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Nano Tank (ish)

Wookii

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The best HOB is the Seachem Tidal in my opinion. Great flow, good design, easy to clean and have a built in surface skimmer.

It's a good HOB filter for sure, and there is a lot to like, but I'm not a fan, mainly because I don't agree with this bit:

easy to clean

I've found it a PITA largely because its a vertical bottom to top design, so the pre-filter sponge is on the very bottom. So to keep the prefilter sponge clean you have to remove everything, the internal basket and all your filter media, to get to the bottom prefilter sponge.

I much prefer a horizontal filter design, where you can just remove a single vertical piece of sponge, clean it and slot it back in in a fraction of the time without even having to turn the filter off. I have this on my cheapo APS HOB and its much easier to live with.:

hbl-601_open.jpg



The new Oase units have this arrangement too, plus there may well be enough room to sneak a small heater in the rear (unconfirmed):
FOT_PRD_DETFREI_84065-BioStyle-30-grey-001.webp
 

ArronM

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Is a HOB filter not an option - generally a lot easier to maintain than internals. The new Oase BioStyle units look nice and slick - I have an 180 on back order, but the smaller 75 might be suitable for this tank:


I know there will be people that disagree with me, but for me personally 32 litres is too small for fish, particularly for an active fish like Chilli's. As a shrimp tank, it's perfect though.

I am more than happy to only have shrimp as that was my initial idea! And I’m all for these hob filters if it would work well with what I’m trying to achieve and looking into it it has bio media also. Which is a bonus.

But would I still cycle the tank or do a planted growth cycle just with Shrimp being so sensitive to water parameters.
 

Wookii

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But would I still cycle the tank or do a planted growth cycle just with Shrimp being so sensitive to water parameters.

It depends what shrimp you're thinking of going for, and what type of soil.

For example if you're going for something robust like Neo's, and using a soil that isn't loaded with ammonia like Dennerle Shrimp King etc, then I would plant straight away fairly heavily, and spend a week or two getting things like CO2 dialled in, and the plants actively growing, and then think about adding some shrimp.

However if you're going with an ammonia enriched soil (Tropica, ADA etc) then personally I would dark start with lots of water changes for a week or two to flush out the surplus ammonia that makes its way into the water column, drain and plant heavily, and then spend a week or two getting things dialled in and plants actively growing before adding the shrimp.

If, however, you're planning on going for more sensitive Caridina - especially any of the more sensitive heavy interbred varieties (Galaxy Fishbones etc) then I would factor in a much longer run in time for the tank to mature and stabilise before adding them. Losses are painful if you're paying £5-10 per shrimp, and small tanks are much harder to stabilise than larger ones.
 

ArronM

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It depends what shrimp you're thinking of going for, and what type of soil.

For example if you're going for something robust like Neo's, and using a soil that isn't loaded with ammonia like Dennerle Shrimp King etc, then I would plant straight away fairly heavily, and spend a week or two getting things like CO2 dialled in, and the plants actively growing, and then think about adding some shrimp.

However if you're going with an ammonia enriched soil (Tropica, ADA etc) then personally I would dark start with lots of water changes for a week or two to flush out the surplus ammonia that makes its way into the water column, drain and plant heavily, and then spend a week or two getting things dialled in and plants actively growing before adding the shrimp.

If, however, you're planning on going for more sensitive Caridina - especially any of the more sensitive heavy interbred varieties (Galaxy Fishbones etc) then I would factor in a much longer run in time for the tank to mature and stabilise before adding them. Losses are painful if you're paying £5-10 per shrimp, and small tanks are much harder to stabilise than larger ones.

So I’m going with a thin soil like tropica yeah, I was gonna seed the filter for a week before hand in my other tank. So the amonia will be fed to the Bactria in the filter? Unsure if rush would work but I guess I’ll not plant till after ammonia is 0?
 

Wookii

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So I’m going with a thin soil like tropica yeah, I was gonna seed the filter for a week before hand in my other tank. So the amonia will be fed to the Bactria in the filter? Unsure if rush would work but I guess I’ll not plant till after ammonia is 0?

Always a good idea to seed the filter if you can. Seed the substrate too if possible - either by squeezing filer sponges into it when adding to the tank, or actually some old substrate from your other tank and mixing with the new.

It will give the tank a good jump start, but still won't be enough to deal with the sudden inrush of ammonia from the soil. Even a complete mature filter can struggle with that. That's just best removed by large water changes.

You can plant straight away, and many people do without major issues, but you also see a lot of issues with plant melt at that high ammonia stage, so I prefer to just wait and run it dark for a week, which also is a useful time to tweak hardscape etc ahead of planting.
 
