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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! This is my first ever post after lurking about this forum for the past few days. I will be setting up my first ever aquarium this week and had some logistics questions I was hoping for feedback on. We had fresh and saltwater tanks in my home growing up, but they were my dad's thing and I was not really involved in caring for them. Now I wish I'd been paying more attention.

The tank in question will be a Fluval Spec V (5g) for my office desk. It will be planted and house a Betta once everything is ready (thought I met "the one" this weekend but didn't get him because I have nowhere ready for him yet).

Here's my main question, would it be feasible to set the tank up at home during my free time in terms of planting everything and then carefully transporting it to work? I'm not sure what the boss would say about setting things up while on the clock, lol. And I want to be patient and take the time to do it right.

Second question: with just the one Betta planned for now, would cycling the tank with the fish in be all that bad? Okay, I'm really in love with the fish I saw yesterday and want him with me before someone else snaps him up; we had a connection. >.< Of course, I wouldn't endanger him willingly if it were much better for me to just wait for the tank to be cycled on its own though. I want him free of the tiny cup he was in and happy ASAP, preferably with me.

Still researching, reading, and leaning lots as I prepare for this new hobby. This forum has been a great space for that so far!
 

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Hi there, welcome to the forum!

Well...hmmm, I think if I were you... I'd set it up at home, and make sure it is running perfectly for at least three months before transferring it to the office. You need to cycle it, experiment with your products, get your friend acclimated to his or her new home, and have your bearings - you don't want to find yourself having problems with your new aquarium or fish at your job and then stressing over it in front of everyone.

Just a consideration, I think you have a great idea in the making though!
Have fun!
 

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I think you should go get that betta!

Cycling with him in the tank is very doable, but you will be doing a lot of water changes especially the first month. Water testing too. And then there is getting the plants up and established-the sooner the better.

Thats a really nice tank, and once its up and running you can drain most of the water and take it to work-it would probably be less disruptive that way too.

One big limiting factor in smaller tanks is nitrates-even after the tank is cycled. Plants will help reduce them and also help absorb other waste. I like the floating plant frogbit because its so effective at this, and easy to remove from the tank as it grows. Anubias is nice because it isn't messy and will grow under any lights. Whatever plants you go with-the nice thing is your betta will love them, they look great, and they will reduce how often you need to do water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks LittleStar and Davo! I thought it might be harder to move the little guy later on, but setting up at home does seem like a better idea after reading your thoughts. I'll just have to miss him during the day until the tank is nicely cycled and established. I'm rarely home until really late at night most days.

For the plants, I ordered some Cryptocoryne Parva, Anubias Nana Petite, Marimo Moss Balls, Dwarf Four Leaf Clover, Dwarf Baby Tears, and Salvinia Minima as floaters. These sounded like they'd do fine in a low tech tank and not need high levels of light. I'm getting a timer for the lights and considering upgrading the Fluval Spec LED if it's not enough. Any recommendations on that?
 

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I don't have any experience with LED's or some of those plants but one thing I should mention is substrate/substrate additives-what are you going to use? As for lighting its better to have more than less. You can also get a timer so its only on for a certain amount of hours, including on weekends.

Since your tank will be planted, there are some products you can add now before its setup that will greatly contribute to its success, just something to think about.
I found this thread- http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/nano-aquariums/122418-my-low-light-high-tech-spec.html

Also do you have a decent water testing kit? You are going to be using it a lot up front.

When you get your tank setup be sure to post about it here, I'd like to see its progress!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
For the substrate, I got the Carib-Sea Eco Complete Planted. I was planning on SeaChem Excel as an additive. Not sure if I should look into Flourish instead, or in conjunction. No CO2 planned.

Have a Finnex light in my Amazon cart waiting for me to pull the trigger, lol.

The water testing kit arrives tomorrow, and I will start setting up little by little then. Might be getting a snow day here in MA anyway, so will have time to spare.
 

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For the substrate, I got the Carib-Sea Eco Complete Planted. I was planning on SeaChem Excel as an additive. Not sure if I should look into Flourish instead, or in conjunction. No CO2 planned.

Have a Finnex light in my Amazon cart waiting for me to pull the trigger, lol.

The water testing kit arrives tomorrow, and I will start setting up little by little then. Might be getting a snow day here in MA anyway, so will have time to spare.
Very cool, its an exciting time getting a new tank setup!
 

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Still a newbie myself but, I do wanna point out that baby dwarf tears need Co2. So, if you aren't planning on setting that up then it's best to return it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Still a newbie myself but, I do wanna point out that baby dwarf tears need Co2. So, if you aren't planning on setting that up then it's best to return it.
The seller I got it from did note in the description that "Co2 or use of a Co2 additive (Seachem excel) is recommended. Your lighting should be a minimum of 2 watts per gallon." Total newbie myself, so I figured the Excel might be enough, given that. Maybe not? :-?
 

