The Bonsai Dream {6.8 Gallon} - Page 2

mattgirl

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.
At this point in the project I wouldn't be overly concerned about the nitrate level. Once fish are added we need to keep it down but since there are just plants for now high nitrates are not a problem.
 

JMurder

Have you looked into killifish? I think they are perfect for small tanks. They love planted tanks and are a joy to keep.
 

Lunnietic


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I never said I was a good photographer. I want that to be clear. I have more plants in this tank then I know the names of. I picked up 3 more at the fishstore today too (I'm glad I did).
 

Lunnietic

I plan on taking better photos tomorrow or in a few weeks. The bonsai is mini snow white anubias and some sort of mystery buce.

I also have 2 other kinds of anubias (dark angel and petite) in the big holes on the rocks in tank. Baby dwarf tears are no longer the carpet I started putting them in the cracks of the rocks as well as Monte Carlo. I have Java ferns by the heater and intake of the filter. Utricularia Graminifolia is the grass. I have repens throughout the tank. On the bottom. Some floater duck weed that came free with Rotala. (I loved the flowers on it).
 

Lunnietic

Nitrate reading is somewhere between 10 and 15 ppm this morning after the near 100% water change yesterday and the added plants.
Ammonia is somewhere between 0 and 0.25
Nitrites are 0.
 

Fishstery

I'm not trying to discourage you because you have a great start going there! But UG is an extremely difficult plant. It's not recommended to plant it in fresh aquasoil because leeching ammonia melts it off quickly. It's best to either use UG as a marginal plant semi-emersed, or wait until a tank is mature to add it in later. It also doesn't do very well fully submerged without co2 because it's actually a bog plant and not fully aquatic.

I've had it grow in stunningly well and then melt off for no random reason, and a lot of people have had the same. Now I have it in a mature scape doing well, but it took 3 tries to get it to this point! Just wanted to let you know so you didn't think you did something wrong if it melts. It's a real B word to establish but a beautiful one at that.

Can't wait to see it mature!
 

Lunnietic

I'm not trying to discourage you because you have a great start going there! But UG is an extremely difficult plant. It's not recommended to plant it in fresh aquasoil because leeching ammonia melts it off quickly. It's best to either use UG as a marginal plant semi-emersed, or wait until a tank is mature to add it in later. It also doesn't do very well fully submerged without co2 because it's actually a bog plant and not fully aquatic.

I've had it grow in stunningly well and then melt off for no random reason, and a lot of people have had the same. Now I have it in a mature scape doing well, but it took 3 tries to get it to this point! Just wanted to let you know so you didn't think you did something wrong if it melts. It's a real B word to establish but a beautiful one at that.

Can't wait to see it mature!
Thank you for letting me know. I actually do have CO2 set up in the tank. I am using NEO CO2 DIY KIT. The outflow is "buried" behind the rocks. It's not covered at all. But is hidden from view of the tank besides from 1 side. We will see what happens to it. But thank you for the warning! I'm hoping it grows. All grassy plants seem to be a struggle to grow. I'll see what happens.
 

Fishstery

Thank you for letting me know. I actually do have CO2 set up in the tank. I am using NEO CO2 DIY KIT. The outflow is "buried" behind the rocks. It's not covered at all. But is hidden from view of the tank besides from 1 side. We will see what happens to it. But thank you for the warning! I'm hoping it grows. All grassy plants seem to be a struggle to grow. I'll see what happens.
Later down the road you may want to consider just doing an actual co2 setup with a 20oz paintball tank. Fzone makes a cheaper dual stage regulator for paintball tanks that I run on all my high techs. I used the neo co2 kit and long term use was meh, it was too hard to prevent algae with the co2 constantly fluctuating and it was too expensive for the refills considering I needed to add another packet every week or every other week. In the summer when the AC was on it barely produced co2 because the room was too cold also. I was trying it out on a larger tank though so it may be more efficient on a nano. I used to think co2 was expensive but for only $6 a refill and only needed to refill my tanks every 3-4 months the most expense was just inital setup. The diffuser that comes with the neo kit is actually really nice, so all you would need to buy is just the regulator and tank itself.
 

