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10 gallon planted tank


sairving
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After the last round of maintenance on my 5.5 gallon 'rimless" tank, I decided to make my life easier and buy a rimmed tank.  I spend most of my time trying to remove hardwater deposits from the outside of the tank.  I bought a 10 gallon this weekend,  picked up a tank lid, and found a nice piece of driftwood at my LFS.

The sponge filter and Aquatop forza 5-15 HOB will be transferred over to the new tank. I'm going to start running the tank with my finnex planted plus clip. We'll see how things go for a few months. If the tank needs a bigger filter or a different light, I'll switch them out then.

I'm currently deciding what to use for substrate right now. The 5 gallon has seachem flourite red. I'm not super thrilled with it, but it's loaded with beneficial bacteria. I could mix it with Brightwell Aquatics FlorinVolcanit Rio Escuro-F or I could buy pfs. I'm not sure what I want to do yet.

I would like to put most of my funds towards planting this tank as heavily as possible right from the start. This is why I'm leaving more towards pfs at the moment.

I'm even mulling over getting a small clean-up crew. Maybe some pygmy corydoras. Louie the betta could care less about his nerite snail roomie. I'm hoping he'd be okay with a few bottom feeders. 

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Sounds like a fun project! I totally agree with putting your budget towards plants.  It makes everything easier. 
For substrate my favorite recipes is to mix some aquasoil like Fluval Stratum(expensive) with some sand and gravel (cheap). You can put the mix where you’ll be planting and then cap it with plain sand or whatever looks best to you. That way you’ll get some nutrients for the plants but won’t break the bank. 

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On 9/20/2021 at 5:56 PM, Patrick_G said:

Sounds like a fun project! I totally agree with putting your budget towards plants.  It makes everything easier. 
For substrate my favorite recipes is to mix some aquasoil like Fluval Stratum(expensive) with some sand and gravel (cheap). You can put the mix where you’ll be planting and then cap it with plain sand or whatever looks best to you. That way you’ll get some nutrients for the plants but won’t break the bank. 

Cost has been a big part of trying to figure out what to use for substrate.  I used aquasoil in a 3 gallon tank because it was so small.  The 5 gallon has flourite and its alright but the cost for a 10 gallon is more than I want to spend.  The sand and a small bag of fluval stratum could work well.  If I didn't need to get my fish in the tank on the same day, I would try a dirted tank.  

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Love the driftwood you found! I'm sure Louie will enjoy swimming around it (especially if you have some plants on it!). I am currently working on two 10 gallon tanks...one has gravel with root tabs and the other has stratum...so far they are both working, so the small bag of stratum and sand will probably work really well. I look forward to following your project!

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I had a bit of free time this afternoon and decided look for a small bag of fluval stratum.  Everyone is out of stock.  Then I looked online, Amazon had the large bags only.  I was able to find a small bag of Brightwell Aquatics planted substrate.  It should be here Thursday. Even my LFS only had large bags.  They were also out of the 1 liter bags of UNS controsoil.

Pool filter sand was the next thing on my list to locate.  I bought a 50 pound bag from Ace Hardware.  Its being shipped to the store. 

Now comes the fun part, planning the scape.

 

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Today was tank upgrade day.  My friend helped me this afternoon.  It went faster than it world have gone if it was just me.  I put the entire small bag of aquasoil on the bottom of the tank.  That was capped with a lot of pool filter sand.  

Lesson learned from both previous tanks, make sure your substrate is deep enough.  Pretty sure there's about 3 inches right now.

I added some mermaid weed and corkscrew val.  Not sure if they'll make it, but I'm going to try.  The tank will probably be rearranged over the next 2 weeks and I need more plants.  We'll see how things settle in over the next month.  

 

We rinsed the sand but it's still a little cloudy.

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Edited by sairving
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Louis's new tank has really started to clear up.  My plan for this afternoon or evening is to rearrange some of the plants and rocks.  I had to work at 4 am. I'm kind of tired right now.  Need a nap first lol.  

