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Old 03-28-2012, 12:55 AM   #1
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Hopeful Zero Cycle Build

Hey guys!

I've been working on a micro tank for some tiny organisms.

It is five gallons, and it is about 16 inches long and nine inches wide. I have a cycled 15 gallon filter running and a preset heater set for about 78 degrees.

My goal is to have enough plants and natural filtration to remove the need for the cycle. I'm sure it has been done before, so it is no big news -- but it should be fun to build!


The most important thing will obviously be the plants.

Courtesy of Maxwellag I will have two Mariamo moss balls and the beginnings of a Java moss carpet.

I'd like to add some more (Low light) plants that will add to the filtration and help my livestock choices!

I'd like to have a base stock of RCS Maybe 10-12.

-4 Thai Micro Crabs
-A few ghost shrimp to further control fish waste?
-6 Ember tetras
OR
-6 Mosquito rasboras

I feel like this stock list is very light on the bio load, and works in a symbiotic way with each other. If the fish must come out, it is no big deal. I just think a micro school would be cool, especially since I'm paying for shipping online -- I might as well get something my LFS doesn't have.


PLEASE Comment and poke holes in the idea and give suggestions. Also realize I'm not actively working to destroy a cycle, and I'm not going to stop doing maintenance, but I hope the amount of plants help take ammonia and nitrates/trites out of the equation. Perhaps giving tank newbies a low equipement way of having a beautiful but low disaster risk for a tank.

The plants should take the current bacteria out of the water to help them grow. Then I'll add the critters, which will feed off the organic particles/food which will create more waste for plants to feed off of. As the plants grow, I'll be able to continue to cut clippings off and further remove the wastes. Seems efficient?
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:43 AM   #2
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Skip the Ghost Shrimp IMHO. They can be aggressive with RCS and if they can catch sleeping fish they will. I used to feed them dead or weak Guppies. They ate them eagerly. Plus they don't eat fish poop. They'd compete with RCS for food.

Ghost Shrimp are fine, but not for this tank

Chili Rasbora are great !
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:52 AM   #3
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Plants ?
I like Crypts
Narrow Leaf Java Fern
Anubias Nana Petite
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:25 AM   #4
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Corsair, I love your suggestions.

I was under the impression they ate fish waste. Let's both double check that, maybe just plant waste? I thought they ate literally everything!

Alright, I'll skip those. Especially since RCS are the focus.

Next... All Anubias is out. I didn't like the way it planted/turned out. It failed in my tank. I'd like to try more column plants. I'll research crypts.

I suppose I should say I have a reflector hood with a blue/red spectrum 15W Incandescent light.

Id be happy with a carpet floor of java moss and a wall of plants against the back wall.


Why chilies over embers?

When I get my shrimp, I'll be putting a sponge around my HoB filter I think.. That's all I've got to add for now!
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:55 AM   #5
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It is a nice idea but I think would be tricky in the first few weeks, you will need to make sure the balance is kept by measuring parameters frequently. Why not add some food/ammonia without the fish at first to see if the bio filter and plants can deal with the ammonnia and subsequent nitrite buildup? If you don't see any spikes whithin a week then you can probably add some fish/critters. I think if you can add them gradually there might be a chance that the system will balance itself out. Please keep us posted and good luck!
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:39 AM   #6
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Hey yaya, the tank already is cycled, and I plan to grow out plants before adding the critters.

The animals just give out such a small bio load, I'm thinking the ammonia give off will be nearly insignificant. Nonetheless, I'll be testing.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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Ah cool, just thought you might want to add a bit of non living ammonia source just as a quick experiment to see how the setup deals with a bulidup of ammonia and nitrits so that when you add the animals you would know if the your plan is working well. Also, how long will you grow your plants for? I am thinking the bacteria will need a source of ammonia to keep them going before you add the animals? Otherwise, even if the tank is cycled from what I understand the bateria will slowly die off.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:49 PM   #8
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Good point and interesting theory..

I suppose you're most definitely right.

I was planning on a tiny temporary crew of 10 snails, 2 ghost shrimp until I'm prepared to add my real residents
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:03 PM   #9
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I'm thinking once I have my plants established and fishies added, I should add Salvinia to the tank. That helps remove any leftover waste too... All great stuff here ^^
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:57 PM   #10
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you may have to skip the crypts, i just read on planted tank.com that if you trim crypts, and your shrimp graze on it, they will die within a week. i wonder if theres any truth to this? they leak a toxic into the water. this also happens with anubias.
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:17 AM   #11
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Wow!!! Thank you for that valuable comment.. I will not be adding Anubis or crypts I guess.

