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HelplessNewbie's Teenager 10g Aquarium

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Hi everyone, glad to be part of this supportive group! Me and my family are new to the hobby.

Here is an attempt to chronicle our adventures in learning!

Teenager decided to join the bandwagon. So, we have a 3rd tank!

Our teen 10g:

- start date: Aug 13, 2023

- fishless cycling with some plants

- bare bottom with plans for plants in planters filled with wood pellets, capped with coarse sand; fertilizing with diy npk liquid and diy root tabs

- Living: 20 panda guppies, 2 panda-fancy mixed guppies, 1f blue wag platy, 1f blue coral platy, 1 jumbo XL amano shrimp, 5 of 8 chili rasbora, bladders snails

- Dead: 3 female betta died in quarantine, 1 gold mystery snail passed while we were on extended vacation; 3 chili rasbora died in first week in tank (were fine in qt, though)

- 1 Aqueon QuietFlow E 10g internal filter with seeded nylon pot scrubber stuffed inside and baffling the outflow, and black takeout dish to block out light

- 1 medium sponge filter with extended uplift pipe

- no heater, hot climate here

- thrifted glass shelf as lid and clip on led light

- diseases encountered: none

- light scheduled using old school digital timer outlet, home automated leak detection and mitigation


Edited by HelplessNewbie
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  • 2 weeks later...

Got female bettas but all 3 didn't make it past quarantine. 😞

We switched to the guppy fry that were intended for my tank, and also moved in a male panda guppy that wasn't working out in the other tank. They seem really happy on this 2nd day, so far.

2 shrimp, 1 mystery snail and 4 baby bladder snails also joined the gang.


Added an ACO nano sponge filter. And, temporarily running a powerhead for polishing the water. We are seeing a lot of cloudiness, which we understand is to be expected, but too impatient.

Also, changed the baffle on the Aqueon internal filter.20230830_122650-COLLAGE.jpg.49765442aa1de1c150a4c539bc63f1b6.jpg

Edited by HelplessNewbie
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I have used a mix of pots with holes and pots without holes and didn’t see much difference in growth.  When I use pots with holes, I used some poly filter pad in the bottom to keep the substrate from leaking out.

Question for you, @HelplessNewbie, why the wood pellets?  Seems like those would end up being a bit too rich when decomposing?  I use a thin, high-iron clay layer (intended to capture and slow release nutrients), a sprinkling of fertilizer granules, then sand cap in my various containers.  In the 75 G, I also cap with a very thick layer of small stones to keep the plants from getting uprooted (cichlids).  Depending on your wood pellets, they could potentially give off a fair amount of volatiles (pine is common in wood pellets).  I don’t know that I would go with wood, but I’m guessing you’re aiming for a sort of hugelkultur effect?

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On 8/31/2023 at 4:53 PM, Odd Duck said:

didn’t see much difference in growth.

Ah, okay, I will keep the bottoms whole then. Less work, the better for us right now. Thanks for sharing!

On 8/31/2023 at 4:53 PM, Odd Duck said:

why the wood pellets

I reviewed several online articles related to low tech planted tanks, Walstad and Father Fish (I won't link them here, lest arguments erupt) and decided it was worth a try. We tried it in our 20g and have been pleased with results, so far. Granted, it is only 9 weeks old. We mixed in a small amount of organic compost and triple phosphate fertilizer, and added a smidgen of ground pyrite.

This was the kind I used. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01MZEEUUJ?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

We figured with pots in this tank, we can switch out potted substrate more easily. At some point, we may redo with soil or clay capped with sand.

On 8/31/2023 at 4:53 PM, Odd Duck said:

I’m guessing you’re aiming for a sort of hugelkultur effect?

I have no idea what that is, but now I am researching! 🙂

Edited by HelplessNewbie
the 20g is 9 weeks old, not 5
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Hornwort seems to be growing back from 70% melt after having been RR'ed 5 weeks ago.

Cabomba Caroliniana is starting to grow taller in the white pot.

The bacopa seems to be hanging in there.

We added an amazon sword last week. Had much trouble with the ACO root tabs popping up even when we pricked holes in the ends and squeezed the air out beforehand. I find our homemade root "cubes" (no slippery gel caps) easier to use, so will just finish out the ACO brand.

Anacharis dying back, not sure it will make it. The 1.5 hr RR soak was still too long for it. Will do 30 mins next time.

Had to rub a lot of brown algae off the anubias and java fern. Not sure if these will bounce back.

Stuck java moss in two old grow pots from when the ACO plants were shipped to us (not sure what these are called) and suction cupped them to the back wall.

Still waiting for the purple planter pots the teen had ordered. We plan to just slip these clear plastic bottle bottoms directly into them.

The guppy fry are really starting to grow. One of them is starting color up yellow-orange.

The 2 pregnant panda guppies still haven't dropped fry. We are anxiously waiting.

Underestimated the amount of visible gunk on the bare bottom floor. Trying to convince the teen to add a thin layer of gravel to help disguise in between vacuuming.Screenshot_20230909-125150.png.cc66852193136585e435917829da02eb.png

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  • 7 months later...
Posted (edited)

Tank as of Mar 27, 2024: replaced broken lid with shelving glass at thrift store and added a used clip-on led light to replace the built-in ones. The wall was painted in December.




As of today, the blue-black panda guppies are going strong. A couple of the juveniles are showing orange coloration due to one fancy guppy dad that had long passed. Two female platies: 1 blue wag and 1 blue coral, are there for population control because apparently these panda guppies of ours don't eat their young. The jumbo XL sized amano shrimp and a small bunch of bladder snails are doing a good job at cleanup.

Edited by HelplessNewbie
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