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Old 02-07-2017, 06:29 PM   #1
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For Life on Dorm & at Home: 5.5 Gallon Set-Up

Hi everyone, thanks for taking some time to look at this thread.

Currently, I am in the midst of preparing a 5.5 Gallon (8in wide, 10in high, 16in length wise). I aim to keep this a relatively simple set-up because I am currently living on dorm and will have to move the aquarium between home and dorm life as needed. Haven't done to much with it, though I have only had the tank for a couple days.

In terms of equipment, I have a few small bits and ends all together and haven't got everything just yet. Currently, I have small filter (Tetra Whisper 3i In-Tank Filter) that I am hoping to make use of, possibly alongside another small filter or not depending on how my funds are. The air pump to the filter is currently helping me bubble the water in the tank so that I can figure out what the end result of my pH levels are going to be. I also got a stainless steel thermometer sitting in the tank at the moment, I didn't want to get another plastic one only to have it break on me again. The tank came with a hood and a light, though no bulb as of yet (got it at a steal of 34.99, taxes included). No heater as of yet either, but that is more because I want to test the heater I have for my Betta fish, Buck, to see if that would work or if I should get something more expensive.

Decoration wise, I have a small cichlid cave, several small plastic plants, a fake branch tunnel with plastic moss/grass, and a large fake plant all sitting inside it at the moment on a diminished bed of white gravel. Outside the tank, I got less than a pound of mopani wood (one chunk and a branch) soaking away in a bucket to help get as many tannins as I can out. Since I only got one bucket, the wood pieces are soaking separately. This is my first time using driftwood, but every thread and site I found (ghosted) advised that readers at least do the soaking if unable to boil. I'm kinda in the last group since I am currently on dorm, don't own any pots or anything for boiling. (-_-; )

Water Conditions: 24hrs after Set-up
Testing with the normal pH:+7.4
Testing with the High pH: 8-8.2? (I can't figure out which colour it is, as a guy I already tend to suck at differentiating colours of close shades but my bad eyes make this a pain in the butt. Help is greatly appreciated )
Testing for Ammonia: 0.0ppm
Testing for Nitrites: 0.0ppm
Testing for Nitrates: 0.0ppm

The results are as to be expected of a freshly set-up aquarium, so no major disappointments as of yet. I was surprised by how high the pH levels were, but then I haven't ever really taken the time to investigate how high the pH levels of the water in my area can get when left to sit for a couple days. I'm planning a fishless cycle for the most part. I'm going to be getting the bacteria and ammonia from Buck's dirty water (which shouldn't be too hard since I change his water every 2-3 days). I am leaving the water levels at about 60-75% full in the 5.5 gallon at the moment so that when I need to, I can more easily facilitate water changes.

My current stocking plan for the 5.5 is pretty flexible for the moment:
Mystery Snails (1-2)
AND/OR
Red Cherry Shrimp (5-7)
AND/OR
Ghost Shrimp (5-7)
AND/OR
African Dwarf Frogs (4-5)

I'm aiming for the aquarium to be mostly a little oddball tank, with Buck possibly moving in when I feel like it. I also may or may not add some really easy to care for plants. I'm still doing my research on that so I am unsure so far.

I'll post pictures some time tomorrow, so stay tuned. Any input you have on what I am doing is appreciated, honest. I don't bite.
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Old 02-07-2017, 08:31 PM   #2
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This sounds so cool! Good luck with it, I can't wait to see the tank when it is done. (Personally, I love ADFs, so I would recommend those, but RCS are adorable too. Whatever you pick, it'll be awesome!)
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:14 AM   #3
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Out of that stock I'd say you may be better off with the adfs in terms of not getting eaten by buck, but also they're adorable lol.

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Old 02-08-2017, 01:23 AM   #4
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For Life on Dorm & at Home: 5.5 Gallon Set-Up

I would not recommend African dwarf frogs, in my opinion I think buck, and mystery snails would look great.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:24 AM   #5
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For Life on Dorm & at Home: 5.5 Gallon Set-Up

Btw if buck is a jerk, he would kill the shrimp, and the African frogs don't do good with most bettas.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:32 AM   #6
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The only thing you can really do in the 5.5 would be the betta alone. Bettas don't really enjoy sharing their tanks so anything you put in there needs to be able to withstand being attacked. A big snail is probably your safest bet. ADF require 5g alone for a single so you just don't have enough room with the 5.5, maybe when you are done with college and can get a bigger tank. Good luck!
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:46 AM   #7
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It depends on the betta tbh, the only way to know is to try and have a back up plan if he's a jerk.

Adfs are usually suggested as 1g-2g per frog as they have smaller bioloads.