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It's a good HOB filter for sure, and there is a lot to like, but I'm not a fan, mainly because I don't agree with this bit:



I've found it a PITA largely because its a vertical bottom to top design, so the pre-filter sponge is on the very bottom. So to keep the prefilter sponge clean you have to remove everything, the internal basket and all your filter media, to get to the bottom prefilter sponge.

I much prefer a horizontal filter design, where you can just remove a single vertical piece of sponge, clean it and slot it back in in a fraction of the time without even having to turn the filter off. I have this on my cheapo APS HOB and its much easier to live with.:

hbl-601_open.jpg



The new Oase units have this arrangement too, plus there may well be enough room to sneak a small heater in the rear (unconfirmed):
FOT_PRD_DETFREI_84065-BioStyle-30-grey-001.webp
Ah, well in my setup, I just have all the media in the basket, and then filter floss on top, which gets changed every week. No other sponges etc.
 

ArronM

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Always a good idea to seed the filter if you can. Seed the substrate too if possible - either by squeezing filer sponges into it when adding to the tank, or actually some old substrate from your other tank and mixing with the new.

It will give the tank a good jump start, but still won't be enough to deal with the sudden inrush of ammonia from the soil. Even a complete mature filter can struggle with that. That's just best removed by large water changes.

You can plant straight away, and many people do without major issues, but you also see a lot of issues with plant melt at that high ammonia stage, so I prefer to just wait and run it dark for a week, which also is a useful time to tweak hardscape etc ahead of planting.
Brilliant, so I could essentially just add the hard scape and soil and do water changes till ammonia drops to 0 then drain the tank completely and start planting? Would I need the filter in at that stage? As that would be a good time to put the filter in my older tank to seed while I’m doing the other.

At what point would you add the co2? Maybe after the amonia drop from the soil and then add the plants while playing with the co2 to stabilise then add the shrimp or fish when I see growth? My only issue is then their won’t of been a cycle so that’s what confuses me a little.
 

Wookii

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Brilliant, so I could essentially just add the hard scape and soil and do water changes till ammonia drops to 0 then drain the tank completely and start planting?

In essence yes. a couple of near 100% water changes during the dark start week, will help flush it out.

Would I need the filter in at that stage?

Yes, have the filter running from the start, seeded with some media from your old filter.

As that would be a good time to put the filter in my older tank to seed while I’m doing the other.

Running the filter on your old tank won't particularly seed it very fast. You can either put the media from the new filter, inside your old filter if there is room, and keep it in there fore a week to start to populate it with the bacteria already in there, or better yet, take some of the media out the old filter, and put it in the new filter running on the new tank.

At what point would you add the co2? Maybe after the amonia drop from the soil and then add the plants while playing with the co2 to stabilise

CO2 isn't required until you plant the tank out. You can install all the gear in advance, but its a waste of gas until you have plants in there that can use it.

then add the shrimp or fish when I see growth? My only issue is then their won’t of been a cycle so that’s what confuses me a little.

The traditional idea of a 'cycle' doesn't really apply to planted tanks, as plants will consume the lions share of any ammonia produced by the system. The whole 'cycle' issue is also largely avoided if you've seeded the filter with old filter media.

As I said, wait for the plants to start growing well, and then add the shrimp as their bioload is negligible. If you feel compelled to add fish, wait a few more weeks before doing so.
 

seedoubleyou

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In essence yes. a couple of near 100% water changes during the dark start week, will help flush it out.
If he’s running his filter on the tank during this period, why not let the bacteria deal with it? Esther than just removing it with a water change?
 

Wookii

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If he’s running his filter on the tank during this period, why not let the bacteria deal with it? Esther than just removing it with a water change?

A few reasons, the first being that the filter won't remove levels of ammonia that high, which can get over 2ppm. It takes too long for the levels of bacteria to build up high enough to deal with it, even on a full and fully matured filter, let alone a brand new one with some seed media.

The second being that it is now thought that different types of micro-organisms can be responsible for nitrification, and those can vary depending on the prevailing ammonia levels. There is a good post from @dw1305 on it somewhere, but I can't finds it, so hopefully Darrel can link it in. It is the reason it is no longer recommend to add ammonia to help create a 'cycle' on the stat up of a new tank, as the bacteria that develop under those high ammonia levels, are unlikely to be the same organisms that deal with nitrification once the system has matured.
 
Last edited:

dw1305

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Hi all,
The second being that it is now thought that different types of micro-organisms can be responsible for nitrification, and those can vary depending on the prevailing ammonia levels. There is a good post from @dw1305 on it somewhere, but I can't finds it, so hopefully Darrel can link it in. It is the reason it is no longer recommend to add ammonia to help create a 'cycle' on the stat up of a new tank, as the bacteria that develop under those high ammonia levels, are unlikely to be the same organisms that deal with nitrification once the system has matured.
There are a few different threads and posts.

