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Old 08-14-2013, 12:40 AM   #1 
itamag
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First NPT

Hey! I am going to buy a 28 liter tank, which is about 7.4 gallons. After discovering about NPT's, I thought that this tank will be my chance to try it out. But though I think I can pretty much handle the process, I don't habe the knowledge to plan what I'll do. So, basically, Me and Felix would really appreciate it if you'll help us with planning this NPT .

There are a few main things I want from the tank:
  1. It is a 7.4 gallon tank.
  2. I want the lighting to be LED, because it's more power efficient and Felix is becoming very expensive as it is. Someone on the forum said he has a 2.5 gal NPT running on LED, so I assume it's possible but please do correct me if I'm wrong. Does it matter if the LED is on top or submerged, and what plants will grow with the limited light?
  3. In the summer, the tank will be at about 28-28.2 Celsius which is 82-83F. In the winter, it'll be 26 Celsius.
  4. The tank will be divided, and house two bettas.

Is it possible to have an NPT with only two bettas and no snails or shrimps? Thank you!
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:07 AM   #2 
Micho
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Yeah NPTs are fairly simple, you can divide the 7.4g for sure.

LED lights are limiting, but I do have a 2.5g, 2g, 6g NPT which all have LED lighting. Most low-light plants work great in NPTs, some that I can list off of my head are mosses (java moss, christmas moss, etc), water wisteria, marimo moss balls, java fern, anubias, and crypts.

Those are the plants I have in my LED NPT and they're doing great. I find some floating plants like duckweed usually die off and don't do very well in LED lighting.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:29 AM   #3 
itamag
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Thanks Micho that helps a lot! Can an NPT exist without snails and shrimp? And can I add a snail or a shrimp to a 7.4 gal with two bettas? How do you get the right soil for the NPT? I searched the measurements of the tank and it's 40*26*30cm. Does it matter? What kinds of plants can I have that don't grow too rapidly? And what kind of carpet plant or bedding plant can I have ( I really want the aquarium to look like a jungle ) Micho, it'd be great if you could post a pic of your 6 gal for some inspiration. Thank you!

Also, in a 7.4 gal with one betta can you have a small school of some fish? Oh and does your LED have a specific spectrum?

Wow that's a lot of questions
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:05 AM   #4 
Micho
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Yeah, you don't need shrimps or snails (but when you buy plants a lot of snails tend to hitchhike, so you'll get them regardless).

A snail would work in the divided 7.4g, maybe a Nerite snail, good algae eater, eggs cannot be hatched in freshwater, stays relatively small. As for shrimps the cheapest shrimp I can think of are ghost shrimps, they grow quite large for shrimps, around 2" or so. Scavengers, they eat anything that gets left behind. Drop some extra pellets or get some sinking shrimp pellets for them. :) Maybe 3 ~ 4 of them would be good.

If you wanted to do a fancier shrimp I would recommend RCS, they are a dwarf shrimp, primarily known for algae eating they are actually omnivores, and scavenge like ghost shrimps. They're somewhat more expensive than ghost shrimps, and since they are so small they can be eaten by your Bettas, so there is a risk there.

But given enough coverage they should be fine.

When choosing a soil you want to find an organic potting soil. Organic is very important, don't want any of that silly additives in there. Cap it with some sand or gravel. Maybe 1.5" of soil & 1" of sand.

Measurements of the tank doesn't matter. Slow growing plants are anubias, java fern, marimo moss balls, crypts, and mosses. They grow very slowly. Unfortunately most carpeting plants require intensive light and CO2 in the tank, you could do a moss carpet. :)

My 6g isn't that great haha, just some water wisteria, java fern, anubias & moss laying here and there. Just wanted to get as many plants in there as I could.

