The Bonsai Dream {6.8 Gallon}

Lunnietic

It has been almost three years since I had my last aquarium, while I am not brand-new at this. I am new to the design I am trying to achieve. I have not decided what all I am going to house in my little dream aquarium as far as fish go, but I do know that I am going to get there. This is to help keep track of my progress and how far I have come.

Goal as of 9/17/21:
Fully Carpeted Bottom
Bonsai Tree
 

MoshJosh

I personally love dwarf hair grass, especially when its a carpet, I do recommend CO2 injection to achieve this. There are some pretty cool small CO2 regulators/equipment for nano tanks you could look into.

Not saying you have to go CO2, just a though (keep in mind I'm biased cause I would want CO2 on my dream tank haha)
 

Lunnietic

I personally love dwarf hair grass, especially when its a carpet, I do recommend CO2 injection to achieve this. There are some pretty cool small CO2 regulators/equipment for nano tanks you could look into.

Not saying you have to go CO2, just a though (keep in mind I'm biased cause I would want CO2 on my dream tank haha)
Oh no, I am most definitely going to have to go the CO2 route. (This part is something foreign to me, I've had planted tanks but used root tabs before)

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Ordered this beautiful little piece, it'll be the tree once it arrives. I will have to work on the carpet first.
 

jmaldo


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Good Luck!
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

Maybe blue dream shrimp? For the "dream" in their name. For fish suggestions, if you want them, we'd need to know how big it'll be.
 

bored411

Oh no, I am most definitely going to have to go the CO2 route. (This part is something foreign to me, I've had planted tanks but used root tabs before)

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Ordered this beautiful little piece, it'll be the tree once it arrives. I will have to work on the carpet first.
Looks exciting! I'm curious, what plants are you going to use for the carpet? And what are you going to use for the bonsai? I've heard of a few different plants that work well for both (especially with CO2) but curious to see what you end up choosing!
 

Lunnietic

Maybe blue dream shrimp? For the "dream" in their name. For fish suggestions, if you want them, we'd need to know how big it'll be.
I'm not looking for suggestions quite yet for stocking. I need to get the tank established first. (As I plan on doing the "dry" method for the bottom). I actually have decided to go with one of the UNS tanks. (The 7 gallon cube). But I have to wait until they are back in stock...which is what is holding up my progress.
Looks exciting! I'm curious, what plants are you going to use for the carpet? And what are you going to use for the bonsai? I've heard of a few different plants that work well for both (especially with CO2) but curious to see what you end up choosing!
There's a couple that I am interested in I haven't settled on a specific one quite yet.
 

SuspiciouslyFishy

Wow, this looks cool. Following.
 

Lunnietic

Wanted to give a quick update! Buceplants got the UNS aquariums back in stock. I just brought the 7 gallon that is 11.8 x 11.8 x 11.8, it should be arriving in a few days. Once I get it here, I'll be able to see better how I want things to lay out. This mean over the weekend, I may have some larger updates! (Their lids are currently out of stock, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I know for the planted bottom it won't matter as much at first).

I do plan on buying rocks for the aquarium--not for the substrate but for aqua-scaping--to keep the bonsai tree in place and make it better. I haven't decided fully yet on what kind of rocks. I also will be buying the substrate once I can make the decision between ADA Aqua Soil and Controsoil. I'm open to suggestions on either of these!

I also will be buying a cabinet for said aquarium, I've heard (not sure if this is a thing) that TV cabinets can work?
 

Lunnietic

Not as large as an updated as I have hoped. (Issues came up with my one of my fur babys). The tank should be here on Monday at the latest (earliest maybe tomorrow). I ended up buying rocks, yes, rocks, that are being sent in the mail 5lbs of it. I feel so silly. My partner even questioned me. "Rocks? Can't we just get those from the river?..." "No."
 

MoshJosh

My wife always gets a bit mad when I go to the fish store to buy "sticks", she says we have plenty of sticks in the back yard.
 

Lunnietic

My wife always gets a bit mad when I go to the fish store to buy "sticks", she says we have plenty of sticks in the back yard.
That's hilarious! He didn't agrue about the driftwood. Rocks were the breaking point.

Probably the worst quality image ever. I am so excited it came! (This is not where it is staying). The rocks (I brought dragon stone) should be here on Friday. I'm not sure if I should put substrate down before the rocks? If so I need to buy it!

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MoshJosh

I guess it sort of depends, but yeah I would put in substrate first.

that said with this size tank/stones they would probably be fine on the glass.

alternitvly you could put little pieces of filter foam under the contact points and cover them with substrate later.

Or if you wanted the scape to be completely solid/locked down you could silicone it to the glass
 

Lunnietic

I guess it sort of depends, but yeah I would put in substrate first.

that said with this size tank/stones they would probably be fine on the glass.

alternitvly you could put little pieces of filter foam under the contact points and cover them with substrate later.