Right away, I'm not really happy with the HOB.  The Forza 5-15 would not sit properly on the rim.  I switched it of for the finnex pure 7.  I'm sure the finnex would fit perfectly on a rimless tank.  Also, I had to use a sponge and baffle the output.  The forza was quieter as well. 

After plants, the next thing on my list is a new filter.  Not sure what filter I'll go with. 

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16327724564392187747508841462591.jpg.6d982889c713f899c0f869fbf374178f.jpgI moved stuff around today in the tank.  I'm thinking about getting rid of the random hardscape in the middle.  Also, I need to figure out where the anubias is going to go.  The aponogeton is now in the back with the dwarf aquarium lily.  

I'm thinking the anubias will go on the left by the water sprite.  More anubias for the right side and try some crypts again?  

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Louie's new tank is running well.  The driftwood is leaching tannins.  My water has a nice tannin stained color.  If I didn't have liquid rock coming put of the faucet, I would actually attempt a blackwater tank.  Alas, I can only replicate the look.  

Today, I made a major change to my lighting schedule.  Normally, I leave the light on for a solid 8 hours.  I have been reading multiple threads about lighting siestas and decided to give it a try.  I'd like to enjoy my tank for a bit in the morning and later into the evening.

Yesterday, I was plant shopping online because my lfs was out of anubias coffefolia and crypt wendtii.  Marcus fish tanks is having a sale and shipping is reasonable. I ordered anubias, a pot of green c. wendtii, and 3 mystery crypts.  I've struggled with crypts in the past but figured I'd give them another try.  

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update time!  

My plan is to add some pygmy cories or khuli loaches to the tank.  That made me realize I needed to up my filtration. At some point, I'll need to add peat to the filter too.  I had a finnex pure 7 hob I wasn't using.  The filtration compartment was bigger than the forza 5-15.  So I swapped them out. Bad idea. The finnex filter would randomly start rattling (usually at 2am).  I put the forza back on the tank. 

Today, I picked up an Aquaclear 20.  I get home, set the filter up, prime it, and plug it in.  The impeller was rattling.  A quick internet search showed it was an issue.  I took that back and bought a seachem tidal 35.  I love that the motor is in the water, the giant media basket, and its adjustable.  I will probably add a sponge behind the intake slits.  I added sponge on the output to baffle the flow.  

Most of the plants are doing well.  I'm waiting for a fluval Aquasky.  It seems to be getting randomly sent around Illinois right now. 

 

Tannins tannins everywhere.  I like tannin stained water.

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After travelling all over the state of Illinois, my fluval aquasky arrived.  I need more time to play around with it but so far I'm happy.  Louie the betta has also been more active. My guess is he's happier that more spots in the tank are shaded.  The aquasky should be perfect since this tank has low light plants only.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last week Thursday, I went to my lfs in search of pygmy corydoras.  They had 3 left in stock. In a few weeks I'm going to buy 3 more.

My biggest issue is making sure Louie doesn't eat the extra food I've been adding to the tank.  Extra blood worms? He finds them.  He will eat food sitting on the sand as well.

 I've been feeding them fluval bug bites.  I also needed frozen food so I bought baby brine shrimp instead of adult brine shrimp.  Hopefully enough food makes it to the bottom for them.  

Towards the end of this week, I'm going to look at my aquasky settings and see if they need to be changed.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update time!  

I lost two of the three pygmy cories that I bought about two weeks ago.  Not sure what happened but two of them became really skinny. After posting about my dying cories, a few mwbwes recomnded treating for parasites. I treated the tank with api general cure. There is one lone pygmy left.  She attempts to school with my betta and he takes great offense.  I'm going to have to get more pygmies soon.  It seems like having to medicate the tank threw everything out of balance.    

Today, I had to remove my floating plants because the roots were covered in algae. The java fern I added did not make it either.  On Tuesday, i'll finish removing the algae, buy some more plants, and tweak my lighting.  I would do it tomorrow but I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist. I won't be able to see the algae lol. 

The tank is going through its ugly stage right now.  I also used a pump of easy carbon and the jungle val is a bit unhappy.

        

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Edited by sairving
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  • 2 months later...