Lunnietic

Later down the road you may want to consider just doing an actual co2 setup with a 20oz paintball tank. Fzone makes a cheaper dual stage regulator for paintball tanks that I run on all my high techs. I used the neo co2 kit and long term use was meh, it was too hard to prevent algae with the co2 constantly fluctuating and it was too expensive for the refills considering I needed to add another packet every week or every other week. In the summer when the AC was on it barely produced co2 because the room was too cold also. I was trying it out on a larger tank though so it may be more efficient on a nano. I used to think co2 was expensive but for only $6 a refill and only needed to refill my tanks every 3-4 months the most expense was just inital setup. The diffuser that comes with the neo kit is actually really nice, so all you would need to buy is just the regulator and tank itself.
I will have to look into that more. Thank you! I wanted a not too complicated kit because I've never used CO2 before.
I didn't want a beta. I really didn't want a beta. But this little man. I brought home. I brought a bottle of seachem stability too. To be doubley sure that I had the right kind of bacteria in my tank. He doesn't seem to like java fern....or maybe that's where it's placed he hates? He attacks it.
IMG_20211220_175254.jpg
 

Rose of Sharon

He's beautiful! And welcome to team Betta!!! :)
 

Lunnietic

He's beautiful! And welcome to team Betta!!! :)
Thank you! He apparently is happy with his tank. I have ton of almost bubble nests on top of the tank this morning. (He's trying, I think the filter keeps breaking them down).

I'm debating if I should try shrimp with him later on...
 

Lunnietic

Most of the UG as expected has died off. (I'm okay with this. There still some hanging on).

I have a tad bit of a problem though. Hair algae. And it's EVERYWHERE. How does one solve this issue? I'm not sure how easy it'll be for me to tear down my rock wall and we build it to wash it all away. (More than willing to do this though). But will this affect my cycle? Ammonia and Nirtrites have been stable and close to 0. No casualties yet either.

On the 29th I want to bring home either shrimp or snails. But that's 5? 4? weeks out..
 

Fishstery

What light intensity are you running and how long is the photoperiod?

Typically hair algae is a sign of too much light for plant demand/co2 levels. You are probably running lower co2 since it isn't pressurized.

Just to prepare you, with a tank with co2, moderate lighting, and fresh aquasoil is pretty much an algae battle for the first few weeks of setup unless you are already experienced and know your way around things to avoid it. My high tech went through stages of pretty much every algae before I was able to finally balance it enough to where I just get a dusting of hair algae on the glass by the end of the week. Don't panic if it gets somewhat bad and don't try to adjust too much at once. You just need to find an equilibrium in your specific setup. Again, with the DIY co2 I feel that algae is almost inevitable since there really is no way to have a defined amount of co2 at any given time or keep it 100% consistent which is why I bit the bullet and went with pressurized despite having zero experience with it. You don't have a ton of plant mass or super demanding plants which won't help your case starting out. Make sure to remove as much melted plant matter as you see it, use a turkey baster to blow the detritus up out of the gravel as you vacc. Letting the soil get dirty is the worst thing you can do with a new setup.
 

Lunnietic

What light intensity are you running and how long is the photoperiod?

Typically hair algae is a sign of too much light for plant demand/co2 levels. You are probably running lower co2 since it isn't pressurized.

Just to prepare you, with a tank with co2, moderate lighting, and fresh aquasoil is pretty much an algae battle for the first few weeks of setup unless you are already experienced and know your way around things to avoid it. My high tech went through stages of pretty much every algae before I was able to finally balance it enough to where I just get a dusting of hair algae on the glass by the end of the week. Don't panic if it gets somewhat bad and don't try to adjust too much at once. You just need to find an equilibrium in your specific setup. Again, with the DIY co2 I feel that algae is almost inevitable since there really is no way to have a defined amount of co2 at any given time or keep it 100% consistent which is why I bit the bullet and went with pressurized despite having zero experience with it. You don't have a ton of plant mass or super demanding plants which won't help your case starting out. Make sure to remove as much melted plant matter as you see it, use a turkey baster to blow the detritus up out of the gravel as you vacc. Letting the soil get dirty is the worst thing you can do with a new setup.
I do not have a turkey baster yet. But have been doing a good job shifting it up with my gravel vac as I brought one meant for sand. I will look into this as well.

I have so much algae that my rocks have turned green. It's gross. I did pull out as much melting/decaying plants as I could on Friday and cleaned up as much algae as I could today.

I'm not sure how to explain my light. But I did lower the time it's on and the brightness on Friday when I did the major clean. (It's 8 hours a day now with a fade in and the light set for 60% buce, this is down from 100% at 10 hours).
It needs it again however, both the light change and a good cleaning. I'm almost wanting to drain the whole thing and take a toothbrush to the rocks.
Goal is to update to pressurized CO2 in the long term...but if this keeps happening short term may have to do
 

Fishstery

I do not have a turkey baster yet. But have been doing a good job shifting it up with my gravel vac as I brought one meant for sand. I will look into this as well.