Is Anubis nana ok? I think that might do well in my tank :/
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin.b
you may have to skip the crypts, i just read on planted tank.com that if you trim crypts, and your shrimp graze on it, they will die within a week. i wonder if theres any truth to this? they leak a toxic into the water. this also happens with anubias.
I have a lot of Crypts in my Shrimp tank. I don't "trim" my Crypts. If a leaf dies, I cut it off.
My tank:
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:58 PM   #13
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Hey guys!!!!!! My plants came in today, and I created my Java Carpet.

It looks really good I think, and I want to know what y'all think. It is a method not typically used, I think.

I also noticed my dying Anubias was actually shooting off some baby leaves, so I trimmed the dying half off and replanted a tiny bit. Maybe that will actually work.

I think the change was from me getting a new light.

ALSO -- I have a few Marimo moss mushies now.

I'd love any advise on how to take care of them. They're SOO pretty and interesting looking, I want to keep them healthy.

They immediately sunk to the bottom, and they've moved a little.

The few pond snails have crawled over them, but I don't think they'll harm them, right? If so, I'll be eliminating the pond snails (in there to keep my cycle going) immediately.


I'LL POST PICS SOON
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:42 PM   #14
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Attachment 85948



Attachment 85947



Attachment 85946


The floor will grow out

As always, comments, suggestions and criticisms are welcome.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MABJ

The floor will grow out

As always, comments, suggestions and criticisms are welcome.
Wow, nice tank! What do you think about maybe replacing the two fake plants in the front, and instead adding some kind of rotala? The pond snails will not hurt your Marimo moss balls, don't worry
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:21 PM   #16
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I'm very relieved : D thanks so much.

And the plants are attached to the log in the middle. I should definitely consider trying to remove it though. The log is a permanent fixture. I love it :p
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MABJ
Corsair, I love your suggestions.

I was under the impression they ate fish waste. Let's both double check that, maybe just plant waste? I thought they ate literally everything!

Alright, I'll skip those. Especially since RCS are the focus.

Next... All Anubias is out. I didn't like the way it planted/turned out. It failed in my tank. I'd like to try more column plants. I'll research crypts.

I suppose I should say I have a reflector hood with a blue/red spectrum 15W Incandescent light.

Id be happy with a carpet floor of java moss and a wall of plants against the back wall.

Why chilies over embers?

When I get my shrimp, I'll be putting a sponge around my HoB filter I think.. That's all I've got to add for now!
I just realzied no one said anything about chili's, sorry about that. Chili rasboras are my all time favorite nano fish, as they are very curious, fun to watch, active, and very playful. Not to mention they school pretty well. The males look amazing when they color up to impress the females. Also, I've had my CR's completely ignore baby shrimp swimming right in front of them! Whenever I have my arm in the tank, they like to swim over and circle my arm/inspect it lol after about a month, they recognized me and now swim to the front of the tank whenever I am near. They also like to play in the filter current!
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MABJ
I'm very relieved : D thanks so much.

And the plants are attached to the log in the middle. I should definitely consider trying to remove it though. The log is a permanent fixture. I love it :p
Oh ok lol what do you think about attatching some moss to the top of the wood, the flat part. The moss will attach itself and soon start to grow over it. I think that'll look pretty awesome! What are your stocking plans so far?
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:04 PM   #19
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Well I move about 4 times a year from my house to my college dorm that's why I'm keeping things low tech, and trying to create a pretty route for others like me.

What is your comment on the chilis' bio load?

I'm trying to keep it minimal.

I'm going to stock 15 cherry shrimp, perhaps a few micro crabs, and a school of 6 micro fish.

Hopefully this is how the tank will work. The fast growing plants will suck the bad bacteria out of the water, the shrimp will keep the plants healthy, a few snails will control algae, micro crabs will appease my need for inverts :p and the fish will help to continue a little of the waste making.

I know for 100% fact I want cherries.

I'm not 100% about the crabs, they'll be expensive to ship if anybody ever breeds them, that'll change..

I will order an aesthetically pleasing nerite snail with my order online (I'm sure I'll have to place one soon)

And I'm 100% sure I want a micro school. I don't know which yet, but I know I do. If I had to lose one of the stocking items here, however, it'd be the fish.

I'm torn between embers and chilies. Price is a factor here unfortunately. If one is definitively better than the next, I'll dish out a little extra.



----

As for your comment about the flat plane on the log, I love your idea! I'm all out of moss right now though! I'm going to have to wait until it reproduces heavily.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:11 AM   #20
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While yall are thinking,


I believe I've seen Java Moss growth overnight... The clumps are forming together and intertwining... I must be doing something right?

I have 9 rock clumps on either side of the tank, and I have tied the moss to the rock, which will create the carpet over time. I just didn't think it'd start that quick!

Overnight, I had no die off from the 3-day-shipping, but I will say I haven't quite seen the Marimos move.. Should they be moving and active yet?
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