Small Planted Setup

The April FOTM Contest Poll is open!
FishForums.net Fish of the Month
🏆 Click to vote! 🏆

MaloK

><(((*>
Joined
Nov 15, 2023
Messages
715
Reaction score
767
Location
Canada
Hello Fish Forums !!!

I'm an old school Freshwater Aquarium keeper that been on vacation too long... A couple weeks ago when doing storage cleanup, I found one of my first tank I ever bought. It was a Hagen Aquarium Junior Startup Kit from the '90s... I don't have much place where I live now, but I have some time. So I thought I could fire this kit up once more :)

So on with the project... First I needed a cheap stand, I found a couple pieces of unplanned 2x10 spruce beams laying around my property... And two hours later, I have a very nice looking aquarium stand for the price of a fistful of screws.

pic10.JPG

Then I looked around what was available as for "Lightning" possibilities... And I was Literally blown away by the evolution in that field... Wow ! I could now try to retrofit a full spectrum light in that vintage canopy... After some more research, I bought an AQQA AQ037 and after a bit of fiddling. It's a perfect fit ! NOW ! succeeding with plants becomes a reachable goal. I had great success with fishes in that tank. Not so much for plants.

I used the Aquaclear Mini that came with the kit and a Tronic Gold 50 watt Heater that I bought when I took the kit (Provided heater was awful).

This is the current hardware, settings and stock installed.

Hardware:
Hagen 4.77g (18.05L) Semi-Braced Glass Aquarium, 16"L, 8"W, 8.5"H
Tronic Gold 50w Water Heater
AquaClear Mini Filter, 100gph
AQQA AQ037 12w Full spectrum Led Light
Marina A50 Air Pump + small air stone

Settings:
Light: 60%, Day starts at 8:30 Night starts at 16:30, full spectrum on, all colour led on, moonlight off
Filtration: 100% 24/7
Air Stone: 10% 24/7
Temp: 77°stable 24/7

Plants:
Back:
2x Pogostemon Erectus (Downoi Plant), Center
3x Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern), Corners

Middle:
1x Anubias Barteri Nana (Dwarf Anubias), wood, centre
1x Anubias Barteri (Broadleaf Anubias), wood, both ends

The Tank is now two weeks old. I will give a good two months for the plants to settle. I know from experience that the two Pogostemon will nearly completely melt away before doing a crazy recovery. I pruned a part of them and the new stems seems going really good, I fear they will overcome everything like they did before... loll. I have to study more plant maintenance and pruning.

pic04.JPG


Attempted close-ups:
pic01.JPGpic02.JPGpic03.JPGpic05.JPGpic06.JPGpic07.JPGpic08.JPGpic09.JPG

I have a couple questions:

I can see the Anubias are having a slight growth of blackbeard / Brown algae and some leaves are also showing some deficiency...

I already cut back from the original Light strip schedule and raised the power the power 10%, now running 60%.

Should I completely turn off the coloured lights and run only the white an full spectrum ones ? Or only turn off the Blue ones, and leave the rest on ? The strip has 6 blue, 2 red, 2 green chips + 26 white and 12 full spectrum.

Do you think I could raise the power more without affecting the Java Ferns ? they are all going to spew a ton of babies already.

Any suggestions on the Lightning period and strength are more than welcome.

The tank does not show any sign of ammonia at the moment, I will start a fishless cycle if any arise during this period. But hopefully I would love to let the plants get established before doing so.

I'm still thinking about the fishes stocking... but I have some crazy ideas... something like...

1x Trichogaster Lalius (Dwarf Gourami)
12x Danio Rerio (Zebra Danio)

1x one these
L-136 Plecostomus (Gold Spotted)
L-66 Plecostomus (Gypsy King Tiger)
L-001 Plecostomus (Spotted Sailfin)

12x Corydoras Pygmaeus (Pygmy Corydoras)

What do you think ? That should be about right for a high maintenance tank ?
 
Hello Fish Forums !!!

