3.5 gallon invert? setup

rubysword

Member
Whew, it's been a while. I had to rehome all of my aquariums when my family moved across the country, and my parents have been adamant about not letting any more aquariums into the house. However, good deals, and the ability to pay for things myself, seem to be good agents of swaying for my mom, so my room is now graced with the presence of a 3.5 gallon acrylic aquarium. It's a top fin aquarium kit. I figured since it's a pretty small aquarium I could afford to splurge on substrate, so I ordered 4.4 lbs of Fluval plant and shrimp stratum, which had pretty good reviews and wasn't as crazy expensive as some of the other options. It's coming in on Sunday. The filter it came with had notches for the two activated carbon filter cartridges it came with. I decided it could use some more biological media, so I dropped by home depot to grab some lava rocks and little scrubby thingies(oxI brite or something.) I made a makeshift cartridge with those, filled the aquarium and started running it.
I have very few supplies at the moment. My master test kit, seachem prime, flourish, and excel, my heaters, my aquascaping kit, and my food mixes are all back in a locked room in our old house, which we're renting out. My dad will head back there in the middle of January, and will grab all of those things. In the meantime, my plan is to start blindly cycling(basically just adding controlled doses of pure ammonia and doing frequent water changes) and start planting it. I'm not really sure what I'm going to stock it with yet. Probably some RCS and nerites or mystery snails. Mayne a dwarf crawfish. We'll see! I'll update when the substrate's in. Also I know I'm doing this kind of out of order. I just really wanted to get water into this aquarium
 

Sien

Member
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rubysword

Member
Sien said:
Cool! Have you seen blue velvet shrimp? Those guys are pretty neat.
I have! The only place I've seen them is on Amazon, where they are super expensive, but since I won't be stocking until January, I have time to save up!

Ok, what's the name of that one seachem product that you put in your filter that keeps your water nice and clear? And you refresh every few months with bleach? I can't for the life of me remember it.
 

Fishymom64

Member
That’s sad about your aquarium, but I’m glad your getting a new one. I actually had one of those aquariums once (betta and shrimp) do you know if you’ll add any fish? Looking good btw.
 

JettsPapa

Member
rubysword said:
I have! The only place I've seen them is on Amazon, where they are super expensive,

I don't know how much they are on Amazon, but this place has them for $4.99.

live aquaria

I haven't ordered from them, but a co-worker has, and he's happy with them.
 

Sien

Member
rubysword said:
I have! The only place I've seen them is on Amazon, where they are super expensive, but since I won't be stocking until January, I have time to save up! 4]

Ok, what's the name of that one seachem product that you put in your filter that keeps your water nice and clear? And you refresh every few months with bleach? I can't for the life of me remember it.
Sorry but I don’t know about that either ! I just do frequent water changes and that keeps mine clean and clear. Check if your town has a local fish store. They usually carry cool animals like that.
 
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rubysword

Member
Oh, I'm planning on doing frequent water changes, I just remember people raving about it. It's a replacement for active carbon that you can reuse... I'm going to go find it on the web, if I can...

Sien said:
Sorry but I don’t know about that either ! I just do frequent water changes and that keeps mine clean and clear. Check if your town has a local fish store. They usually carry cool animals like that.
I just moved from a tiny town to a decent sized city, and I'm so excited about how many mom and pop fish stores there are! I contacted a few of them asking about special orders and the like.
 
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rubysword

Member
Purigen! Seachem purigen. You don't want to use it until your tank is cycled, but once you have a healthy population of beneficial bacteria, it polishes the water beautifully.
 
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rubysword

Member
Ok, so I have literally no fish stuff rn. But I want to start cycling. Pretty much anything will start making ammonia as it decays, right? So putting in some salad that's on the tail end will eventually start making ammonia?
 
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rubysword

Member
Update-found a mom and pop fish store and have been exchanging emails with somebody on their staff. They have a wide selection of plants, can special order-in the representatives words-"anything you want," and can give me seeded media. And, the best part is, I can get there today!
 
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rubysword

Member
Last update today, I promise! Went to the fish store, and I have to say, they exceeded my expectations. The aquariums were beautiful. Like, not just clean and well maintained, they were aquascaped and pleasing to the eye. I got a piece of filter media, and asked if they could test the water. I had a sample of the tank water(I added some pure ammonia earlier today, about 1 tsp in the whole tank) and of my tap water. They tested it(with an apI test kit-yay!) and came up with these readings:
Tap:
pH: 7.7 ish
Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates: 0
Tank:
pH: a little higher than 8
Ammonia: 4 rpm
Nitrites: barely registered, but there
Nitrates: 0

So since the tap pH was so high(in the tank I'm not worried, I think it's just cuz ammonia is alkaline) I got a piece of mopanI driftwood. I saw a plant in one of his tanks that looked like giant duckweed. I had decided not to get any plants until the tank was more mature, but duckweed is so hardy, right? And I love the colors of giant duckweed. So I asked if it was for sale. He said it wasn't duckweed-I forgot what he said it was. Its supposed to be less invasive but just as hardy. It has little geometric bumps all over it? Anyways, he looked into the tank it was in and said "oh, that's not even a portion. I'll give it to you for free." There were like 20-30 pieces though, so I was very happy.
TLR
I freaking love mom and pop fish stores.
 
