Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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StacyK 08-23-2010 02:34 PM

New Freshwater Planted Aquarium
Hello Everyone,

So I'm new to this wonderful site I just stumbled upon. I have a 3 gallon 360 degree view aquarium with an under gravel filtration system. I will be setting it up this evening with live plants (new to me). I have purchased the substrate, fertilizer tabs, and the plants. I have had the aquarium running but all the fish died after the last water change (not sure what happened there). Will the gravel be ok to use on top of the plant substrate if it's been in the aquarium already? I haven't been able to find an answer to that question. From what I've read the aquarium will need 2-3 weeks to acclimate before I add fish. When that point comes I'm looking to add Neon Tetra given the fact that the aquarium is small. Do any of you have any additional suggestions for me?


Inga 08-23-2010 03:50 PM

Welcome to the forum. This forum has been a valuable resource for me as well and I am certain that you will gain all kinds of "aquarium knowledge" here as well. The tank I currently have up is also my first attempt at planted and it doing wonderful. I used Eco-complete substrate and didn't need to add anything else over it, but you can add a little gravel if you want. There are people that plant in regular aquarium gravel as well. If your gravel has been sitting, I would be cautious adding it though as it might have bacteria in it that could be an issue. Make sure you clean it very well and rinse it very very well. My understanding is, it should be thoroughly dry before adding too.

I think Neons sound perfect for a 3 gallon tank but I am sure there will be others that will chime in soon. I hope you will post pictures when you are done, we all love to look at pictures. My favorite tanks are planted fresh water tanks. Good luck and have fun. :)

badxgillen 08-23-2010 03:52 PM

if the gravel was intended for aquarium use then it would be fine to put on top or even mix with the plant substrate..i use flourite in a couple of my tanks and simply covered it with gravel...also remember to do small water changes more often than a large change at once...sudden large water chemistry changes are easy to over look in such a small enviroment..sounds like the final product in mind will be awesome..this site should help you on your far as plants small specimens like dwarf saggitaria ,java mos ,water sprite,cryptocorene wendtii, among others...steer clear of the large sword plants..some drift wood to give of a little tanic acid...well any how hope you get something from this....ADIOS.......

burnsbabe 08-23-2010 04:24 PM


Honestly, I would caution against a planted tank with an undergravel filter. They way the filter works and takes up space doesn't work well with substrate planted plants. If you were to do a small bit of driftwood with java fern or anubius attached that might work out better.

The neons sound wonderful. There are other options as well. Check out the profiles section up top and click through. Some rasbora species would be great.

You haven't mentioned your water parameters. Temp, pH, hardness, etc. That would help us direct you toward a suitable fish species.

Good luck!

StacyK 08-23-2010 04:57 PM

I was wondering about the under water filtration system. I'm actually looking to see if i can find an in tank filter that will attach to around tank.

I not sure of the water hardness or ph at the moment. i try to keep the ph at 7 and from years ago i seem to remember that the hardness was pretty normal....though i should probably test that again.

badxgillen 08-23-2010 05:52 PM

you could try a nano hang on filter wich should be checked to see if it fits to the conture of the aquariumand may be a little powerful or a good old sponge filter..

Inga 08-23-2010 06:05 PM

honestly in a 3 gallon tank, I would put a few plants in and skip the filter all together. If I added any filter at all it would be a very small sponge filter. The plants will act as filter anyway so, depending on the type of fish, you might just skip it all together.

burnsbabe 08-23-2010 06:51 PM

That's true. I hadn't thought of how (relatively) easy it would be to go filter free on a 3gal. Just make sure it's planted heavily (again, for a 3 gallon) and stocked modestly.

Heavy planting and 6 cardinals would probably work fine.

Byron 08-24-2010 03:09 AM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

This is only 3 gallons. I think the fish being mentioned are far too large for a 3 gal tank. Neons and cardinals can attain 1.5 inches, and must be in a group of 6. I do not recommend that in a 3g.

There are several dwarf fish species that would sparkle in a planted 3g aquarium. Have a look at the Ember Tetra under characins, or under cyprinids the mosquito rasbora Boraras brigittae (there are several other species in this genus not in our profiles but care is identical), Dario dario (Scarlet Badis) or Celestial Pearl Danio (Galaxy Rasbora to some) Danio margaritatus. A group of 6-7 of any one of these would be lovely.

We have fish profiles here; second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top, or click on any shaded name to see that fish's profile. Info on requirements, numbers, tank size, etc.


StacyK 08-24-2010 10:30 AM

Ok so I ended up purchasing a new tank, A 5 g aquarium that has an external filter. I have not yet bought a heater. I have also uploaded an image of what the tank looks like this AM. I thought that the dust that i thought was rinsed out of the substrate (thought I rinsed it really well) would have settled over night. Is this something that is common to newly planted tanks? The dust kicked up as i was adding the plants. Did I do something wrong?

I'll take a look at the fish you suggested Byron. I've got some time to think about those.

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