The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, newbie to the forums here (and newbie to planted tanks)...got a few questions I wanted to run by people with more experience than myself. I used to do saltwater predator tanks, but they are ungodly expensive to upkeep, so after a roughly 10 year hiatus, I've decided to rejoin the aquatic world but with a new challenge - planted tanks.

Just for some background, my current setup is a Fluval Flex 15 with all the included filter media in use (including the carbon) and some Fluval Stratum as the substrate. When I first started the tank, I put the chemicals in with just substrate, water, and Fritz 7 to start things off. Let it run for about 2 weeks, used an API Master Test Kit and found good parameters before I added driftwood (also soaked for 2 weeks and then boiled) and a few plants. I then let the tank sit for another week or so, checked parameters again...all fine, so I added 3 ember tetras as my "canary" fish (I have since fell in love with the tetras and want more now). I noticed my plants came with a bonus, a baby nerite snail so...that's fun to watch grow. After about another week or so, I checked the water again and everything still looking good...so I added in 3 cherry shrimp, a long fin pleco, and 3 peppered corys. It's been about a week and water parameters are still pretty much in check (ammonia is just barely starting to creep up at a color between 0 and 0.25 ppm). As for lights, I use the ones that come with the tank - white light goes on around 10am, with the blue light coming on around 10pm (for a few hours then I turn it off completely because it's in my room next to my bed and I like total darkness).

Tank looks healthy from what I can see, water is crystal clear, parameters are all pretty much still in check, and fish seem happy. But now I have some maintenance questions...

  • How often should I be doing water changes in this tank?
  • How much of the water should be being changed at a time?
  • When adding de-chlorinator back in during the water change, do you only use enough for the amount of water you are adding back, or enough for the entire water of the tank?
  • Am I overstocking, or can I add a few more things to the tank?
I've only ever done saltwater, so this is a little different to me (or at least I feel like it is). Any guidance is appreciated...few pictures of the tank below as reference.

(Note: The cherry shrimp picture was before I added the corys, they cleaned up the bottom spotless.)

1031696

1031697
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
  • How often should I be doing water changes in this tank? - I do 40-50 % water change weekly
  • How much of the water should be being changed at a time?
  • When adding de-chlorinator back in during the water change, do you only use enough for the amount of water you are adding back, or enough for the entire water of the tank? Just for the amount you adding back.
  • Am I overstocking, or can I add a few more things to the tank? It's only 15 gallons, I will add a few more but would not go crazy.
Watch for the ammonia levels, you can control this by doing weekly water changes along with nitrates, I would do one right now so there is no ammonia otherwise fish will suffer. Also watch out for algae since you are running the light for 12 hrs.

Good luck!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
  • How often should I be doing water changes in this tank? - I do 40-50 % water change weekly
  • How much of the water should be being changed at a time?
  • When adding de-chlorinator back in during the water change, do you only use enough for the amount of water you are adding back, or enough for the entire water of the tank? Just for the amount you adding back.
  • Am I overstocking, or can I add a few more things to the tank? It's only 15 gallons, I will add a few more but would not go crazy.
Watch for the ammonia levels, you can control this by doing weekly water changes along with nitrates, I would do one right now so there is no ammonia otherwise fish will suffer. Also watch out for algae since you are running the light for 12 hrs.

Good luck!!
Thanks, I'll get the bucket and siphon gun and get to work then!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Looks like a great set-up! I agree with the last poster's answers, but I'll just add a few points that might be helpful:

Water Changes: I've had a similar tank for years, with slightly more plants, and I currently do around 20% weekly water changes. Once your tank becomes more established and the plants start to expand, you can easily get away with smaller water changes.

Stocking: Once you get comfortable with doing water changes safely, I think you are fine with adding 3-4 more tetras. You could also definitely get a few more cherries and start a small colony (although most of the fry will probably become cory snacks). Adding a few tetras and cherries would probably put your tank at a "healthy max capacity"— my only concern would be the pleco. Not sure if it is full grown, but an adult 3-4" longfin pleco might push the bioload over the top, as they are big waste producers. It will definitely be fine while it is an adolescent, but as it grows you might need more gravel vacuuming to keep the waste in check.

