Obl-wan's 7.5 Gallon Tank Build

  1. obl-wan Member Member

    As a birthday present to myself, I've been thinking about getting rid of my current 5g setup and getting myself a new one. I've always done tank kits in the past but I'd like to try something new, so I'm going to put everything together myself. This is very much still in the idea stage but I'm excited all the same!

    This is the tank that I would be replacing.
    It's an old Marineland Hex 5 Eclipse. I've had it for about six years, and my mom had it before me, so it's been kicking around for quite awhile. There aren't any real problems with it, but I'm honestly surprised it's lasted this long. And, I'm tired of replacing the cartridges in this thing.

    So, onto the build!

    The Tank Itself

    I'd like to go for a rectangular tank, but I have no idea where to get a good plain glass 5 gal. Every 5 that I've seen has been a kit. So, I'd really appreciate recommendations here.

    Filtration

    I'm open to ideas here. I've been thinking of sponge filters, but I'm really OK with everything as long as it's not too intrusive (so no internals).

    Heating

    I know I don't want a preset heater, and I want something that's slim. I don't know any good brands or models though so I need suggestions.

    Lighting

    I want something that's energy efficient and won't cost me an arm and a leg. I need something that can support plants (nothing too crazy, just enough to support very easy plants).

    Aeration

    If I do go with a sponge filter, I'm going to need an air pump. If I go this route I'll probably get a bubble wall as well. I'll need a quiet pump with at least 2 air outlets.

    Design

    I'll post a drawing of my design later, but for now here's a little bit of what I'm thinking.

    Substrate
    I've always loved the look of dark substrate, so I'm going to go for something dark, most likely black sand.

    Features
    I want to create a tank-length "cave" using PVC or something similar and anchored in the tank using silicone. It will also hide the filtration, heater, and bubble wall.

    I'll probably add some rocks under the cave to take up some space and make the area look less sparse.

    Plants
    I'm looking for carpeting plants that will grow and cover the top of the cave, and maybe some taller plants for the back of the tank. I really like the idea of having plants drape over the entrance of the cave. I'm not the best with plants, so I need some that will be easy to take care of.

    Stocking

    In the 5 gallon that I have now, I've kept shrimp, snails, ADFs, bettas, and even a dwarf puffer. I'm willing to try any of these again, but I'm also willing to branch out. I've been thinking that a betta would look pretty in this particular tank, but again, I'm open to suggestions.

    Please feel free to send me suggestions or comment on anything I forgot to include. Also, show me your own tanks! I love seeing what everyone else on here has done.

    Also remember that while I am willing to spend money on this tank, I am also a student working for minimum wage, so nothing too crazy!
     
  2. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member


  3. scarface Well Known Member Member

    Aquarium: Check out the Deep Blue Professionl. Comes in Rim or rimless. Very affordable, but higher quality than the Aqueon. Also, the black trimming on the sides goes nicely with the black top and bottom rims. Gives it an edgy look in comparison to similar sized brands.

    Light: Finnext Stingray. Good low tech planted setup. The 16" is probably what you want. It fits over both rimmed or rimless tanks.

    Filter: Since you're stocking choices are very light, I'd go with a small HOB with adjustable flow, especially if you're considering a betta. An Azoo palm filter 60 or 150 are both good super affordable choices. If going with a single betta, then a 60 is sufficient by itself, even with a few invertabrates. The Deep Blue appears to be exactly the same as the Azoo, except that it doesn't come with a prefilter sponge, which would come in handy if you decide to go with shrimp. It will also protect your betta's fins from catching.

    Substrate: I use Black Diamond Blasting Sand in medium grit. It's cheap and got it for around $7-$8. Unfortunately, if this is your only aquarium, then you're going to have plenty left over, as it comes in 50lb bags. The National Geographic looks nice as well and you won't have a big bag laying around.
     
  4. obl-wan Member Member

    Quick Update
    After a little bit of research and shopping, I've gotten a general sense of where I want to go with this tank.

    The Tank Itself


    After looking at both Glasscages.com and Deep Blue Professional, I've decided that I want to try and get the 7.5 Gallon Rimless Cube tank from Deep Blue Professional. I think this tank would work best for what I want to do, and I'd have more room than I planned!

    Filtration

    After looking around a bit on amazon, I've decided that I'm going to go for a sponge filter for this tank.

    Heating

    I'm thinking of trying the Hydor Theo 50W, since it seems like a good heater for the price. Thoughts?