Or if you wanted the scape to be completely solid/locked down you could silicone it to the glass
I haven't thought about using silicone. Is all silicone safe? I feel like my research is never going to end with this project of mine. :) I've never quite gone to the lengths that I am going for, for this aquarium.
 

MoshJosh

No, not all silicone is aquarium safe, some silicones have additives to stop mold. GE 1 silicone should be safe, and Loctite makes a silicone that says aquarium safe right on the label. Those are the only hardware store silicones I’ve used, both worked fine. That said Petsmart near me sells marine land silicone specifically for aquariums, as should most local fish stores.
 

Lunnietic

The rocks came in today! I have a feeling I will need to scrub them (again). I dont have any SOS pads on stock. I was using my wired brush for my water bottles in the cracks.
This is roughly the shape I want them together. I now can't decide between black or brown substrate..
 

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Lunnietic


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I put together the cabinet for the tank! I will need to put together another order. I'm actually regretting not buying the one with the built in filter...I'd be so much closer.
 

Lunnietic

I will have to take another break from spending on the aquarium, but it doesn't mean I am not actively thinking about it! I'm currently searching in plants in inhabitants. (Nov 12th is when I will buy substrate and plants and maybe a different light) I am incredibly interested in Hydrocotyle Japan, as they look like little clovers. I might actually do these for the bottom of the aquarium for the carpet? I am also looking into Chili Rasboras or something similar, I like how small they are and how I'll be able to keep a small school.
 

MoshJosh

Think japan tends to grow upward like a stem plant (not sure if it technically is a stem plant though), may require constant trimming if you want a carpet of it. I’m not an expert on this plant though so keep that in mind
I will have to take another break from spending on the aquarium, but it doesn't mean I am not actively thinking about it! I'm currently searching in plants in inhabitants. (Nov 12th is when I will buy substrate and plants and maybe a different light) I am incredibly interested in Hydrocotyle Japan, as they look like little clovers. I might actually do these for the bottom of the aquarium for the carpet? I am also looking into Chili Rasboras or something similar, I like how small they are and how I'll be able to keep a small school.
 

bored411

Think japan tends to grow upward like a stem plant (not sure if it technically is a stem plant though), may require constant trimming if you want a carpet of it. I’m not an expert on this plant though so keep that in mind
It does grow upward a bit but it’s a fast growing plant that sends runners. Doesn’t seem to grow taller than 5-10cm. Requires good light to carpet, does well in substrate and attached to decor, and is considered a “weed” because it can quickly take over a tank from what I’ve read about it. Makes “fluffy bushes” and probably requires trimming to keep it in check. It’s very nice looking though!
 

Lunnietic

It's the 7th and I lied. I have been sent coupon codes for pre-black Friday deals. I went ahead and spent money on plants and substrate. I will take photos when they arrive. When everything is set up
 

Lunnietic

The plants and substrate will either be in late tonight or tomorrow. I have an old light that I am currently using until I can find another. (It's a Finnex FugeRay Planted+) I know this will "work" in the short term, but should I look into upgrading to a better light?
 

MoshJosh

If I recall that light is pretty decent, I would probably roll with it and see how it does. . .

could also mess around with longer lighting periods if you feel you need more light than it is providing. . .

BUT. . . if you aren't happy with the aesthetic of said light, well that probably wont change, and I would upgrade.
 

Lunnietic


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The plants came in yesterday. This is them with my clip on light. It seems pretty bright. I actually hate the moss I brought for the bonsai tree. I might end up replacing it.
 

Lunnietic

I ended up ripping the bonsai tree out of the aquarium and I stopped using the plastic wrap on the top. (It was making things mold on the inside, the moss was a no go this way). Unfortunately, I tried to upgrade the light to Chihiros C2. Lovely light, very bright. HOWEVER it is so bright it burns plants alive. (Literally). I will be returning them in the mail on monday and staying with my other light. (I will be rebuying the plants that got burned).

I am now looking into filters. I am tempted to go for a Zoo Med because of the cost (I will have to buy all new filter media for it, I am aware) or the Odyssea 130 hang on filter. I don't really know much about either of these. I don't really want a traditional HOB filter and I definitely don't want an internal one.

As for housing, I think I settled on Chili Rasboras (or strawberry if I can find them). I want a small grouping of 8-10. Other then that, maybe some shrimp as I don't think Ottos or Pymgy corydoras would like me very much putting them in a 7 gallon tank..(When I had my 20 gallon long up and running the cories were my favorite. I had one that stood out with major personality and loved her to pieces).
 

