10G planted tank for growing/propagating (newbie planted tanker seeking advice) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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10G planted tank for growing/propagating (newbie planted tanker seeking advice)

Hello All,

I'm new to the planted tank scene, but I have had a 55g fish tank for about 3 years now. I loved it at first and really got into it, but it faded after a while and I got to a point where I was barely paying any attention to it. I have always wanted to do a planted tank, with a bunch of plants, a carpet or hair grass or something and some fish, and I've always wanted to breed some fish. So, I have began to do so, and now I have a 10g tank that I just set up that for growing and propagating plants. I'm fairly new to this so I'm hoping I can get some good advice from people who have been doing this kind of thing for years.

I just want to say thanks to anyone who can give me some advice, I appreciate it a lot and am very grateful. I have already learned a few things from people on this forum and it has been great, but I still have tons of questions. Here is my setup right now:



10G tank

* Marineland penguin 100 filter (up-to 20 gallons). (It has a bio-wheel, is that good or should I take it out?)

- The filter has carbon in it. Is this good or bad for trying to grow plants?

*Substrate

- Miracle grow organic potting soil (2 inches) with play sand on top (1 inch).
- I do have air bubble is the soil and sand; I set the tank up 2 days ago and these bubbles were there when I started. I have been poking at it with chop sticks to try to release them.

*Lighting

- I have 2 23W 6500K CFL bulbs with 8 1/2 inch reflectors. (I also have 2 14W 5000k CLF bulbs that I was going to use, but swapped them out for the 23W).

- Is this 2 much lighting?
- I figure it would grow faster with the 23W bulbs rather than the 14w bulbs.

*CO2

- DIY CO2. I'm getting a little bit more than 1 bubble per second. (I'm actually pretty impressed considering it is my first try at it). I have it going to an air stone and it bubbles into the filter. The air stone sucks, I just don't have a diffuser yet.

- Is this good, should I have more or less co2?
- Is it true that the second smaller bubble counter bottle helps to filter the co2?

*Plant Fertilizer

- I have leaf zone plant food. It says to put in about 5ml once a week.
- Is that sufficient enough, or should I be dosing more often?
- should I get some fish or shrimp in there as well for natural fertilizers?

*Current Plants

- The selection where I live sucks, there is Petsmart and a local pet shop that has some plants but they are crappy, If you can see in the images, the holes in the leafs and brown stuff on the leafs; that's how I bought them.

The bush of micro-sword and the little bit of dwarf hair grass is what I got from petsmart. There was barely any of the hairgrass in the pot when I got it; they gave me half off so I bought it because I want hair grass.

In the back left and right corners I have java fern. The back left is just tied to a little piece of rock for now.

In the back on right side of filter, closest to the filter is a sword plant I think? The local pet store gave that to me for $1.50 because it looked like crap when I bought it.

The forgot what the name is for the other plants in the front and on the left side. I'm not a big fan of them, but I got them to grow something because there isn't a lot of selection here.

- Any advice for any of these plants and how to grow them? Or what I can do to help them?



So that is my setup right now on my ten gallon. Again, I'm just using to to grow for now. Testing it all out and experimenting since I'm new to this. Any advice on my setup, things I should do or not do?

When I order a few plants from online I'm going to put them into my 55g and add co2 as well. the ten gallon is really my first attempt at this, but I'm enjoying it so far. Getting the co2 to work was fun. It was cool to see the bubbles because it showed I did it right.

THANKS AGAIN for any advice. I know I have a lot to learn, but it has been fun so far.

I will post up new photos as time goes on so that I can document my progress and others can take a look as well. I can't wait to start seeing some growth.

Let me know what you think!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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One more thing, I setup the tank 2 days ago and just hooked up the co2 last night...
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 01:56 AM
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I've been wanting to do a propogation tank myself. I recently installed one of those lights over my 10 gallon. Its works pretty goood. Your probably running a higher medium light intensity with those. They work well.

