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10 & 5 Gallon Aquariums For My Girlfriend


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Hello everyone! This journal is going to be for my 10 gallon aquarium and 5 gallon aquarium. I will start off by saying I built these aquariums to get my girlfriend interested in the hobby. I think everyone here can agree that the hobby is better when you are able to share it with those that you love. What I ended up doing was showing her different style aquariums online and she chose some that she liked. She also chose the fish and shrimp she liked for these aquariums. 

I will start with the 10 gallon aquarium. This aquarium was started October 2019. The initial tank setup is as follows:


Lighting: 20” Finnex Stingray

Filter: Aquaclear 

Substrate: Organic soil capped with gravel

Plants: Vallisneria ordered from Aquarium Co-op & Dwarf Sag 

Decor: 2 small Seiryu stones, Top Fin Resting Buddha ornament & some river rocks I superglued together

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As you can see, I started off with very little as I know just how fast these plants can grow from my prior experience. 

2.5 Month Old Aquarium 

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At this point I decided to have some fun with carbon dioxide just to see how fast these plants can really grow with a soil substrate. 
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3 Month Old Aquarium:

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Carbon dioxide really made the plants grow and be this very beautiful bright green color. 

4 Month Old Aquarium 
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6 Month Old Aquarium 

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At this point I removed the carbon dioxide system as I no longer needed that much plant growth. 

8 Month Old Aquarium

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Yes, the aquarium is 8 months old but still does not have any fish in it. To be fair, these were unprecedented times. 

1 Year Old Aquarium

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Lucky Bamboo has been added as well as a lantern ornament. Lucky bamboo was planted with the roots into the organic soil. 

1 Year 2 Months Old Aquarium

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The original vision of the aquarium is starting to finally take place.... still no fish. 

1 Year 3 Months Old Aquarium

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Yes, you are seeing that correctly, there are now fish in the aquarium 😂 Neon tetras first day in the jungle. 

Present Day, about 1 Year 6 Months

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I added some background lights to compliment the scape. Lucky bamboo is starting to grow more full. The aquarium is very stable, I never clean the glass on this aquarium as it hardly grows algae. Every once in awhile I have to remove some val as it sends runners all over the place. 

So that is the story so far for the 10 gallon, thank you for reading! 

Now onto the 5 gallon....

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The 5 gallon was set up around the same time as the 10 gallon. Late September 2019. The initial tank setup:

Aquarium: 5 gallon aquarium by Cobalt

Light: Desktop Lamp w/ LED bulb

Filter: Internal filter by Cobalt that came with aquarium

Substrate: Fluval Stratum (Honestly just used this because it was dark brown and had some leftover) 

Decor: Wood bonsai tree, small pieces of Seiryu stone

Plants: Christmas moss for bonsai tree and some dwarf sag that never really took off

My girlfriend loves the look of Nature aquarium aquascapes/ Diorama aquascapes. She loved the look of the bonsai trees. So I took what she liked and made it into my vision with a heavy influence from “The Lone Cypress” tree in Pebble Beach, California. This is what I came up with: 

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As you can see, the tree did not look too great right away but that is to be expected. 

1 Month old:

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Christmas moss is starting to fill in.

2 Months:

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The vision has come to life. Blue dream shrimp have been added. 

3 Months:

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6 Months:

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At this point the tree is in dire need of a trimming. 

7 Months:

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The tree has been trimmed. 

Present day, 1 Year and 6 months old:

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Added a leftover window film to the aquarium as a background. The tree has been trimmed multiple times. I need to trim the tree a little less round next time to go back to the initial Monterey Cypress tree look.  

Anyways, thank you all for reading about my 10 gallon and 5 gallon aquarium, aka my attempt to get my girlfriend interested in the hobby! 😂 I hope you all enjoyed it! 

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@xXInkedPhoenixX Yes she actually is a lot more now. We will actually be feeding live baby brine shrimp together tomorrow for the first time 😂 but in all seriousness, she actually started learning about aquariums a bit on her own to try to give me gifts for Christmas and she enjoys going to fish stores with me. She actually told me she thinks it would be fun to go on a little road trip to explore fish stores.   

That is pretty awesome if you ask me haha I am very lucky! 

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Well it's nice too that she has help and things get started the right way so she can enjoy the hobby and not have a nightmare introduction as some do when they start out on their own. I feel like it's rare to have 2 people into the hobby- as evidenced by the "wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend is going to let me" conversations that go on all around me. 

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Yeah it definitely is rare. However, I think what helped as well is that I was willing to do the tank how she wanted it. I find that a lot of people will not budge and that can create tension. I typically create jungle tanks with rocks and driftwood because that is how I like my tanks. She liked a certain look so I gave her what she wanted. I do not think she would have been as fascinated if I would have made her a tank that is like the ones I like you know? The other person has to feel included and important to the process. 

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@Patrick_G yes! The backlight is a Current USA Serene Led light kit. I change the color of it all the time, right now it is a turquoise color. I really like the look of white as well. 

@Nephro I find that val appreciates a nutrient rich substrate or at least a substrate that does not gravel vacd very often. I also have high pH medium-hard water. Do you have similar parameters/ aquarium conditions? 

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