First Iwagumi tank
Hey guys, I'm new.
So about a weak ago I have finally fully structured and planted my aquarium. The tank is very small, 3.69 gallons (14L) and I don't plant to keep any fish in here apart from maybe a very small cluster of cherry shrimp.
I mainly went with an Iwagumi tank because I love building landscapes in miniature form. Got this habit from making bonsai. I have done quite a bit of reading and watched videos, particularly the "Oliver Knott" videos.
I am still a little concerned and confused on a couple of things which I am hoping you guys can clear up.
First of all I had cycled this tank before but I had to take it apart cause I did not like the first structure I made. I dried the substrate but not too dry and left the tank without water in a cool place for about a week, maybe two weeks. When I reconstructed the entire thing the filter was still very wet, soaking even.
Did I lose my bacteria colony?
A friend of mine who's been in the hobby for years told me I have and need to wait another 4weeks to re-cycle it. I explained to my Agricultural lecturer about my situation and he said that I have not. Just in case I grabbed one flake of fish food, crushed it up and threw in the aquarium.
This was two days ago.
Secondly I am a little confused with my lighting. I've seen people using LED lights for their planted aquarium and everything seemed fine and very healthy. I had a "tropical 9watt fluorescent" light bulb but I was worried about it not giving enough light for the dwarf tears. I replaced the light about 4-days ago with one of these house hold compact fluorescent energy saving bulb 15watts.
Can this lighting work or does the bulb have to be "specially" made for Aquariums?
I can't use flourescent tubes like T5s. The hood only supports the standard screw bulbs.
My baby tears are not dying nor are they spreading. They just seem to be sitting in there and I believe, although not quite sure, that they are stretching up but again they really have not moved or grown much. It's as if they are stunted.
As CO2 I am using Easy-Life Easycarbo and I dose 6-7drops of it every day.
I don't use any fertilizer.
Substrate I use the Tetraplan Complete Substrate
The photo period is about 12hours. The tank is only 34cm high, I can't understand how it's not getting enough light.
As you can tell I have no idea what I am doing with lighting.
You can read and see my tank specs here
Iwagum - Sanzon - 4 gallon Freshwater fish tank
hey there ^_^ glad to see that you're doing an iwagumi tank!
As long as your lighting is a 6500k, you will be fine :) fluorescent or LED won't really matter. You might need one more light for the HC to carpet....I'm had a 15w fluval clip light on my 25cm tank once, and I'd call it medium light at best >.<
How did you plant the HC? did you dry start it? If not, it will be somewhat difficult to coax the plant into adapting to a non- CO2 injected tank. unfortunately A "liquid CO2" is usually not sufficient to keep a carpet of HC going, you might want to look into other carpeting options. For example, with enough light, Dwarf hair grass belem and baby tears (HM) can carpet without the help of CO2 injection :)
Additionally if you are looking into shrimp, I do not recommend using the easy carb as it is gluteraldehyde based and may be toxic to shrimp :(
As for the filter, With nothing to feed the bacteria colony for two weeks i'm pretty sure most of it will have died off. It may take a few weeks to build it back up again :)
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CFL 3U T4 E27 6400K
Looks like I'll be needing a bigger light wattage.
No I did not dry start it. I basically went into the only LFS that had HC CUBA, had a look around, got one pot of HC and one pot of Baby hairgrass.
As soon as I got home I split them apart and planted them directly into the tank via tweezers and filled the tank with water once they were good and planted.
So what I am missing here? Should I take the whole thing apart again? Do I change the liquid CO2 into a DIY one? How can I do a CO2 injection? What's HM?
What can I use then that won't kill my shrimp into the future? I was planning that once the carpet takes over the whole tank I would just put in one or two drops instead of the usual seven.
Do I feed my tank fish flakes everyday to get the bacteria working again? Or was the fish flakes I put in before enough to start a colony?
Bleh so confused :-(
Still don't know what to do with my tank.
I am thinking of taking it apart again.
Well not completely. Just remove the water and remove the plant and possibly add something else.
Any suggestions? Help? :|
pure ammonia will be better for cycling if you can get your hands on that... Fish food may come with it's own set of problems. Do you have a nitrite and nitrate test kit as well? you wont be abled to tell whether your tank is cycled with just the ammonia test.
i do recommend dwarf hair grass "belem". These stay very short - 1-2 in.
The HM I mentioned before is Hermianthus micranthemoides (pardon the spelling), or just regular baby tears. Its slightly bigger than dwarf baby tears and grows very fast....
