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Old 02-16-2013, 02:29 PM   #1 
leahleigh
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Planted Bookshelf Tank?

LittleWatty is selling me one of her 6.6 and I have a few questions.


This is the tank I have now, Betta and Apple Snail included. I plan on transferring all of my plants (2x anubias, java moss, java fern, pot, drift wood) into my tank. I'm not sure if I want to divide it yet, but if I do, it won't be for awhile.

Tank? 6.6 Bookshelf, when you divide it what is the best option to get the best flow? I do weekly siphoned water changes but I have a pet peeve for stagnant water or semi-stagnant. I need a nice soft flow going.

Substrate? Eco Complete. Do you have to change this out ever few months? Or is it mostly a one time use?

Heater? I have two heaters, one of those cheap-o made for 2-5 gallons but it hasn't failed me yet, I also have one meant for 20 gallons that i'm using in my 5 with great success. Do I put them both in, if divided? If I don't divide i'll just use my bigger one.

Lighting? I plan on putting in a lot plants, slowly though, since my budget is a bit short right now. I'm not opposed to getting better lights because I heard the ones it comes with aren't always so great? If I should change them, to what, and where can I get it? Note: This tank will not have plants that NEED a lot of light!

Fertilizers? I'm really looking for a limited tank that won't need a lot of additives (like c02 and root tabs), but i'm willing to add some liquid fertilizer to keep my plants happy and healthy. Sad part is, I don't know a lot about those. Or anything at all. xD I WILL have eco-complete though, will that suffice?

Shrimp/Other? I really want to get some shrimp, my betta is a bit aggressive though and I don't think he'd play nice with them, although he's left the snail alone just fine after he learned he couldn't push it around. What kind of shrimp should I get, and how many?

SORRY FOR ALL THE QUESTIONS. I really want a SIMPLE NPT that's going to be cheap and not really take up a lot of my time every day. I don't want to go into some crazy plants that are going to need me to bend over backwards to keep them alive. I want a low-light and low-fert tank the best I can. I really just want a better home for my betta. If you could post your own Bookshelf Aquariums i'd really like that! :)
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:03 PM   #2 
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Originally Posted by leahleigh View Post
Tank? 6.6 Bookshelf, when you divide it what is the best option to get the best flow? I do weekly siphoned water changes but I have a pet peeve for stagnant water or semi-stagnant. I need a nice soft flow going.


Heater? I have two heaters, one of those cheap-o made for 2-5 gallons but it hasn't failed me yet, I also have one meant for 20 gallons that i'm using in my 5 with great success. Do I put them both in, if divided? If I don't divide i'll just use my bigger one.
I will tell you what I plan to do with my 6.6 bookshelf in regard to the questions above.......

right now it is empty and sitting in my garage but soon I plan to set it up but divided this time. I will make a filter opening in the center of the clear plastic cover and place the filter there instead of to the left. I'm hoping the flow will go equally over the divider. I plan on making the usual craft mesh divider.

I have the tetra pre-set heater that everyone hates I will place it as close to the filter intake as possible so it can spit out heated water.

Since you will probably have yours set up before I do please post photos when you are done. I wish I could help with the other questions, all I can offer is anubias seem to do well no matter what conditions they live in.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:06 PM   #3 
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Originally Posted by leahleigh View Post
Substrate? Eco Complete. Do you have to change this out ever few months? Or is it mostly a one time use?
No, you won't need to change it, it's an inert substrate - it mostly has the benefit of being porous, so it can tend to hang on to nutrients added to the water better than some others (gravel doesn't hang on to anything, for example), but it won't contain anything you don't add. Stem plants will feed fine from the water but you will want to use root tabs (like flourish tabs, or DIY osmocote) every 4-6 months for any heavy root feeders. Those are easy to use, you just push them all the way down to the bottom of the tank next to the plants that need them and forget about them for 6 months.

You really can't get away with a planted tank without adding some kind of fertilizer or starting with dirt (capped with sand or fine gravel)... without it the plants will eventually die. They need more than just nitrates to thrive. That doesn't necessarily mean you need to constantly be adding fertilizers though, but it really depends on what plants you add.

I wouldn't trust shrimp in a betta tank unless you had mature ones you could try out that you weren't super attached to so you can see how your betta reacts. I tried it with one of mine (just with some adult males) and they didn't last long. The problem with shrimp is that usually when you buy them you get juveniles because they handle shipping and changing water chemistry better.. which makes them smaller and very much snack sized. I think bettas in particular are pre-programmed to go after anything red.. so cherry shrimp are like living targets swimming around the tank.

If you replace the bulb in the stock light with a 6500k bulb your plants should be fine. Expect to replace those bulbs every 6 months or so because while they'll still "work" after that, the spectrum of light they produce changes over that time, and they are less effective as they age.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:32 PM   #4 
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Alright! Thanks so much for both of your inputs, and it'll probably be finished in about two weeks (if the shipping time is faster than I expected). I can do root tabs, but I don't want to make them myself, I thought it was a lot more complicated for some reason? Will Petco carry root tabs, and if I don't use root tabs i'd at least like to dose a little bit of liquid fertilizer in, what kind would you suggest that's cheap? I'd probably do a little less than said. ;P

Where do I get that light bulb? I heard home depot carries some, but I am severely lost in the light department. xD
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:45 PM   #5 
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Petco will have the light bulb.. Home Depot might too, but the bookshelf tank takes an 18" 15W T8 if you want to shop around before you get the tank. Just make sure it's 6500k.

Root tabs.. I think I have gotten them from Petsmart in the past so I don't know if Petco carries them. Seachem makes them as well as a good basic fertilizer (Flourish Comprehensive).
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