    Lighting

    I looked at the Finnex Stingray and I think the 12 inch model will work great for this tank.

    Aeration

    I'm going to try and power both the sponge filter and a bubble wall on the same air pump using a gang valve. I will probably get the Tetra Whisper 10, although I'm worried that it will be too under powered for what I want to do with it.

    Design

    I'll post a full, detailed drawing of my design later.

    Substrate
    I'm going to go with Carib Sea Black Tahitian Moon Sand if I can find a smaller bag of it somewhere.

    Features
    I still want to create a tank-length "cave" using PVC, but I probably won't anchor it to the tank itself. I'm going to try to find some way to bury it upright in the substrate.

    Plants
    Still looking for ideas on this. I'm thinking some type of moss but I'm looking for suggestions.

    Stocking

    The more I think about this tank, the more I want to go with a betta and some inverts. But I think I'm going to leave it open until I actually have the tank up and running. I'll decide then.
     

  5. BettaPonic Well Known Member Member

    Least Killifish can have colonies in at least 5 gallons. There are a few livebearers like them you can keep in a tank that size. You could watch generations in the tank.
     
  6. obl-wan Member Member

    Quick Update

    The Tank Itself


    I've found out that my LFS carries the tank I'm looking for, and they have two in stock right now. Hopefully I'll be able to pick one up this weekend.
    Price: ?

    Filtration

    I'm going to go with the XY-2830 or XY-2892 for a sponge filter.
    Price: $4.01 or $5.29

    Heating

    Still thinking if going with the Hydor Theo 50W.
    Price: $19.48

    Lighting

    I'm going to go with the Finnex Stingray 12" unless I can find a light that's cheaper but of similar quality.
    Price: $29.93

    Aeration

    I've decided to leave the bubble wall out for now, so the Tetra Whisper 10 should work fine.
    Price: $6.99

    Design

    I'll post a full, detailed drawing of my design later.

    Substrate
    I'm going to go with Carib Sea Black Tahitian Moon Sand. This price is for the 20 lbs bag, but if I can find something smaller I'll get that.
    Price: $25.14

    Features
    I've decided to not use PVC and instead make a cave from rocks collected from the stream behind my house (properly sterilized, of course). The rocks will be free, but I'll need aquarium sealant to glue them together.
    Price: ?

    Plants
    I've been looking around but I still haven't decided on any plants as of yet.
    Price: ?

    Stocking

    I've decided that I definitely want a betta in this tank along with tank mates. What those tank mates will be, I'm not sure. I'm going to get the betta first and test his or her aggressiveness with some of the guppies, cherry barbs, and long finned leopard danios that my sister and I have. If he/she is aggressive, I'll put them with snails and shrimp. If not, I'll put them with a small school of celestial pearl danios or some scarlet badis (based off the 5 Gallon Stocking List).
    Price: ?

    Total Price: $85.55+
     
  7. obl-wan Member Member

    Quick Update

    The Tank Itself


    IMG_20170722_214444106.jpg
    IMG_20170722_215613838.jpg
    IMG_20170723_204010547.jpg

    I was able to pick up a tank at my LFS. I'm currently testing it for leaks on my deck.
    Price: $44.99

    Filtration

    I'm going to go with the XY-2830.
    Price: $3.99

    Heating

    I'm going with the Hydor Theo 50W.
    Price: $19.48

    Lighting

    I'm going to go with the Finnex Stingray 12".
    Price: $30.13

    Aeration

    I'm going to go with the Tetra Whisper 10.
    Price: $6.99

    Design

    I'll post a full, detailed drawing of my design later.

    Substrate
    Instead of the Caribsea sand, I'm going to go with Flourite Black Sand. It's a smaller bag and the sand will actually provide nutrients for the plants.
    Price: $25.99

    Features
    I'm still planning on doing the rock cave, but I'm not sure what adhesive will bond rock to rock best. Suggestions?
    I'm also going to use a piece of fabric for the background.
    Price: ?

    Plants
    I've been looking around but I still haven't decided on any plants as of yet.
    Price: ?

    Misc.

    Pawfly Air Accessory Set
    Price: $6.62

    Airline Tubing
    Price: $4.39

    Air Stone
    Price: $5.41

    Digital Thermometer
    Price: $2.84

    Stocking

    I did something I promised myself I'd never do... I impulse saved a betta. I knew I wanted a betta for this tank, but I wasn't expecting to get one today. I went to Petco to look for a sponge filter (thought I had seen them there before, I was wrong), and I saw this guy.
    IMG_20170727_193934624.jpg
    IMG_20170727_193956805.jpg
    He was one of the only healthy bettas there. All the others were either dead or dying. And they had to have over 150 bettas. Some even had a large visible layer of waste on the bottom of the cup. It was really sad to see.

