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Ive done a dirtied tank in a 5 gallon. Worked fine. I kept the lighting between one and two watts per gallon. Used top soil for dirt. Just normal inert gravel to top off and kept soil layer to rather less than an inch deep. I planted each plant by holding the plant roots to my muddy soil and tipped a little gravel over to hold in place, then once all plants where I want them just gently top off with more gravel. No forceps involved. My water quite hard so I didn’t have to agonise over any additives and just did it really simply. No rocks or ornaments either, just plants. I did use water lettuce initially to soak up the rush of nutrients in the water for the initial period of 10 - 12 weeks and removed them once root growth of the floaters began to struggle as this signalled the tank was now settled. I have a little guppy grass now as a nutrient hoover. Never really had a problem with algae. Hope you get on OK with this. I like a 5gallon tank, very easy to deal with!
Sounds like you know what you're doing. Mother Nature and the KISS principal at work.
 

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My crypts and swords and stems are all growing
If you're satisfied with the tank and plant growth, that's all that really counts. Every tank has its own ecosystem and your tank seems to be doing okay.
However, to everyone else "out there," I would caution them not to use such a deep substrate. There's no need for it and it can lead to problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Ive done a dirtied tank in a 5 gallon. Worked fine. I kept the lighting between one and two watts per gallon. Used top soil for dirt. Just normal inert gravel to top off and kept soil layer to rather less than an inch deep. I planted each plant by holding the plant roots to my muddy soil and tipped a little gravel over to hold in place, then once all plants where I want them just gently top off with more gravel. No forceps involved. My water quite hard so I didn’t have to agonise over any additives and just did it really simply. No rocks or ornaments either, just plants. I did use water lettuce initially to soak up the rush of nutrients in the water for the initial period of 10 - 12 weeks and removed them once root growth of the floaters began to struggle as this signalled the tank was now settled. I have a little guppy grass now as a nutrient hoover. Never really had a problem with algae. Hope you get on OK with this. I like a 5gallon tank, very easy to deal with!
Thanks for all the info! I'd like to find some guppy grass.
 

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I couldn’t find any in UK aquatic stores or on-line. It’s very delicate and breaks up easily if handled and I think stores avoid it and it’s difficult to ship. I got mine at a Fancy Guppy/UK Livebearer show.
I got some Guppy Grass by chance--a "ride-along" with purchased fish. It's not so great an aquarium plant that I would do cartwheels to get. There are so many other plants that grow just as well and are more attractive.
 

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I’m in Seattle as well! It’s been a great spring huh?

My two cents, recently I’ve been getting stock and supplies from Aquarium Co-op in Edmonds. I know they quarantine their fish and plants. At least one of the guys knows about the Walstad Method, but I’m not sure if any of the others do.

Often they have “grab bags” near the register with plants at a discounted rate. Plus all of their plants are already submerged which helps with transition.

Also, they have a HUGE (I mean, enormous— I was shocked) freshwater puffer towards the back of the store which is neat to check out. Especially if you’re there for feeding time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
I’m in Seattle as well! It’s been a great spring huh?

My two cents, recently I’ve been getting stock and supplies from Aquarium Co-op in Edmonds. I know they quarantine their fish and plants. At least one of the guys knows about the Walstad Method, but I’m not sure if any of the others do.

Often they have “grab bags” near the register with plants at a discounted rate. Plus all of their plants are already submerged which helps with transition.

Also, they have a HUGE (I mean, enormous— I was shocked) freshwater puffer towards the back of the store which is neat to check out. Especially if you’re there for feeding time.
Hello! Yes, we have had a nice spring with a lot of sunny days.

I've been to Aquarium Co-Op to look at their bettas, and I saw the huge puffer! I was so surprised as well. I ended up getting my betta at Aquarium Zen though because they had a little orange one with an amazing outgoing personality. Aquarium Zen is a beautiful store, although it is expensive.

I think I've just started my journey so it's good to know about the discounted plants at Aquarium Co-Op.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Well, I set up my 5 gallon tank today! It was harder than I thought, and I actually threw out the first soil and gravel I had in the tank and started over.

In the end I think I have too much soil in my tank (the soil goes further down in the tank than you can see). The soil must have expanded, as it was less than an inch before I added water. And since I had a lot of problems getting the tall plants to stay in place (they kept floating up to the top), I'm not sure the soil and gravel are in an even layer in certain areas. Also, I think the tall plants are probably too clustered together in the darker area of the tank. I guess it will have to be a work in progress!

I'll monitor the water quality over the next week or two before putting my betta, mystery snail, and nerite snail in the tank. I think I probably should have gone with a 10 gallon tank so I could have more fish and snails. Although my betta hasn't be introduced to the snails yet so she may not even want company.

I appreciate all the advice! This was a lot to learn in a short period of time, although now it all seems so easy and straightforward.
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The problems you had setting up the tank are very common. You will improve with practice. Mistergreen is right about the anubias, but that is easy to fix. It is hard to tell from photos, but the soil depth looks OK to me. The fact that it is a little uneven won't hurt anything.

Good start!
 

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Nice tank, have you thought about adding plants that will get aerial advantage like spikerush yet?
 

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Part of the problem is that your tapwater has/had a lot of gas in it. Dissolved gases were under pressure in pipes and then expanded to form bubbles when water came out of faucet into an unpressurized environment. All those air bubbles in substrate made it lighter and hard to plant. I would poke substrate to release bubbles. I also usually rub inner sides of tank glass to get the bubbles off. It would make the tank less raw-looking.

That said, the tank is very attractive. Nice start!
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
The problems you had setting up the tank are very common. You will improve with practice. Mistergreen is right about the anubias, but that is easy to fix. It is hard to tell from photos, but the soil depth looks OK to me. The fact that it is a little uneven won't hurt anything.

Good start!
Thanks! Yes, at first it's awkward but seems to get easier. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Nice tank, have you thought about adding plants that will get aerial advantage like spikerush yet?
Yes, I mentioned that the first time I went into the aquarium store but I forgot when I went in to actually buy the plants. It's hard to remember everything! I'll have to add those later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Part of the problem is that your tapwater has/had a lot of gas in it. Dissolved gases were under pressure in pipes and then expanded to form bubbles when water came out of faucet into an unpressurized environment. All those air bubbles in substrate made it lighter and hard to plant. I would poke substrate to release bubbles. I also usually rub inner sides of tank glass to get the bubbles off. It would make the tank less raw-looking.

That said, the tank is very attractive. Nice start!
Thanks! I'll rub the sides and poke the substrate!
 
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