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Old 02-14-2017, 02:02 AM   #1
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1st 5 gallon NPT

Hello, I'm Reykur, I just joined this forum not long ago because I need some advice for my DIY 5 gallon NPT. I got a Marina 5 gallon LED kit, ordered a new hood with 6500k day style light, fluval shrimp and plant stratum (as I plan on putting shrimp in once I've gotten some more funds to put towards my tank) some Marimo shrimp balls, fluval biological enhancer and seachem "the bag" media for the slim s10 filter that comes with the kit. I've also gotten some plant keeping tools, the API master test kit and the basics like thermometer, small heater for winter. I purchased some hornwort, wisteria, ambillia, and bacopa australis to plant in the tank, and I plan on colonizing it with Neocoridina (cherry reds probably, since they're cheap and seem to be the popular beginners choice)

Any tips about the selected plants? Both care advice and whether I should add another for a better food supply for the shrimp would be appreciated, I know shrimp can be fed, so I've kept the option in mind, but I bet you could plant their food source and let them be.. But I don't know if that is true, I don't know enough about their nutrition and digestion. I also am curious about how to ensure the plants will take root in my substrate. The fluval substrate is pretty much like small beads, so it's sort of loose. I'm thinking of using fishing weights and low test fishing line to weigh them down, but I've read that you can just plant them down with tweezers and just bury them to the root crown with substrate.

The next big thing is that I've decided that I will not pay for rocks when I live right off of a dormant volcano and there is volcanic rock all over the place. I found 2 rocks that I decided to use, treated one in bleach, and I boiled the other. Then the next day I scrubbed them both with a wire brush and removed... Most of the moss and grass like plants on them. Then I soaked them both in bleach solution again for about 2 hours, rinsed them off, scrubbed off what turned white, that I found anyway, and now I'm boiling them. I have 1 small rock that is a nice shape, it cleaned up very well and quite easily and I think after it is boiled it might be ok to use in the tank, however the other rock I've chosen is quite large, it should be big enough for my tank, but it might be too big (the tank hasn't arrived yet, should be here soon) and I'm honestly not sure if I've treated it enough. I don't have a large enough pot to boil it all at once since its a crescent shape that slopes up and in (when seated correctly) so it's an odd shape to fit in a pot. What I've been doing is flipping it every hour or 2 at 206F. It has soaked in hot water in bleach for 2 hours, it was boiled for 4 hours yesterday, and is currently being boiled again. Each time I treat it, it helps remove the moss and dirt, but I don't think it's getting it all.. And I'm really not sure how to tell when it's safe to tank.
My current theory is that bleaching it disenfects it and marks where it needs to be scrubbed with a wire brush, then boiling helps to send hot water deeper into the pockets in the rock to help kill bacteria that could have survived the bleach by being underneath the moss, or behind some clingy dirt.

Any advice on my procedure or selection of rocks? I've read that lava rock is beneficial as it allows for growth of beneficial bacteria and plants in those pockets. This is raw, wild rock though, so not only does it have different mineral elements mixed in (i tested all rocks with vinegar before treating and found satisfactory results with the 2 I'm using, so I know they don't contain lime on the layers exposed) I don't know if anyone has used rock that has had moss growing on it, and I would love to hear what you did about it, whether you just tanked it, or treated it, your process/results are valuable info.

I call myself a hobbyist but I'm taking this pretty seriously since I've found myself with some free time between my 2 jobs, and would like to have a relaxing hobby. But I take things seriously, and want to make a safe and healthy environment for my shrimp colony to develope, and I plan on using Neocoridina as a stepping stone to tiger or bamboo shrimp, and once I get a 30 gallon tank, I'll get a vampire shrimp or two, and some bamboo shrimp.

My other question is about snails. Snails seem beneficial to a shrimp tank, since shrimp eat snail waste and the combination of the two should make for a clean tank. I'm wondering if anyone has any input though, it seems there are certain species of snails that are good to keep with shrimp, and I would like to hear from people about their own experiences.

Thanks everyone, I am really excited to set up my small time, noob aquascape and I can't wait to hear from you guys!
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:42 AM   #2
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Update1: finished boiling the small rock, thing looks like it was store bought. While taking the smaller rock out, I flipped the larger rock and it seems like this boil might be enough to finish the job. The half that is boiled had a couple spots that I had to brush off, but after I did, it looks pretty decent. I'm still thinking about flipping it once more for each side. Its probably going to take me the rest of the night, but I had to stay up late tonight anyway.

And does anyone have any tips for natural planted tanks and cycling without any fish, and using a biological enhancer?
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