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Low light, Non-CO2 Betta and Shrimp Nano

Discussion in 'Journals' started by lcassidyjr, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    After a few years hiatus. I saw a Betta at the pet shop that told me he needed a home. I've had moderate short term success with planted tanks in the past and thought that maybe I can get some more experience with this tank for future projects. So here we go... a low light, non-CO2 Betta/Shrimp tank.

    3.7 gallons

    3 watts LED on a timer with a current 6 hour photo period broken into two 3 hour blocks with a 1 hour siesta.

    Onyx sand substrate (with a little crushed carbon mixed in) capped with filter sand

    1 Betta

    4 Nerite Snails (the kids love them)

    Cherry Shrimp (coming after stabilization)

    Thai Micro Crabs (considering)

    B. monnieri

    Lace Java Fern

    L. arcuata (I know it's generally considered high light but I've had success with them in other lowlight tanks)

    A. coffeefolia

    A. nana petite

    C. parva


    L. mauritiana

    Smidge of Marimo on the spider wood

    Using the EI Lowlight dosing method as suggested by the Calculator.

    KNO3 and K2HP04 in a 1ml solution dose.

    CSM-B in a 1ml solution dose (I didn't add any DTPA Fe (11%), should I?)

    This is what the tank looked like after planting.

    [​IMG]

    A few days later and the plants have all perked up. The moneywort and Ludwigia are emerging from the water surface which is making me consider ditching the glass top. I've never had a problem with Betta jumping. A few shrimp might become adventurous however. Maybe I can DIY an open top that will allow emergent growth. I have extra C. parva, and L. mauritiana that I planted in an emersed setup so as not to waste them and I have several of the micro sword that I left in water that I'm going to use to fill in a few more of those bare foreground spots.

    [​IMG]

    There's some bacteria bloom on the spider wood. Not unexpected. It should clear on its own. And if its still there when the shrimp go in they'll love it.

    Not sure about the flow and circulation. In the first pic the water did visibly circulate around the tank but there was no surface agitation. In the second pic there is surface agitation but there is no visible circulation throughout the tank. Not sure which is the best way here.

    What are your thoughts. I'm all about suggestions and input. I'm not entirely comfortable with the planted tank yet, lack of experience and past failures make the idea daunting sometimes but I'm constantly reading and learning and open to new ideas.
     
    #1 lcassidyjr, Jun 14, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
    Seafever6 and Dale Hazey like this.
  2. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
    Staff Member Lifetime Member Article Editor

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    Good setup.


    I believe you have the Petco 3.7 gal rimmless that i have but I never had any luck with the Petco stock light. I'll follow your progress because I like those tanks.
     
  3. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    4 Nerites in a tank this size sounds like a Bunch! Micro crabs I doubt would cooperate with the betta... nice tank though :)
     
  4. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    Oh it is!, LOL. It was just as much to buy 10 as it was to buy the one I needed so I threw a few into a couple other projects I have going on. I'll re-home the other 3 sometime soon.
     
    DutchMuch likes this.
  5. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    Last week I removed the B. Monnieri and L. arcuata. The stems just continually rotted out. I have one stem of the Bacopa that I'm hoping to revive emersed. I replaced them with some C. Brownei on the left back corner and some Echinodorus pinwheels in the back right.


    The tank has completely cycle at that point. and the C. parva and micro sword are growing nicely.

    Today, things are still progressing nicely. The C. brownei is taking off well but the Sword has a leaf that is browning off, though the roots are growing and the plant is otherwise establishing itself.


    Should I trim that leaf off?

    The water parameters are holding stable but I'm going to wait until the micro sword starts filling in more before adding any shrimp.
     
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  6. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    You can or you can leave it. Either way is fine imo, I would trim it personally just cause.
     
  7. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    It is indeed the Petco 3.7. They call it Imaginarium or something crazy like that. The tank is nice. I like the curved glass. However, I wish I had paid more attention to the baffles before planting it.

    If you're going to grab one you might want to remove the baffles and replace them with some DIY ones. The reason is because as the water passed through the weir on the upper right, it travels down and flows into the first chamber at the bottom as it should. However, the second baffle does not force the flow up and over to the third chamber as it should. Instead it's positioned the same as the first baffle so the water doesn't really flow through the second chamber as it should.

    I'm not sure if this is how all the units are or if I got a factory defect.
     
  8. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    Everything is coming along nicely. The micro sword is growing tall and sending out a few runners. Same with the crypt parva. All the Anubias are rooting well and producing new leaves. I removed the rotting leaf from the pinwheel sword in the back and a couple of new leaves have started sprouting. I also threw in a stem of Red Stemmed Parrot Leaf in the back right to see how it will do.

    [​IMG]

    Bruise is doing well too. He is taking food from my hands and enjoys a good "rub" on top of his head.

    Only thing that is still lurking is the rotting leaves on the stem plants. First it was the Ludwigia and Bacopa (both of which I removed because the stems also kept rotting) and now the C. Borwneii.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Anyone have any ideas what might be causing this? I tested the water both before and after dosing this weekend and all the numbers looks good. <5ppm NO3 before dosing, 10-15 after. <.5 PO4 before dosing, 1-2 after. <0.1 Fe before dosing, ~1 after.
     