    Anyways, he's a halfmoon plakat. Very active and super pretty. These pictures don't do him justice. I'll get better ones once he's in his tank. I've decided to name him Disco (short for Discovery).
    Price: $16.04

    Total Price: $166.87+
     

  8. obl-wan Member Member

    2f41238096dac26cac6caf4083e76fb3.jpg
    4ed9c7a0f96f00d03382b260ddbc4867.jpg
    2f1c5e84784f907c83a9b25325bc13b9.jpg
    5f722b05e1a24eab57b2194a98b875b4.jpg
    99d32dfc87f7e22c4c290cb6ed3aed18.jpg
    832d01cbc069eb8f96eac0849b0b46a6.jpg
    5ec277028e6c52d8af6e066e3799a0ef.jpg

    Here's better pictures, as promised. I took him out to get pictures in the sunlight. He's gorgeous and he knows it. Also, finally! A betta that will pose for me!
     
  9. obl-wan Member Member

    Big Update

    The Tank Itself

    IMG_20170810_213445952.jpg
    IMG_20170810_213215620.jpg
    IMG_20170810_200753716.jpg

    The tank is up! I'm a little late in posting this as I set it up last Thursday, but it hasn't changed much. My "lid" is temporary. I'm going to be making a hinged plexiglass lid for this tank. It's the last thing I need for this tank other than the fish and plants.
    Price: $44.99

    Filtration

    I decided to go with the XY-2830 sponge filter. So far it's worked perfectly.
    Price: $4.01

    Heating

    I got the Hydor Theo 50W. I have it set to 77*F, and I have a temperature of 80.2*F. But at least it's consistent.
    Price: $19.48

    Lighting

    I went with the Finnex Stingray 12" and it's been great. I love the size and how bright it is. It does a good job of lighting up the tank.
    Price: $30.13

    Aeration

    I got the Tetra Whisper 10 and so far I'm impressed. It's quiet and powers both the sponge filter and the waterfall.
    Price: $6.99

    Misc.

    Pawfly Air Accessory Set
    Price: $6.62

    Airline Tubing
    Price: $6.66

    Digital Thermometer
    Price: $2.84

    Marineland Aquarium Bacteria
    Price: $6.99

    Family Dollar Clear Ammonia
    Price: $1.00

    Design

    Substrate
    IMG_20170810_120358574.jpg
    IMG_20170810_120325893.jpg

    I got the Flourite Black Sand, and I really like it! It was very, very dirty at first though. I spent a good 3 hours washing it out. But the worms certainly enjoyed all the water.
    Price: $25.99

    Features
    I was going to build a rock cave, but I decided not to when I saw the cool bubbling waterfall that I now have in the tank.
    Price: $24.99

    Plants
    I finally got around to building a list of plants that I would be interested in having in this tank. I would love advice on all of these plants as I only glanced over caresheets for them. I will not have a CO2 injection system, but I am willing to use ferts. I already have Flourish Comprehensive, and I would be willing to get Flourish Excel and root tabs if I need them. I would also love suggestions on other good fertilizers.

    The plants on this list go from top down, most likely to plant to least likely to plant.

    Foreground-
    Marimo Moss Balls
    Java Moss
    Pogostemon Helferi
    Marsilea Minuta

    Midground-
    Dwarf Sagittaria
    Pygmy Chain Sword
    Blyxa Japonica
    Anubias Nana
    Ranunculus Inundatus

    Background-
    Lucky Bamboo
    Amazon Sword
    Crinum Calamistratum?
    Vallisneria Tortifolia
    Ludwidia Repens
    Rotala Rotundifolia
    Cryptocoryne Wendtii

    Price: ?

    Stocking

    I've decided to forgo having any other fish in this aquarium, partly because Disco has shown himself to be aggressive, and I like a diverse tank. I've made some stocks with AqAdvisor, and I'd love it if you guys gave me advice on them.