Lunnietic

I feel like I have been buying everything off of buceplants. I had an aqua clear once upon a time, I dislike how dirty the tank water gets whenever I have to clean them. I'm not sure if its my coordination or not but I always end up dumping the nasty brown water into the tank when pulling out the media for a quick rinse to clean it up. So I don't really want a traditional HOB.

Internal I am not sure I want to go with, as I would have to restructure the inside with the carpeting that is going on. I will end up having to anyways a bit, because I brought more dragon stone for accent pieces that was delivered, but they put it in a box and didn't give me the correct key, so I have to wait for tomorrow to request them open it for me) so I suppose this isn't such a horrible idea. But I want to hide the equipment as much as possible.
 

jmaldo

Hmm...I own a couple of Chihiros older versions and work quite well. You mentioned too bright, doesn't the C2 have the ability to adjust the intensity?
 

Lunnietic

Hmm...I own a couple of Chihiros older versions and work quite well. You mentioned too bright, doesn't the C2 have the ability to adjust the intensity?
It does not. I'm not sure if it's just the lack of water compared to the light. But it cooked all the plants I had on the rocks. I will have to replace them.
 

Lunnietic

Hmm...I own a couple of Chihiros older versions and work quite well. You mentioned too bright, doesn't the C2 have the ability to adjust the intensity?
Edit my last reply, I didn't realize I needed to install the app for me to be able to lower the brightness. (I now have, it's way technical in my opinion!)
 

Lunnietic

If you ignore the hot mess dust on the floor from the filter media... This is what happened to the aquarium today. The CO2 system isn't "fully" set up yet. This is still without water. I'm still going to find a way to hide more equipment. I ordered more dragon stone that is somehow stuck in a post office box no one has a key too..
 

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Lunnietic

The mailman delivered the package to my door today! This is a preview. I flooded the tank after building. I'll post a photo in the morning.
Things I have discovered:
I will need a new heater. My old one doesn't work. (I will work on this today and have one picked and shipped by tomorrow evening at the lastest).

I don't want moss for the tree. But I don't know what to really grow the bonsai with. I'm considering something from the buce family but I haven't really tried to grow any of those?
 

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bored411

The mailman delivered the package to my door today! This is a preview. I flooded the tank after building. I'll post a photo in the morning.
Things I have discovered:
I will need a new heater. My old one doesn't work. (I will work on this today and have one picked and shipped by tomorrow evening at the lastest).

I don't want moss for the tree. But I don't know what to really grow the bonsai with. I'm considering something from the buce family but I haven't really tried to grow any of those?
You can use all sorts of plants! Moss balls, java ferns, monte carlo, buce, anubias. Basically, anything that doesn't need to be planted in the ground. Monte Carlo was harder for me to grow outside of the substrate, but the rest do better out of the substrate and grow well. It depends on the kind of look you're going for. Curious to see what you end up choosing! Love the scape so far :D
 

Lunnietic


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Here's some after the water has cleared up a bit. I'm leaning more towards buces. Especially the mini buces...Do you think plants mind if I add straight ammonia to the water to cycle? I've always brought the plants after...
 

Lunnietic

Finally got to the store and am I starting to dose the tank daily with 0.25 ml of ammonia. (I brought a little dropper for this purpose. I also thought it would be handy for the prime and excel for the plants). I figure I can leave it do its thing for a week, then check it with my test kit. As the tap water reads all zeros across the board for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
 

Lunnietic

I am thinking about ordering these on Friday...but I'm not sure if you can cycle a tank with plants well? Do these even look okay?
 

Lunnietic

Testing the water today.
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrate: is somewhere between 40-80ppm. Oops.
Nitrite: 0 ppm

I'm still trying to figure out what this means exactly, as I didn't test everyday.
 

Lunnietic

More water testing
Ammonia: It's somewhere between 0 and 0.25ppm. (This I think is great news, as I did a water change last night and dosed with ammonia)
Nitrates: are still in the red, I did do a 30% water change yesterday. I'll do another one tonight and do another testing.
Nitrites are still reading 0.

I do however have hair algae. I think it's pretty. I will work on removing this fully when the rest of the plants come in. Which looks like might be friday. Trying to get the nitrates under control. (I'm also totally digging the water siphon I brought, it has a this squeeze part that does all the suction for me. It's by far my favorite thing).
 

mattgirl

Trying to get the nitrates under control.

What kind of ferts are you adding to this tank? Nitrates are the easiest thing to keep under control. We have to grow bacteria to remove ammonia and nitrites. Water changes lower nitrates. You may need to adjust the amount of ferts you are adding to help control the nitrate level.

I started out with Thrive. Once I saw how high it raised my nitrates I switched to Thrive C. It still raises my nitrates but by adding less than is recommended my nitrates don't go as high. The weekly 50% water changes keep them down below 40ppm.
 

