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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

Just wanted to show off my second attempt at a NPT. I've had a lot of fun building this tank from scratch and learning from my mistakes the first time.

Tank: 6.5g long

Substrate: ~0.5" - 0.75" potting soil, prepared using the soak/stir method mentioned in one of the sticky posts, topped with ~0.5" Flourite Black.

Hardscape: two rocks, set directly on glass with dirt built up around them.

Plants (from left to right-ish): Echinodorus parviflorus 'tropica', helanthium tenellum, vallisneria asiatica, cryptocoryne wendtii, Brazilian Pennywort, anubias nana, marsilea crenata, salvinia minima, duckweed, and some random extras from my first tank (dwarf sag, some other micro sword).

Invertebrates: black worms in substrate, bladder snails, MTS, RCS, one stray brown shrimp that snuck in with the RCS.

Fish: Espei rasbora x 6, betta mahachai.

Established ~7 weeks ago. Attached is a picture of day 1 vs now.

Learnings: My substrate on my first tank was much too deep. Paired with the driftwood in that tank, I ended up having a very anaerobic substrate that was difficult to deal with. Now I'm a bit scared of deep substrate and have swung the opposite direction - too little substrate? Time will tell. For now, I'm seeing excellent growth in all the plants (even anubias), except the floating plants. Adding lots for food, which is always readily consumed by all inhabitants. I also increased my hardness with Diana's recipe (pg 87) instead of with Equilibrium, which has worked great so far (KH=4, GH=7, from very soft/acidic starting point).

My only issue is that the floating plants are seeing lackluster growth. This is weird, as they were my best growers in the previous tank. Now the salvinia is barely spreading at all, whereas before I had to remove fistfulls every week to keep up. I thought it was an iron problem at first (new growth on floating plants and brazilian pennywort, my one stem plant, was very light green), so I did a dose of that, and another dose a week later. The new growth is a better color now, but the floating plants are still tapering away it seems. Is this normal? Just a deficiency of nutrients in the water column? This is my best guess, as I also have very little algae, just a sprinkle of hair algae on some of the remaining emerged leaves from when I first got the plants.

Always happy to hear feedback/advice/potential issues :)
 

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Tank looks great!

In an NPT, you will never get optimal growth of all plant species. They're always competing. Based on your recent photo, I'd say that your rooted plants are on a roll, taking up so many nutrients that floating plants and algae are struggling. That's what we want.

Adding iron to help floating plants was a good idea, but alas, there may be other factors, nutrients, etc.

Possibly, you could thin out some of rooted plants in foreground. Just a few, no more than 5-10 plants. If the removal disturbs the substrate excessively, you can always snip off the top portion and leave the roots to rot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Possibly, you could thin out some of rooted plants in foreground. Just a few, no more than 5-10 plants. If the removal disturbs the substrate excessively, you can always snip off the top portion and leave the roots to rot.
Thanks! I was considering removing the val from the front anyway, so I will try that out. That being said, I generally prefer the growth of the swords over floating plants, so I'm not too concerned. So long as there's not much algae :)

Great tank! Honestly I can't believe it's 6,5g! It looks much bigger!
Thank you! Yeah, I love the look of these long tanks! Maybe hard to tell from the image, but it's only 6.7" wide.
 

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Wow, That looks great and I'm jealous of your anubias! I have a couple similar shaped 2.3g tanks, and I really like the long low look.

One of the tanks is a standard gravel tank, and the other is NPT, I'm going to empty the gravel tank and start another NPT with it. I did the NPT as an experiment, and have been very surprised at how much I'm enjoying the plants. I think I need more tanks with thick plantings in my life...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Roughly 4 month update.

Flora:
- Floating plants are still alive, and slowly growing, but don't look super healthy. I'm used to taking handfuls out each week, but in this tank they definitely have more competition from the rooted plants.

- There has been some scraggly-looking dark green algae growing on some of the swords, specifically in the middle. Doesn't seem to be spreading to other areas of the tank, and not too unsightly, so trying not to worry about it. It seems to overrun individual leaves - I've cut off a few leaves here and there where it's gotten very thick.

+- Crypts are growing up, but not out. No new ones have sprouted up, although the originals have gotten much larger.

+ Everything else is growing great! Even the anubias has put out many new leaves, which surprised me! The small sword has obviously overrun the place, but I love the look - I gave some of it in the middle a bit of a trim. I have no idea if that will just kill it. Just trying stuff out.

