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Fluval Spec 19L

Paulthewitt

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30 Dec 2020
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94
Location
Liverpool, UK
Hi all

Whilst I have been lurking over the last month, I bought a small Fluval Spec 19 litre tank to set up on my desk at home. My initial plan for this is to have a cherry shrimp tank (maybe blue jelly) that is safe, for them hopefully to breed and be able to go into a larger tank in the living room (yet to be bought/set up/still very much at the concept stage). Although whilst I like shrimp, they are not the same as fish to watch...so I may see about adding some very small fish in there at a later date and hope they don't just eat the shrimp fry!.

My background is that I had a couple of tanks a number of years ago ending in 2013 when planning moving to the North West. I had a Fluval edge 23L and a Fluval Vicenza 180L. The edge was a good intro, but a pain to do anything with due to the opening. I loved my Vicenza and had a go at planted with Yeast based CO2. I was not very good at it - although I think with the yeast based co2 there were a lot of fluctuations which did not help. I was however proud of the tank and even did a video of its progress on Youtube, which can be seen here: Vicenza Tank 2013
Frankly as I look at it now especially compared to all the scapes on here - it was rubbish!!...but it was a start.

So onto my Spec.

I got a cracking deal from Ebay for this including the heater and headed down to premier aquatics in Runcorn (seems like a great shop by the way - only been around a year) to look at wood and rock and substrate. Substrate is Tetra Active substrate with root tabs in it. I cant remember what the rock is! I will be using Tropica Specialised nutrition and Flourish Excel for the plants

The tank started like this:

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The back was higher on the right hand side and I went about ordering some 1-2 grow plants to stick in there. I went with:

2 x Dennerle Java Moss
1 x Tropica Anubias Nana

IMG_1441.jpg


Then the other plants arrived. This included 3 x Dwarf Hairgrass and 2 x Blyxa Japonica. The Blyxa is behind the ood/rock poking round corners with a view to it growing out all bushy around the base. However, I bought the 1-2 grow Blyxa from Pro-Shrimp and I have to say it was a brown mess that I think I should have returned (I am not impressed they sent it as it was visibly brown through the film) - but being the first 1-2 grow plant I ever received I wondered if it was normal...I am now certain it is now, especially having received the Dwarf Hairgrass. But alas - it is too late.

IMG_1444.jpg


Then during a water change I managed to knock out a load of hairgrass. Having watched a Green Aqua lecture by a competition scaper from malaysia - I wanted to change things - this gave me the chance. so Off i went:

IMG_1480.jpg


So here we are. I would prefer the slop on the left to start lower - but the shrimp feeding bowl would not sit well. The rock on the left also was more angled up until water went in ... so I may try to fix that later. By having the raised sides and the valley I hope to draw the eye to the centre and a focus point by getting some Vallisneria Nana and planting this on the back left The current will make this arch left to right and leave the space in the middle open (hopefully). I will buy more Blyxa Japonica too for the back right to come out from the wood and rock and once established, hope to trim the hairgrass into a compact lawn. I also hope the Java moss will grow to cover the glue!! Hoping it will look more wild than Zen when grown in.

Looking forward to thoughts and feedback
 

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Paulthewitt

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I find shrimp only scapes can hold up very well against fish in certain set-ups, you may be surprised if you give the shrimp a try on their own first!
Thanks Aqua
The plan will definitely be to get the shrimp in first and let the plants grow (hopefully) as this will give them space to hide and settle... maybe even start the process of breeding.

Then add a fish. I don't need many...probably only 1 or 2. The tank is small and I don't want to overload it anyway. I just want something swimming to look at other than shrimp. Less fish also means (hopefully) less fry get eaten too.
Problem is deciding what fish. I've already gone through and basically discounted the following:

Betta - could eat fairly big shrimp that cannot hide anymore
Scarlett Badis - need bigger tank and is apparently a prolific hunter
CPDs - need too many and also apparently love to hunt and being so small can go anywhere the fry go
Clown Killi - could jump - there is a hole in the lid of the Spec
Ottos - boring as a single fish and need a group I think anyway

The question in my mind is the balance between smaller - so a smaller mouth and can eat only the small fry; or bigger and so cannot go where the fry may hide.
The jury is very much still out and I need to receive my Blyxa and Vallis, plant these, then get shrimp once water parameters are settled before even really starting to seriously look.
 