I'm an old school Freshwater Aquarium keeper that been on vacation too long... A couple weeks ago when doing storage cleanup, I found one of my first tank I ever bought. It was a Hagen Aquarium Junior Startup Kit from the '90s... I don't have much place where I live now, but I have some time. So I thought I could fire this kit up once more :)

So on with the project... First I needed a cheap stand, I found a couple pieces of unplanned 2x10 spruce beams laying around my property... And two hours later, I have a very nice looking aquarium stand for the price of a fistful of screws.

View attachment 331047

Then I looked around what was available as for "Lightning" possibilities... And I was Literally blown away by the evolution in that field... Wow ! I could now try to retrofit a full spectrum light in that vintage canopy... After some more research, I bought an AQQA AQ037 and after a bit of fiddling. It's a perfect fit ! NOW ! succeeding with plants becomes a reachable goal. I had great success with fishes in that tank. Not so much for plants.

I used the Aquaclear Mini that came with the kit and a Tronic Gold 50 watt Heater that I bought when I took the kit (Provided heater was awful).

This is the current hardware, settings and stock installed.

Hardware:
Hagen 4.77g (18.05L) Semi-Braced Glass Aquarium, 16"L, 8"W, 8.5"H
Tronic Gold 50w Water Heater
AquaClear Mini Filter, 100gph
AQQA AQ037 12w Full spectrum Led Light
Marina A50 Air Pump + small air stone

Settings:
Light: 60%, Day starts at 8:30 Night starts at 16:30, full spectrum on, all colour led on, moonlight off
Filtration: 100% 24/7
Air Stone: 10% 24/7
Temp: 77°stable 24/7

Plants:
Back:
2x Pogostemon Erectus (Downoi Plant), Center
3x Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern), Corners

Middle:
1x Anubias Barteri Nana (Dwarf Anubias), wood, centre
1x Anubias Barteri (Broadleaf Anubias), wood, both ends

The Tank is now two weeks old. I will give a good two months for the plants to settle. I know from experience that the two Pogostemon will nearly completely melt away before doing a crazy recovery. I pruned a part of them and the new stems seems going really good, I fear they will overcome everything like they did before... loll. I have to study more plant maintenance and pruning.

View attachment 331048


Attempted close-ups:
View attachment 331050View attachment 331051View attachment 331052View attachment 331053View attachment 331054View attachment 331055View attachment 331056View attachment 331057

I have a couple questions:

I can see the Anubias are having a slight growth of blackbeard / Brown algae and some leaves are also showing some deficiency...

I already cut back from the original Light strip schedule and raised the power the power 10%, now running 60%.

Should I completely turn off the coloured lights and run only the white an full spectrum ones ? Or only turn off the Blue ones, and leave the rest on ? The strip has 6 blue, 2 red, 2 green chips + 26 white and 12 full spectrum.

Do you think I could raise the power more without affecting the Java Ferns ? they are all going to spew a ton of babies already.

Any suggestions on the Lightning period and strength are more than welcome.

The tank does not show any sign of ammonia at the moment, I will start a fishless cycle if any arise during this period. But hopefully I would love to let the plants get established before doing so.

I'm still thinking about the fishes stocking... but I have some crazy ideas... something like...

1x Trichogaster Lalius (Dwarf Gourami)
12x Danio Rerio (Zebra Danio)

1x one these
L-136 Plecostomus (Gold Spotted)
L-66 Plecostomus (Gypsy King Tiger)
L-001 Plecostomus (Spotted Sailfin)

12x Corydoras Pygmaeus (Pygmy Corydoras)

What do you think ? That should be about right for a high maintenance tank ?
Beautiful stand and decor setup!

For the stocking, I think you have too many fish. Do you know how many gallons your tank is? Personally, this is what I would go for, but it is just a personal opinion:

Asian Setup: 2 Dwarf Gouramis, 8-10x Harlequin Rasboras, and 6-8x Kuhli Loaches.

South American Setup: 6-8 Diamond Tetras, 8-10x Pygmy Corys, and 1 Bristlenose Pleco (or 1 Gypsy King Tiger Pleco).

