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5g no-circulation

>Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 11:59:02 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Justin Collins <weaslvil at rocketmail_com>
>Subject: [none]
>I am experimenting with an unfiltered, no circulation 5 gallon planted
>tank.  I used a 50/50 mix of flourite and gravel for the substrate.  I
>have one 13 watt power compact over it, have heavily planted it, and
>put 1 betta in it.  Is there anything I can do to improve the life of
>the plants or the life of the fish?  One of my main concerns is algae
>problems from the amount of light I an using.  Would a 9 watt bulb be
>a better idea?
>Justin Collins

Justin, do what you will, but here are my suggestions:

Remove the betta for now.  You need to give the plants a chance to
outcompete the algae without having to worry about feeding a fish.  That
could take 2 months or longer in a plant-only tank.

When the algae subsides, use fish food in small amounts on a regular, but
infrequent basis to add nutrients to the tank.  Small fish or shrimp are
fun to add at this time as well.

If the tank is full of water, lower the water level.  Your plants can grow
faster emersed than submersed unless they are strict aquatics (anacharis,
cabomba).  Lowering the water level also triples the light available to the
plants.  Many would say it just doubles the light because there are no 50%
reflection losses at the surface of the water, but in the case of leaves
growing above the water, there is a 50% reflection gain from the light that
is reflected back to up from the water's surface.  It probably doesn't work
out to an exact tripling due to shading and other factors, but it's still a
good position for the plants to be in.

I use a 15w Power Glo (16") on my unfiltered 5.5.  It lights the tank well
and keeps the emersed plants happy.  Submersed growth is very thick as

A photo of my 5.5g is on the web at

David W. Webb
Live-Foods list administrator
live-foods at actwin_com