Snails: freshwater snails aren't nearly as cool as some saltwater, but definitely look into mystery snails. They are by far the most entertaining in my opinion. They do produce a good amount of waste, though. I would be careful that the nerite you have discovered is not a pond snail / pest snail—they look very similar when they are small, and it is much more likely that you got a free pond snail with your plants, rather than a free nerite. An actual nerite would be a great addition to this tank to help with some of the glass cleaning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like a great set-up! I agree with the last poster's answers, but I'll just add a few points that might be helpful:

Water Changes: I've had a similar tank for years, with slightly more plants, and I currently do around 20% weekly water changes. Once your tank becomes more established and the plants start to expand, you can easily get away with smaller water changes.

Stocking: Once you get comfortable with doing water changes safely, I think you are fine with adding 3-4 more tetras. You could also definitely get a few more cherries and start a small colony (although most of the fry will probably become cory snacks). Adding a few tetras and cherries would probably put your tank at a "healthy max capacity"— my only concern would be the pleco. Not sure if it is full grown, but an adult 3-4" longfin pleco might push the bioload over the top, as they are big waste producers. It will definitely be fine while it is an adolescent, but as it grows you might need more gravel vacuuming to keep the waste in check.

Snails: freshwater snails aren't nearly as cool as some saltwater, but definitely look into mystery snails. They are by far the most entertaining in my opinion. They do produce a good amount of waste, though. I would be careful that the nerite you have discovered is not a pond snail / pest snail—they look very similar when they are small, and it is much more likely that you got a free pond snail with your plants, rather than a free nerite. An actual nerite would be a great addition to this tank to help with some of the glass cleaning.
Thanks! About how long does it take plants to grow like this? I know my saltwater tanks, the live rock and the coral took months to develop and grow. As for the stocking section - yeah the pleco I'm also wondering about too after doing a bit more research on it. Right now it's about a half-inch long and very tiny, and I do have a gravel vac, so I'll have to keep an eye on him and the bioload - good point.

The snail....heh, let me see if I can get a picture of that little guy and see if I misidentified him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Thanks! About how long does it take plants to grow like this? I know my saltwater tanks, the live rock and the coral took months to develop and grow. As for the stocking section - yeah the pleco I'm also wondering about too after doing a bit more research on it. Right now it's about a half-inch long and very tiny, and I do have a gravel vac, so I'll have to keep an eye on him and the bioload - good point.

The snail....heh, let me see if I can get a picture of that little guy and see if I misidentified him.
I would guess that's not a nerite. I am pretty sure that nerite species wouldn't have that much of their antenna or foot sticking out of the shell, and the "pointy" shape of the foot really looks like most of my pest snails. To be fair, I have never seen a "baby" nerite snail, just the adolescent size that you can buy them in, but I am 95% sure that is a pest snail.

For plant growth, it highly depends on what types of plants you have, I'd suggest googling your plants and growth rate. I have a 15 gallon with about 80% of the substrate covered with anubias, and some moss on different hardscapes, and that was fine with a full bioload of fish and 20% weekly changes. I'd definitely recommend getting some moss on that driftwood—A little moss won't drastically help the water quality, but it will help some, and it will look nice.

You will definitely be fine with a 1/2 inch pleco. They also grow pretty slowly, so it will probably be a few years before it becomes a problem. Also FYI, a lot of LFS do pleco trade programs, where you can bring in a pleco that has gotten too big, and trade it for a smaller one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would guess that's not a nerite. I am pretty sure that nerite species wouldn't have that much of their antenna or foot sticking out of the shell, and the "pointy" shape of the foot really looks like most of my pest snails. To be fair, I have never seen a "baby" nerite snail, just the adolescent size that you can buy them in, but I am 95% sure that is a pest snail.

For plant growth, it highly depends on what types of plants you have, I'd suggest googling your plants and growth rate. I have a 15 gallon with about 80% of the substrate covered with anubias, and some moss on different hardscapes, and that was fine with a full bioload of fish and 20% weekly changes. I'd definitely recommend getting some moss on that driftwood—A little moss won't drastically help the water quality, but it will help some, and it will look nice.

You will definitely be fine with a 1/2 inch pleco. They also grow pretty slowly, so it will probably be a few years before it becomes a problem. Also FYI, a lot of LFS do pleco trade programs, where you can bring in a pleco that has gotten too big, and trade it for a smaller one.
Well damn lol.....I guess I should pull that snail out soon then huh? And yeah the local family-run fish shop (not generic pet store) near me mentioned that when I bought it for a "just in case" situation.

