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Due to the impending finals week and lack of research time, this week's weekly topic will be a little shorter than most. Hopefully, there will be something useful in it. :oops:

There has been a wave of interest as of late in miniature aquaria, especially all-in-one systems and small cubes ranging in side from 2.5 gallons to 15 gallons. There are several reasons for this popularity: 1) lower cost, 2) less time consuming maintenance, 3) don't take up too much space in the house or, because of their small size, can be kept in the work place.

The final point is perhaps the realization that a small aquarium can be as beautiful and wonderous as a large one (which although larger, often suffer from a lack of cohesion).

Small tanks can easily get cluttered with equipment. How do you handle this problem? What equipment do you use? How do you hide filters, CO2 equipment, etc? I know Ken made a DIY divider/filter for his 5 gallon, which is very effective at solving this issue.

Hardscaping choice. Pick out only very thin branches or small rocks for your layout. Remember to use only one type of rock for a more natural appearance.

Plant choice. Small leaved plants are must for tiny aquaria. Large stem plants like Ammania gracilis and Hygrophila corymbosa v stricta would make the tank appear much smaller (and your goal is to make the tank look bigger than it actually is). Here are some excellent choices:

Lowlight plants:
Anubias barteri v nana
Anubias barteri v petit (could make a good foreground if you have enough)
Cryptocoryne wendtii v 'Tropica' (also known as v 'bronze')
Cryptocoryne wendtii v 'Rose'
Cryptocoryne x willisii
Cryptocoryne pygmaea
Vesicularia dubyana (Java moss)
Christmas moss
Monoselenium tenerum (Pellia)

Foreground plants:
Marsilea quadrifolia (great for making a low light foreground!)
Cryptocoryne parva
Glossostigma elatinoides
Ranalisma rostrata
Elatine triandra
Echinodorus tenellus v 'micro'

Moderate-High light green plants:
Bacopa monnieri
Blyxa japonica (can be bronze-red)
Hottonia palustris
Heteranthera zosterifolia (stargrass)
Lysimachia nummularia
Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'
Mayaca fluviatilis
Micranthemum umbrosum
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Rotala macrandra v 'Green'
Rotala sp 'Green'
Rotala sp Nanjenshan

Colored (red, orange, pink) plants:
Didiplis diandra
Ludwigia arcuata
Ludwigia brevipes
Ludwigia ovalis
Rotala magenta
Rotala wallichii
Rotala indica

To go with the small plants, you need small fish. Generally, you will want only one or, at most, two species of fish in these tiny aquariums (this does not include your algae eating fish and shrimp):

Cardinal tetras (P. axelrodi)
Neon Tetras (P. innesi)
Green Neon tetras (P. simulans)
Pygmy rasboras (R. maculata)
Amandae tetras (H. amandae)
Blue eye rainbowfish (Pseudomogil gertrude, P. furcatus)
Sparkling gouramis (T. pumilus)
Glowlight tetras (Hemigrammus erythrozonus)
Marbled Hatchetfish (C. strigata)
All pencilfish (N. beckfordi, N. eques, N. marginatus, etc)
Clown killifish (E. annulatus)
Guppies (P. reticulata)
Small corydoras (C. habrosus, C. pygmaeus, C. hastatus)
Threadfin Rainbowfish (I. werneri)


If large tanks are the novels of the aquascaping world, then small tanks are the haikus. Don't create complexity with the use of too many kinds of plants or fish. Use only a small number of plant species to avoid the tossed salad look.

When done correctly, small planted aquaria can be every bit as beautiful as a large one. I wonder why the small planted aquarium category in the AGA does not receive as much participation as the medium and large tank categories?

Any other tips/pointers I may have left out? Comments, suggestions, discussion are always welcome.

Carlos
 

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This is great! Once I get my flourite I am going to start setting up my ten gallon tank again. The girlfriend wants a micro tank with some pygmy rasboras and sparkling gourami. Now I have a list of plants and other fish too! Thanks Carlos!
 