    #8 lcassidyjr, Jul 10, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  9. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    I am an amateur but perhaps they are just adjusting from being grown emersed and then submerged. I have had this happen in a no co2 tank, where they rot away then grow back slowly.
    Perhaps they are the lower leaves of the plant, and are not getting much light, lower leaves on my stem plants usually start suffering after a while.
    Perhaps the other plants are out competing them for what little co2 there is, or perhaps traces.
    I have noticed in my 40 gallon, stacked with plants, some plants will grow strong and out compete other plants, even when using excel.
    Tom has discussed this topic. Some plants are better at sucking up the available resources. More plants you add, the more they compete with each other. Especially in a tank with limited available co2 or traces, im guessing.

    Why the siesta ? I would run the 6 hours straight through, no siesta. Some plants take a while to start photosynthesizing, and there is an old post on another forum by tom barr, about siestas.
    He stated 5-6 hours on with 2 or so hours off, then 5-6 on again. I believe he was saying don't do a super long siesta. But 3 hours of light might be shorting the plants.

    Honestly the tank looks amazing man. The plants, the hardscape, substrate, everything. So does the betta.

    Dale
     
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  10. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    UTHn7XF.jpg

    Lots of progress, some set backs. The stem plants taking a long time establish. I took the tops of the creeping jenny (C. brownei) and replanted them in the back left. These tops were grown submerged only so I'm hoping there wont be anymore stem and leaf rot.

    I added some dwarf hair grass in the fore ground. I think the contrasting textures between that and the L. mauritiana will be interesting.

    There are two pinwheel swords in the back right. The one furthest to the right isn't growing new leaves but there is a new plantlet that shot off. The one on the left hasn't changed wince planting.

    Will removing one or all of the older leaves stimulate new growth?

    There are nerite eggs all over. I need to remove 3 of the 4 that are in there. They were only meant to be temporary anyway.

    There's also some BBA growing on the spiderwood. I'm hoping the addition of the planned Amano's will take care of it (though I really want cherry's). Thought I might dose it excel or H2O2 before I get the shrimp. Ammonia and Nitrite have been stable so adding the shrimp wont be a problem.

    The Java Fern has sprouted 3 or 4 new leaves. You can kind of see them popping up behind the rock amongst the Creeping Jenny.

    As I mentioned the Ammonia and Nitrites have been non-existent. And my CO2 is measuring about 3.3ppm.

    My PO4 levels are averaging higher than low light EI dosing recommends. Skipping last week's dose reset my N3 and Fe quit e well but my PO4 is still reading ~3ppm. I might have to dose my KNO3 and K2HP04 separately.

    What are your thoughts?

    UTHn7XF.jpg
     
    #10 lcassidyjr, Aug 7, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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  11. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    Tank looks really good.

    I thought this was a no co2 tank?!
     
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  12. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    the plot thickens...
     
  14. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    It is non-CO2... just forgot the decimal, lol.

    3.3ppm via the PH and KH.
     
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  15. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Junior Poster

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    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    I'm a noob but I think it will always be around 2-3ppm based off the gas exchange at the surface of the tank, until you do a water change and introduce some co2. Are you doing water changes?
     
  17. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    No water changes. Introducing CO2 via regular water changes benefits algae more than plants. I wasn't reporting the CO2 measurement because it was problematic. It was just info I had available based on the latest water testing.

    2-3 ppm is not always going to be the case. water temperature and carbonate hardness, as well as other variable determine how much dissolved O2 and CO2 are in a water column.
     
  18. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    Trying to determine your co2 ppm from the KH+PH chart can be misleading.

    Sure colder water is able to hold higher levels of gasses.

    Tom has said doing water changes in a tank without co2 will allow algae the upper hand as algae responds faster to changes. Some folks here have disagreed with that, stating If the plants are healthy and biomass is good, doing a WC is fine. I believe it was also suggested you can do water changes before lights out and plants may not destroy the rubisco enzyme. Finally, many people are against the no WC method, because things can go downhill. I find my tanks and fish do better with WCs.

    Dale.
     
    #18 Dale Hazey, Aug 30, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  19. bshenanagins

    bshenanagins Junior Poster

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    Nice tank, and I thought my 5 Gallon Cube was small lol. I hope your micro sword does well I never had any luck with that plant it always collected algae for me and never grew. If your getting algae I'd raise the lighting a bit if you could.
     
  20. lcassidyjr

    lcassidyjr Subscriber

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    I understand the limitations of calculating dissolved CO2 based on KH and PH. I was just throwing it out there for posterity more than anything. If you're not actively adding CO2 there is no real reason to measure it, afterall.

    As far no water changes, I've been using the no WC method with low tech tanks for years with great success. Every tank is different and requires time and effort to balance out; this might require WC's in the interim but eventually the tank balances out and things work well. I've breed fish and shrimp in no WC tanks quite easily. Anecdotally, people experience many problems by doing WC's too often or too much because, again, every tank is different.

    In my non-planted tanks or tanks with only anubias and java fern's WC's are extremely helpful and essential. In my outdoor tubs (heavily planted), no WC's aside from topping-off (hopefully with rain water) and breeding white clouds like mad. My temp outside goldfish container (until I get a new pond) is completely bare and get WC's regularly.

    It's all trial and error and gaining experience.

    The algae is specific to the portion of spider wood at the surface directly in front of the filter output. It's not a surprise that its growing there as the highlight at the surface and high water flow make it ideal for BBA. It's not a problem really. I just brush it off once a week when I change my filter pad.
     
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