I wouldn't have more than one pleco in a tank. Some can get very territorial, and three plecos will cause a never-ending battle of waste; you would have an everlasting battle for cleanliness if you went with more than one plecos. A little story: I used to have 1 Green Phantom pleco in my 55-gallon pleco (which later died due to a mistake I made), and it was such a messy little thing. It was a battle to keep the tank clean even when there was minimal stock otherwise. I noticed a huge difference cleanliness-wise when it sadly passed away. My tank was a lot cleaner. So I would only recommend a pleco if you have good filtration and you don't mind consistently cleaning. Bristlenose, though I've heard, is cleaner than other plecos, and they also eat algae, so they are the most beneficial plecos probably in the entire fish-keeping hobby.

I hope this helps. :D
 
Last edited:
Hello Fish Forums !!!

I'm an old school Freshwater Aquarium keeper that been on vacation too long... A couple weeks ago when doing storage cleanup, I found one of my first tank I ever bought. It was a Hagen Aquarium Junior Startup Kit from the '90s... I don't have much place where I live now, but I have some time. So I thought I could fire this kit up once more :)

So on with the project... First I needed a cheap stand, I found a couple pieces of unplanned 2x10 spruce beams laying around my property... And two hours later, I have a very nice looking aquarium stand for the price of a fistful of screws.

View attachment 331047

Then I looked around what was available as for "Lightning" possibilities... And I was Literally blown away by the evolution in that field... Wow ! I could now try to retrofit a full spectrum light in that vintage canopy... After some more research, I bought an AQQA AQ037 and after a bit of fiddling. It's a perfect fit ! NOW ! succeeding with plants becomes a reachable goal. I had great success with fishes in that tank. Not so much for plants.

I used the Aquaclear Mini that came with the kit and a Tronic Gold 50 watt Heater that I bought when I took the kit (Provided heater was awful).

This is the current hardware, settings and stock installed.

Hardware:
Hagen 4.77g (18.05L) Semi-Braced Glass Aquarium, 16"L, 8"W, 8.5"H
Tronic Gold 50w Water Heater
AquaClear Mini Filter, 100gph
AQQA AQ037 12w Full spectrum Led Light
Marina A50 Air Pump + small air stone

Settings:
Light: 60%, Day starts at 8:30 Night starts at 16:30, full spectrum on, all colour led on, moonlight off
Filtration: 100% 24/7
Air Stone: 10% 24/7
Temp: 77°stable 24/7

Plants:
Back:
2x Pogostemon Erectus (Downoi Plant), Center
3x Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern), Corners

Middle:
1x Anubias Barteri Nana (Dwarf Anubias), wood, centre
1x Anubias Barteri (Broadleaf Anubias), wood, both ends

The Tank is now two weeks old. I will give a good two months for the plants to settle. I know from experience that the two Pogostemon will nearly completely melt away before doing a crazy recovery. I pruned a part of them and the new stems seems going really good, I fear they will overcome everything like they did before... loll. I have to study more plant maintenance and pruning.

View attachment 331048


Attempted close-ups:
View attachment 331050View attachment 331051View attachment 331052View attachment 331053View attachment 331054View attachment 331055View attachment 331056View attachment 331057

I have a couple questions:

I can see the Anubias are having a slight growth of blackbeard / Brown algae and some leaves are also showing some deficiency...

I already cut back from the original Light strip schedule and raised the power the power 10%, now running 60%.

Should I completely turn off the coloured lights and run only the white an full spectrum ones ? Or only turn off the Blue ones, and leave the rest on ? The strip has 6 blue, 2 red, 2 green chips + 26 white and 12 full spectrum.

Do you think I could raise the power more without affecting the Java Ferns ? they are all going to spew a ton of babies already.

Any suggestions on the Lightning period and strength are more than welcome.

The tank does not show any sign of ammonia at the moment, I will start a fishless cycle if any arise during this period. But hopefully I would love to let the plants get established before doing so.

I'm still thinking about the fishes stocking... but I have some crazy ideas... something like...