Update time!  I've been so busy I just haven't had the time to post much of anything. What has been going on with my tank lately?  There was a massive algae outbreak in November.  It took out all of my Amazon Frogbit.  Now I have a stupid duckweed problem...bleh.  Every week I remove a massive handful and throw it out. I'm also back to softening the water and dropping the ph a bit using fluval peat granules. 

 

The first thing I did to deal with the algae was to change the settings on my aquasky. My algae problem was about 60% better.  Step 2 was to change the amount of fertilizer I was using.  I cut the dose to 2 ml a week of NilocG Thrive C.  This helped immensely with algae growth but I noticed nutrient deficiencies with the anubias.  I contacted NilocG and asked for advice. They recommend upping the dose to 5 ml a week.  So far, I dosed 3 ml and there is algae growth again.

 

What I am going to do?  This ties into my aquarium/fishkeeping goals for 2022. I'm going to the darkside....they have dry ferts and cookies.  My suspicion is there is not enough nitrogen and potassium. Time to mix my own! With one tank, dry ferts will last years for me.

 

I plan on getting this tank to heavily planted status this year and possibly start injecting co2. The right corner needs something, I was thinking African Bolbitis or a sword plant. I would love to stuff more crypts and anubias into this tank. Driftwood covered in nana petite would be fun.   

This is tank last week after a water change.   IMG_20211231_090210138.jpg.79a4cb7fe401c82230cdb7ee30bdc4c3.jpg

 

My aquarium/fishkeeping goals for 2022

1. get detritus and algae under control

2.Get healthy growth on plants

3. Get the tank to heavily planted status 

4. Mix my own fertilizers

5.Possibly inject co2

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On 1/3/2022 at 2:11 PM, WillC said:

@sairving Did the last pygmy make it? Looks like a good list of accomplishments to strive for this year!  My list is very similar. 

Looking forward to updates! 

Yes, the last pygmy did make it.  My lfs has been out of pygmies since November.  I'll stop in after work towards the weekend.  They don't get as many shipments in during the holiday season.

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Is that pool filter sand or another sand as the cap for your substrate - Rio Oscuro correct? I wonder if the algae issues are related to silica in the substrate. An inert cap instead of silica sand can help with these algae issues. 

I would continue to make one change at a time, give yourself 2-4 weeks to monitor then make another if you are staying low to moderate tech. The simplest way would be estimated index and CO2 I think - you'd control all the variables then. Tough call but it will be a fun journey I think.  

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On 1/3/2022 at 2:43 PM, Beardedbillygoat1975 said:

Is that pool filter sand or another sand as the cap for your substrate - Rio Oscuro correct? I wonder if the algae issues are related to silica in the substrate. An inert cap instead of silica sand can help with these algae issues. 

I would continue to make one change at a time, give yourself 2-4 weeks to monitor then make another if you are staying low to moderate tech. The simplest way would be estimated index and CO2 I think - you'd control all the variables then. Tough call but it will be a fun journey I think.  

Yeah, I used Rio Escuro and capped it with pool filter sand.  My first planted tank had UNS controsoil.  That tank had massive algae issues. Next, the 5-gallon had flourite. Besides the initial diatoms, I could fertilize that tank all day long and never had an issue.  

I wonder if extra nutrients from the aquasoil have been leeching into the water column.  It could also be silica from the sand.  Originally, I wanted to use CaribSea Crystal River or Torpedo beach sand but I couldn't even find it online. 

I ordered dry ferts from GLA today. That will be the next thing I play around with.  Next, I'll work on getting more plants. For CO2, I was thinking about using a generator. I Haven't had a chance to price out a full system yet or find out who refills CO2 tanks around here.

Slowly but surely, things will get there.

I do think I'm going to take a water sample over to my lfs. They offer a more in depth water test for $5 than what I can get from my master test kit. It should be easier to make some adjustments then.  I know what's going on with water from the tap. We have well water and check it every 2 years.

 

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@sairvingI think that is a great idea to get a more in-depth test. My LFS has that test, I think the reefers use it more than freshwater folks but it is very thorough. 