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rubysword

Member
Got the substrate yesterday and put the driftwood in. It's starting to actually look like an aquarium! I may not be able to post pictures until Saturday.
 
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rubysword

Member
The water has been cloudy since I put the substrate in. I'm not sure if it's from the substrate, the floating fern(duckweed like stuff,) bad lighting, or a bacterial bloom. The cloudiness isn't brown, so I'm thinking it might be a bacterial bloom? That's good, right?
On a different note, I'm starting my research on plants. I'm thinking I'm going to have an anubias coffeola and maybe a couple of crypts in the back, a few bucephalandra on the driftwood, and maybe some pygmy chain sword in the foreground? I'll be dosing liquid ferts and Excel, and will be getting a nicer light.
Speaking of the light-I really don't like the lid that the tank came with. It's very flat and short, and bulky to open. There is definitely no room for a new light on it, and I want a better light to support the plants. Has anyone ever experienced neocardina jumping out of the tank? I'm considering getting a light like this:
Or like this:
Or this:

To use those, I'd have to take the lid off(which I can't say I'm too devastated about), or get a glass lid, though it might have to custom made to fit the tank. Has anyone had issues with shrimp jumping out of tanks? Also, does anyone have any other recommendations for plants or lights?
 
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rubysword

Member
Driftwood is growing a fungus, and the floating fern has new growth.
 
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rubysword

Member
Went to the lfs yesterday. My cycle seems to be doing amazing!
Ammonia: 2 ppm
Nitrites: .25 ppm
Nitrates: 30 ppm
Yay!!!

I need some tips as far as plants go- the guy at the lfs gave me some guppy grass, but I don't love the look of it, and it doesn't do best rooted, apparently... I'm thinking some red Ludwig's maybe instead? It's in the back.

I'm getting a new light and filter today! The filter is a small hob, so it shouldn't take up as much space and I'll cover the intake with pot scrubber thingies. I'll move the biological media over, maybe the cartridge too.

I don't like how big the wood is. I am going to try to cut it in half today, and lean each half against a different side of the aquarium so it doesn't take up as much of the center space.

I'm planning on getting some bucephalandra and maybe some crypts this weekend... I caved and ordered some excel in the mail, and after doing a bunch of reading, I ordered a kit of dry ferts from green leaf aquarium-the EI one.

Any thoughts?
 
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rubysword

Member
First photo is no flash, just the tank light, second photo is with the flash to show the guppy grass.
 
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rubysword

Member
Ok, so for the wood, I'm thinking after I cut it in half, I'll let my dig do some supervised chewing if the cut ends to weather them... is this a good idea? Terrible idea? Sien
 

Sien

Member
rubysword said:
Ok, so for the wood, I'm thinking after I cut it in half, I'll let my dig do some supervised chewing if the cut ends to weather them... is this a good idea? Terrible idea? Sien
Hey did you mean dog? I would not let a dog chew on it (especially with the fungal growth on it)...who knows if it is safe for a dog/if the bacteria in the dogs saliva is safe for the tank. I would break it in half, boil it so it softens, and then file down the edges with some sand paper or something. I've even seen some wood dent/smooth down if you hammer it (and if the wood is soft enough). This might be risky tho and splinter the wood.
 
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rubysword

Member
Ooh, good point. And yeah, I did mean dog XD. I'll probably go with the boiling and filing. I have some catching up to do with the Mandalorian anyways! Thanks so much!
 

Sien

Member
rubysword said:
Ooh, good point. And yeah, I did mean dog XD. I'll probably go with the boiling and filing. I have some catching up to do with the Mandalorian anyways! Thanks so much!
No problem! Looking forward to seeing what the finished tank looks like!
 
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rubysword

Member
Before+after new light, filter, and cut of wood:
 
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rubysword

Member
LFS is getting new plants on Friday-crossing my fingers for some red ludwigia. I'm planning on getting some bucephalandra then, and maybe some sort of foreground plant. I'm also thinking maybe some hardscape?

So I've decided to use dry ferts and excel in this tank(it'll be some very tiny quantities) but I'm not sure which root tabs to get, or if I'll even need them with this substrate. I am probably going to get some crypts at some point.
 

Sien

Member
rubysword said:
LFS is getting new plants on Friday-crossing my fingers for some red ludwigia. I'm planning on getting some bucephalandra then, and maybe some sort of foreground plant. I'm also thinking maybe some hardscape?

So I've decided to use dry ferts and excel in this tank(it'll be some very tiny quantities) but I'm not sure which root tabs to get, or if I'll even need them with this substrate. I am probably going to get some crypts at some point.
I love the before and after. I think the tank looks much better and cleaner, nice job! I am not too knowledgeable on plants so I can't help you there !
 
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rubysword

Member
Sien said:
I love the before and after. I think the tank looks much better and cleaner, nice job! I am not too knowledgeable on plants so I can't help you there !
Thank you! It looks even better now that the cloudiness has gone down. I was initially planning on putting the two halves of the driftwood on opposite sides of the tank, but with the way the cut happened, it looks really cool the way I have it now.
 

