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My first aquariums. Planted nano tanks photo journal.


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I wanted to share with you my first steps into the wonderful world of aquariums. I'm not sure if this will be useful to anyone in the future, or if I'm just preserving and sharing the experience for posterity. I must say, I enjoyed the entire experience immensely, and I'm looking around at where I can fit more tanks. 

I started with three little tanks. 2x 10lt (2.65 us gallon) and 1x 15lt (4 us gallons) and a love of Marimo moss balls 😃 I knew I wanted it to be heavily planted but knew nothing about aquatic plants... so I read, joined the forum and watched youtube. I was imagining the tanks as being just plants, but i soon realised that to have my little worlds work properly I needed to balance it. That's when I fell in love with shrimp. I had no idea there were so many different types and colours, I'd have a few snails to keep things clean and it seemed a Betta would complete my setup. Again, I had no idea they could be so fancy and beautiful. I also decided that I wanted the plants to be my filters.. so I'm going without for now, if I need to I will add them later. I want to keep my bioload low.

I'm going to wait until I see some good plant growth before I even think about adding my fish and then shrimp. I really don't want to kill anything, especially by rushing things.

I made my shopping list and started gathering all the bits and bobs I would need.

3x 25w heaters

Driftwood, to get biofilm on and tannins for my shrimp

3.5lt Tropica Plant growth substrate (1cm 1/2" all over)

10kg (22lb) Black limpopo course sand



Root tabs

When it came to the light I did struggle a little, I didn't want to spend tooooo much. I wondered if I could uses a plant grow light, that wasn't specifically for aquariums. I found a lamp that would be perfect, with 144 full spectrum LED's on 3 goose necks. this had a timer for 3, 6 and 12 hrs. 10x dimmable and was only 29.99 gbp. @Jessica. showed me that she used that kind of bulb in a super cool antique lamp she'd made so I decided to try it.  When it arrived the build quality was actually much better than expected. I tested it on some herb pots that were struggling in the kitchen with the lack of sunlight. within a couple of hours my limp horizontal parsley had stood up and was leaning towards the light, I turned it.. it leaned back. I was so happy! 

I ordered my plants, waited (somewhat) patiently, and then set to putting it all together. Just to namecheck.. I have been really inspired by @Streetwise nano tanks and just about everything @Daniel does!

The plants I chose were

Salviania Naturns (Water spangles. floater)

Elodia Densa (anacharis)

Bacopa Caroroliniana

Water Wisteria

Myacca Fluvitalis 

Java fern

Hair grass

Liliopensis Brasiliensis (micro sword)

Amazon Swords

Jungle Vallis

Echinodrorus Harbii (Oval leaf amazon sword type plant)

oh.. and 10 Marimo Mossballs














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Just now, Daniel said:

This looks wonderful! I can see the @Streetwise inspiration at work. Everything looks so elegant.

The Daniel inspiration is in the fact I aim for it to be natural and self sustaining, as much as possible.. and if i struggle i'll break out the science!

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  • 1 month later...

Hey Everyone

I thought I'd show you all my tanks after a month.

I've had a lot of changes, lots of growth  and runners..and a LOT of baby snails 😃

At the moment I'm treating all three tanks for cyanobacteria.. it seems to be going well. My water parameters are nice and consistant and I'm thinking about getting some shrimp in there soon to help clean up a bit.

One of my Amazon swords has a runner with three little plants, so far. My java fern has babies on the leaves.. the Val is sending off runnering in all directions in all the tanks... My grass is growing.. I love the Bacopa Caroliniana! The shape it grows, the long dangly roots and the way it pops out of the surface..its just lovely. 

I might have lost most of my floating plants.. they got all clogged with the cyanobacteria.. but hopefully some make it.. it grows like crazy. Oh And my water wisteria is growing out the top like a tree!☺️

The water is always this pale tea colour, I'm quite a fan!😄









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  • 1 month later...

@Streetwise My aquariums are going well, I think! 😅

I have baby swords and vallisinaria growing everywhere.

My floaters keep taking over (I need to clear them again.. it's getting out of hand)

I had to trim the water wisteria.. it's waaaay to big for my little tanks but I really like it. I had it growing up about 10-12" out of the water before it crumpled under its own weight.

I have no heaters because they were being weird, with that crusty brown stuff on.. but all seems well without them (and far less water evaporates 😌)

No life yet, apart from my snails... That's the good news 😊

All of the aquariums got cyanobacteria, I thought I had it under control and it hasnt come back to the middle and right tanks... The left however, is a bit gooey!😅 I've been doing the treatment... I think I have some kind of green algae too.. can it mix with the cyanobacteria, to make a more greeny blue green slime that's a little stringy and bubbly?! (I should post that in the other section) 

If there's any other problems you can spot, please feel free to point them out! I have a feeling my plants may need some more nutrients of some kind.. the leaves are a bit see-through. I was a bit nervous to keep adding fertiliser in case it made the algae/cyanobacteria situation worse.

Tomorrow I have my next aquarium being delivered 😁 a 25g tall (95lt) it will be a place for my baby plants and to grow taller plants and some others I've fallen in love with browsing this forum. I'll be using the same Tropica substrate, and sand because all my plants really took off and are growing well. I'm also going to filter this new tank.

Thanks for checking in on my aquariums 😊









Edited by Penny
Same pic twice
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Thank you so much @Jennifer V

This whole thing started because I fell in love with a mossball! 🤣 The lakes they come from are very cold and dark and they don't love the warm bright water of the aquariums so much.. they can get paler or browner so every now and then they appreciate getting cleaned and a little time out in the cold fridge.  It keeps them nice and dark green.

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