    1x Betta Splendens
    4x Trapdoor Snails
    14x Red Cherry Shrimp
    Stock Level: 100%

    1x Betta Splendens
    4x Trapdoor Snails
    6x Amano Shrimp
    Stock Level: 99%

    1x Betta Splendens
    7x Trapdoor Snails
    Stock Level: 101%

    1x Betta Splendens
    2x Trapdoor Snails
    4x Nerite Snails
    4x Ghost Shrimp
    Stock Level: 100%

    I'm leaning towards the first stock the most, but I'm open to any of these.
    Price: $16.04+


    I will hopefully be heading to my LFS today to see what plants and inverts they have. I don't know what plants they carry, but I know they have all of the inverts on these lists. I just need to know how much everything costs.


    Total Price: $196.73+
     

    Attached Files:

  10. obl-wan Member Member

    So I went to my LFS to see what they had in stock.

    Plants-

    I looked at all the plants but the broadleaf sagittaria caught my eye. I have seen mixed recommendations as far as care goes, however, and I would love it if someone gave me advice.

    A store employee (who actually knew what she was talking about for once. Props to her!) pointed me towards staurogyne repens for a foreground plant, and I actually really like the look of it! Hopefully this will be what I go with for a foreground plant.

    Inverts-

    My LFS has cherry shrimp, bumblebee shrimp, yellow fire shrimp, and amano shrimp, and all are priced at $6.99 per shrimp. Is that a high price for those species?

    The LFS has trapdoor snails, but they have two different kinds. If you think you can help me ID them, please look here.
     

  11. obl-wan Member Member

    2979240cb29f188e759b12e1b18984aa.jpg
    And we have readings! I've been pumping in ammonia and watching the levels drop everyday without any nitrite readings, but today I finally got some. Both ammonia and nitrite were at .50 ppm. I put in some ammonia to bring the level back up to 2.5 ppm, and I'll check the levels again tomorrow. Glad I used the Bio-Spira, otherwise I don't think the tank would've cycled this quickly.
     
  12. cboatman Initiate Member

    It looks great so far, and that betta is very pretty!

    I tried the broadleaf Sagittaria and it completely melted in my tank. I've found that Amazon Sword and Crypts grow very well in my low light, no CO2 tank when provided with root tabs. Anubias is a good choice too, but it is a very slow grower at least in my experience.

    Hope I helped!
     
  13. obl-wan Member Member

    That's sad to hear. I was hoping the broadleaf would work well in my tank. I really like the look of it. I was thinking about amazon swords and crypts as well, but I'm worried they'll get way too big for my tank.
     
  14. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member

    Remember there are many different sizes of Crypts (parva, becketii, wendtii) that should work in this tank. Also you can look at things like bucephalandra, anacharis, dwarf water lily (nymphaea rubra), java fern and java moss can be great.
     
  15. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member

    A couple of notes.

    Lucky Bamboo is not aquatic and if it isn't sticking out of the tank, I wouldn't bother.

    AQadvisior is IMHO not very good at anything to do with invertebrates.
     
  16. obl-wan Member Member

    I've looked at most or these plants already. Yes, they could work, but after thinking about it I'm really going for a specific look for the background. I really want a plant that looks very grass-like to offset the staurogyne. After doing some research I stumbled upon potamogeton gayi and heteranthera zosterifolia which I may end up ordering through my LFS.

    I'm aware. I was going to have the bottom half in the tank and the top half with the leaves will stick out the top left corner of the tank.

    I was really only using the Aqadvisor stocks as a base, and I was hoping other members would give me suggestions on the stocks, but no one has so far.
     
  17. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member

    Well if Disco is aggressive, dump the idea of Cherries unless super heavy planting. I would only start with 2-3 Nerrites or a Mystery. As for the other inverts, amanos are awesome. But without a lid, you will probably get some taking walks and never returning. I might go with like 8 ghosts.
     
  18. obl-wan Member Member

    When I meant Disco was agressive, I meant towards other fish. I've tried him with inverts (shrimp, ADF) and he was fine. Sorry, I should have been more clear about that in the first place. I'd prefer to stay away from nerites, just because I don't really like how they look. I wouldn't mind mysterys, but I really have my heart set on trapdoors. This tank will have a lid soon, so I won't have to worry too much about any escapees. I definitely want a pair of amanos. I really wanted to go with the cherries just for the pop of color they'd provide.
     
  19. obl-wan Member Member

    A few updated base stocks.

    1x Betta
    2x Mystery Snail
    2x Amano Shrimp
    4x Cherry Shrimp
    Stock Level: 92%

    1x Betta
    2x Trapdoor Snail
    2x Amano Shrimp
    4x Cherry Shrimp
    Stock Level: 85%
     
  20. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member

    I would up each of the Cherry populations to 10. From there they will self regulate.