Started a new nano tank. Have questions

Ben777

Two days ago I started a new nano tank (16litres / 4.2 gallons). For now it is cycling (with Tetra SafeStart and 6 very tiny endlers).

Here it is :D Pardon my enthusiasm :p


Plants: Eleocharis "Minima" for carpeting. Some bigger Eleocharis in the back. Eleocharis needs "medium light".

Filter: Dennerle nano corner (it is really very silent!).

I was told to add a fertiliser once per week (Tropica premium nutrition).

After googling a great amount, I have a bunch of questions about plants:

1. If you look into pics and video - does it look ok?

2. The filter has a small waterfall that provides air. Is this enough or should I add air stone? Or this is not important for plants?

3. Lights. Should I start with dimmer light and increase it gradually during the first two weeks? Then what?

The tank is in not direct and not intense daylight all the time, except for the night. During the night I am tempted to have tank lights on as long as I work. I guess this is a bad plan? Should the tank stay in darkness for 16 hours?

Does "non-direct and non-intense daylight" count as "light period" or as "period without light"?

4. I plan to use Dennerle Nano Style 6W LED light. Is it ok for such tank?

5. Should I use CO2 system (say, Tropica Plant Growth System Nano)? I am hesitant. I am complete beginner, and I got discouraged when I found that once I start using CO2, I must keep doing it, otherwise plants collapse. So maybe I postpone...

What's next? Am I missing anything? I'll keep changing water often as long as ammonia level is high. And I will keep adding bacteria (Tetra Safe Start) once in couple of days...

Grateful for all advises! :)
 

Cawafuoshi

I like the look of it. From my limited experience, your surface is being agitated by the bar, and that should suffice. I don't know if a carpet can be achieved without CO2 injection. Lighting wise, you will need to balance it out with ferts and CO2 (or lack of it) to keep algae in check. I don't know if 16 hours of darkness would be detrimental to plant health, but you could divide your schedule into two segments, so that plants get light during the day and as well as night time with a period of darkness in between so that you are able to enjoy the tank in the evenings.
 
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Freshfishguy

Two days ago I started a new nano tank (16litres / 4.2 gallons). For now it is cycling (with Tetra SafeStart and 6 very tiny endlers).

Here it is :D Pardon my enthusiasm :p


Plants: Eleocharis "Minima" for carpeting. Some bigger Eleocharis in the back. Eleocharis needs "medium light".

Filter: Dennerle nano corner (it is really very silent!).

I was told to add a fertiliser once per week (Tropica premium nutrition).

After googling a great amount, I have a bunch of questions about plants:

1. If you look into pics and video - does it look ok?

2. The filter has a small waterfall that provides air. Is this enough or should I add air stone? Or this is not important for plants?

3. Lights. Should I start with dimmer light and increase it gradually during the first two weeks? Then what?

The tank is in not direct and not intense daylight all the time, except for the night. During the night I am tempted to have tank lights on as long as I work. I guess this is a bad plan? Should the tank stay in darkness for 16 hours?

Does "non-direct and non-intense daylight" count as "light period" or as "period without light"?

4. I plan to use Dennerle Nano Style 6W LED light. Is it ok for such tank?

5. Should I use CO2 system (say, Tropica Plant Growth System Nano)? I am hesitant. I am complete beginner, and I got discouraged when I found that once I start using CO2, I must keep doing it, otherwise plants collapse. So maybe I postpone...

What's next? Am I missing anything? I'll keep changing water often as long as ammonia level is high. And I will keep adding bacteria (Tetra Safe Start) once in couple of days...

Grateful for all advises! :)
Beautiful tank! You got some good advice from Cawafuoshi, but just to add on to some things:
-You can have a carpet without CO2. Soil helps (which I think you’ve gone with). The amount of light is a big factor too, but that depends on the type of carpeting plant. Some plants need CO2, but there’s a decent selection of carpeting plants that work without CO2. Growth is just a lot slower, so you have to be patient. The biggest thing that helps is trimming/mowing the carpet to encourage side shoots. Another thing that helps is adding a form of liquid carbon (which is oversimplifying actually what the liquid is, but it does significantly improve growth in a low tech tank) such as Flourish Excel. If I remember correctly, injected CO2 increases plant growth speed like 25x, and liquid CO2 increases plant growth speed like 8x, which is still significant. There are a couple different types of Eleocharis carpeting plants, and I’m not 100% on which ones are best in low-tech, so I honestly can’t give perfect guidance on whether yours will work. But I do know that eleocharis in general is known to be on the easier side of the spectrum of carpeting plants, and I would guess it should work granted it gets sufficient light.
-The waterfall from the filter should be totally fine. Oxygenation/surface agitation is much more important in a high-tech CO2 injected tank, not something you have to worry about really in your case.
-I would recommend starting with a lighting period of 6 hours, and then after the tank balances you can slowly increase the lighting period to 8 hours. Ambient light does not count towards the lighting period, nor does light that is dim enough where the plants can’t photosynthesize effectively. For example, I keep my tank lights on at 5% from 6:30am until 1:30pm, and then I have a 30 minute ramping period until 2:00pm, with a 6 hour max light period, and then another 30 minute ramp down ending with lights off at 8:30pm. The important thing is to give your fish like 6-8 hours of darkness so they can sleep. You can also play around with a break mid lighting period as mentioned. But you generally do not want to exceed 10 hours of actual lighting because after that plants can’t photosynthesize anymore or you at least see significant diminishing returns and are only encouraging algae growth.
-I can’t guarantee the Dennerle light will be sufficient if you want a carpet, because I couldn’t find the PAR information on it. PAR is the measurement that is best used to determine the sufficiency of aquarium lights. Here is an article on lighting from a website that I highly recommend in general for planted tank knowledge: Planted Tank Lighting 101: Understanding the basics of planted aquarium lights.
-One thing to keep in mind is that the nutrients in your aquasoil will be depleted fairly quickly, after only a few months. Growth should be excellent for the first few months before depletion, but then will slow down. As a result, I recommend adding a root tabs after the first few months and replenishing the root tabs every few months. The aquasoil will continue to do good things for the plants though after its nutrients are depleted just so you know: 1) as it breaks down, it will release CO2 into the aquarium which helps to increase growth; 2) it will hold on to nutrients that you dose into the water column and provide a source of nutrients for your plants if you ever slack on dosing; and 3) plants have an easier time rooting themselves in soil in general, which you probably already know but is worth mentioning.
Hope this helps! :)
 