Lunnietic

What kind of ferts are you adding to this tank? Nitrates are the easiest thing to keep under control. We have to grow bacteria to remove ammonia and nitrites. Water changes lower nitrates. You may need to adjust the amount of ferts you are adding to help control the nitrate level.

I started out with Thrive. Once I saw how high it raised my nitrates I switched to Thrive C. It still raises my nitrates but by adding less than is recommended my nitrates don't go as high. The weekly 50% water changes keep them down below 40ppm.
Seachem flourish advanced growth. But I am wondering if the problem isn't the product but me. When I was growing the planted bottom, I am wondering if I overdosed majorly with the ferts which is now causing the issue with them. I'm not going to dose anymore (was doing it weekly) until I can some what control them. I'm also wondering if all the new plants may help. I got the notification that they may be delivered today, tomorrow at the lastest.

I did a 30% water change last night and just added prime, no ferts. I'll try 50 or so tonight to see if that helps. (Or more if the plants come).
 

mattgirl

I suspect your nitrate issue is coming from too much Flourish being added. The water change should get them down to a more reasonable level. Once you get the nitrates down and the rest of your plants in there start out by adding maybe a forth of the recommended dose and go from there.
 

Lunnietic

I will have to do the water tests this evening, as my dogs were going nuts this morning. They prevented me from doing much before work LOL.

My question is, I did a massive water change. 80%. There was a lot of brown yuck that came up from the soil. I was purposely shifting it around, to see if I could get some of the nitrates that might be living in there out. I found a ton of dead plants that had melted pulled them out--anyways. Point is, adding the water back into the tank. The soil went EVERYWHERE that wasn't planted. What is the best tool/way to get the water not shift up the soil too bad when adding new water BACK to the tank?
 

Lunnietic

Thank you for this!

I tested the water this evening. (I did do an 80% water change yesterday and dosed the water with double the amount of ammonia I normally use)
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrites: Is not 0 but not quite 0.25ppm. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but something happened here..Maybe it was the more ammonia?
Nitrates: Are very close to 40ppm! (This is lower and lighter than it has been, but still more red then orange).

FedEx didn't drop off the plants today. Which makes me sad. I did another 50% water change and double dosed with ammonia again. I did get a lot of the dead plant matter out again. I didn't realize how much of it buried itself under the soil. This has helped, I think. As I think its roughly 20ppm lower than yesterday. (I'm saving the nitrate reading to compare to in the AM)
 

mattgirl

Now that this tank is processing all the ammonia you add within 24 hours of adding it I would lower the amount of ammonia instead of increasing it. In fact I would only be adding enough to get it up to about 1ppm maybe every third day. This is going to keep the ammonia eating bacteria you have in this tank well fed by adding ammonia every third day and will slow down the production of nitrates.
 

Lunnietic

Now that this tank is processing all the ammonia you add within 24 hours of adding it I would lower the amount of ammonia instead of increasing it. In fact I would only be adding enough to get it up to about 1ppm maybe every third day. This is going to keep the ammonia eating bacteria you have in this tank well fed by adding ammonia every third day and will slow down the production of nitrates.
I will try that. Thank you! I'm curious what level of nitrates is fish safe? Would 10 ppm be a bad idea? I'm not dosing with ferts until I can see these drop below at least 20 ppm.
 

mattgirl

I will try that. Thank you! I'm curious what level of nitrates is fish safe? Would 10 ppm be a bad idea?
A safe nitrate level has been debated numerous times. So often in fact I don't think it has ever been really answered. As long as i see orange in the test tube I am happy.
I'm not dosing with ferts until I can see these drop below at least 20 ppm.
You do know don't you that nitrates aren't going to drop until you do a water change to remove them don't you? I only ask because more than once I have had to correct someone because they are thinking their cycle isn't done because the nitrates aren't going down. Nitrates are lowered with water changes.
 

Lunnietic

A safe nitrate level has been debated numerous times. So often in fact I don't think it has ever been really answered. As long as i see orange in the test tube I am happy.

You do know don't you that nitrates aren't going to drop until you do a water change to remove them don't you? I only ask because more than once I have had to correct someone because they are thinking their cycle isn't done because the nitrates aren't going down. Nitrates are lowered with water changes.
I have been doing 50% water changes everyday this week. (I've also been stirring up the soil on the bottom of the tank). So I have been trying. I'm at the point where I want to buy a mesh strainer and thoroughly wash the soil to see if this will help. LOL. They haven't gone down or up with a normal water change.
 

Blacksheep1

I feel like any soil or plant specific substrate does give off a brown effect when siphoning / water changes so I wouldn’t worry about that too much for now . The tank is looking great and can’t wait to see it finished ! I’m really interested to see what plant you go with for the bonsai
 

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