I have so much algae that my rocks have turned green. It's gross. I did pull out as much melting/decaying plants as I could on Friday and cleaned up as much algae as I could today.

I'm not sure how to explain my light. But I did lower the time it's on and the brightness on Friday when I did the major clean. (It's 8 hours a day now with a fade in and the light set for 60% buce, this is down from 100% at 10 hours).
It needs it again however, both the light change and a good cleaning. I'm almost wanting to drain the whole thing and take a toothbrush to the rocks.
Goal is to update to pressurized CO2 in the long term...but if this keeps happening short term may have to do
I would knock the photoperiod down to 6 hours until you gain more plant mass. I only run 6 hours on my high techs even after a year and have exceptional growth. Anything longer and it can trigger algae for me. 8 hours should be the maximum, but not until later down the line when you can balance the tank out better.

I really wouldn't suggest kicking everything up like that. Being too invasive can make it worse. Algae is 100% to be expected when dialing in a co2 injected tank, or even low techs as well. Having active aquasoil that leeches ammonia exasperates it. I hate to tell you but even if you scrub all that algae off it will grow back within a week. You need to be patient, and look to what the tank and plants are telling you, make adjustments, and work it out that way. Dealing with algae is normal for even the most experienced scapers. Of course this is your tank and if scrubbing the rocks will ease your stress definitely just do it when the tank is empty and refill it part of the way after and vaccum the water back out and fill it again to get any leftover debris.
 

Lunnietic

I would knock the photoperiod down to 6 hours until you gain more plant mass. I only run 6 hours on my high techs even after a year and have exceptional growth. Anything longer and it can trigger algae for me. 8 hours should be the maximum, but not until later down the line when you can balance the tank out better.

I really wouldn't suggest kicking everything up like that. Being too invasive can make it worse. Algae is 100% to be expected when dialing in a co2 injected tank, or even low techs as well. Having active aquasoil that leeches ammonia exasperates it. I hate to tell you but even if you scrub all that algae off it will grow back within a week. You need to be patient, and look to what the tank and plants are telling you, make adjustments, and work it out that way. Dealing with algae is normal for even the most experienced scapers. Of course this is your tank and if scrubbing the rocks will ease your stress definitely just do it when the tank is empty and refill it part of the way after and vaccum the water back out and fill it again to get any leftover debris.
I did a little clean up as the hair algae looked like a spider web and appeared to be upset Sushi, the beta. I cleaned it up enough for him to swim freely as he sees fit. I took some dead and some mostly dead plants out. The floating plants that came with Sushi cover 1/4 of the tank. They've exploded this week. The anubias are doing well. (Most of them) the white snow ones are taking a bit of a hit. Makes me wonder if I am going to loose them all besides the 1 big one. The buce appears to be fine. And the monte carlo is growing like a weed. The baby dwarf tears are also looking good. The four leaf clover plant appears okay too.

The UG...I had one alive patch left that I decided to pull tonight. I don't think it'll live. But now I don't have a carpet.

The thing is about the algae...I've had the CO2 running the entire time with the plants. It wasn't until this week that it appeared. I raised the temp, added fish, and more plants..
 

Fishstery

I did a little clean up as the hair algae looked like a spider web and appeared to be upset Sushi, the beta. I cleaned it up enough for him to swim freely as he sees fit. I took some dead and some mostly dead plants out. The floating plants that came with Sushi cover 1/4 of the tank. They've exploded this week. The anubias are doing well. (Most of them) the white snow ones are taking a bit of a hit. Makes me wonder if I am going to loose them all besides the 1 big one. The buce appears to be fine. And the monte carlo is growing like a weed. The baby dwarf tears are also looking good. The four leaf clover plant appears okay too.

The UG...I had one alive patch left that I decided to pull tonight. I don't think it'll live. But now I don't have a carpet.

The thing is about the algae...I've had the CO2 running the entire time with the plants. It wasn't until this week that it appeared. I raised the temp, added fish, and more plants..
I would start propagating the monte carlo as it grows and use that to start a carpet. It's the easiest carpeting plant IMO. Raising the temp might kill off your buce and possibly the anubias. They can survive in higher temps but prefer unheated tanks. I stopped keeping buce with my bettas because the temp was just too much to have any decent growth. That's just my 2 cents though.