In a 7.4g would could do some Endlers, maybe a trio or so? With only one Betta. :)

And I'm not sure about my lighting to be honest, my 2.5g is a clip on, and my 2g & 6g the lighting came with the tank.
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:00 AM   #5 
itamag
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Where can I get this organic soil, like in what kind of stores? And if I understand correctly, the LED you're using is not special for plant growth, just regular fish lighting LED? Isn't 2.5 inches is quite a lot of substare for this size of a tank? I got into NPTs mostly for the convinience, but it seems to get pretty pricy! Are there differences for the fish between an NPT and a regular planted tank?
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Old 08-14-2013, 05:27 AM   #6 
itamag
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And how much plants do you need in a 7.4 gal, a 5 gal and a 3.5 gal?
I'm getting hesitative. The tank alone costs 42 bucks and it has this weird hood I'll have to take care of, if I buy a special NPT substrate it's another 25 dollars, I don't have a filter or lighting, and every plant costs 4 dollars! Also, I need to make my own dividers and buy the stuff for that because apparently, dividers are non existent in my country!
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:59 AM   #7 
Oldfishlady
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IMO-the idea behind the NPT or natural planted tank-is just that...Natural...IMO/E the natural is part of the beauty of these types of setups.

As close to the natural ecosystem that you can create in a closed system.
Everything needs each other...the circle of life...so-to-speak...lol...IME-one of the most important things regarding success and failure with soil based systems-Plant growth-without good plant growth the system can crash-The driving force behind plant growth is proper color temp of lights.

They don't have to be exact or perfect so much as the system having the things it needs to thrive and take care of itself to a degree. (Its still a closed system)

Just like with the nitrogen cycle-as long as the needs of the beneficial bacteria are met...everything should fall into place with little effort.

IMO-if you want a neat, tidy, organized system...a natural system may not be for you.

A natural system shouldn't cost much to setup or maintain either IMO/E-
IMO/E-the natural system is one of the lowest cost system.
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:51 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itamag View Post
And how much plants do you need in a 7.4 gal, a 5 gal and a 3.5 gal?
I'm getting hesitative. The tank alone costs 42 bucks and it has this weird hood I'll have to take care of, if I buy a special NPT substrate it's another 25 dollars, I don't have a filter or lighting, and every plant costs 4 dollars! Also, I need to make my own dividers and buy the stuff for that because apparently, dividers are non existent in my country!
It may seem expensive but it's a lot cheaper than the alternative, which would involve CO2 and ferts (easily $200). Materials for dividers are pretty cheap.
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:17 PM   #9 
itamag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
IMO-the idea behind the NPT or natural planted tank-is just that...Natural...IMO/E the natural is part of the beauty of these types of setups.

As close to the natural ecosystem that you can create in a closed system.
Everything needs each other...the circle of life...so-to-speak...lol...IME-one of the most important things regarding success and failure with soil based systems-Plant growth-without good plant growth the system can crash-The driving force behind plant growth is proper color temp of lights.

They don't have to be exact or perfect so much as the system having the things it needs to thrive and take care of itself to a degree. (Its still a closed system)

Just like with the nitrogen cycle-as long as the needs of the beneficial bacteria are met...everything should fall into place with little effort.

IMO-if you want a neat, tidy, organized system...a natural system may not be for you.

A natural system shouldn't cost much to setup or maintain either IMO/E-
IMO/E-the natural system is one of the lowest cost system.
So you're saying LEDs won't supply sufficient lighting? And what kind of stores sell the soil? I don't mind the lack of cleanliness at all . Thank you!
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:48 PM   #10 
Oldfishlady
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I am not saying LED won't work-I haven't any personal experience with LED's and NPT's. All I can base my info on regarding LED and plants is what I have researched when I was looking to switch over to LED lights-Long story short...I couldn't afford the LED's rated for the species of plants I grow.

Soil-I like to dig mine from my yard and back pasture. I have used several different store bought potting soils and top soils that work fine too. You want to avoid soil with a lot of added ferts/chemical over and above natural ferts.

My soil based tanks are clean naturally-water is crystal clear-some mulm/debris build up around some hard scape and plants but nothing major. Even after I pull plants and get lots of dirt in the water column-within a few min the water will be clear again. Once you achieve balance within the system your water is clean enough to drink-You have both good and bad bacteria, microorganisms and other micro-critters that you can't see that keep your water clean and clear......Its all about balance......too clean from too many water changes can sometimes do more harm than good....
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