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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is this ok for Cichlid-Forum? I plan on just keeping shrimp in it, maybe a betta. No cichlids of any kind. I think the tank will be too small, as it is a 5.5 gallon minibow acrylic aquarium. I do plan on adding about 5+ gallons of water and media volume in a sump. If you have any cichlid recommendations, please feel free to let me know. Water parameters will probably be something along the lines of this:
pH: 6.0-7.0 (will have pressurized co2 injection)
KH: whatever my tap water is lol. It varies a lot depending on season.
GH: same thing
Temp: 78 degrees F or 25.5556 degrees C
Nitrates: probably very low as this tank will be heavily planted
Lighting: An old 6500K CFL bulb that puts out about 1600 lumens. Much brighter than the CFL fixture that came with the tank.

If I must get rid of the shrimp to keep a plant-friendly cichlid, I will. Also, I understand if this thread is inappropriate for Cichlid-Forum, so I wouldn't mind discontinuing it if necessary.

Edit: forgot to add that it will have quite a few caves and other structures that fish could hide in. One thing that could be interesting, if a cichlid is not suitable for plants, is making a refugium in the sump, and keeping it there, while shrimp stay in the main tank.
 

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I will move it to décor and see how it goes.
 

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I did not see a question. I would not put a cichlid in a 5G tank, no. What plants will you do? Have you done high tech planted before? Is that enough light for CO2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Plan on planting rotala nanjenshan, rotala rotundifolia, either dwarf hair grass or dwarf baby tears, christmas moss, and probably a echinodorus compacta. This is my first time doing high tech planted. I hope the bulb is bright enough for CO2. It's a simple clamp lamp that I use for lighting during a water change just so I can see what I'm doing, and it is much brighter than the little Aqueon CFL bulb that I have installed in the hood. Measured the two fixtures' light output out of water, and the clamp lamp has more than twice as many lumens as the Aqueon bulb. The only plants that are listed above that are not currently in the tank are the DHG and DBT. There are currently three amano shrimp (used to be 5, but I think they climbed out of the tank along the heater cable, which is another reason that I want a sump). The nanjenshan did good for a month after I got it, but it has seemed to slow down, and the rotundifolia is outgrowing it now. Hopefully the CO2 will make it back to the way it was. I made a DIY dirt substrate that did well in a test for plant growth (just planted a couple of stems of nanjenshan in bucket with a spare heater, the dirt substrate, and the clamp lamp and it grew very well). Also does anyone know of any aquarium safe paints that bond well to plastic? I need to paint a pvc elbow that I'm using as a weir for my overflow.
 

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Look for pond supplies...there is black pond foam, not sure about paint. I would not use rustoleum.
 

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I've only used Krylon Fusion for plastics spray paint for intake and similar PVC items in my tanks and it works great as long as you prep the PVC properly. I used multiple paint coats, letting dry thoroughly between coats and then a week dry time.

On a few other forums I've see other brands including Rustoleum for plastic used, just follow the instructions, prepping and drying times plus the waiting week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's been a while, but I drilled the tank, set the sump and co2 up, made a diy light fixture, and scaped the tank. Will see if I can post pics. Anyways, my question is regarding the co2. Currently, the diffuser is in the sump. Since the bubbles rose to the surface before dissolving, I put a piece of polyester filter material over the diffuser disk to keep the bubbles trapped for a long time so they dissolve better. However, I had the idea of running the diffuser directly under the pump intake (the pump has suction cups that I can attach to the walls of the tank). Would this be a good idea? I think that it would do a better job of dissolving co2 AND getting it to the main tank, which is where it's supposed to go. However, I'm worried that the micro co2 bubbles would mess the pump up somehow. Are my worries irrational? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: I'm using RO water now, as I have access to it for drinking water from the tap. I remineralize it using a remineralizer from dennerle shrimpking. The tap water here is extremely hard and high ph, which is not the best for plants.
 

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Hey Soccer, May I call you Soccer? :)

How is this tank going? Did you wind up with any Cichlids?
Regarding the diffuser in the sump, I think that would maybe be OK, but I would not do it personally as it adds a bunch of variables I would not want to deal with. The first problem is always keeping CO2 in the tank. Most planted tankers limit surface agitation because this is where gas exchange occurs. Cichlid folks have high flow and high surface agitation to keep up with lots of fish. In a planted tank, if you do that you will "let your CO2 out." The quotation marks are because I know how stupid that sentence sounds, but if you agitate the surface with lots of fish to get rid of CO2 and add oxygen, you definitely do not want to do that with your CO2. Respiring plants will create enough O2. So, I would not put the diffuser in the sump because I don't know what's going to happen to it when it comes back into my tank. I'd put the diffuser in the tank so I could keep an eye on it. Bubbles getting all the way to the surface... at least I can see them and know they're getting that far.

For lighting, how is that going? My reaction to that was that the CFL is likely not good/not enough. The only reason I say this is that the bulbs will wear out over time. While most of the time, this will not reduce the visible light humans will see (measured in lumens) it will kill the light that the plants can "see" (measured in PAR). These bulbs only last for about a year, so the fact that you mentioned it was older got my wheels turning. You also said you made a DIY light, so this paragraph may be moot. I personally run LEDs because I know if they're on, the plants are getting the right spectrum.

All that being said, I'll tie this back into Cichlids and hopefully keep DJRansome happy :)

I love plants and I love Mbuna - not an easy combo, but I'm doing it anyway. The biggest problem I'm having - lights. I have the Fluval marine 3.0 because I absolutely love the way it makes the Mbuna look. It will not grow plants. In fact, running this full blast nearly killed my plants very quickly. The reason for this is the high temperature light - 25000K. The light skews too hard to the 400-500 nm spectrum and so lacks the red 600-750nm needed (in sufficient quantities) for certain types of chlorophyll. I have Mbuna so I'm running anubias and Java Fern. Both hearty plants that were nearly killed. So fast - never really seen anything like it. The leaves yellowed and they started melting. I fixed this by running pink plant lights to make up for the missing spectrum. Seems to work great so far.
 
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