Most of it get a run-out in <"Dr Timothy Hovanec's comments about Bacterial supplements"> and the Aquarium Co-Op's <"Seasoned Tank Time"> thread.

There are some <"scientific references"> in <"Tanks without fish">.

I haven't had time to have a proper look lately, but there will be lots more recent papers on the <"microbial assemblage"> in aquarium filters etc.

This is one for the <"snail fancier">, I'm guessing that this is a subject area where we haven't even really scratched the surface:

Chang, J., Ji, B., Li, W. et al. (2021) Bellamya aeruginosa (Reeve) regulates bacterial community features in sediment harbouring different submerged macrophytes under different nutrient levels. Aquat Sci 83, 35 . <"https://doi.org/10.1007/s00027-021-00793-9">
...... The interactions between sediment microbial assemblages and submerged macrophytes in aquatic ecosystems can be potentially regulated by benthic macrofauna, and the regulation effect may be closely related to macrophyte species with distinct properties; however, little information on this is available. An aquarium experiment was designed to evaluate the role of snail Bellamya aeruginosa (Reeve) in regulating sediment bacterial communities associated with two common types of submerged macrophytes, Ceratophyllum demersum (L.) and Hydrilla verticillata (L. f.) Royle .........

cheers Darrel
 
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seedoubleyou

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A few reasons, the first being that the filter won't remove levels of ammonia that high, which can get over 2ppm. It takes too long for the levels of bacteria to build up high enough to deal with it, even on a full and fully matured filter, let alone a brand new one with some seed media.

The second being that it is now thought that different types of micro-organisms can be responsible for nitrification, and those can vary depending on the prevailing ammonia levels. There is a good post from @dw1305 on it somewhere, but I can't finds it, so hopefully Darrel can link it in. It is the reason it is no longer recommend to add ammonia to help create a 'cycle' on the stat up of a new tank, as the bacteria that develop under those high ammonia levels, are unlikely to be the same organisms that deal with nitrification once the system has matured.
Good information mate thanks for that. Was a genuine question not trying to be smart.
I’m looking to do the dark method when i restart my tank as freshwater, so it’s good to have an understanding of why I’m doing something rather than just because others are.
 

seedoubleyou

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@dw1305 as above cheers mate, it’s all way above my level of intelligence, I’ll just take it that a filter can’t handle that level of ammonia so the large water changes is the best way of exporting it. Dilution, pollution and all that.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I’m looking to do the dark method when i restart my tank as freshwater, so it’s good to have an understanding of why I’m doing something rather than just because others are.
Dark start is useful if you have a an active substrate <"which is initially is ammonia rich">, like ADA Amazonia, and you want to deplete that ammonia and develop a <"complex assemblage of microbes"> within the filter.

If you combine light and ammonia you are likely to get a lot of algal growth, hence the dark start.
........... I’ll just take it that a filter can’t handle that level of ammonia so the large water changes is the best way of exporting it. Dilution, pollution and all that.
Yes, if you have high levels of ammonia you need to remove it via water changes etc. , but you don't need to add ammonia to cycle the tank, all you need to do is plant the tank and then wait until you have a reasonably large plant mass in active growth, it really is as simple as that.

I've been advocating this for a long time, but it has had a bit more publicity recently due to Cory (from the Aquarium Co-Op) talking about this as <"Seasoned Tank Time">.



cheers Darrel
 

seedoubleyou

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I’ve always been an advocate of watching what my tank is doing and reacting to that rather than numbers.
I think tests are great when your stumped and kind physically see an issue.
Even when I kept a reef tank, I never tested for any parameter (other than temp and SG). I much prefer observing my tank and spotting issues that way.

I believe you learn far more.
 

Wookii

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Good information mate thanks for that. Was a genuine question not trying to be smart.
I’m looking to do the dark method when i restart my tank as freshwater, so it’s good to have an understanding of why I’m doing something rather than just because others are.

I learned my lesson a little while ago when I planted from the get go, with fresh Tropica soil, and lost lots of my Buce leaves - probably half my plants. Never again!
 

Wookii

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Hi all,

I'm guessing that Aroids, in general, don't respond very well to <"high ammonia levels">.

cheers Darrel

Yes, it’s like it’s some kind of shock response. The leaves didn’t melt or deteriorate, they were perfectly intact - just floating on the surface everyday when I got home from work!

Quite a few stem plants and in vitro plants melted too.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
The leaves didn’t melt or deteriorate, they were perfectly intact - just floating on the surface everyday when I got home from work!
Exactly the same with the Anubias, leaves intact, but detached, and a totally disintegrated rhizome.

cheers Darrel
 
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