1x Trichogaster Lalius (Dwarf Gourami)
12x Danio Rerio (Zebra Danio)

1x one these
L-136 Plecostomus (Gold Spotted)
L-66 Plecostomus (Gypsy King Tiger)
L-001 Plecostomus (Spotted Sailfin)

12x Corydoras Pygmaeus (Pygmy Corydoras)

What do you think ? That should be about right for a high maintenance tank ?
Beautiful tank! Your fish list is not realistic for a tank that size. Just the Plecos alone should be eliminated. When I was living in Panama, the L-001 you listed could be found in and around the canal, much...much larger than what is stated online. They get huge. You have a gorgeous tank. Think of it as a 'focus tank' perhaps just lightly stocked with some small tetras? Regarding your lighting, I don't know. Lighting is one of those 'rhythm things' you just have to figure out. Lighting, nutrients and bioload etc. each tank is unique. In my opinion, use the full-spectrum setting, start on the low side and adjust it slightly (don't get in a hurry) to see if it works. Start with 8 hours per day and see what happens.
 
Beautiful stand and decor setup!

For the stocking, I think you have too many fish. Do you know how many gallons your tank is? Personally, this is what I would go for, but it is just a personal opinion:

Asian Setup: 2 Dwarf Gouramis, 10x Harlequin Rasboras, and 6-8 Kuhli Loaches.

South American Setup: 6-8 Diamond Tetras, 10-12x Pygmy Corys, and 1 Bristlenose Pleco (or 1 Gypsy King Tiger pleco).

I wouldn't have more than one pleco in a tank. Some can get very territorial, and three plecos will cause a never-ending battle of waste; you would have an everlasting battle for cleanliness if you went with more than one plecos. A little story: I used to have 1 Green Phantom pleco in my 55-gallon pleco (which later died due to a mistake I made), and it was such a messy little thing. It was a battle to keep the tank clean even when there was minimal stock otherwise. I noticed a huge difference cleanliness-wise when it sadly passed away. My tank was a lot cleaner. So I would only recommend a pleco if you have good filtration and you don't mind consistently cleaning. Bristlenose, though I've heard, is cleaner than other plecos, and they also eat algae, so they are the most beneficial plecos probably in the entire fish-keeping hobby.

I hope this helps. :D
Hi there from Canada !

Thanks, I'm going for a utmost classical look.

The tank is a 5 Gallons that came with a Hagen starter kit.

I mention only "one" of the following "choice" of Plecos. Hehe, I know a bit about their behaviours, I had gazillions of BNs breed in a 3 gallons tank, 1 male, 1 female, 1 bubble filter, 1 rock and a ton of boiled spinach, is really all you need... I always make sure that they are well fed... I like them Fat and Lazy.

I want to go with 2 small fishes like 1 mini plec and 1 dwarf Gourami, I love these guys, they are a lot of fun to watch, when they try to pick something on the bottom,they look like they are going to fall over. Loll..., But they are always bullying each other in small numbers, in pair it's worst and imo are best kept like Betas... Alone. They are also prone to ulcers when stressed for too long period.

Both the largest fish wouldn't reach more than 3" or 3.5" and the other 2 schools would be under an inch adults. so that would be under 24' of tiny fishes...

But... What do you think about my lightning settings ? I also bought for the first time in my life some fertilizer... I always used plants as accessories, while I kept them the best as I could.... They would never thrive under a cheap incandescent light and where replaced when too much deteriorated. Well except a couple that would overrun everything... As for the Anubias, I think I when too heavy on the fertilizer.
 
Beautiful tank! Your fish list is not realistic for a tank that size. Just the Plecos alone should be eliminated. When I was living in Panama, the L-001 you listed could be found in and around the canal, much...much larger than what is stated online. They get huge. You have a gorgeous tank. Think of it as a 'focus tank' perhaps just lightly stocked with some small tetras? Regarding your lighting, I don't know. Lighting is one of those 'rhythm things' you just have to figure out. Lighting, nutrients and bioload etc. each tank is unique. In my opinion, use the full-spectrum setting, start on the low side and adjust it slightly (don't get in a hurry) to see if it works. Start with 8 hours per day and see what happens.
Thanks for your Reply,

And Also thanks for the info, I know that small plecos are pretty rare, but I will remove this one from the list. I had lots of Bush nose and they never reached much over 3.5" even in large tanks.