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I like high light tanks. The problem I had with my 10 gallon is the stem plants would outgrow the tank within a week. This was more work than I wanted. I'd like to do an all glosso or hairgrass 10 gallon one day. Anything smaller, and from what I read, you have to change the water twice a week to keep it balanced. To do a small tank seems like more work than a larger tank, but I have no experience with them. I just think that people think its less maintenance, and then the tank only last for a couple months before it gets overrun with algae. And to stick with the topic, nothing beats an aquaglobe for a small powerhead,
http://aquaglobe.com/select02.html#prod01
 

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the problem I faced was temperatures. I have a 7watt 7100K over my ~0.6g tank. It is what I would consider to be low light. Temps are routinely 80 or a little above..and it isn't summer yet. This is an open top, so evporation is on my side (evaporation..another issue *L*)

These temps pretty much shoot down my hopes for moss in that tank. Parva on the otherhand is doing fine. really slow growth, but still green and a few new leaves.
 

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My Nano

Here is my nano tank.
It is around 5 months old.




Total volume is around 12 liters for around 9~10 liters of water

Plants are :
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Anubia barteri var. nana
Echinodorus tenellus
Glossostigma elatinoides
Didiplis diandra
Microsorum pteropus "windelov"

Fish and other :
7 Hyphessobrycon amandae (ember tetra)
2 Caridina japonica (Amano shrimps)
2 Theodoxus coronata (snails)

I got some problem with my lighting 20W daylight (no other information on the lamp :()


I think my lighting is too high for the small height of the tank (or for the nutrients ?). Glossostigma has very little leaves in full light whereas it has normal leaves in shadow. didiplis diandra tay very small I think for the same reasons and the same is true for Anubia (but Hemiantus seems to love this light).


I got no much algae problems excepted some hair algae.

Filter is a model from red sea design for beta splendens bowl


CO2 is DIY with sugar in a Coke bottle.

No fertilisation, except a drop/day of 2% EDTA chelated iron

Around 1 liter of water changed each day
water with 5ppm NO3; 1 to 2 ppm PO4; around 10 ppm K; around 30 ppm Ca and 10 ppm Mg + micronutrients (M; Mo; B; Cu; Zn)
 

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I guess 10 gals is a "nano" in the US so here are pictures of a tank I had about a year ago:






Sorry, these 2 pix are of the tank's bait 8)




Tank stats:
- 10 gals
- Cheap bio-wheel filter
- KH 2-3
- pH= 6.9-7
- N and P never added or checked
- 2.6 wpg, 6500K, CFs
- 2 gals water change every week
- 100% inert gravel
- 1 ml of Fe/Traces a week
- Hygro never grew, Java Fern did wonderful, but very slow growth
- Fed the 6 fish sparsely once every 2 days
- Clear as a whistle, never had to clean even the front glass

--Nikolay
 

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Not meaning to nit-pick, but I think Lobelia cardinalis 'small form' should be added to the list. I also feel that Bacopa caroliniana makes a nice background plant for 10 gallons and larger. It's a slow-grower and the fact that it's tough as heck makes it a particularly suitable plant for me :lol: .

Niko, that's some healthy-looking Java fern! I cannot get mine to grow out nicely. I think it hates either really soft water or really high pH. Mine looks like somebody took a match and singed all of the leaves. I wish I could get a *single* leaf to develop normally.

Anthon, your aquascape is very lovely, too. I've grown nice glosso in my 2.5-gallon tank with only 8W fluorescent lighting. I think what they liked was the Flourite. I wasn't fertilizing much at all, either. My guess is that glosso likes rich substrate. But I've also seen tanks in which they were growing beautifully in sand or gravel, too. Maybe increasing the macronutrient dosages would help. That Windelov is gorgeous!

-Naomi
 

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Do you think I could put 10 Pygmy rasboras (R. maculata), two Sparkling gouramis (T. pumilus), and two Small corydoras (C. habrosus, C. pygmaeus, C. hastatus), with some ottos for algea eaters in a ten gallon? Or would that be too many fish?

Thanks
 

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I just want to add in taht the smaller shrimp varities: Cherry Reds or Bee Shrimp look GREAT in nano tanks.

Also endlers seem to fit well, and don't get as large as normal guppies.

I'm growing dwarf hairgrass, petite nana and C. parva in my 2.5 right now, unheated tank, Xmas moss coming soon and inhabitants as soon as I come back from spring break.

With that, pics also coming as soon as I get back from North Carolina!
 