Again, the algae isn't going to disappear overnight and there's no one shot easy fix for it. You just need to tweak little by little and be patient. Typically green algae start to die off once the plants transition and start to take off more. Changing your light duration would be the first step to fixing the hair algae. Give it some time and manually remove as you see it. Using a toothbrush to twirl it around is the easiest way to manually remove hair algae. Bettas will not at all be bothered by hair algae or plant roots in the water column, they much prefer it tbh. Having the floaters might help you out though as they consume a lot of excess nutrients and also diffuse some of the light.
 

Lunnietic

Tank looks better today after removing all the UG. I also rearranged my tank a little. (Rotated the bonsai). Sushi loves it. Will take photos when I am home next. But the hair algae is still a problem. Just not as intense.


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Here is a quick photo. I'm not sure how to get the algae from collecting on the plants on the bonsai. It seems to want to live there. Then act like a sticky web and get attached to everything else.
 

bored411


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Here is a quick photo. I'm not sure how to get the algae from collecting on the plants on the bonsai. It seems to want to live there. Then act like a sticky web and get attached to everything else.
I was having a similar problem in my betta tank. I've got a 5 gallon, no CO2 tank with a light that's probably a tad too close to where my plants are. I had hair algae galore and ended up throwing out a lot of different types of plants that were collecting it no matter what I did. I'm doing phoenix moss right now and haven't seen any hair algae yet! The brown algae on the glass is easier as I have a nerite that gobbles it up. I think it's definitely some trial and error to find the sweet spot to get everything to work. :confused: I wish you luck and will follow to see if any suggestions for you might work out for me too.
 

Lunnietic

I was having a similar problem in my betta tank. I've got a 5 gallon, no CO2 tank with a light that's probably a tad too close to where my plants are. I had hair algae galore and ended up throwing out a lot of different types of plants that were collecting it no matter what I did. I'm doing phoenix moss right now and haven't seen any hair algae yet! The brown algae on the glass is easier as I have a nerite that gobbles it up. I think it's definitely some trial and error to find the sweet spot to get everything to work. :confused: I wish you luck and will follow to see if any suggestions for you might work out for me too.
When the tank just had baby dwarf tears in it and was set for 12 hours a day lighting at 100%...(CO2 was on) I didn't get algae. At least. Not like this. Just got some on the sides. What I have notice is it collects on the floating plants. And those get moved around by the filter. I'm tempted to do a good clean this weekend trash the floating plants and see what happens.

I do plan on adding shrimp at the end of January. This hopefully will help some with my problems. I want to start out with 5. Haven't decided what kind. Going to get them locally.
 

Lunnietic

I think I am mostly down to plants that don't need CO2. I'm wondering if at this point if it's better if I remove the CO2 system.
 

Lunnietic

Another photo of the tank. I did a clean out a plant rearrange. You can still see the hair algae in spots.
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Lunnietic

I have some major updates? Maybe not.

The CO2 system has been disconnected for a week (it wasn't really producing anyways) and the amount of algae in my tank has decreased dramatically. I have also adjusted the lighting to not be as bright or harsh (you can still see everything).

The last plants I brought from the petstore had a ramhorn snail on it. (Since there is only one, he can stay). He is white with little black spots on him. He is really cool looking.
 

Lunnietic


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If you ignore my sprite can. This is the most updated photo of the aquarium. The bonsai...well. I'm struggling with it. I may end up replacing it with a different piece of wood.
 

Lunnietic

I have found my first death today. One of my shrimp passed away. I'm not exactly sure of the cause. (This is my first time having shrimp) But it does make me sad.
 

Blacksheep1

Aww , I’m sorry to hear that . Did you drip acclimate them? Some times it’s just that the older ones can’t transition to new parameters. Feed them a variety and the rest will probably will probably be fine.
Your tank is looking amazing btw . That betta is gorgeous too!
 

Lunnietic

Aww , I’m sorry to hear that . Did you drip acclimate them? Some times it’s just that the older ones can’t transition to new parameters. Feed them a variety and the rest will probably will probably be fine.
Your tank is looking amazing btw . That betta is gorgeous too!
They had been in the tank at this point just over a month. If it was an acclimation issue I thought they'd be dead in the first week. This one was the largest shrimp that was brought (all rilis) I'm wondering if it was just old age? I however never seen the shrimp unless I am rearranging the plants. They love to hide in my tank.

Thank you. I try. I still want a carpet...I feel like that this point it'll be impossible to achieve.
 

bored411

They had been in the tank at this point just over a month. If it was an acclimation issue I thought they'd be dead in the first week. This one was the largest shrimp that was brought (all rilis) I'm wondering if it was just old age? I however never seen the shrimp unless I am rearranging the plants. They love to hide in my tank.

