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Old 02-16-2013, 09:36 AM   #1 
Gale
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First natural planted tank.

Hello everyone, It's been awhile since I posted here. I just thought I'd show you all my first attempt at a natural planted tank that will house a few shrimp and a Betta in the future.

I set it all up 3 days ago, using a Marineland 5 Gallon Hex kit (killer deal off of Amazon!) with:

ADA New Amazonia substrate

1 - Brazilian Sword (Spathiphyllum tasson)

6 - Vallisneria nana

6 - Crypt Lutea (cryptocoryne walkeri)

And weeping moss tied to a piece of slate based driftwood I got off of ebay.

More plants to come soon! I'm going to look for a bulb upgrade this weekend before moving any further. The kit game with a 10w 5100k, and the local fish expert/store that sold the substrate/plants to me recommends a 15w 6700k. If I can find that, I'll be putting some grass in there ASAP...



Two things I have learned so far:

1. Avoid acrylic tanks. Despite being very careful when setting everything up, there are already numerous scuffs and scratches :(

2. Use tweezers for planting, especially with such a small amount of real estate.

Any comments, suggestions?
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #2 
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Update: The closest lighting upgrade I could find is a 13W 6500K CFB.

I was recommended microswords as a lower light alternative to true grass, so I picked some up and planted.

I'm noticing a somewhat sickly looking leaf on the Brazilian Sword (Can be seen in the center below). I'm new to plants, so I'm wondering if I should just cut the whole stem to that leaf, or trim the leaf itself?

Also, looking for opinions on the lighting. I'm considering it good enough for mid light level plants, but I'm not positive on that.

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Old 02-16-2013, 05:38 PM   #3 
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Nice job.....Your light is fine...6500k is ideal-I would stay on at least 10h/day photoperiod and increase to 12h/day PP based on plant and algae growth.

You should clip dead leaf at the crown. The rosette plants(crypts, swords, vals, sags...etc..) tend to do better with their crown above the substrate line. Your grass (also a rosette) usually will be fine planted a bit deeper, however, if it start to look bad-it might need to pulled up a bit too. It should be sending out runners across the tank in no time.

Brazilian Sword (Spathiphyllum tasson) isn't a true aquatic plant and will slowly rot and die underwater. You could place it in your filter box. Was it one of the plants that come in a tube. If you can...I would take it back and get different plant. Crypts are great plants for the lower light tanks.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:10 PM   #4 
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That is a shame about the Brazilian Sword. It's far too large to fit in the filter box, so I will look into returning it if possible. I have no other place to put it at the moment.

All of the plants were plucked out of tanks in a LFS, with the exception to the rosette that I purchased this morning at a Petsmart. That was a Top Fin bagged product with gel.

As for planting the grass deeper, I've found that this particular substrate is very light, making it difficult to get roots very deep to begin with, they keep floating right out with ease. Maybe I just need to work on my tweezer technique

The local fish guru I bought the live plants & substrate from recommended a 6hr/day lights on period. I thought that was a bit of a small window. He definitely knows his stuff, but he is also used to working with more high tech systems that get a steady CO2 supply. I am adding a carbon supplement to the water per his recommendation.

Your recommendation on the lighting schedule sounds more ideal to me. Perhaps I'll split the difference and try 8hr/day for a bit and go from there.

Thanks for the advice. I'm looking forward to getting a few shrimp in there when I start to see algae growth.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:43 PM   #5 
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It looks great :) love the grass
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:59 PM   #6 
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Thanks! Can't wait to see it spread throughout the tank :)

I also tossed in a floating pad plant that my LFS threw in with the others for free. I forget the name of it, but it is already multiplying like crazy in both of my tanks.

I ended up pulling the Sword lastnight, and placing in a partially filled fish bowl with soil for the time being. I will look into getting a few more plants tomorrow after work. Any recommendations to balance out the existing setup?
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:08 PM   #7 
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So jealous~ that looks really really good! ^^
I accidentally planted a non-aquatic plant in my first attempt too, and so I had to take them out and go get a refund... XD
Good luck with your tank growth~ I can't wait to see what it will look like!

P.S.- The floating plant may be water lettuce ^_^
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:24 PM   #8 
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I love it! It looks so beautiful and natural. Well done :)
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:55 PM   #9 
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So, another week has passed. The plants are looking good. I lost a couple of Crypt leaves but I was told to expect that as they are very sensitive to changes in water chemistry.

Last night, I noticed a sizeable patch of algae growing on one side of the tank (the side that has the least agitation from the filter). This morning, I noticed 3 tiny snails munching away at it. I'm sure they found their way in through plants.

I just had another look, and I'm a bit puzzled as to what I'm seeing. In addition to the snails, there are several even smaller creatures that swim very quickly from time to time, and are also congregating on the algae.

They are white, with a body that looks like a stick with 2 dots below them that are even brighter. The only thing I can think of to describe the shape is something I probably shouldn't say on here, lol.

Any clue what they might be? Newly hatched Shrimp, perhaps? (The LFS I got the plants from keeps shrimp in their plant tanks).
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:02 PM   #10 
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I did some searching, and discovered that what I am seeing are copepods. I have also noticed a few thread worms, and another batch of creatures I haven't identified yet, which appear to have the shape of very small shrimp.

The more I look, the more I realize how many critters there are in there. I never experienced this with my other, "un natural" aquarium. Will be paying my LFS a visit tomorrow for some guidance, and likely some more plants.
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