more texture and all of the same kind and color. don't just lay wood flat and don't center it,also slope the substrate. I would return the florapride and get seachem you don't need fertilizer emediately. Excell or DIY co2 will do but moss and anubias don't need it. . cajunqueen home depot has a full spectrum 6500k replacement bulb for that fixture for about $7 compared to $12 plus shipping online.
 

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Yeah a valid point there Marimo, Sloping the substrate will help no end, especially if you can get quiet a slope on it.

Re: the rocks I agree textured rocks would be better, but since you have those sandstone ones already at disposal they could be used to give you a good idea as to where to go with the scape.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks Marimo for the advise on the bulb. I'll go there tomorrow and see what they have. I've decided to do a little of everything thet all of you have suggested. I'm going to slope the gravel and use some of the rocks to raise the driftwood up some. If I raise the driftwood up too much it will stick out of the water so I have to be careful not to slope the substrate too much.

These are some of the plants that I'm thinking of. I don't plan on using all of them just the ones that are easy to find. I really want some color in my tank not just green. Here's my list:

Foreground:

Ranunculus Inundatus
HC, Hemianthus callitrichoides
Tiger Lotus

Mid-ground:

Downoi
Rotala sp. mini
Cryptocoryne spiralis

Background:

Limnophila aromatica
Water wisteria
Crinum natans

Keep in mind these are not carved in stone. I'm not even sure how big they get. If any of you have any ideas of plants that stay small I would greatly appreciate it. Those above are just some that I love because of their unique beauty and color.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think I will go with this layout. It has a few places for fish to hide and it's simple. I am really considering HC for the ground cover. I'll be getting some of my plants this week. Will keep you posted.
 
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