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Thread: In the planning stages...
06-12-2013, 08:10 PM #1
In the planning stages...
So, I'm planning re-setting up my 5 gal bow front tank. I really love the look of moderately-to-heavily planted tanks, but I don't have the desire or patience to deal with injecting CO2 and lots of ferts, so no high-light, high-maintenance tank for me!
The current overall plan is to set it up with a small number of the plants I want (to save money), and then try to grow them out before even thinking of doing a fishless cycle and adding the animal occupants. I'm planning on a single betta, and some algae-eaters (last time I had ramshorn and trumpet snails for the algae-eaters).
My tank is an Aqueon 5 gallon bow front, bought as a starter kit so it came with a filter. The light is a 10 watt, 6500k flourescent. I forget what the heater was exactly, but I do remember it keeping at a nice low 80s that bettas love. I'm planning on purchasing Eco Complete for the substrate. I'm also thinking of having a terra cotta pot as a centerpiece/fish cave.
As far as potential plants go...
-I love Cryptocorynes, so will likely get some of those.
-Either an Anubias or a Java Fern to go on top of the pot
-Might try to do a Java Moss wall, though it'd likely lead to an asymmetrical look, thanks to to the positioning of the filter, light, and heater. The asymmetrical bit is what might stop me from doing that.
Last time I tried Micro Sword, and while I love the look and wish I could have it, I'm pretty sure my light is too weak for it.
I'm trying to think of what else I could put in there that wouldn't be too much work, and also wouldn't overwhelm the tank. Last time I had an onion plant, and that quickly grew too big for the tank. I'm afraid an Amazon Sword would do the same. I'm also worried about the balance of slow to fast growers. I want plants that will be able to suck up all of the ammonia produced by the animals, but at the same time, my favorites (the crypts and the Anubias) are known for being slow-growers.
I'm also trying to figure out how best to introduce Nitrogen into the tank to encourage them to grow and fill in the tank before I start cycling it for fish.
06-12-2013, 08:32 PM #2
most plants that help absorb nutrients tend to be fast growers so you will need to prune them occasionally. it really is just a different form of waste removal. instead of taking it out with water changes, you take them out as
plant growth. you still will have to change water though, maybe not as much as without plants, but in the end no one can escape doing water changes. easy, fast growing, nutrient absorbing plants that do not require CO2 include hornwort, pondweed(anacharis/elodea) and floating plants such as frogbit, red root floater and salvinia.
06-12-2013, 09:25 PM #3
It wasn't so much the pruning as the scale, and not being sure how best to prune the onion plant. One thing I did notice was that the leaves running along the top of the tank provided a nice 'framework' for bubble nests!
Will have to keep an eye out next time I'm at the store, to see if they have either hornwort or elodea. Floating plants won't be such a good idea with the way the hood was designed. The filter is on one side, and the light on the opposite end. The filter current would end up pushing floating plants over to the side where the light is, and then block light from reaching the rest of the tank.
06-12-2013, 09:44 PM #4
Was poking around, reading threads, and had a thought. What about B. Pennywort, anchored to the bottom?
06-13-2013, 10:47 PM #5
So, I'm cleaning out my tank, and I have where it's going cleared.
I'm looking at four species of plants for the tank, though only three are pretty much set. Those are: Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne wendtii. I'm still not sure what to do for the faster-growing background plant. I looked at both hornwort and Anacharis, and I'm not completely sold on either one... From what I've been seeing, hornwort would take the temperatures that my tank will be at, but it looks like any part stuck in the substrate eventually rots off, rather than roots. The Anacharis looks like it would root the way I would like, but it doesn't look like it would do well at the temps my tank will be at.
Would there be any other options for a 5 gallon tank?
Also, how should I best feed the plants until I'm ready for fish? Just add ammonia, as if I were doing a fishless cycle? The Eco Complete already comes seeded with bacteria, and I wouldn't want to lose those.
06-13-2013, 11:16 PM #6
if you are using eco complete, it is a substrate made for plants and therefore is already full of nutrients, so no additional fertilization is required.
a five gallon is quite small. I am pretty sure that a taller variety of cryptocoryne wendtii could double as a background plant even though it is a mid-ground in normal tanks.
As a matter of fact I have a crypt wendtii "red" that is 18 inches tall. I think that's way taller than a typical 5 gallon is long.
06-13-2013, 11:18 PM #7
Just another option for a 4th plant. Java moss tied to some root growth driftwood instead of a java moss wall. You would be able to easily trim this with scissors and it grows well in average lighting. There is liquid and pellet type plant food if your worried about starving your new plants due to the tank substrate and water being too clean. But I would just have the lighting on for 6-8 hours (watching for any signs of algae). The plants should last with that until your cycle is complete and you can add your Betta.Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..
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06-13-2013, 11:43 PM #8
webpage, it's full of micronutrients, but not the stuff you would normally get from water and livestock. Pulled straight from that page:
Eco-Complete™ Planted will last indefinitely. It won’t break down or turn to mud. Eco-Complete™ Planted will supply trace elements that the plant needs but does not supply a fertilizer component ie. N,P or K. You either need to add the fertilizer or have fish in there that you feed regularly.
Oh yes, I had Crypts going pretty high in the tank before, last time it was set up. I'm looking at stems more for their ability to quickly suck up N than anything else. (My goal is for a tank where there are enough plants to keep the nitrate level way down, and thus water changes are more for the nutrient value than because nitrates are getting too high for the fish.)
06-13-2013, 11:48 PM #9
06-15-2013, 02:25 AM #10
Okay, I've been doing research on plants for the background. Narrowed down to the plants that might do okay in my tank, and should be easily available.
-Needle Leaf Ludwigia (Ludigia arcuata)
Thoughts? Suggestions? Keep in mind: It's a 5 gallon tank that's about 10" to the waterline (including what will be taken up by the substrate), and the light will be a 10watt light. I'll probably have to prune every week (at least) and know that, but I don't want it to look out of place the way the onion plant did the last time I had this tank set up.