I highly recommend dry starting hair grass for a good permanent carpet... dry starting is where you grow the plant emergent. You will plant them in moist substrate and cover the top of the tank with a saran wrap to keep humidity in. dry starting allows the plants to fill in faster as they are taking in atmospheric co2. Keep your light running at a regular schedule. I've never had experience with the tetra substrate, but I would mist the plants one or twice a week with a little fertilizer to promote growth. After a month or two you should be ready to fill the tank
For CO2 injection you may wanr to look into obtaining a CO2 tank, as well as research the related equipment needed...
DIY works as well, there are many great DIY Co2 tutorials online, googled will take you there :) All you'll need is yeast, sugar, soda bottles, airline and a diffuser.
Ans lastly on lighting, 6400k should be fine :) 5000k-10000k is a decent range for growing plants. Around 6500k is ideal. 6400k is close enough. lol
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I've looked up Belem Hairgrass and HM and to be honest I am not liking their look. Too dense and 1-2inches high is a little too height for the look I want my tank to have.
I am set on HC and Dwarf Hairgrass so I need to find out what's missing from my tank that's preventing these plants from thriving. I don't know what I should do now and I need instruction on what to do.
I'm picking up a 6500K bulb specifically made for aquariums further on this week. I have a feeling that "close enough" isn't enough.
This is doing my head in and I feel like throwing the entire thing in the trash.
Basically what I am asking is;
What do I need to do in order to get my plants going, in order to get my tank functioning properly?
Tell me. Instruct me. I am here to listen to advice, suggestions and learn.
I apologize in advance if I am coming off demanding but I really worry that I am doing nothing right. There is just so much information out there, so many methods and theories that it's hard to find out what actual piece of information is useful, what is right, what is wrong, what is needed and what is not.
I'm a perfectionist. I try really really really hard to get everything up to standards.
I really want this tank to be of worth.
Don't throw it in the trash! lol!
HM is like HC in the way that it carpets, you might want to google HM carpet :) a lot of people grow it like a stem plant.
A typical iwagumi is a high tech tank. The "high tech" part comes from the need of CO2. For a true iwagumi to work, you will need pretty high light :) And for high light to work, you will need a real CO2, whether it is a DIY or a CO2 tank. This keeps away the algae which almost certainly comes hand in hand with the high light :) This is also important to keep the plant growth at a balance as increased lighting bring on an increase demand by the plants for CO2 and fertilization.
Do google the dry start method:) doing a dry start ensures that your tank is up to a healthy start. You can also use this time to look into better lighting and CO2:)
I believe the dwarf hair grass you have may grow 5 in+ :O, do you know its scientific name?
The carpet I want it low and I really did not like HM. I did google it and I saw pictures of it and read about it, constant trimming isn't my forte and I really dislike the general look of it. Too dense, too high, large leaves and just plain bulky.
The problem is I don't think I have any plant growth. Everything looks stunted. I have read numerous threads and articles about HC Cuba, someone has even claimed that their HC Cuba was stunted because there was no "motion" in their aquarium, some have claimed to grow HC without CO2 whatsoever in a much more smaller tank than mine, some have claimed to grow it in low light, liquid CO2... the list goes on and on and on and on.
I've just added my old goldfish filter into the tank to add some motion, maybe it will make the HC want to move and also it added a ton of bacteria to speed up the cycling.
I think I am going to take this whole thing apart and forget about Iwagumi and just get a couple of non-CO2 demanding plants and put a betta in there. Seriously, this whole project was just a right mess to begin with.
I really can't be bothered, too difficult, limited space and time on my hands. All I wanted was a nice little small setup with some shrimp.
I'm doing HC right now without CO2,
I've done A HM carpet for a 1 gallon previously with no CO2 as well, and it did pretty well for me ^_^ Not exactly an iwagumi, but you can get the iwagumi look if you really tried.
Honestly i think trimming any kind of carpet is a pain, be it moss, HC, HM etc...
Personally, I love high light without CO2, but it can be hard to work with - algae problems and such... Without CO2, The plants grow slower, but that suits me just fine :)
From what I've heard a HC carpet gets pretty thick without adequate light since the plant tries to grow towards the light... so you may end with with a 2 in high carpet anyway ^_^
Either way, I believe tanks are there to be enjoyed and for you to have fun with! After all if it's just frustrating you, what's the point right?
Non Co2 tanks can be really beautiful too, and save those rocks! Who knows, maybe one day you'll want to do an iwagumi again ^_^
Addressing the lack of growth: Most likely your plants are transitioning - a lot of store bought plants are grown emersed and needs to go through a transitional period. There is probably not be enough light for the HC and hairgrass to work with, so they're in stasis. You can try providing a bit more light and see how they do....
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