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Old 01-23-2013, 04:59 PM   #1 
Sprinkles55
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Smile NPT Planning Process!

I'm basically making this thread to double check on everything and to make sure everything will work out okay for me.

Alright, so to start this off, I have a 5 gallon tank.
(http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawkeye-5-...-Pets/14660258)

It's inhabitants right now are one betta named Sprinkles and one African Dwarf Frog named Mr. Froggie. As of right now, they have a gravel substrate with silk plants. Personally, I thought it'd be more fun to begin a new project... a NPT!

The plan is this:

Substrate: Miracle-Gro Organic choice (http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Gro-72.../dp/B000BQLVNI)
Cap: Play Sand
Hardscapes: Driftwood and probably a little cave and terra cotta pot.
Lighting: 5000k fluorescent bulb (it came with my tank, should I buy a 6500k?)
Temperature: Between 75-80
Plants:
  1. Marimo Moss Balls
  2. Java Moss
  3. Hornwort
  4. Anubias Nana
  5. Water Wisteria
  6. Maybe frogbit, but I'm still deciding
Any recommendations for other plants? I'm totally new to this, so nothing too hard please!

Some questions:
  1. While I was reading someone was talking about Trumpet snails being a great help with the soil, but I don't think I can get one since I feel my bio-load is pretty full as is. I read that poking the substrate from time to time with a toothpick or something would help?
  2. I was reading on some ADF threads and they said sand would pass okay through his system if he were to accidentally swallow some. Is this an absolute positive?
  3. Completely random, but I have Indian Almond leaves and was wondering if they would be okay to place in the tank now with my ADF.
Thanks for any advice and helpful comments! Hope you're all having a wonderful day today.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:09 PM   #2 
efg321
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depending on amount I think you have enough plants listed.
your bioload seems to be full!
I am not a snail guy so someone will have to chime in.
6500 bulb is optimum but you can prob start w/ what you have.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:32 PM   #3 
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None of the plants you have listed need a super rich substrate. I would skip the potting mix. I have had my ADFs in a sand substrate tank for several months with no problems. The trumpet snails are especially helpful with a sand substrate as they apparently keep the sand from getting too compacted. They are small snails but, they multiply quickly.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:31 PM   #4 
Sprinkles55
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Thank you for your opinions guys! :) Definitely helpful.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:26 PM   #5 
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Yeah, don't do a NPT (with soil) if you aren't going to have any rooting plants, and if you decide to go with rooting plants you need to have a good amount of them. Crypts and swords are what I used for mine. Going to add some dwarf hairgrass in a few days.

With sand or soil you really need either rooting plants or the snails. I mean, in theory you can poke the sub to aerate it, but the plants and/or snails would do a better job.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:52 PM   #6 
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I want some rooting plants, I've been looking for some suggestions! Thank you :3 Are there more of those that I could look into?

Last edited by Sprinkles55; 01-24-2013 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:16 PM   #7 
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Although I have never attempted a NPT, I have crypts in just plain old gravel and they grow like gangbusters. I can only imagine how much better they'd do in soil.

I got mine at Petsmart in the sealed packages hanging above the plants in tubes. If you have a Petsmart nearby, check them out. I don't think you can go wrong with them. They're one of my favorite plants due to how easy they are to grow.

(I wish I would have known. I would have thrown a few in with the moss. )
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:35 AM   #8 
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Plants: I have a moss ball and java moss in my 20L and find that's alot of moss. Unless you really want a moss ball, you can probably get away with just the java moss. It'll grow well enough it'll start needing to be thinned out regularly. A floating plant is a good idea and they're good for removing excess nutrients, which will help keep your algae population in check.

Lights: I wouldn't buy a new light; the one you have is fine. More lighting nerdery below:
The importantthing to know is that plants uselight in the 450-700nm wavelength. Kelvin is largely for human benefit, but I think there's some correlation between it and depth of the tank. If you stay between 5K and 10K you should be okay (though I would be *REALLY* surprised if you could find a 10K bulb for a 5g tank). The lower the Kelvin, the more red the light will look and subsequently, the more it will affect the colors you perceive in your tank.

Play sand:
I would do a water test before you put it in. The reason pool filter sand is recommended is because:
  • It's larger grained and less prone to stay suspended in your water column
  • It's generally (always? I'm not sure about this) made of silica sand, which is chemically inert. Play sand seems to have an equal chance of being harvested from somewhere local and mineral composition of it can vary by region.
    • This can complicate your water chemistry, though I don't know how much or whether it matters. (I'm an engineer by profession, so I tend to stick pretty closely to numbers)
Snails: It doesn't necessarily need to be a toothpick. You just want to basically jab the substrate to collapse any bubbles that are formed from anaerobic decomposition before they burp and send soil spewing into your water column.

With plants, you should be able to support a higher bioload, but I've done zero research on it. I generally just ignore snails as part of the bioload, though I just recently read that they can be massive ammonia producers when dead.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:31 PM   #9 
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frogbit is great give beetas place for bb nests
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:44 PM   #10 
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Thank you for all the advice everyone! ^^
After much researching I have bought all of these plants:
  • Java Moss
  • Marimo Moss balls
  • Anubias Nana
  • Cryptocoryne Bronze Wendtii
  • Purple Cabomba
  • Pygmy chain swords
  • Hygrophilia Corymbosa
  • water sprite
I'm also probably getting java ferns and some more crypts or rotala indica, but for now the list is all I am getting for the start. I have heard good things about frogbit, I'll have to try it! I've also found a cheap 10 gallon tank on craigslist, crossing my fingers and hoping I can get the tank before someone else does
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