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Discussion Starter #1
I need to start off by apologizing. I am really getting into planting and wandered over to a planted fish tank forum for help. Seems like they don't want to help newbies, never got more than two responses a thread and honestly, I want help so I do this right! I'm sorry, TFK, I shouldn't have even tried. You're so much better. :sad:

I want to re-scape my 2.5 gallon in a higher tech manner, ditching my java fern, crypts and window light. I'm just not aesthetically happy anymore. I began collecting rocks to 'scape with today and cannot for the life of me tell if they are granite or limestone, so they are in a cut-off cleaned out rum bottle of treated water to see if it affects the pH or not. If not, it's granite and I'm safe. Otherwise, I'll buy some inert rocks.

As far as plants, I want to plant HC (dwarf baby tears), Dwarf Hairgrass (maybe microsword instead?) and possibly Anubias Nana. I plan on starting out immersed, at least with the HC.

Substrate, I'm thinking MGOPM capped with sand because I honestly don't want to buy a bag of flourite or something for $20 to use 1/8 of it.

Ferts, I have Flourish Comprehensive, will this be enough?

CO2, I was thinking this system. I'm on a budget.

Lighting, maybe this? If you have cheaper lighting alternatives, PLEASE link.

Only fish that will be in this tank is my betta and maybe a snail. I had a Nerite but I manage to kill it somehow? Who knows. I might do this filter as well, but we'll see.

Any and all advice is appreciated. I just want some help and again, I'm so sorry for cheating on you TFK. ): It was wrong and I didn't get help.
 

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The hubby ok'd this CO2 kit, I like it better than the smaller version. I definitely want to replace the diffuser and drop checker with glass and add a check valve, however. I am also thinking about purchasing Flourish Iron, Trace, Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Potassium so I have my fertilizer bases covered for when I do the 10 gallon and 75 gallon. This 2.5 is a test to see if I am capable of a planted tank that requires more than sunlight.
 

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It's totally okay! I've cheated a few times too, but I always come back to TFK <3

I honestly don't have too much experience with higher tech tanks, (although they are soooo gorgeous!) so i don't have much advice on this front.

The only tidbits I have are that I know t5s generally run pretty hot, have you thought about LEDs? I've seen some good reviews of this one AquaVibrant for planted tanks. Plus it's a bit cheaper ^-^

I don't know much about ferts so I'm afraid I'm not much help there. I know a lot of people who do high tech tanks dose dry ferts for cost efficiency, but I don't know much about them. Sorry :(

Good luck though! I hope you start a build thread for this tank :)
 

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I will once we get our finances straight and I finally get my last name changed over so I can set up my credit card. Hubby may be switching jobs AGAIN now. /:

I am definitely looking for light recommendations, I'm hoping someone comes along. I've given up on getting everything on one site, lol. That's why I posted about that light. I really just need something that will produce enough light for the plants I want to be happy and fits my 12" tank.

May just get the CO2, drop checker, bubble counter, diffuser and check valve, then the light, then substrate, then plants, then heater, then filter if I still want it. I don't /think/ based on the minimal research I've done that I need any ferts but my comprehensive, but I could be mistaken. Plant info is greek to me, so it makes it hard to read.

I'll just wait patiently until my plant guru comes along. I'm so sad that site wouldn't help me, they all have such pretty tanks but nobody wanted to help a newbie it seems. /: I also hate how they argue a betta should be in a 5 gallon but shove neons and various other fish in a 1 gallon. No basic stocking knowledge over there what-so-ever.
 

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Ahhh, Flint! I wish I had an answer for you - but my tanks are such a far cry from low-tech, it's not even funny! We don't have many high tech members, but there are a few - hopefully someone will be by soon with better input to share!
 

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Haha.. Title made me laugh. I remember "cheating" on my gym years ago and having to explain myself yet with no good excuse lol!!

So i'm curious. *disclaimer!! I have knowledge of yet no experience woth CO2 high tech tanks" . Are you sure the CO2 system is neccesary in there? However for lighting i'd look for LED .. A good one if using CO2. I know fluval plant &aqua life make a smaller one that if it fits would be perfect. Keep us updated as i'm super curious how that'll all work in your tank. I have faith you'll do it right so it will be nice to have a thread covering your progress! :)
 

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The CO2, I've read, is necessary for the Dwarf Hair Grass happy and spreading and the HC (Dwarf Baby Tears) pearling. I don't want to go crazy high tech but I'm hoping the dirt under sand will be okay.

I'm also trying to figure out how to build up the 'scape in the background without using the dirt because I read it can actually leak some nasty gases, unlike sand, which we know doesn't necessarily do that. Maybe because I'm using Petco sand (AKA extremely fine gravel) I can build up with that, then do my layer of dirt, then the sand cap?

Does anyone know if the light I listed is adequate lighting for the plants I listed? Maybe I can turn into TFK's very own plant guru!
 

