Low light, low tech welcome back 10 gallon (UPDATE 8/27 photo heavy) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2013, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 92
Low light, low tech welcome back 10 gallon (UPDATE 8/27 photo heavy)

About 6 or 7 years ago I had a beautiful 20 long that I was obsessed with. I had T5's and DYI CO2 with plants that I can still remember and fish that I've completely forgot about. Fast forward to two weeks ago... there's an empty, dusty 10g languishing in the living room for the past year that met it's latest end after it became a perfect growing medium for algae. In it's previous life it had a few mystery bulb plants and some random fish from a friend that moved out of the country. I went on a possessed cleaning spree and came across this tank and decide it is a complete eye sore and I absolutely must do something with it.

Of course this involves resurrecting it. So I thoroughly cleaned it (discovering a few withered bulbs in the process) and set it up to cycle assuming it had enough gunk still left in the substrate and driftwood to provide some ammonia. Then I had a boring empty tank to brood over while trying to find the patience to let it do it's thing. This did not happen.

After a week I went to PetsMart just for "fun" and picked up a tiny 1" albino bristlenose pleco convincing myself that a) this would be my cycling fish, and b) by the time he grew past a few inches I'd upgrade to a bigger tank. Of course he disappeared right quick among the driftwood, rocks, filter and heater. How do you lose a white fish in a mostly empty 10g??? So I decided he needed a few plants to make him comfortable but I wanted to get the right species that would thrive under my conditions - low light, no CO2. So I joined a forum....or two.....and became completely OBSESSED with setting up a beautiful planted low light, low tech. I decided I needed to start small and stick with the equipment I had and then maybe if I was successful I'd upgrade to a 30g...or maybe a 40 breeder.... AHHHH!! Make it stop!

I picked up some Staurogyne repens from All Fish Emporium after running in disgust from their fish tanks - maybe good for supplies but no way am I buying any fish from those guys. The little bristlenose thought these tiny little plants were great to visit occasionally but he and I both knew there was no way this was by any means satisfactory. So I purchased a grab bag from a hobbyist and when she said she was generous with her bags she was not kidding! As of yesterday my lil' tank is stuffed! And the pleco absolutely loves it! He's all over the place and can't decide what part he enjoys most (hes actually at the bottom of the slate rock front right ).

I requested low light plants and initially did some thoughtful planting but by the time I got through the bag I was just sticking things where ever there was empty gravel and decided that if it lives it's meant to be and I'll reorganize after a month or two. So without further ado, my 2.5 week old 10 gallon:

Substrate - Flourlite Black
Lighting - Aquaglo 15w
Fliter - Eclipse 1 in hood w/biowheel (150gph and seeding a cut polyfiber from cartridge)
No CO2

Once fertz come in will do:
1/8tsp Equilibrium x 1 week
1/16tsp KNO3 x 1 week
1/64tsp KH2PO4 x 1 week
Premixed in 1oz bottle and drawn up with syringe for accuracy...
and monthly or so water changes

Plants at the moment:
Staurogyne repens
Lysimachia nummularia
Microsorum pteropus, narrow and windevlo
Dwarf Sagittaria
Hygrophyla corymbosa "angustifolia"
And at least 3 other randoms I can't figure out - help is appreciated!

After cycling I'd like to add some Corydoras habrosus and Scarlet badis.... any tips and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Also, I got a ton of Java Moss and I've never been much of a fan of the stuff. I'm thinking of setting up a 5g or so betta tank and ONLY scaping with Java Moss - thoughts? I LOVE bettas (actually bred them for a while about 10 yrs ago) but the flow in the 10g would make one miserable so I've been toying with the idea of another tank anyway...really, make it stop!!

Last edited by GimmeGills; 08-28-2013 at 04:10 AM. Reason: Update title
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 92
8/27/12 Update

So lots of my beautiful plants from my grab bag melted away and did not return. Shipping to S FL in the middle of summer I'm sure did them in.

What did not survive: Hygro angustifolia, Vals, Microsorum 'windelov', Hydrocotyle.

What did survive: Staurogyne repens, Rotala rotundifolia, Hygro sp Bold, Hygro difformis, Microsorum regular and narrow leaf, Sagittaria subulata, Cryptocoryne parva and random pieces of Suesswassertang (Sag and Microsorum are coming back slowly after dropping almost all the leaves)

I've been dosing as noted above and the plants seem to be loving it. In fact I have so much Hygro sp Bold it took over the entire tank so I pulled it up and I'm going to trade it locally for some Anubia nana. However our meet up got pushed off a week so you'll have to use you're imagination because the stuff is just floating around at the moment (can not WAIT to get rid of it so I can see what it really looks like!).

My albino BN survived cycling and his overnight stay in the filter media and seems to be doing very well. Added 7 Corydoras pygmaeus (paid for 6 but the shop had 7 left so they threw the last lil guy in for free!) about a week ago and they seem to be thriving and providing me with some real entertainment. The more I watch them the more I notice how subtly colorful they are.

6 Dario dario from msjinkzd arrive tomorrow! Super excited! My lil 10g dream is coming together! Considering adding some CRS as a live in supplemental food source for the Dario's but I'm afraid they might harass them to death - any thoughts?

Lastly I'm not at all happy with the right side of the tank (I think the left will look great once the floating Hygro goes away). I'd like some Vals as a curtain but I'm trying to give the struggling dwarf sag a chance at life. I'm thinking a Cryptocoryne beckettii or something might be a nice highlight and I'd like to move around my Saurogyne and get some more C. parva for the foreground.