You may want to consider dosing E.I. (Estimative Index). Your plants may show deficiencies in macro nutrients soon. You will need to dose each macro (N,P,K) nutrient individually as well as a trace blend like Seachem Flourish. You can Google this method.

Also worth noting is your co2. You may want to check into this more. The Penguin filter may rapidly degas the co2 because of the biowheel. I tried this for a few days and I didn't notice any ill effects but I came across something that said the biowheel degassed the co2 rapidly and changed it back to the corner.

Good luck. :-)
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 02:42 AM
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Keep the biowheel if you're ever planning on having creatures of any kind. I've had great success with it biologically. If it is causing co2 issue though, you could take it out. Bacteria can grow elsewhere

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafins View Post
I've been wanting to do a propogation tank myself. I recently installed one of those lights over my 10 gallon. Its works pretty goood. Your probably running a higher medium light intensity with those. They work well.

You may want to consider dosing E.I. (Estimative Index). Your plants may show deficiencies in macro nutrients soon. You will need to dose each macro (N,P,K) nutrient individually as well as a trace blend like Seachem Flourish. You can Google this method.

Also worth noting is your co2. You may want to check into this more. The Penguin filter may rapidly degas the co2 because of the biowheel. I tried this for a few days and I didn't notice any ill effects but I came across something that said the biowheel degassed the co2 rapidly and changed it back to the corner.

Good luck. :-)
Thanks for the advice, I'll look into the E.I like you mentioned. I got the Leaf Zone to start off with, see how it goes.

Ya those reflectors work really well, I have four setup on my 55 gallon. When I learn a bit more about planted tanks I'm going to add plants there as well, for now I'm focusing on the ten gallon.

the bio-wheel comes out, so I can take it out if that is something that could be a problem. What about the carbon though?

Thanks for the support!
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 02:49 AM
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You'll find many opinions on carbon. I don't use it because I don't feel the need. Its good for water clarity, medication removal after treatment, heavy metal remover, etc. I'll put it in only to remove meds. Its personal preference

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcoscia View Post
You'll find many opinions on carbon. I don't use it because I don't feel the need. Its good for water clarity, medication removal after treatment, heavy metal remover, etc. I'll put it in only to remove meds. Its personal preference

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Does it have an affect on the plants? It comes with the filter cartridges so I can leave it if it doesn't really affect the plants.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 03:40 PM
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The carbon in my opinion is not totally necessary but if you do use it, it should be changed monthly-ish. It does get used up. It's probably an unnecessary expense. Like the above post mentioned, it's good for removing medication.

Also make sure the waterline stays topped off so there is no waterfall from the filter. Like I said I use a Penguin in my 10 gallon with the bio wheel successfully.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-14-2013, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
The filter has carbon in it. Is this good or bad for trying to grow plants?
It's not good or bad. It can help remove many things as mentioned. However, for cycling I prefer not to use it. The idea behind cycling is to culture the two beneficial bacteria. The first one will "eat" ammonia and excrete nitrite. The second will convert nitrite into nitrate. So, theoretically, using carbon can simply prolong the cycle by removing ammonia which it does very well.

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Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
Is this 2 much lighting?
I figure it would grow faster with the 23W bulbs rather than the 14w bulbs.
I would say it is too much light for the system you have. I tried the exact same amount on a ten gallon with pressurized CO2 and it was too much. Half that seems about right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
Is this good, should I have more or less co2?
It depends on many things. Without livestock the more the better. When you get livestock those are used to judge how much you need. You increase the bubble rate slowly until you see signs of distress then back it down to the previous setting. With DIY that is pretty difficult to do. I was running about 3-4bps in a 10g with about twice that amount of plants. That was the area I started seeing livestock changes. However, CO2 is not the only player there. The O2 level plays a large role in when fauna become stressed so each setup is different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
Is it true that the second smaller bubble counter bottle helps to filter the co2?
Not at all. The gas is CO2. It may trap some of the yeast mixture from entering your tank though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
I have leaf zone plant food. It says to put in about 5ml once a week.
Is that sufficient enough, or should I be dosing more often?
should I get some fish or shrimp in there as well for natural fertilizers?
Answered already...
How much Leaf Zone for 10g tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by discoveringmypath View Post
Any advice for any of these plants and how to grow them? Or what I can do to help them?
The swords like root feeding but the miracle grow should be fine for awhile. To cause the hairgrass and microsword to spread faster you can break them up and plant in a grid pattern rather than one large clump.