It is interesting that the Rio Escuro is known to not leach ammonia but in the applications I have seen with it and seen it succeed it was not capped. Was the UNS capped? Maybe there is an interaction between the soil, capping and the ferts. Obviously the inert sand is not holding on to the nutrients other than perhaps trapped detritus/mulm/etc but it may be preventing exchange between the soil and the tank which may then lead to a leaching of the nutrients. One of the negatives some plant folks talk about in relation to sand is that it compacts and traps gasses. Some PFS can be pretty fine. 

@Bentley Pascoeuses some laterite under the Rio Escuro along with some root tabs I think then doesn't cap. He does use some mild CO2 dosing but he is lean fertilizing his tanks if I remember right. 

The videos I have seen with generators that seem to have it most dialed in was on MJ aquascaping. 

Have fun @sairvingand I hope some tweaks will lead you to a better spot with your tank. This dialing it in part is tricky. I am still dialing in my 45 g but I find it is 1 step forward and 2 steps back but the steps forward feel bigger with time. 

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On 1/3/2022 at 6:50 PM, Beardedbillygoat1975 said:

@sairvingI think that is a great idea to get a more in-depth test. My LFS has that test, I think the reefers use it more than freshwater folks but it is very thorough. 

It is interesting that the Rio Escuro is known to not leach ammonia but in the applications I have seen with it and seen it succeed it was not capped. Was the UNS capped? Maybe there is an interaction between the soil, capping and the ferts. Obviously the inert sand is not holding on to the nutrients other than perhaps trapped detritus/mulm/etc but it may be preventing exchange between the soil and the tank which may then lead to a leaching of the nutrients. One of the negatives some plant folks talk about in relation to sand is that it compacts and traps gasses. Some PFS can be pretty fine. 

@Bentley Pascoeuses some laterite under the Rio Escuro along with some root tabs I think then doesn't cap. He does use some mild CO2 dosing but he is lean fertilizing his tanks if I remember right. 

The videos I have seen with generators that seem to have it most dialed in was on MJ aquascaping. 

Have fun @sairvingand I hope some tweaks will lead you to a better spot with your tank. This dialing it in part is tricky. I am still dialing in my 45 g but I find it is 1 step forward and 2 steps back but the steps forward feel bigger with time. 

The controsoil was uncapped buuuuut....I got into a huge mess with that tank.  Plants did okay but it seemed like they weren't getting enough light, so I bought a new light.  Then the nutrient deficiencies started showing up. I bought the rest of the Seachem line and started dosing. Good light, good ferts, and no CO2 left me with an algae farm.

My current substrate setup is a little odd but I could not find substrate anywhere in September.  Plus, I wanted to spend more money on plants.  I feel like a mad scientist sometimes lol.  

Meanwhile, Louie the grumpy betta is unbothered by all of it. He's more offended that the pygmy cory wants to hang out.  

 

Edited by sairving
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Dry fertilizer and root tabs arrived on Friday.  After spending time Saturday morning doing some math, reading GLA's directions, and using the calculator on rotala butterfly,  mixed up 250 ml of Macros and Micros.  Then without really thinking about, last week, I added some fluval peat granules to my filter.  Yes, the water was much softer but I accidentally melted some of my crypts.  Ooops....There's a new leaf already growing from one of the melted crypts., makes me happy.    

I found a few adler cones and tossed those in yesterday. Todaty, I decided that the back right corner needs something that will get taller.  Not sure what yet.  Maybe some bacopa or another low light, hardwater tolerant stem plant. I would love to try an African water fern, but they're expensive.    

IMG_20220109_163610556_HDR.jpg.d58c94e5ac0fea96d0f0c790613242de.jpgIMG_20220109_163631142_HDR.jpg.77cedbbdc1b98997697e3e117e3cb0da.jpg     

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After one week of dosing micro and macro fertilizer, I tested the water today.  The nitrates we're at 40 ppm. I did a water change today. Tomorrow, I will do the rest of my tank maintenance and check the nitrates again. 

Since I don't have enough plant mass to use 40ppm of nitrates, I'm going to cut the macro dosing in half next week. I have noticed my anubias looking better this week. 

In the next week or two, I'm going to take a trip to my lfs for plants. 

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