Really appreciate all the advice so far.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Well damn lol.....I guess I should pull that snail out soon then huh? And yeah the local family-run fish shop (not generic pet store) near me mentioned that when I bought it for a "just in case" situation.

Really appreciate all the advice so far.
Most would say pull it out. If you have low algae and low excess food, a few pest snails can look nice in my opinion, and not overpopulate the tank, but EVENTUALLY they will probably have a population explosion. Regardless of whether or not you remove it, I would get 1 or 2 real nerites, as they will help clean the glass better than a 1/2" pleco.

Happy to help! 15-20gal planted tanks with nano fish are so cool—I'm glad you are enjoying it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Most would say pull it out. If you have low algae and low excess food, a few pest snails can look nice in my opinion, and not overpopulate the tank, but EVENTUALLY they will probably have a population explosion. Regardless of whether or not you remove it, I would get 1 or 2 real nerites, as they will help clean the glass better than a 1/2" pleco.

Happy to help! 15-20gal planted tanks with nano fish are so cool—I'm glad you are enjoying it!
Cool, he's a sneaky bastard who moves around a LOT so next time I find him, I'll yank him and go get some real ones this weekend when I go back for the rest of the tankmates. Also, seems like I now have a water change to go take care of lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
471 Posts
  • How often should I be doing water changes in this tank?
  • at least once a week
  • How much of the water should be being changed at a time?
  • around 20% would be good. Somewhere around 2 gallons.
  • When adding de-chlorinator back in during the water change, do you only use enough for the amount of water you are adding back, or enough for the entire water of the tank?
  • If you're using a bucket or jug, put the dechlorinator in the bucket for the amount of water in the bucket before adding it to the tank, otherwise if you add the water first you should add enough to treat the whole tank.
  • Am I overstocking, or can I add a few more things to the tank?
  • You can add a little bit more, but not a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
I, personally, love pest snails- good indicator of tanks health for me. If I have a population explosion of them I know there's something wrong- clogged filter, excess food/ dead plant matter, dead livestock- there's ALWAYS a reason. Other than that I only ever see maybe 4 of them at any given time in my 40 gallon. It's been running with pest snails for over a decade. Everyone's experience is different, though.

Welcome to the other side of the hobby 😉👍
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
  • If you're using a bucket or jug, put the dechlorinator in the bucket for the amount of water in the bucket before adding it to the tank, otherwise if you add the water first you should add enough to treat the whole tank.
I was wondering about this...that's good to know! Going to make things a million times easier lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
I keep a single assassin snail in my display tank, just to avoid potential population explosions of the pond snails that found their way in. Pond snails reproduce like crazy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Speaking of saltwater and snails. I love nerite snails. They can't reproduce in freshwater and they have that saltwater critter look. IMO I don't like how huge the apple snails look, especially in a smaller tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Speaking of saltwater and snails. I love nerite snails. They can't reproduce in freshwater and they have that saltwater critter look. IMO I don't like how huge the apple snails look, especially in a smaller tank.
Yeah I wasn't a fan of the big goofy apple snail lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Surprised no one mentioned this yet, but you need to pull your anubias up out of the substrate so the rhizome is exposed. The roots can stay planted but that rhizome needs to be exposed or the plant will rot in the substrate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Surprised no one mentioned this yet, but you need to pull your anubias up out of the substrate so the rhizome is exposed. The roots can stay planted but that rhizome needs to be exposed or the plant will rot in the substrate.
I had to look up what the hell a rhizome is lol...but thanks, I'll get them fixed while I do my water change here in a few minutes (waiting for these morning meetings to be over).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Surprised no one mentioned this yet, but you need to pull your anubias up out of the substrate so the rhizome is exposed. The roots can stay planted but that rhizome needs to be exposed or the plant will rot in the substrate.
Wow—thank you for mentioning that. I have had anubias for years and always had trouble covering that part of the plant with substrate, because it would always push up and unbury itself. That makes a lot more sense now—I'm going to go uncover mine too now 😅
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Water change was done earlier this morning, and just tested the water - 7.0pH, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, and 0ppm nitrate. Fish seem happy still, water has cleared back up since the stirring of things during the gravel vac and water change, and I unburried those plants finally lol. If everything still tracks by the weekend, I'll probably go get the rest of the tank mates to finish it up (and some moss as suggested somewhere above).
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top