Suggestions are welcome and encouraged! Thanks!

Full tank:

Albion BN in his spot:

A few of the Pygmy corys and my very vertical Saurogyne repens:

Left side with floating Hygro Bold; Hygro difformis is just to the right of the driftwood in the back and still undergoing emersed to submersed transition:

Struggling dwarf sag:
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 92
Look what arrived today!! They look beautiful! Thanks so much msjinkzd!

Also found another 10g with 2 HOB, power filter and T5 fixture on CL for $30...
Was planning on something a little smaller for a betta tank but that's do and now I can hang the fixture and plant and HOB!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 03:56 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Midwest
Posts: 363
For just sticking things in you did a great job on the first incarnation. It sure doesn't look like a 10 gallon.

Aren't those cories just the cutest things ever? I had a small school for years and loved them. Mine swam all over the tank.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 04:07 PM
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Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 4,348
Hi GimmeGills,

Nice looking Badis badis! What are you going to be feeding them? My experience has been that they are somewhat picky eaters. Mine would seldom eat dry foods but enjoyed live baby brine shrimp and white worms (Enchytraeus albidus) although the white worms were a little large for the mouth of the Badis. If I were to do it again I would probably feed Grindel Worms (Enchytraeus buchholzi).

75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0 48"/59W, 2X Marineland 350 Magnum filters; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K, 1X Marineland 350 Magnum filter; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0 36"/46W, Marineland C-220 filter; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED kit, Marineland C-160 filter; all with Press. CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
Greater Seattle Aquarium Society (GSAS)

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 92
At the moment I've got plenty of mosquito larva I've been growing just for them (Mostly in the water retaining dishes for my container garden S. FL has an abundant supply) and some daphnia that I collected from a local stream. I will be getting a culture of grindal worms from Hambone but it being so hot here I got nervous about shipping them so I held off. Too bad because this week has actual been slightly cooler than usual (only 85). I've also got a local pet store that sell live BBS so when the mosquitoes run out I'll grab some of those. I used to hatch them years ago but I'd rather not deal with the effort and mess.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2013, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 92
Dario dario

Mostly happy Scarlet Badis from MsJinkzd. I did loose one today who was not hunting around like the others and had rather clamped fins. Everyone else looks great and are happily hunting away.

Maybe I should clean my glass...

Maybe I have a girl or two?

But as MsJinkzd told me "I have a few here that I think are female, but it is exceptionally difficult to tell unless they are in an ideal setup... I will tell you that I have sold lots of groups and people are spawning them, despite the females not being the "pale, colorless" fish that most people expect to be females. I firmly believe that the females do have some coloring, and that behavior and shape are a much more reliable indication of gender."
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2013, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 92
Just a quick update - Darios are doing great! I've been feeding them daphnia collected from a local ditch and mosquito larva grown in my back yard garden dishes. I recently picked up a grindal worm culture that is just getting started but gave them a little and they love it.

I decided to try frozen foods to see how they do when winter gets here and local foods are not as abundant. BBS - they like ok but the filter must stay on keeping them moving and suspended. They have a tendency to eat one out of every 3 tastes. They'll take it but they are not fans. The pygmy corys are not nearly as picky and readily clean up the Darios rejects.

However, frozen blood worms - a total hit! The Darios will even pick these off the substrate not moving which was a big shock. Of course the corys love these too and I even saw a Dario and cory eating either end of the same piece! It's so funny watching these hunters fighting corys over frozen food.

I am so pleased I ended up with a tank full of nanos - The Darios and Pygmys are exactly the same size, they make perfect tank mates and are a complete joy to watch.

Last edited by GimmeGills; 09-07-2013 at 06:08 AM. Reason: Spelling errors
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2013, 05:54 AM
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2014, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South Florida
Posts: 92
Ground control to Major Tom...

So, as happens to many of us, life changed, job changed and I moved so both of my poor aquarium were completely neglected for quite a while. They got light thanks to the timer and fed when I remembered to do so. No water changes, no ferts and due to an odd work schedule occasionally 24 hours of darkness for the last 8 months or so. Now that things have settled down I'm back to giving them some more attention.

I'll also be updating my dirty 10g as well HERE

So as I completely neglected these tanks most everything but the hardiest died off. The Scarlet Badis did not do well with the move and the change in city water. The rest of the inhabitants are doing just fine and seem to be happy with the exception of the Cherry Shrimp that are living but not producing like they used to. Hopefully with some better water parameters they'll be back to baby making soon.

The survivors:
Fish: 5 Pygmy Corys, 1 Bristlenose pleco (the one I thought would surely die!)), 10+ Cherry shrimp
Plants: 2 Anubia nana, Narrow leaf java ferns impossible to kill Subwassertang, happy Crypt Parva, and persistent Crypt Undulata

On to the pics!

No pics of the pygmy as they've taken up residence in the Subwassertang that I shoved in the corner between the Anubias and prefer to be antisocial.

So what's the plan? Well I thought I might put a sword just to the left of the driftwood with some root tabs to give some height and texture. It's a pretty high flow area because the filter outflow empties there. Maybe try some stem plants up front left...and more cyrpt parva! I has some Java fern babies all in front of the right rock but the pleco like to redecorate as they aren't tied onto anything yet.

Once the plants fill out I'm thinking about adding some Pseudomugil gertrudae to compliment my other nano creatures.

Suggestions are always welcome!

Last edited by GimmeGills; 10-30-2014 at 09:00 PM. Reason: Forgot a thought
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