View Full Version : matt's 5.5g nano

07-22-2009, 07:58 PM
always thought it would be neat to track the progress of my tank.

my tank as it is now:

4 neon tetras

3 dwarf anubias (Anubias nana)
X wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)

5.5 gallon tank (16"W X 8"L X 10"H)
Aquaclear 20 (mini) filter with all 2 media types in use
25W Visi-Therm Stealth heater
15W incandescent bulb
Coralife digital thermometer

10 lbs. river rock gravel
mopani driftwood
3 large stones
a handful of smaller river stones

07-22-2009, 08:22 PM
Good idea!
The tannins will disappear with water changes.

07-23-2009, 12:24 AM
I would switch to a fluorescent bulb.

07-23-2009, 12:31 AM
Looks great!thumbs2:

07-23-2009, 02:05 AM
I would switch to a fluorescent bulb.
i have a compact fluorescent bulb that i switch in and out. it says it puts out 60W while only using 13W. its a "environmentally friendly" bulb. i think it might be too much light. the plants seem to grow more since the nutrients in the water aren't proportionate to the amount of light. also i think it bothers the fish. sometimes after i put it in, they look like theyre hiding in the shade of the wood.
here's the difference:
this is the 15W incandescent

here's the compact fluorescent

i just took both these pictures with my phone with all the lights in the room turned off.

07-23-2009, 02:06 AM
Good idea!
The tannins will disappear with water changes.
yea i know. i soaked it in hot water for a while, switching the water out every half hour or so for like 2 days when i got it. it seems to be at least slowing down in how much it's leaching.

07-23-2009, 02:45 AM
Hehe, interesting, I just started a 5.5g nano as well!!

I really love your driftwood!

I started three days ago and the plants have not grown in. I hope the HC survives! Here is a picture!


07-23-2009, 04:33 AM
Hehe, interesting, I just started a 5.5g nano as well!!

I really love your driftwood!

I started three days ago and the plants have not grown in. I hope the HC survives! Here is a picture!


very cool. what kind of substrate did you use? i need to get a background too. i like your banana plant haha.
im betting that your tank will look awesome once the plants fill in more.
i got the wood at petsmart in the reptile section. it was only $2.25! in the future i'd like to attack some moss to it.

07-23-2009, 06:02 AM
I used Tahitan Moon Sand (for the color) and PondCare Aquatic Planting Media. I used the planting media for the bottom layer up till the black trim and used sand/media mix for second layer. The media seems to have high CEC and plant roots can grab onto it better...

I cannot wait for my plants to fill in...*fighting the urge of adding more plants*

I am still thinking about what to do with the foreground...but I just wish my HC will carpet. =) As of the banana plant...It's more of an experiment. Hehe. I just want to know if it will actually grow!!

Please update us with your pictures!! I love your anubias...it looks so healthy! I cannot believe you got the wood for that cheap...It never happens to me!!!

07-26-2009, 05:19 AM
the tank will most likely be undergoing some slight changes in the next couple days. my family is moving, but only about a 20 minute drive from our current home. I will be studying abroud in Madrid, Spain for the fall semester so the tank will be in the car of my family. I am planning on takeing the neons to a PetsMart (for store credit or just as a donation, whichever they will offer) and getting a betta for them to take care of. They're slightl less demanding and he will probably hold their attention more. Hopefully, everything will still be in tact when I return.

07-26-2009, 05:31 AM
Great Tank! :22:

07-26-2009, 07:24 PM
Good idea with the Betta! He will love the new home!

Have fun in Spain. =)

08-08-2009, 03:55 PM
well we moved into our new house on July 29th. I was able to get the tank set back up the next day, which means it's been up for 8 days now. i flipped the piece of wood around. the anubias is back in. i still have not put in the river stones or any of the larger rocks yet. ill post pictures once i remember where i packed my camera.
all four neons made it! this is the second move they have made successfully. for those who don't know, i live in Dallas, TX but go to school in St. Louis, MO. These little guys made it through an 11 hour ride home! this time if was more like 30 minutes.
i figured i should keep them and let my family take care of them while im gone. give them a chance to keep going if they're able to.
itll be interesting to see if they're able to make the trip back up to St. Louis in January.

08-14-2009, 06:22 AM
so it's been 2 weeks since i got the tank set up after the move. the neons still seem to be doing fine.
ive noticed each of the anubias plants has put out a new leaf or two :) .
im going to start work on a spreadsheet calendar of exactly what my brother needs to do to take care of them while in out of the country.

side note: had my wisdom teeth taken out on wednesday. hope in my drugged up state i dont mess the tank up haha.