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for lighting, depends on your budget

i like aquatraders for cheap lighting
after that i would recommend garden lighting fixtures

aquatraders i got a T5ho (4 bulb) fixture for $100 including shipping (24" lights - they have smaller for less)
there's a place in california that sells an 8 bulb fixture for $170 about (add shipping to that) for 48" lights

the moment you look at actual aquarium lighting fixtures prices can be as high as $400 for 4 bulbs (plus shipping) ... seriously not funny ;(
 

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Flear, I'd like to spend around $30ish for lighting. This is a really tiny tank and I am already looking at $200 in equipment and another at least $100 in plants. Can you show me a light fixture I can use? I don't understand how many Ks I need or what t5 means or anything. I know I was looking at using shop lights for my 75 but they don't make 12" shop lights, unfortunately. /:

Also, not sure on ferts.
 

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flint,

dirt can, ... as it decomposes (bacterial activity) lots of CO2 is released, i'm sure ammonia & possibly other nitrogen chemicals as the nitrogen cycle establishes

the CO2 production will taper off as the dirt gets remineralized due to bacterial activity (no idea how long this will take - just a guess really) ... actually a benefit for a DSB - as it fills with detritus & mulm breakdown will release CO2, with plants don't expect a DSB to do a thing about reducing nitrates, which is good because your plants want those. (don't do this on a small tank)

if it's deep enough that Oxygen is deprived from deeper sections you can get H2S - if so just don't mess with the substrate, ... this will bond with oxygen and neutralize, and plant roots will add oxygen to the substrate, ... so if ever this shows up it's a temporary thing.
 

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I use something like this on my terrarium (same 27w
), but I have no idea what the PAR would be at ground level on a 2.5g. . .

It sounds to me like you want an Aokashi tank! She's out of town right now, but hopefully will be by soon. She runs tiny (GORGEOUS!) high light tanks - but with no Co2. She has at least two journals, here and here. I KNOW she keeps (or has kept) both of the plants that you mention. . .the second link has more setup details, I believe - hopefully you can find something there to help - if not, they're definitely worth the read (and the eye-candy!)
 

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You should look into seachems premier line of ferts. I have it and its great stuff. The line is called aquavitro and the one I have is called Envy... it has comprehensive carbohydrate, vitamins, amino acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids . They have a bunch others in the aquavitro line but Envy seemed like the best fit for me.
 

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bits i've looked at lighting, ...

6500K bulbs are about the best grow lights you can get without getting more specialized (and it's easy to raise the price and get more specialized)

T5 vs. T5HO ...
actually out of all the fluorescent lights, cost of operation vs. light output T5HO sounds like most light for your money.
-you could go overkill and get T5VHO, about 150% light, and about 2x the wattage use
-T5 vs. T5HO (i don't remember the wattage use for T5) the T5HO is about 2x the light
-i know very little about LED, and i'm biased in promoting fluorescent - just to let you know)
Odyssea T5 Aquarium Lightingis about $60 (plus shipping), ... for cheaper i would guess you're making your own fixtures and buying the parts and wiring it yourself if your lighting budget is $30
-other size flourescent lights are not as power effecient as the T5HO.
-the T2 lights (most of these are turned into CFL) max out at 24" i think, and easy enough to find shorter - haven't looked into these much as they don't reach long enough for my 90gallon tank idea, ... likewise i have no idea of cost/light compairison

T2 might be something to look into if you want linear lights

T5HO vs. window light, ... window light is brighter
so with this in mind, maybe easier to forgo lights unless you want control on how many hours of light in a day the tank gets
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't know why I cheated on you, TFK! :sob: You're the best!

So, from what I've collected so far, it'll be fine to build up the 'scape with the sand then do my dirt/sand layer. As far as lights, it's looking like Aokashi will bring the final verdict, as she's done pretty much the exact same thing and I don't trust myself to make decisions and kill $100 worth of plants. The "window light" the tank gets now is BARELY enough to keep my crypts and java fern alive. I'm also moving the tank out of the bathroom (the ONLY place I can get it near a window) so I have to get something that can sustain the HC at least. It seems like that is the most demanding of the plants I've chosen. Ferts, I will look into those, I'm worried if I don't order everything I won't have what I need on hand to fix a problem if there is one and I'll kill them. ):
 

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flint, no windows with direct access to the sun ?

the only reason i know sunlight is brighter than a T5HO is because my aquarium is right next to a south-facing window, ... when the sun hits the tank i at times really wonder if the lights are on or not (can barely tell, and only if i look at the lights, because it doesn't look like the tank is benefiting from the bulbs)

if your windows don't have access to sun like that, i can see how that would be a problem :(
 

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I'm also trying to figure out how to build up the 'scape in the background without using the dirt because I read it can actually leak some nasty gases, unlike sand, which we know doesn't necessarily do that. Maybe because I'm using Petco sand (AKA extremely fine gravel) I can build up with that, then do my layer of dirt, then the sand cap?
I slope the substrates in all my tanks - with sand. It stays well - especially if you have a lot of rooted plants keeping it in place. Everything settles and shifts over time - in a tank SO small, I'm thinking that the roots will easily reach the bottom - I'd just do the bottom layer dirt, regardless of sloping, but I've never tried it this way - sounds like it'd be fine to me, too! You could always use larger rocks or something to build up the back, too. . .