Veridius

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12 Jan 2021
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How are you finding water changes with the spec? I always found if I filled up from the filter the excess would cause a lot of sediment disturbance at the base of the filter wall
 

Paulthewitt

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How are you finding water changes with the spec? I always found if I filled up from the filter the excess would cause a lot of sediment disturbance at the base of the filter wall
Yeah I found that out the hard way!

tricky to be honest. I need a thinner line so the flow isn’t so aggressive. I keep unearthing substrate and therefore plants. Once the carpet is all grown in hopefully this won’t be an issue
 

Aqua360

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paisley
Thanks Aqua
The plan will definitely be to get the shrimp in first and let the plants grow (hopefully) as this will give them space to hide and settle... maybe even start the process of breeding.

Then add a fish. I don't need many...probably only 1 or 2. The tank is small and I don't want to overload it anyway. I just want something swimming to look at other than shrimp. Less fish also means (hopefully) less fry get eaten too.
Problem is deciding what fish. I've already gone through and basically discounted the following:

Betta - could eat fairly big shrimp that cannot hide anymore
Scarlett Badis - need bigger tank and is apparently a prolific hunter
CPDs - need too many and also apparently love to hunt and being so small can go anywhere the fry go
Clown Killi - could jump - there is a hole in the lid of the Spec
Ottos - boring as a single fish and need a group I think anyway

The question in my mind is the balance between smaller - so a smaller mouth and can eat only the small fry; or bigger and so cannot go where the fry may hide.
The jury is very much still out and I need to receive my Blyxa and Vallis, plant these, then get shrimp once water parameters are settled before even really starting to seriously look.

How about medaka?
 

mort

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1,821
If I'm completely honest I think shrimp only would be far better but understand why you want fish. How big is the hole in the lid? I'd try and push a bit of coarse sponge in there and go for clown killifish if it was me. Another option could be a couple/trio of one of the small guppy species like pandas, going for male only.
 

Veridius

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Yeah I found that out the hard way!

tricky to be honest. I need a thinner line so the flow isn’t so aggressive. I keep unearthing substrate and therefore plants. Once the carpet is all grown in hopefully this won’t be an issue
Thats the exact same issue I had. Replanting the plants was so annoying!
 

Simmo

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That looks a good start Paul and I’m glad to see I’m not alone in making a bit of a mess or should I say ‘dynamic rescaping’? 😀 like the angle and shape of your big bit of wood too
 

Paulthewitt

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The vallisneria nana is in.
Doesn’t quite flow left to right as hoped although some does. Also more hair grass dislodged and the vallis won’t stay in if I mess with it.

I have some lead coming, so it may come to that!
 

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Paulthewitt

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Blyxa japonica in.

I took some time to rescale it so the hill on the left was more pronounced and the rock a better standing angle... then I filled it water and it all collapsed! 😡

I really dislike this substrate. It’s too big and light. But too late now!

hopefully I can leave it alone for a while now though
 

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Paulthewitt

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A week on and there is some awful melt going on and some algae appearing. There are 20 juvenile orange cherry shrimp in there.... although I only ever see one at a time. So i hope they are not all dead!

The vallis nana appears to be recovering from its melt either from introduction or liquid carbon. But otherwise only the Moss and Anubis’s appear to be doing ok. The blyxa is looking ra

ive done daily water changes over the weekend to help a little. But any other suggestions other than waiting and letting it play out would be received with interest!

Maldonado - there is a jelly like substance on one of the vallis - like a ball of gel with bits in it... any idea what this is?? (See pic)
 

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Paulthewitt

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Little update:

C176F991-9DE9-4312-9AF8-F17E4EC3E812.jpeg

Pic from last night after a water change.
The blyxa has melted right back. I’m just hoping it springs back now... but not optimistic sadly. So may have to think about a replacement

Have some green hair algae which I’m now fighting (suggestions welcome) but the vallis nana seems a bit healthier and the Moss and Anubis’s seem to be doing well.
 

Paulthewitt

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I’ve called it. I can’t recover the blyxa - it just keeps melting more and more and no recovery. The base melts and then whatever is left floats up. Not planted deep, in fact I used weighed to ensure I didn’t after it started poorly.

so no on the lookout for a tall (er) plant for the back right and something bushy (flame or Christmas moss??) for under the wood to the centre right in a hollow there. Maybe some Buce too?

the only solid thing is I want is the vallis nana to grow much more on the left, but that will take time

if people have suggestions I am all ears!



352BD69B-9C5D-4E1D-B845-086C1D12B80F.jpeg
 

Paulthewitt

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I’ve put some windelov in the back right and spread the vallis nana round the other side too a couple of weeks back.

6F994BB6-F0F4-4AB1-9F3E-9DFBB6050F70.jpeg


I followed this by adding some flame moss to hopefully beef out the bottom and allow the hardscape to be more emerging from the moss, rather than being the whole focus. Hopefully it will grow around but this one was tonight:

48A7212A-D314-4A16-8A05-B3EAD9F6B2EB.jpeg
 

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