08-24-2009, 05:01 AM
just thought i would post an update with some pictures so yall can see what the tank looks like after the move and remodel.
i flipped the driftwood from how it was in previous pics.




you can see how the water is still dark from the tannins from the wood.

upgrade to a 10 gallon - would happen in january once im home from europe.
get a bunch of java moss to line the wood and put on rocks
get more anubias and possible other plants (SUGGESTIONS!)
get a background - most likely black

if anyone has some java moss that will need trimming in the future and want to send to me for a good price, let me know. ill be looking for sellers in January.
anyone know where to get an inexpensive fluorescent light hood (for 5.5 or 10 gallon)? ive looked around and theyre all a little pricey. i would like to upgrade, but im not sure its worth it.

as always - comments and suggestions are welcome!

08-29-2009, 08:59 PM
well this is my last post for a while. tomorrow i leave for Europe. i'll be back in late December.
it'll be very interesting to see how the tank looks when i get back. ill be sure to post a pic of it with a few days of my return, no matter what condition it's in. i can't wait to see how much the plants grow while im gone. my 3 anubias have been putting out new leaves at an alarming rate. when i get back, i expect ill be able to divide each one and have a whole bunch of it all over the tank. thumbs2:

Deleted User
08-29-2009, 10:14 PM
It looks great!!!

08-30-2009, 12:38 AM
I just picked up a 48 inch 2 bulb t12 fixture from home depot for only 10 bucks. I'm going to have to hand it on my ceiling but for 10 bucks plus 7 for the 2 40w 65k bulbs you can't go wrong.

09-20-2009, 07:19 PM
ive now been in Spain for about 3 weeks. last time i talk to my family my brother said that all fish were still alive! from what i hear from them, he's been doing a pretty decent job keeping up with the tank. im getting anxious about what it's going to look like when i get home.
my anubias had been putting out about 2 new leaves every week and a half-ish. its going to be so cool to suddenly see 4 months of new growth! ill be able to devide them all up and cover the tank with them!

09-28-2009, 06:12 PM
went snorkling in the Mediterranean this past weekend. very cool. made me wish i could just enclose a chunk of it and bring it back in a tank.

10-15-2009, 08:23 AM
i have now been in Spain for over 6 weeks. I have just over 2 months left here. its been a blast btw.
i talked to my brother yesterday and the neons are still alive. im convinced that they will never die. after everything theyve been through, theyre like spartans. (the moves, my novice fishkeeping, and my brother who has a horrible track record with fish)
cant wait to see the tank when i get back. ill post a picture of what it looks like no matter what the condition.

11-11-2009, 09:21 PM
just 5 1/2 more weeks till i get back to the states. my family wants to go to Wisconsin for Christmas. ill have to get one of those weekend, dissolving automatic feeders. it'll just be another test for the immortal neons. i think after all this, if they make it to back to st. louis when i go back to school, they deserve the upgrade to a 10 gallon. we'll see.

11-12-2009, 04:40 PM

I hope so too.

I got an idea for the lights. You could use a night flouricent bulb.thumbs2:

11-12-2009, 05:36 PM
I got an idea for the lights. You could use a night flouricent bulb.thumbs2:
i want to use one, however, they seem to be a lot more expensive than the hood i currently have. i've been shopping around trying to find somewhere that has them a bit cheaper.

12-19-2009, 05:11 PM
I am finally returning home tomorrow. The past 4 months here in Spain have been awesome! I get in late so you'll have to wait until Monday morning for updated pictures of my tank. Hopefully it's still in one piece!

12-31-2009, 05:40 AM
alright, well i got home and the tank was pretty much unchanged. the anubias had plenty of new leaves and there was an even layer of algae on all sides, but it didn't look all that different so i decided to forgo pictures (plus my brother stole the batteries out of my camera).
I did lose one neon. no one seems to no where he went. he just sort of disappeared. no one scooped a dead fish out and he was no where to be found in the tank/filter. my guess is he might have managed to hop out and to dog got to him.
one seems to have lost an eye and is looking awfully thin compared to the others. dont think he will last too much longer, especially with the drive back to st. louis coming up in little over a week.
i tried to get as much work done on the tank as i could in those first couple days after i got back. i changed some of the filter media, did 2 water changes in 3 days, and trimmed/moved the plants, cleaned off as much algae as i could, and cleaned the hardware of the filter.
then i left again, this time to visit family in wisconsin for christmas. since no one would be home this time, my only option was a 7-day feeder. boy did that thing look awful when i returned. it had some nasty looking algae growing all over the top and a lot had dissolved into a white murky mess. everything else seems to be doing alright. all the fish survived as did the plants.
i have a feeling that by the time i reach st. louis, ill only have 2 neons left. i dont want to buy more since it was really a mistake to stick them in there in the first place. they ought to have more room. so i think ill just let the 2 chill there and get a betta for the tank. the survivors have earned the right to just ride it out till the end.
im going to be ordering some java moss once i get to st. louis (unless someone wants to be super nice and donate some...) and ill be tying it down to the wood. im really excited about how the tank is going to look once i get that in there. i might also get a java fern, but thats undecided at the moment.