Thank you. I try. I still want a carpet...I feel like that this point it'll be impossible to achieve.
One of the hardiest plants I found for carpeting is dwarf sag! My betta loves to crawl under the leaves of the ones in my tank and they grow quickly and don't require much. I've had them in sand with root tabs, in gravel, and in aquasoil/stratum. They don't need lots of light (I've had them in low and medium light) though in low light they will grow taller unless you trim them back. You could try that if other carpeting plants aren't working out.

And I've had a heck of a time attempting a bonsai tree as well, so I totally understand your frustration. I have since given up, though I think something that might work would be if you attach moss (I recommend phoenix moss as it comes out very pretty once it grows a bit and isn't as messy for me as java moss or other moss) to a small rock and then put the small rock in the branches you'd want it to be. It might not work (if you can find a ping-pong ball or something lighter that won't harm the tank that might work better) but I have phoenix moss on thicker bits of spiderwood and it's coming out nice.
 

Blacksheep1

Acclimation issues can show at the next moult so that time frame isn’t surprising , the older ones don’t acclimate as well as younger shrimp. If you have any more losses take photos of them ( in the tank still , it helps ) as it could show a sign of what’s happened like the white ring of death etc .

I’ve seen some amazing pieces of wood for a ‘bonsai’ but wow they are expensive ! They are specifically stuck together for the purpose of creating a bonsai look , if you’re crafty enough I’m sure you do it yourself cheaper, YouTube has some good videos to explain the finer details of you search. I do feel from how my moss grows though it would take some weekly pruning to stop the moss branching out and growing more like an actual tree than a bonsai. It’s up to you on how much time you can dedicate to that though :)
 

Lunnietic

One of the hardiest plants I found for carpeting is dwarf sag! My betta loves to crawl under the leaves of the ones in my tank and they grow quickly and don't require much. I've had them in sand with root tabs, in gravel, and in aquasoil/stratum. They don't need lots of light (I've had them in low and medium light) though in low light they will grow taller unless you trim them back. You could try that if other carpeting plants aren't working out.

And I've had a heck of a time attempting a bonsai tree as well, so I totally understand your frustration. I have since given up, though I think something that might work would be if you attach moss (I recommend phoenix moss as it comes out very pretty once it grows a bit and isn't as messy for me as java moss or other moss) to a small rock and then put the small rock in the branches you'd want it to be. It might not work (if you can find a ping-pong ball or something lighter that won't harm the tank that might work better) but I have phoenix moss on thicker bits of spiderwood and it's coming out nice.
I really wanted to avoid the moss route as I have always found it overgrows quickly..but I do appreciate the suggestion. I'd rather go without the bonsai then do moss. I have plenty of small pieces of dragon stone leftover. It's how I got some of the other plants to stay put.

I'll look into dwarf sag. At the moment my repens seem to be over taking the bottom of the tank.
Acclimation issues can show at the next moult so that time frame isn’t surprising , the older ones don’t acclimate as well as younger shrimp. If you have any more losses take photos of them ( in the tank still , it helps ) as it could show a sign of what’s happened like the white ring of death etc .

I’ve seen some amazing pieces of wood for a ‘bonsai’ but wow they are expensive ! They are specifically stuck together for the purpose of creating a bonsai look , if you’re crafty enough I’m sure you do it yourself cheaper, YouTube has some good videos to explain the finer details of you search. I do feel from how my moss grows though it would take some weekly pruning to stop the moss branching out and growing more like an actual tree than a bonsai. It’s up to you on how much time you can dedicate to that though :)
Yeah. I don't want to do the moss route. I actually wanted to do the buce route. (I have mini buce currently on it. I just didn't buy enough in one go). Because moss can overgrow easily...and I've had that happen in some of my tanks. I may end up finding a different piece all together. I haven't decided yet. (Bonsai or otherwise)

I will definitely take a photo. I noticed this guy during a water change as his body came to the surface. I thought I had accidentally poured the water too fast and startled him. But he was dead-dead. All the other ones...last time I saw them were still pretty small. Much smaller than this guy. It makes me wonder if I should hold off buying more.
 

Lunnietic

A very late update. I decided to transfer everything to my 20 gallon long. It's been about a month since then.

Turns out I have roughly 7? Shrimps at least. They are small and coming out of the wood (stone?) work now.

I'll take photos once I get a better light so the tank isn't as reflective for photos.
 

Lunnietic


PXL_20220429_023810111.jpg
My shrimp molted!
 

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