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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started a new nano tank, and I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle progress here.

The tank itself is a 12'' cube (Aqueon brand). I'm currently using this light, but I'm considering swapping it for this one, since it's a bit more powerful and I'm trying some more delicate plants. That being said, I am worried about the potential for additional algae growth. Thoughts?

For the soil I used Miracle Gro Performance Organics Potting Soil (see here). The soil a rather large amount of wood chips and other organic material, plus a lot of perlite, so I sieved it using some cheap screen mesh I bought at a hardware store. I've laid down 0.5in of sieved soil and covered it with 0.5in of inert black sand that I got on eBay.

I'm still waiting on some plants to get here, and I only planted the ones I have yesterday, so the tank is currently looking rather barren:

73868


Up front is some Eleocharis acicularis (Dwarf Hair Grass), and in the midground I have some Hydrocotyle tripartita 'Japan' which I've been growing emersed in a deli container with some dirt on a window sill (I've found that this works really well). I've also tossed in a piece of Java fern, because I've read conflicting opinions of whether it grows faster emersed and wanted to try it myself.

I'm planning to add some Hemianthus callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears) and Micranthenum tweediei (Monte Carlo) to the currently empty part of the foreground.

This is obviously conditional on how the dry start goes, but my idea is to cover the branches of the wood (specially the arch) in some moss. I'd also add some stem plants to the back of the tank after flooding, probably some rotala or pearlweed, but these I already have growing submerged in other tanks so I'm looking to add them later. I'll also add some floaters, probably Salvinia or Frogbit, and maybe some Riccia flutans.

I'm looking to keep red cherry shrimp in the tank.

Something that worries me: the driftwood is held down by a piece of slate. To avoid anaerobic areas in the substrate, I didn't put any soil in that part of the tank; only sand. I misjudged exactly how much this would be, and there's now a rather large triangular portion on the back left corner that is only sand, with no soil. Since this reduces the amount of plants I can grow, would it hinder the system's ability to keep water quality up? I'm not intending on using a filter. I can anchor Java fern to the main trunk of the wood, but would this be enough? That would also help in filling in that area of the tank, which I imagine might end up rather empty otherwise. Or can existing plants colonize the "soil less" area?

I welcome any comments and/or input!
 

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It sounds like you have a good selection of adapted plants and know what you are doing. Pearlweed is a good grower. If the rest of tank is well-planted, a small area of sand--whether plants grow in it or not-- should not create a problem.
 

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I just started a new nano tank, and I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle progress here.

The tank itself is a 12'' cube (Aqueon brand). I'm currently using this light, but I'm considering swapping it for this one, since it's a bit more powerful and I'm trying some more delicate plants. That being said, I am worried about the potential for additional algae growth. Thoughts?

For the soil I used Miracle Gro Performance Organics Potting Soil (see here). The soil a rather large amount of wood chips and other organic material, plus a lot of perlite, so I sieved it using some cheap screen mesh I bought at a hardware store. I've laid down 0.5in of sieved soil and covered it with 0.5in of inert black sand that I got on eBay.

I'm still waiting on some plants to get here, and I only planted the ones I have yesterday, so the tank is currently looking rather barren:

View attachment 73868

Up front is some Eleocharis acicularis (Dwarf Hair Grass), and in the midground I have some Hydrocotyle tripartita 'Japan' which I've been growing emersed in a deli container with some dirt on a window sill (I've found that this works really well). I've also tossed in a piece of Java fern, because I've read conflicting opinions of whether it grows faster emersed and wanted to try it myself.

I'm planning to add some Hemianthus callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears) and Micranthenum tweediei (Monte Carlo) to the currently empty part of the foreground.

This is obviously conditional on how the dry start goes, but my idea is to cover the branches of the wood (specially the arch) in some moss. I'd also add some stem plants to the back of the tank after flooding, probably some rotala or pearlweed, but these I already have growing submerged in other tanks so I'm looking to add them later. I'll also add some floaters, probably Salvinia or Frogbit, and maybe some Riccia flutans.

I'm looking to keep red cherry shrimp in the tank.

Something that worries me: the driftwood is held down by a piece of slate. To avoid anaerobic areas in the substrate, I didn't put any soil in that part of the tank; only sand. I misjudged exactly how much this would be, and there's now a rather large triangular portion on the back left corner that is only sand, with no soil. Since this reduces the amount of plants I can grow, would it hinder the system's ability to keep water quality up? I'm not intending on using a filter. I can anchor Java fern to the main trunk of the wood, but would this be enough? That would also help in filling in that area of the tank, which I imagine might end up rather empty otherwise. Or can existing plants colonize the "soil less" area?

I welcome any comments and/or input!
Hey HomeroThompson

We're curious about the progress :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey HomeroThompson

We're curious about the progress :)
Whoops, I had planned for more frequent updates, but life got in the way. Oh well.

I got the Monte Carlo and the Hemianthus callitrichoides and added them to the foreground around August 25. This is what the the tank looks like today:

Plant Green Rectangle Pet supply Grass


Plant Botany Houseplant Vegetation Rectangle


As you can see, the Hydrocotyle has exploded, but the Dwarf Hairgrass hasn't budged. Moreover, it doesn't look quite as "Dwarf" relative to other plants, so it looks slightly off up front. I'm considering getting rid of it.

I haven't been able to track the growth of the other two plants very well. I think the HC is doing better than the Monte Carlo, but I'm not sure how much growth I should be getting.

I've also temporarily removed the driftwood, because it was growing some white fungus and I was worried about it spreading to the plants. I'll re add back in it when I flood the tank (which I imagine will be in about a month).