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Old 02-08-2017, 08:26 PM   #8
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Day 2

Okay, I'm back from my busy day. I finished setting up the Whisper Filter 3i today, it's in the back clipped onto one of the plastic plants. I am going to move it around a bit to see where I think it works best later in the weekend. The heater, while good enough for now, is going to be replaced with another that has more wattage later on before I put in the oddballs I aim for. Buck has settled in, enough so to make a big bubble nest on the back right side plastic plant, and is helping out by adding to the ammonia levels.

I went out to a couple of the local fish stores around me today to examine stock. The PetSmart about 15 min drive from the dorm has the cheapest plants available so far. Lots of meh quality, some just beginning to melt and others looking nipped at and such. Only plant that I'm interested in from that location is Moneywort, but I am still unsure on that one. The other location I visited today is one of the several Big Al's in the GTA area, one of the better ones IMO too. They had real nice quality plants, and some of them were cheaper than I thought they would be. Doing some research on the ones I really liked, the Banana Plant (going to call it a Banana Lily from now on, just such a cool name ), the Bacopa plant, and MAYBE a Corkscrew Val. I'm most sure about the Banana Lily since; it's only 4.99 a plant (no big investment), looks unique and pleasant, as well as how it is supposed to be an easy plant for beginners such as myself. I'm less sure about the Bacopa and the Corkscrew, mostly because I worry way too much about how much I will be capable of. Worrywart tendencies never die, no matter how much I wish they did.

I also scouted out additional substrate, since I am pretty sure that I need to supplement my current amount with some more. I want to try out a mix of sand and gravel, and since I already have gravel I went looking at sand. Found a couple bags that were relatively well priced I think (is 8.99 for 5lbs a good price?) and wanted to know your guys opinion on National Geographic's and Caribsea Super Natural's sand substrate. Is one better than the other, or are they equal, or am I just being a worrywart again? I've also seen Hermit Crab Calcium sand in 2lb bags for 4.99-6.99 (depending on colour), is that safe for an aquarium? I've heard of some people making use of it in tanks but I'm not sold on how safe that is. I'm pretty sure I am not going to use the Hermit Crab sand but this question has been bugging me so much that I want an answer.

Oh, I also found a gH and a kH kit while I was out. Grabbed it for 14.99 altogether, I think that is a good deal. Not sure, let me know. Scouted out Flourish tabs, found a ten pack for 14.99. Didn't grab it, cause I'm still unsure on plants and don't want to grab things too early.

Water Conditions: 48hrs after Set-up
Testing with the normal pH:+7.4
Testing with the High pH: 8 (can definitely tell the colour this time)
Testing for Ammonia: 0.0ppm
Testing for Nitrites: 0.0ppm
Testing for Nitrates: 0.0ppm
Testing for Carbonate: 6 drops
Testing for General Hardness: 3/4 drops (couldn't quite tell, one drop was oddly shaped due to a sneeze)

Thanks for the input you guys have given me so far. No worries, I have been listening. Going to go through and reply to all your comments now in the order you replied in. :P

DreaminginBlue and Toad, I agree with you on the African Dwarf Frogs. I've had a couple of them in the past, about a decade back when I had a 50 gallon going. Stopped when I did highschool so I could focus on my education. Only had one frog that had lived through my 'childish' frivolity for 3-4 years, he managed to dodge every attempt at capture and survive everything that got put into the tank. If I'm remembering this right, that would include a 1 foot Plecostomus [inherited from friends when he was little, eventually named Goliath and given to LFS for better quality of life] a mixed African Cichlid tank [bad decision/LFS guy information lead to a massacre of all but two fish within a year], Angels, Gouramis, Barbs, and such. Thought he had died several times over, but never did. Got to a nice size too for a critter that literally couldn't be found in the aquarium for months on end, if I remember right...and yes he stayed African Dwarf Frog size, he was no African Clawed Frog If I do get African Dwarf Frogs, I'm naming one of them Lazarus in that little guy's honour.

freash.water and nkoyko, thanks for your input on African Dwarf Frogs, Bettas, and Mystery Snails. I agree that Mystery Snails would look nice in the tank, and that is partly why they're on my list. I do have a back-up plan for if Buck gets too aggressive, it's life-time detention in his 1 gallon. He enjoyed it before, pretty sure he'll enjoy it again if I need him to.

nkoyko, I haven't found any sources that share your opinion on 5 gallons per single African Dwarf Frog yet. Could you maybe share a link to where you got that info? Most/all of my sources tend to lay in line with Toad's post on stock limits.

Thanks again for your comments and input. They are greatly appreciated! I'll attempt to post again tomorrow, but might not be able to. Busy night tomorrow.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:28 PM   #9
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Oh, forgot to add the photo of the tank. Here it is.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:43 PM   #10
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I like what you've got going on! I've never kept most of these species so I'm no help there. But I bought flourish root tabs on amazon at less than $8 for a 10 pack last week. Just thought I'd share that tidbit. I'll be following!
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