01-11-2010, 04:09 PM
I am back in St. Louis! All the fish survived the trip. Everything is up and running now. I'll post pictures some time this week.

01-18-2010, 12:10 AM
So I finally got some batteries for my camera and took some pictures. Not a whole lot has changed. I moved the plants around a bit and propagated a baby plant that was growing off one of the larger ones.

Here's a full tank shot:

Here you can see the 4 individual plants with the new, tiny one in the center. It's about to put out its first new leaf since being separated.

And a head on shot:

I'm looking into getting some Java Moss to attach along the top of the wood.
Let me know what you think.

01-18-2010, 12:36 AM
Pretty little tank!

02-21-2010, 02:27 AM
I just did a remodel. I didn't add anything new or take anything out. I just moved everything around. I'm actually pretty excited about it. I'll take some pictures and post them soon.

02-21-2010, 02:55 AM
Also, I ordered Flourish, Flourish Excel, and Flourish Iron (Fundamentals Kit) earlier this week so I'm also excited for that to arrive so my plants can really start to thrive.

02-27-2010, 12:30 AM
So I finally got some pictures uploaded of my tank after a bit of redcorating.





I just got the ferts in the mail today. I'm pretty excited to see how they work.

02-27-2010, 12:34 AM
Very nice. I like it.

03-06-2010, 04:40 AM
Well I'm back in Dallas for spring break. I left them with a week long dissolving feeder. Hope everything goes well.
I want to get some Java Moss and Java Fern. Anyone know of a good place to order from?

03-06-2010, 09:15 AM
Anymore I tend to order plants from individuals. Plantedtank.net has a great "Swap and Shop" section with TONS of plants available. Lurk for a while and check out the listings. There's often some AMAZING deals on there but you gotta hop on them!


03-06-2010, 09:38 PM
Anymore I tend to order plants from individuals. Plantedtank.net has a great "Swap and Shop" section with TONS of plants available. Lurk for a while and check out the listings. There's often some AMAZING deals on there but you gotta hop on them!

Thanks. I actually just found plantedtank.net and have been looking through some of the things on there. It does seem to have a great selection and the prices can't really be beat.

03-15-2010, 11:24 PM
Yesterday I got back from spring break and discovered a bit of mold on the emersed portion of the wood. I cleaned it and decided to switch things up again so that the wood was completely immersed again to prevent it from happening again.
And something like that is no good without pictures right?

I suppose I ought to get some plant to go in front of the heater on the right side.


I like this one because you can see more of the detail in the wood.


03-15-2010, 11:25 PM
And this is me trying to be fancy:



03-16-2010, 12:03 AM
Cute tank! Your plants look very healthy.

03-16-2010, 12:05 AM
Very nice tank!

03-24-2010, 04:35 PM
I got some moss that I ordered! right now it's sitting in my 2.5 gallon tank waiting until i have time to pull out my wood and some rocks to tie it to. there's so much! is covers the entire bottom of the 2.5 (12x6) and is about 1.5 inches deep. honestly, i don't know if i'll have enough room in my 5.5 for all of it.

04-22-2010, 08:32 PM
I've gotten some new plants. Some moss, Java Ferns, and Narrow Leaf Java Ferns.



I've also replaced the light bulb with a CFL.

04-22-2010, 09:00 PM
Very nice looking!

04-22-2010, 10:25 PM
Your tank looks great. thumbs2:

05-11-2010, 03:50 AM
Went back to an earlier design. Just wanted to switch things up. I always liked this look more. There are a ton of daughter plants forming on the undersides of the java fern leafs. I counted 28 between the 4 plants. Soon I'll have a java fern forest. thumbs2:

I added the moss to the back middle right. I'm going to let it grow out into a bit of a bush.



The neons will be making the trip from St. Louis to Dallas again on Wednesday as my academic year ends. This will be the third times to make the trip (10.5-11 hours)