With the default settings of the light, in one week I was beginning to have Red, Black / Brown and green algae. and also a kind of long white filament strings everywhere... I draw back to 8 hours at 60% and turned moonlight off. with a few days things looks better already, But the green is still growing. It is not on the plants so I will let it go and see.
 
Last edited:
Hi there from Canada !

Thanks, I'm going for a utmost classical look.

The tank is a 5 Gallons that came with a Hagen starter kit.

I mention only "one" of the following "choice" of Plecos. Hehe, I know a bit about their behaviours, I had gazillions of BNs breed in a 3 gallons tank, 1 male, 1 female, 1 bubble filter, 1 rock and a ton of boiled spinach, is really all you need... I always make sure that they are well fed... I like them Fat and Lazy.

I want to go with 2 small fishes like 1 mini plec and 1 dwarf Gourami, I love these guys, they are a lot of fun to watch, when they try to pick something on the bottom,they look like they are going to fall over. Loll..., But they are always bullying each other in small numbers, in pair it's worst and imo are best kept like Betas... Alone. They are also prone to ulcers when stressed for too long period.

Both the largest fish wouldn't reach more than 3" or 3.5" and the other 2 schools would be under an inch adults. so that would be under 24' of tiny fishes...

But... What do you think about my lightning settings ? I also bought for the first time in my life some fertilizer... I always used plants as accessories, while I kept them the best as I could.... They would never thrive under a cheap incandescent light and where replaced when too much deteriorated. Well except a couple that would overrun everything... As for the Anubias, I think I when too heavy on the fertilizer.

Woah woah woah woah, wait a second. Your tank is only five gallons?! Are you 100% positive on that? If that's the case, you can't even have half of the fish on that list. Plus, dwarf Gouramis need a minimum of ten gallons. Even a high maintenance setup couldn't hold that much stock.

I couldn't comment on light settings, sorry. I don't know hardly anything about that. I would recommend asking someone else who is more knowledgeable. :)

Also, sorry about the pleco. I misread the original post. lol
 
Woah woah woah woah, wait a second. Your tank is only five gallons?! Are you 100% positive on that? If that's the case, you can't even have half of the fish on that list. Plus, dwarf Gouramis need a minimum of ten gallons. Even a high maintenance setup couldn't hold that much stock.

I couldn't comment on light settings, sorry. I don't know hardly anything about that. I would recommend asking someone else who is more knowledgeable. :)

Also, sorry about the pleco. I misread the original post. lol

4.77 gallons minus decor... I already hosted a lots of tiny happy fishes in there with no problems...

When I had only one powder blue Gourami, he was as lazy as a betta, he was the king of the tank and would sit on plants all day waiting for meal time, this fish lived nearly 7 years and was looking awesome (Never been nipped). With him I had 1 bristle nose, 6 coridoras panda, and like 30 neons tetras... the bristle nose lived more than 10 years. and the corys had to be moved to another tank because 3 of them lived more than 12 years, all the tetras where gone for years at the time, but many of them went really far.

I was running 3 sponges in the filter and did sponges rinse, rotation and 20% water every other day. For a projected 4 to 7 years setup, I got stuck for more than 12 years total with it... and I'm not really the guy who replace (Well, I replaced plants a lot but not the fishies), I start a setup, put everything in it and enjoy until the end then restart.

As far as fish keeping I'm pretty sure I can do it... On the other hand, I would really like to reach the same level with plants.

The First real Aquario-Master I ever met (you know the guy that tells you everything you don't want to ear) told me to never put over 30' of small fishes in a 5 gallons, And this setup was well over that. Given that neons are not big ammonia producer, I got away with it.

Yes the filter was clogging in hours and the water changes where back to back... But they where a snappy, vibrant amazing sight and interacting with them was a blissful experience. Pleco knows exactly where and when he's going to get his waffer, corys comes out the shades 10 sec before you are going to feed them, all the neons reaches the surface when they see your fingers over the water and you can hand feed your gourami at the end... What more need to be said...