Dirt isn't high tech - that's as LOW as it gets!!! NPT, baby! *wooooots*
It isn't scary, either - as long as you do it right. . .There is usually an ammonia spike when you first put it into the tank, no worries if you leave time before adding the fish.

Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil is the one I most often see recommended/used. . .

If you're worried about toxins, you'll want to mineralize the topsoil first - Redchigh has a tutorial somewhere around here on how to do that - basically just wetting the soil, and letting it dry in the sunshine a few times. I know OldFishLady has an excellent tutorial stickied over on BF somewhere on how to set up a dirty NPT, too.

My dirt tank has had amazing growth, but still no tech, so I still fail at being helpful to you! T__T


. . . lol, yeah - had a feeling you'd like The Great Ao's setups! Lovely, aren't they? *swoons*
 

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i have heard humus is an alternative to remineralizing your top soil.

it's like cheating, ... all the work is done for you, just put in your substrate and cap
haven't looked into it farther, but sounds insanely promising going about it that way, with additional benefits of humic acids (i would have to reread that part on the forum a guy really looked into research for this stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
flint, no windows with direct access to the sun ?

the only reason i know sunlight is brighter than a T5HO is because my aquarium is right next to a south-facing window, ... when the sun hits the tank i at times really wonder if the lights are on or not (can barely tell, and only if i look at the lights, because it doesn't look like the tank is benefiting from the bulbs)

if your windows don't have access to sun like that, i can see how that would be a problem :(
Yeah, there are two windows that are 2.5 ft from the floor, one has an AC unit in it and the other is at the end of the bassinet for Ali and the cat is in it constantly. The other windows are a good 4.5 ft off the ground so there's no just putting an end table under one unfortunately. The one that the tank is currently in front of, it's only getting light from one end and although the window is south-facing, there's a large Oak tree covering most of the light.

I slope the substrates in all my tanks - with sand. It stays well - especially if you have a lot of rooted plants keeping it in place. Everything settles and shifts over time - in a tank SO small, I'm thinking that the roots will easily reach the bottom - I'd just do the bottom layer dirt, regardless of sloping, but I've never tried it this way - sounds like it'd be fine to me, too! You could always use larger rocks or something to build up the back, too. . .

Dirt isn't high tech - that's as LOW as it gets!!! NPT, baby! *wooooots*
It isn't scary, either - as long as you do it right. . .There is usually an ammonia spike when you first put it into the tank, no worries if you leave time before adding the fish.

Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil is the one I most often see recommended/used. . .

If you're worried about toxins, you'll want to mineralize the topsoil first - Redchigh has a tutorial somewhere around here on how to do that - basically just wetting the soil, and letting it dry in the sunshine a few times. I know OldFishLady has an excellent tutorial stickied over on BF somewhere on how to set up a dirty NPT, too.

My dirt tank has had amazing growth, but still no tech, so I still fail at being helpful to you! T__T


. . . lol, yeah - had a feeling you'd like The Great Ao's setups! Lovely, aren't they? *swoons*
I just don't see spending $26 on 20lbs of flourite or something when I can get a $5 bag of miracle grow and it'll even be way too much to fill the tank. I'm looking at sloping up to 5", that's why I was concerned about the gas pockets in the dirt. I read they can be super nasty. My Betta and his temporary red phantom tetra fry tankmates will be moved into a 1 gallon bowl with his crypts and set where the tank is now until I can get it all set up and ready for him and the tetras either get eaten or get their new home. I am considering either getting another nerite or some shrimp for the tank, my only concern with shrimp is my pH and hardness. I can adjust fish just fine but I don't think shrimp work the same way. I really want the red and white striped ones.

i have heard humus is an alternative to remineralizing your top soil.

it's like cheating, ... all the work is done for you, just put in your substrate and cap
haven't looked into it farther, but sounds insanely promising going about it that way, with additional benefits of humic acids (i would have to reread that part on the forum a guy really looked into research for this stuff.
Hummus, like the kind you eat? lol

like i said before, not a fan of LEDs
but looked on aquatraders for LED lights
LED Aquarium Lighting

they do start at $30 (plus shipping) ... something to consider for you
Don't LEDs, especially the cheaper ones, dim after a few months and need replacing? I feel like I read that somewhere. $30 isn't my cap but around that would be preferred. I definately don't want to spend more than $60 on lighting for a 2 gallon. My husband (who funds everything) would kill me. The light I listed was $46, I believe. That is a good number for me. This is a big what-if project and I don't want to go into debt over a nano! Haha
 

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This should be a great one for a budget LED for a tank your size( I think! ). I say go for it.

Amazon.com: LED light clip-on for nano mini tank dolphin curve adjustable arm angle 6500k white led: Pet Supplies
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Flear.. I understand your trepidation about LED but I swear once you find the right one you'll be hooked.
Flint.. I have MANY LEDs in my house and NEVER had an issue with any of them.. even the small bedside tanks are all LED and planted. One great thing about LED is you do not have to replace.. unless you got a faulty one and in that case warranty should cover that. any other bulb should be replaced every 6 months but not LED.. and mercury vapor every 9 months. Visible light and usable light are not the same thing.
 
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