Fauna:
- Some of the shrimp have died. There are only three left (from seven initially), but the last three seem to be doing well. The fish leave them alone, so I could even see adding more in the future (after I get a quarantine tank set up).

- There was some sort of bacteria bloom in my water. It appeared after relocating the fish tank to a different spot in the room. It's possible the water sloshed a bit and mixed things up. Did a 30% water change today, as it was getting hazy. It's clearer now, but I will reduce feeding and keep an eye on it.

-+ The blackworms are all gone. I don't see any. I assume they were a tasty treat for my fish, but I'm considering restocking them. Probably need to throw them in a quarantine tank as well, but I'm not sure...do people quarantine blackworms and other live food?

+ Everything else is doing great. All the fish from Wet Spot are so healthy, I haven't lost a single one! They have all really colored up over the last few months as well - the Rasboras especially are so orange now! Lots of snails, especially MTS, which is great.

Misc:
I ended up removing my small filter, as it kept getting clogged so wasn't doing much anyway. I might consider a UV filter if the bacteria bloom persists, but so far things seem okay with the reduced flow.
 

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Very nice! Considerable progress.

Sword plant is lovely. You could show it off more by removing the 4-5 plants (Sagittaria?) in front of it. Just snip them off at the crown leaving the roots in place.
 

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Roughly 4 month update.

Flora:

- Floating plants are still alive, and slowly growing, but don't look super healthy. I'm used to taking handfuls out each week, but in this tank they definitely have more competition from the rooted plants.

- There has been some scraggly-looking dark green algae growing on some of the swords, specifically in the middle. Doesn't seem to be spreading to other areas of the tank, and not too unsightly, so trying not to worry about it. It seems to overrun individual leaves - I've cut off a few leaves here and there where it's gotten very thick.

+- Crypts are growing up, but not out. No new ones have sprouted up, although the originals have gotten much larger.

+ Everything else is growing great! Even the anubias has put out many new leaves, which surprised me! The small sword has obviously overrun the place, but I love the look - I gave some of it in the middle a bit of a trim. I have no idea if that will just kill it. Just trying stuff out.

Fauna:

- Some of the shrimp have died. There are only three left (from seven initially), but the last three seem to be doing well. The fish leave them alone, so I could even see adding more in the future (after I get a quarantine tank set up).

- There was some sort of bacteria bloom in my water. It appeared after relocating the fish tank to a different spot in the room. It's possible the water sloshed a bit and mixed things up. Did a 30% water change today, as it was getting hazy. It's clearer now, but I will reduce feeding and keep an eye on it.

-+ The blackworms are all gone. I don't see any. I assume they were a tasty treat for my fish, but I'm considering restocking them. Probably need to throw them in a quarantine tank as well, but I'm not sure...do people quarantine blackworms and other live food?

+ Everything else is doing great. All the fish from Wet Spot are so healthy, I haven't lost a single one! They have all really colored up over the last few months as well - the Rasboras especially are so orange now! Lots of snails, especially MTS, which is great.

Misc:

I ended up removing my small filter, as it kept getting clogged so wasn't doing much anyway. I might consider a UV filter if the bacteria bloom persists, but so far things seem okay with the reduced flow.
Beautiful tank! What's the dimension of the tank? Thinking to get a second tank myself

Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Very nice! Considerable progress.

Sword plant is lovely. You could show it off more by removing the 4-5 plants (Sagittaria?) in front of it. Just snip them off at the crown leaving the roots in place.
I may do that! It has been growing a lot as well (there's actually two, a smaller one buried under the forest next to it), so might give it some more variation to show them off more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Beautiful tank! What's the dimension of the tank? Thinking to get a second tank myself

Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
Thank you! It's an Aquatop bookshelf style aquarium, 6.7w x 23.6l x 9.4"h. So very thin, but I like that it still gives lots of room to do different things with the length.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
14 Month Update