Any thoughts or comments?
 

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I got the Monte Carlo and the Hemianthus callitrichoides and added them to the foreground around August 25. This is what the the tank looks like today:

As you can see, the Hydrocotyle has exploded, but the Dwarf Hairgrass hasn't budged. Moreover, it doesn't look quite as "Dwarf" relative to other plants, so it looks slightly off up front. I'm considering getting rid of it.

I haven't been able to track the growth of the other two plants very well. I think the HC is doing better than the Monte Carlo, but I'm not sure how much growth I should be getting.

I've also temporarily removed the driftwood, because it was growing some white fungus and I was worried about it spreading to the plants. I'll re add back in it when I flood the tank (which I imagine will be in about a month).

Any thoughts or comments?
Overall plant growth is poor. The exception is Hydrocotyle tripartita, which according to MisterGreen's experience is an easy plant to grow (i.e., no need for artificial CO2).

This tank signifies to me the problems of using aquascaping plants like Dwarf Hairgrass and Monte Carlo. They are inherently small slow growers. They cannot take advantage of a soil-containing substrate nor grow fast enough to protect themselves from any soil toxicity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Overall plant growth is poor. The exception is Hydrocotyle tripartita, which according to MisterGreen's experience is an easy plant to grow (i.e., no need for artificial CO2).

This tank signifies to me the problems of using aquascaping plants like Dwarf Hairgrass and Monte Carlo. They are inherently small slow growers. They cannot take advantage of a soil-containing substrate nor grow fast enough to protect themselves from any soil toxicity.
What would you suggest going forward? Trying a stronger light, or replacing the plants with other, easier, growers? For example, I could try replacing the Hairgrass with Helanthium Tenellum. Or just let the Hydrocotyle tripartita go nuts and cover everything. I do plan on adding some rotala at the back once I've filled the tank with water.

Yeah, the H. Tripartita is a weed. It’ll grow anywhere. You probably need more light for the Hairgrass.
I could get a stronger light, although I'm worried about algae post flooding.
 

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You have so much going on here, that its hard to make suggestions. It doesn't seem like the dry start is working that well. You might as well start flooding the tank a few inches. (Maybe, the hairgrass will come to life!) No need to fill tank to the brim until you get more plants and some decent plant growth. However, flooding tank is tempered by the fact that when you buy plants, they may be the emersed form and not grow as well in a flooded tank. And we don't know if your water has adequate hardness.

You need to figure out what plants will grow well in your setup. That's why I advise starting with a lot of different plant species.

I would add some medium-size rosette plants that will take hold in that soil. Sagitarria? Cryptocoryne wendtii is a good grower and the brown variety is very pretty. See photo. I would not count on one stem plant species like Rotalia; most stem plants need free CO2 (cannot use bicarbonates) and aren't that good for root growth.

Lighting is probably okay. I would never pull out a good growing plant, the Tripartita.

Your tanks symbolizes to me an aquascaping mindset. You are going to have to either go with the aquascaping recommendations or do a lot of tinkering until you find your own way. In your thread, I am reminded once again of all the obstacles thrown in the way of beginners. For example, I just visited one beginner who keeps her planted tank lights on a mere 7 hours a day, because that's the advice she found on Google.

Fortunately, you have reached a more advanced stage, so I do hope you'll keep trying. :)
 

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What would you suggest going forward? Trying a stronger light, or replacing the plants with other, easier, growers? For example, I could try replacing the Hairgrass with Helanthium Tenellum. Or just let the Hydrocotyle tripartita go nuts and cover everything. I do plan on adding some rotala at the back once I've filled the tank with water.



I could get a stronger light, although I'm worried about algae post flooding.
I have not had much success with dry starts, so take my experience with a grain of salt...(or with a tablespoon, and grow brine shrimp 🤭)

I have dwarf hair grass, which is a really slow grower unless you are willing to trim it regularly to encourage more runners. I'm only 3 months in on my tank, and lost most of my rotala 6 weeks in, but now the remaining rotala, and the hair grass, are starting to take off.

I didn't have access to as many plants as I hoped, due to supply interruptions being compounded by covid.

The shipping delays did mean that caroliniana bacopa got a 3 week headstart on the rest of the plants.

None of my tanks run CO2, several of my tanks have successfully grown hair grass and monte carlo, as long as I used a mid day siesta and was patient while trimming regularly to encourage more root action.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update:

I was unsure whether to get a new light, but I randomly got an eBay coupon for an already fairly priced one, so I took this as a sign and went for it.

Two days ago, I flooded the tank and removed the Dwarf Hairgrass, since I was starting to dislike the look. I'll try growing it in a jar. I added some small brown crypts that I got from a different tank, plus some Helanthium tenellum, to fill in the space. The driftwood also went back, and I put in some Java Fern and a small rock with a bit of Subwassertang tied on to it. I haven't decided whether I want to put Subwassertang or moss on the driftwood. I used to be a big fan of moss, but it keeps growing very spiky in my water.

Anyhow, this is what the tank looks like now. The water is a bit murky because of some soil particles becoming disturbed when I removed the Dwarf Hairgrass:

Water Plant Green Organism Terrestrial plant


I also added some frogbit to soak up extra nutrients.

It's not super clear in the picture, but the Monte Carlo up front is exhibiting some root growth, so I'm hoping it will survive the flooding.

There are some worms on the glass, plus the whites stringy things that are floating in the water column, here's a close up:

Water Liquid People in nature Window Organism


Should this be cause for concern? I'm planning on performing frequent water changes for the first few weeks anyway, but I thought I would ask anyway.

Any suggestions at this point?
 
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