Sien

Member
rubysword said:
Thank you! It looks even better now that the cloudiness has gone down. I was initially planning on putting the two halves of the driftwood on opposite sides of the tank, but with the way the cut happened, it looks really cool the way I have it now.
I agree! Once those open spaces are filled with greenery it will look gorgeous! Excited to see the progression and growth of this tank.
 
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rubysword

Member
LFS got their stock in early. Their is some red Ludwigias, crypts, and some sort of carpeting plant, and there should still be some buce. There are also some pretty cool bettas... aaahhhhaaahh
 
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rubysword

Member
Hmph. There was no longer any buce or any of the carpeting plant. I did, however, get a bunch of ludwigia, a crypt, and a hygrophilia plant. Moved stuff around, planted things, filled the tank way up to attempt to coerce the filter and the water spangles to play nice, did a 40% wc, got some malaysian trumpet snails, added dry fertilizers, and bought seachem prime(not in that order). I have decided to attempt to return the seachem excel. The lid is stupid. I can't open it. It won't stay closed or seal. Also I've realized that diy CO2 for such a small tank might be fairly easy. Rather way this bottle seems broken and it sucks.
Stats:
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrites: .25 ppm
Nitrates: 20ppm
pH: 6.5

New scape with plants, and a very pretty(and expensive, at $25) betta(to clarify, I did not get the betta. Just gazed at it with much want.):


 
  • Thread Starter

rubysword

Member
Grrrr... Having a nasty algae outbreak. I'm going to reduce the lights I guess... I also want to attempt to start dosing diy co2.
 

opalEssence

Member
When you cycled your tank that fast, did you add any bacterial supplements? I never knew that a tank could do that without products.
 
  • Thread Starter

rubysword

Member
No products, but I did take a piece of filter media from an established tank.
 
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rubysword

Member
Whew, kinda forgot I made this. Tank is progressing nicely. I FINALLY got rid of the last of the guppy grass-I think.... every time I think I get rid of it, a new chunk pops up! In other plant news, after a massive die off, the ludwigia is doing amazing! I had to utilize some heavy trimming, and I lost a few stems, but it's got enough new growth that it's now a nice bush that will hopefully grow taller now that I don't have to constantly trI'm it. The crypt is getting much bigger and browner, in a good way. The roots keep growing up for some reason- I'm thinking I don't have enough substrate. I found a tissue culture pack at Petco(I know, I know) that had a purple buce(yay!), another plant that is basically a buce, some althernankI renekiI mini(I know I butchered that spelling) and some rotalla. Finally wedged both buce into the driftwood. Everything is pearling!!! It might also be worth mentioning that I got a DIY co2 setup for our DIY secret Santa, and I've been dosing EI method ferts.
Aaaand we have a fish! Saw him half dead at Petco and convinced the cashier to let me take him home and nurse him back to health. He is doing so much better-he was swimming funny and was definitely in the throes of some serious ammonia poisoning, but clean water has done him a lot of good. I've decided on a tank theme- the Oasis! The betta's name is Parzival, and the three shrimp that I have are called the Sixers- under the hope that they will become as numerous
And one more piece of good news-I may get an upgrade! My parents messed up and lousy me my skI pass, so they are now considering allowing me to upgrade to a 10 gallon, in which case I will add some corydoras hasbrosus to the mix!
 
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rubysword

Member
Older picture of Parzival. I'll get some new ones later today! Also, forgot to mention, tI also have a nerite in there and his name is Og the great ant powerful.
 
  • Thread Starter

rubysword

Member
Ay ay ay. I left the lights on too long for one day! Well, maybe it was two. Or three. Regardless, guess who got a God-awful algae outbreak! Uhg.
My parents have definitively said. O on the ten gallon, so that's fun. Especially concerning the fact that my siblings have lizards with a 20 gallon and a 55 gallon enclosure, respectively. And I have a much better track record than either of them with taking care of animals BY MYSELF and paying for all of the supplies BY MYSELF. Sigh. Oh well.
Since we'll be stuck with the 3.5 gallon, I decided to get another filter. Also because the little hob I have keeps clogging up and doesn't provide enough flow. Its a tetra whisper something or other, and right now just has a sponge and some seachem purigen in it. It is moving all of the water in the tank, but the shrimp are doing fine. I baffled the intake with part of the 'bio bag' the filter came with(it was just a bag of activated charcoal) and one of the shrimp was crawling on it, so they should be fine. I'm hoping that the flow will dissuade the algae growing on the leaves of the buce, the crypt, and even the ludwigia, and that the purigen will help get rid of the green water, cause it sure looked like I was having issues with that too. I'm considering getting a uv light to go into the new filter-make that filter my water polisher and the little blu one my biological filter. Either way I'm thinking the lava rock isn't the best biological media. Later today I'm going to take it out, rinse them in the jug of water that I keep by the tank(evaporation here is a beast) and use them as extra hardscape, replacing them with more scrubby thingies, so that the bb isn't actually leaving the tank, but the lava rich stops messing with the filter.
 

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