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Ben777

Thank you immensely! I really appreciate you taking your time and making it much clearer!
 
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Ben777

An update.

I kept changing 50% of water every day. Now, after a week, ammonia fropped to 0,2, and Nitrites/Nitrates started to increase.Which is great. I am very very happy. :D

I also see some algae starting on some longer grass. I immediately reduced light to 6 hours per day (starting from half strenght, then increasing to 6-7W), I increased the airflow, and for the last two days algae doesn't seem to increase. I will add Tetra AlguMin Plus today after another water change. I hope it works.

What do you think?

The one thing I am afraid of. If I succeed, I will want yet another tank. I hope not LOL :D :D
 
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Freshfishguy

An update.

I kept changing 50% of water every day. Now, after a week, ammonia fropped to 0,2, and Nitrites/Nitrates started to increase.Which is great. I am very very happy. :D

I also see some algae starting on some longer grass. I immediately reduced light to 6 hours per day (starting from half strenght, then increasing to 6-7W), I increased the airflow, and for the last two days algae doesn't seem to increase. I will add Tetra AlguMin Plus today after another water change. I hope it works.

What do you think?

The one thing I am afraid of. If I succeed, I will want yet another tank. I hope not LOL :D :D
Sounds like you’re doing everything right! Maintenance like water changes is probably the biggest factor for success especially for planted tanks. Not minding doing it, or even better, enjoying doing maintenance is huge.

I don’t have experience with Tetra Algumin, but based on just a little research it doesn’t look like it would hurt. Just so you know though, algaecides other than glut-based ones like Seachem Excel have a bad reputation, especially on this forum lol.

Also, just to point out, you’ve taken 2 alternate approaches to fish-in cycling haha. Tetra Safe Start requires no water changes for 2 weeks I believe. Alternatively, you can just do daily 50% water changes to keep the water quality livable for the fish. There’s really no harm in adding Tetra Safe Start either way, but the consensus is that it probably doesn’t do anything if you don’t follow the instructions for it to the letter. If you go the aquasoil route, you should do daily water changes for a bit anyways, so adding Tetra Safe Start probably wasn’t needed for that reason too.
 
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Ben777

Also, just to point out, you’ve taken 2 alternate approaches to fish-in cycling haha. Tetra Safe Start requires no water changes for 2 weeks I believe. Alternatively, you can just do daily 50% water changes to keep the water quality livable for the fish. There’s really no harm in adding Tetra Safe Start either way, but the consensus is that it probably doesn’t do anything if you don’t follow the instructions for it to the letter. If you go the aquasoil route, you should do daily water changes for a bit anyways, so adding Tetra Safe Start probably wasn’t needed for that reason too.

I just thought - if bacteria doesn't stay in the water but stick to the filter, stones, plants, soil, there is no harm in changing water too :p Oh well... :)

Also, I thought - if I don't add SafeStart - where will bacteria come from? Actually, I still don't know, where would it come from...

Also, I LOVE changing water so far. Makes me feel real good and meditative :D
 
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Ben777

So, this is the view after one week. Please, any insight on yellowish plants? Is it normal or am I loosing them? See pics.

The state of tank: ammonia is gone. I am changing water when Nitrites/Nitrates raises a bit (up until today - every day). I keep light on for 6-7 hours, during the rest of the day tank is in almost complete darkness.

I used one spray of tropica fertilizer on the first day. I should probably not use it for a while?

Thanks for every insight!
 

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Freshfishguy

So, this is the view after one week. Please, any insight on yellowish plants? Is it normal or am I loosing them? See pics.

The state of tank: ammonia is gone. I am changing water when Nitrites/Nitrates raises a bit (up until today - every day). I keep light on for 6-7 hours, during the rest of the day tank is in almost complete darkness.

I used one spray of tropica fertilizer on the first day. I should probably not use it for a while?

Thanks for every insight!
I would definitely keep using the Tropica fertilizer. When to start fertilizing is a topic where people take different approaches, but I’m in the camp of people that believe you should fertilize the water from day 1 of planting. You want to help the plants grow and get established as quickly as possible, and their root systems aren’t fully developed yet, so water column feeding is important.

It’s totally normal to see some melting and yellowing at your stage while the plants are adapting and the tank is new. I wouldn’t worry about it yet.
 
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