Flora:
+ The floating plants are doing amazing! The limiting factor here was definitely iron. I've been adding Seachem Iron supplement ~3 times a week and have had amazing floater growth ever since. I ended up removing the duckweed. It was messy and got everywhere and didn't look particularly good. To replace it I added water lettuce which has nice roots for the shrimp to play in.
+ The vallisneria is absolutely dominating the aquarium. It is everywhere. I trim it down in the front to keep the tank looking a bit more open and give the rasboras some more swim space. Shows no signs of slowing down.
+ The anubias is growing really well as well! I'd say it has doubled or tripled in size since I started the tank, putting out new leaves regularly. I'm really happy with how this plant looks and contributes to the overall aesthetic.
+ No algae! Occasionally I get some hair algae on the vall but can combat this by turning the lights down a bit.
+ Added a pothos cutting to the back of my tank. The nitrates were measuring a bit high and thought this might help...but mostly I had a cutting laying around and thought it might look nice. It seems really happy so far! Lots of root growth and new leaves (you can see it in the picture below. Originally it started with just three or four leaves).
+- In the war between carpet plants, dwarf sag is slowly gaining ground. The helanthium tenellum has lost a lot of territory to the vallisneria, but still clings on in some spots. Interesting to watch the natural ebb and flow of the plants.
+- The larger sword plants have been completely static. That's not entirely true - they put out lots of new leaves and seem to be happy. But they don't get any larger and don't propagate. They look nice but this seems to be their max size. I kinda wish they would spread a bit.
- The crypts all died off after they melted which is quite sad. They looked very nice for a while and I miss them quite a bit. Ended up having an extra crypt from another project and added it to my tank, it is doing well so far. They seem to be such delicate plants though...I'm jealous of those who say they can't stop them from growing! Perhaps just not the right fit for this tank.

Fauna:
- Unfortunately my betta passed away in June. It was sad - one day he was fine, the next he didn't want to eat anything, the next he was gone. Water parameters checked out (slightly high nitrates but nothing off the charts), all the other livestock was fine. I guess it just happens sometimes but I still feel like I must have done something wrong. He seemed quite healthy as well so it remains a mystery.
+- The shrimp were mostly eaten by the betta. I added more after he was gone and they seem to be doing well, but they do not reproduce. Perhaps the rasboras cause too much stress for them. The tank has lots of hiding spots so we'll see...
+ The rasboras are doing really well and seem to be quite happy to have the tank to themselves. I added a couple more as their numbers weren't quite high enough for them to school and they seemed somewhat stressed out before. Now they are in their element. I've even caught them trying to mate (they swim upside down to do so and it looks really strange) although I doubt anything will come of it. I believe they need softer water to reproduce.
+ SO MANY SNAILS. I love it. The MTS population has exploded which is perfect since they mostly stay out of sight. I also added some pink ramshorn snails because I like the look of them. Between the ramshorn and MTS, the bladder snail population has declined significantly.
+ Lots of detritus worms in the substrate. It's unbelievable how much food this tank can handle. I was trying a new pellet food and accidentally dumped too much in...the ground was covered in little orange pellets. The next morning it was completely gone. The cleanup crew in the tank really deserves a raise.

Misc:
The water gets a tad cloudy sometimes. Seems to be during the week when I've been feeding a lot. On the weekends I tend not to feed the tank and the water clears up again. Does this seem like an issue? Just feed a little less?

I recently (just this morning) received my chelated iron mix which I will be trying in place of the seachem iron. I'm excited to test it as it will be much cheaper in the long run (how am I ever going to use all of this powder?!?)

The tank today:
Water Plant Plant community Vertebrate Rectangle


Feeding frenzy with all of the invertebrates taking part:
Plant Plant community Terrestrial plant Pet supply Houseplant


New ramshorn snail and water lettuce. And fish photobomb. The colors on these snails are so pretty!
Water Plant Flower Terrestrial plant Natural landscape


Pothos helping to absorb excess nutrients:
Plant Leaf Leaf vegetable Ingredient Glass
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Really impressive, thank you for sharing. That tank dimension is interesting; what are you using for a lid and a light?
Yeah it's a neat shape, the dimensions are further up in the post if you're interested. For the lid I got 2 pieces of glass cut by the hardware store. They sit on the regular frameless lid clips and I use the suction cup to lift them up. The light is a Finnex Planted+. I like it because the light intensity can be dialed up or down to whatever level you want, which makes it easy to adjust if the algae starts creeping in.
 

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Yeah it's a neat shape, the dimensions are further up in the post if you're interested. For the lid I got 2 pieces of glass cut by the hardware store. They sit on the regular frameless lid clips and I use the suction cup to lift them up. The light is a Finnex Planted+. I like it because the light intensity can be dialed up or down to whatever level you want, which makes it easy to adjust if the algae starts creeping in.
Thanks - I've already looked at the manufacturer's website for the tank - really intriguing...
 
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