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I have plans of setting up a 4-gallon 'long' one of these days and I'm going to try without a heater. Since I don't really care for white clouds or paradise fish, I had two other fish in mind: mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) and least killies (Heterandria formosa). I was told that the mosquito fish get pretty big. H. formosa stay very small AND can tolerate low temperatures, so I'm going to look for some.

I would include some Amano and Malayan shrimp. I think most shrimp actually prefer colder water, anyway. It certainly would be nice not to have a bulky heater inside the tank.

-Naomi
 

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Gnome,

I'd say that the "secret" to good Java Fern is to feed it good - CO2 and P, and to NOT move it. Just let it be and it will reward you.

The plant can be an insanely fast grower. Think quadruple in 3 months.


--Nikolay
 

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Niko,

I presently have them in a "neglected" 5.5-gallon tank with a 14W normal-output fluorescent strip light. They rarely even get touched. I have them rooted on driftwood. But admittedly, I do not add fertilizer or CO2 to this tank. Another problem is that I use this tank sort of for "storage" of plants that I do not want to use in my other tanks; they're left floating and now much of the light is blocked from reaching the lower recesses of the tank. I do have guppies (three adults and a few fry) in there but they probably don't put out enough waste to feed the plants.

Do you find that snails go after the "glassy" parts when the leaves are new? I noticed that you have a close-up of the tip of one of these leaves where it's still glassy. I think something is chewing on this part - snails or shrimp. I thought that this plant was herbivore-resistant due to bad taste. Well, maybe it's just disintegrating on its own. I don't know.

When I set up the 4-gallon, maybe I'll move in some of the Java ferns and see what happens. I do plan to fertilize and inject CO2 in the tank. I may even try keeping snails out to see if this helps.

Thanks for the tips.

-Naomi
 

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Naomi,

I never had a problem with snails chewing any part of the Java Fern. But it seems to me that bad conditions will make the plant aquire black marks and holes.

The "glassy" part that you are talking about are the new cells, but you already knew that. To me looking at them is like looking at some intimate and sacred part of nature - the first days of a new cell, the new tissue, beautiful and perfect.

Ok, enough sensual talk :D

--Nikolay
 

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I have plans of setting up a 4-gallon 'long' one of these days
OK, I'll bite. What is a 4 gallon long? What are the dimensions. Is it a commercially available size? Glass only? Or does it have plastic around the top? Sounds very intriguing.

Regards,
Jay Reeves
 

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Hi, Jay.

I don't quite know the dimensions of this tank, but it's your standard-looking rectangular glass. Actually, I do know that the length is the same as a 5.5-gallon because a 16" strip light will sit perfectly on top. It's intended for keeping four bettas in the same way that a 2.5-gallon All-Glass Aquarium is designed to keep three, so the top frame has those slits that hold dividers. There's a LFS in Berkeley that has one set up for display as a planted tank (well, they have Flourite in it and some Sagittaria subulata). They hung one of those palm filters on it and used an incandescent strip light fitted with a screw-in PC bulb. Since this fixture has the socket off to one side, it leaves one side of the tank pretty dark. It would be interesting to aquascape one side with light-hungry plants while keeping just stuff like Anubias and the like in the dark end; but chances are, I'm going to go with something a little more uniform.

Next time I'm there, I'll find out the manufacturer. I don't think it's All-Glass since this size tank is not on their web site. It's a bit pricey for the size (over $20). I believe I even saw this tank at Petco. Anyway, that's my next intended "project" if I can decide where to put it: non-heated 4-gallon 'long' home to plants, shrimp, and some Heterandria formosa.

-Naomi
 

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Preparing for my first nano now (just waiting for Drs. Foster & Smith to replace a chipped Azoo 2½ gallon). Having looked at larger, aesthetically pleasing tanks and studying them for ideas, it seems that 'scaping for nanos would follow the same principles - just in smaller proportions.

I know this is an older thread, but I just know there are probably some fantastic nanoscapes going on out there by now - let's see some pics!

[smilie=d:
 

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OK, Here is my first nano, and second planted tank. It is a Finnex 4 gallon combo I got on ebay. It is a john nguyen / amano inspired glosso & shrimp tank. This is it at 2.5 weeks. It is almost 1 month old now. The glosso was tall & yellow colored when I got it so I have had to do a lot of splitting and repropogating of the plantlets. They are starting to grow lower now. It's not much of an aquascape, but it's got potential.

Any advice is always appreciated.





 
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