Oh! and I patented a device that enables the user to do a 10 gallons water changes on a 5 gallons tank, without the water level ever moving :cool:. just need good temp and chem. So pollutants can be washed off effectively in case of spike, without the fish even noticing it.

I also must say that while I have to pay for it, my water supply is the most awesome for freshwater fishes with a KH of 100 ppm and a solid 7 for PH.
 
I'm setting up a 6 gallon atm and have made many mistakes killing fish when I didn't understand stocking previously when I had a smaller tank, I'm going for a single betta but I also have pygmy cories in another tank. I think your tank would be perfect for a group of those on their own, it may not sound as flashy as having a centrepiece but they're always on the move and use all levels of the tank so you'd always see them. They'd be all over everything in your tank the way you have it set up. You could probably do a few more than 12 in that space just because they're so tiny but that would be it, I wouldn't add anything else.
 
I'm setting up a 6 gallon atm and have made many mistakes killing fish when I didn't understand stocking previously when I had a smaller tank, I'm going for a single betta but I also have pygmy cories in another tank. I think your tank would be perfect for a group of those on their own, it may not sound as flashy as having a centrepiece but they're always on the move and use all levels of the tank so you'd always see them. They'd be all over everything in your tank the way you have it set up. You could probably do a few more than 12 in that space just because they're so tiny but that would be it, I wouldn't add anything else.

Yeah, your right, I'm probably a little delusional... I will try to think of a more common sense stock...

I like bettas a lot, but I was never able to put anything else with them.
 
Yeah, your right, I'm probably a little delusional... I will try to think of a more common sense stock...

I like bettas a lot, but I was never able to put anything else with them.
Yeah that's the downside of bettas! I'm sure other people may have some other suggestions that could work for you too.
 
All went good this week

As soon as I put fertilizer algae grows somewhere.... I think the tank is just too small for even half a ml per week.

Going down to 4 drops a week. loll... This bottle is going to last...

But playing with my brainless light strip, I discovered a lot about, it's incredible possibilities.

I can now grow red algae at the bottom... Or... Green at the top....

I need floating plants. But there's nothing on the market this time, except duckweed.

I'm not that suicidal.
 
I start a setup, put everything in it and enjoy until the end then restart.
This is interesting! I'm not sure I would have the patience for it, but I will admit that sometimes I start thinking, "If I did this again, I would blah blah blah." Your method ensures that at some point, you're going to start all over.

If I could keep more tanks, maybe I'd do that. When I had all the room I needed, I only ever kept one 29 gallon tank- never even thought of having more.

We moved to a townhouse when the boys got older and got rid of 2/3 of everything we owned. We love where we are, but space is a premium. I had a bit of a ....debate.... with my wife about getting the 2nd tank I have now. It's 75 gallons. I think I might get away with getting a little shrimp tank at some point, but it'll be a long time before I can do that and expect to keep living here. :D :D :oops::oops:
 
This is interesting! I'm not sure I would have the patience for it, but I will admit that sometimes I start thinking, "If I did this again, I would blah blah blah." Your method ensures that at some point, you're going to start all over.

If I could keep more tanks, maybe I'd do that. When I had all the room I needed, I only ever kept one 29 gallon tank- never even thought of having more.

We moved to a townhouse when the boys got older and got rid of 2/3 of everything we owned. We love where we are, but space is a premium. I had a bit of a ....debate.... with my wife about getting the 2nd tank I have now. It's 75 gallons. I think I might get away with getting a little shrimp tank at some point, but it'll be a long time before I can do that and expect to keep living here. :D :D :oops::oops:
Yes if I'm lucky enough to have them grow old, at the end I just wait for the last fishes to pass peacefully from old age. Then if the hardscape and plants are sill going good. I start to add ammonia and raise the bacteria colony to be able to handle a new stock.

But this time, I skidded on a 180 again and actually am acclimating a gang of shrimps to put in there :rolleyes:

I got a mixed bunch of unidentified shrimps. I bought 12 and the store gave me 18 👍

It's been 2 hours dripping... Only one casualty at the moment. But sadly it was the biggest one :confused:
 

Most reactions

trending

Staff online

Back
Top