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I'm not sure about the baby tears, but I did grow crypts and anubis and moss balls and the light that came with the fluval spec v really grew the crypts like weeds! I started with 6 tiny plants and they completely took over my tank in about 6 months lol, good luck!
 

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People have grown HC (dwarf tears) just with Excel, I believe the main thing is high lighting as it will grow vertically instead of creeping across the substrate if it isn't sufficient. If your HC doesn't take off then your clover will carpet eventually anyway, but it is a slow grower.
In saying that, you can't dose Excel into a tank with marimos, as it will kill them, and some people have also seen crypts melt after dosing. Excel has an "anti algae" effect, and marimos are a specialised form of hair algae so they do not mix at all. So your HC may be a bit out of place in your tank, as it is not a low-tech plant at all.
Fish-in cycling with one betta is safe if you do it the right way. Here's the forum's sticky about it: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=555434
It might be a better idea to cycle the tank at home, as you will be doing lots of waterchanges like Davo said. When it comes time to move, just drain out as much water from the tank as you can and cover the plants in wet newspaper to stop them from drying out. You will need a container/jar that you can transport your betta in as well. I wouldn't recommend using one from the kitchen, as it can have soap residue on it that will harm your fish, no matter how many times you rinse it, so purchase a new one if you can or use the cup your betta came in. Depending on how cold it is where you are, you may need to look into a way of making sure your fish stays warm during the move. I don't have any experience with moving fish in cold weather so I'm not sure what your options are there, someone else may be able to suggest something.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
In saying that, you can't dose Excel into a tank with marimos, as it will kill them, and some people have also seen crypts melt after dosing. Excel has an "anti algae" effect, and marimos are a specialised form of hair algae so they do not mix at all. So your HC may be a bit out of place in your tank, as it is not a low-tech plant at all.
Thanks for the heads up! My plant order hasn't shipped yet, so I reached out to the seller about this. Hopefully, she'll reply soon with some alternatives.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Plant order came in yesterday afternoon and I spent a few hours setting everything up. Here's the current look as of last night. I apologize for the crappy phone camera quality.

I'm thinking I might switch some things around when I get home today, as well as maybe add a taller background plant on the side with the larger rocks. Also, not 100% sure yet on the dwarf baby tears. Gosh they're messy! Kinda gonna see how it goes and remove it/donate to LFS if Excel and the upgraded lighting doesn't seem to be enough to keep it thriving.

No fishy tenant yet, as the one I'd loved last weekend was sold when I went back to the store. I'm hitting up all the local spots in search of "the [new] one" over the next few days.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm sure yours is not awful at all, allied! This is my first attempt at any tank at all, so I'm definitely no expert. With the tank being so compact, I think I really focused on keeping everything small too. It was a hassle finding a piece of driftwood in that general curved shape that wasn't too long or wide! With the rocks I had to raise the urge to get bigger ones or more of them. All the plants are smaller in terms of leaf size (I listed them in an earlier post, if you want to check it out). Just kinda kept everything as nano as possible, I guess.
 

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I am just totally in love with your driftwood, the piece I have just doesn't do anything for the tank (besides give my frogs a hiding spot lol). And my plans started out so small but got huge quick. I think that's why I feel like it looks tiny. I definitely am going to look into some of your plants! Thanks so much for sharing your work!
 

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Greetings!

I know that this post is a couple of months old, but I wanted to give my take since my only fish right now is an office fish.

My manager was kind enough to allow me to set up an keep a 3.5 gal tank on my desk at work, however, I am under strict instructions to do things like water changes and general upkeep on my breaks or my lunch. That way no one complains that I am using county money inappropriately by taking care of my fish when I am supposed to be working lol.

So what I did was I went out an bought all the stuff for my tank and set it up at work that evening. I ended up doing this at about 8pm, when I get off work at 4:30pm. So I was definitely off the clock at that point lol.

I did a fish-in cycle and it worked fine. My betta held up wonderfully.

If I am just doing a really quick water change, I do that on my break. It takes my whole break to do it, but oh well. I also keep all my fish supplies in a drawer at my desk (gravel vac, water conditioner, aq salt, meds, food, bucket) so that I don't have to tote everything back and forth from home. If I am doing something more extensive with the tank, like vacuuming the gravel or cleaning decor, or rearranging stuff, I either do that on my lunch or after work. I have signs that I made by hand that I tape to the back of my chair that notify people that I am on break or on lunch (i.e. I'm on my personal time, so you have no reason to complain) so that I can't get in trouble. Not that I really think that anyone would complain, but it is better to cover my butt, just in case.

I am so happy for you, btw. Having a fish at work as an office pet has been the best experience. He has gotten so attached to me ^ ^;. He sits in his little foam lilly and watches me work, and if he catches me looking at him he swims to the front of the tank and wiggles back and forth. I truly think that he loves me. :) Even if it is only because I am the supplier of food, it doesn't matter. I'll take what I can get from a fish, haha.

Hope everything has worked out well for you so far. You should post a picture of your tank when you get a chance!
 
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