The best advise I can give you is to read, read, read. If you ever have any question this is a great site to ask for help. There are incredibly brilliant hobbyist here that are happy to help. I learn something new everyday!
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-14-2013, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
The best advise I can give you is to read, read, read. If you ever have any question this is a great site to ask for help. There are incredibly brilliant hobbyist here that are happy to help. I learn something new everyday!
Thanks for answering my questions and I plan on doing mass amounts of research. I think I'm going to stick with the 23W for now, but I probably will knock it back down to the 14W if I start to get some algae growing.

I was thinking of getting some algae eaters if I start to get algae growing just to see how helpful they could be.

I could remove the carbon filter for now, until the tank cycles.

If I hooked up a second bottle of co2, would that increase the growth rate?

I want this tank to be for growth for now. Since it is my first attempt at a planted tank, I'm really interested in growing and propagating. My theory is that I want to get a small portion of the plants that I want and grow and propagate them myself so that if I ever want or need more I have them instead of having to buy more. Maybe I can even sell some to locals. If everything goes well I'm going to get a bigger tank for this purpose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Not at all. The gas is CO2. It may trap some of the yeast mixture from entering your tank though.
I heard it on a YouTube video, I figured as much. It does serve it's purpose though.



Thanks again for the comment. I will post some updates when I get the Java Ferns in to show growth so far and if I make some changes.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-14-2013, 11:30 PM
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It has a bio-wheel, is that good or should I take it out?
-For a ten gallon and heavily planted I would go without it

The filter has carbon in it. Is this good or bad for trying to grow plants?
- carbon is for organic compounds and acids, It's not a good/bad thing unless it's not heavily planted and you skip water changes.

Is this 2 much lighting?
Depending on plants you might not get the red wavelength PAR, but plants will still photosynthesize, but without much red flowering/propagation


Is this good, should I have more or less co2?
- Is it true that the second smaller bubble counter bottle helps to filter the co2?
- Yes, bubble counter is good. CO2 is good as long as light coverage is good


Is that sufficient enough, or should I be dosing more often?
- should I get some fish or shrimp in there as well for natural fertilizers?
-YES

- Any advice for any of these plants and how to grow them? Or what I can do to help them?
GOOD LUCK!
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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So I did a water change yesterday. The siphon I used is one that I use on my 55G tank. I had a brain fart when I finished siphoning and lifted the the siphon out of the water of the tank. When I did this all the water in the siphon comes pouring out into the tank that is now only half filled. Needless to say, it made a pretty big mess pushing the sand away and lifting up a bit of the soil. I'll have to try something different next time.

All in all it wasn't that bad. After a few hours it was back to being clear again.

I also was experimenting with my CO2 setup. I tried to hook up another bottle because it seems like the co2 was slowing a bit. I ended up having a leak on the second bottle where I glued the hose through the cap. Fixed it today though and I'm good to go.

I should be getting some Java Ferns in the mail soon, so I'm excited for that. When I get them I'm going to add them to the tank and I'll post some new pictures. It is only a tank for growing and propagating plants, so I'm not trying to make it look all fancy or anything. Just trying to get my feet wet with plants while I continue to learn more and more about planted tanks.

When I get more comfortable with everything I'm going to try to work on the 55G. For now, I'll stick to the 10G and see how things go.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-18-2013, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Hello All,

So today I moved stuff around in the tank to be a little more organized. I only have 4 type of plants in the tank right now.

Pennywort
Micro Sword
Dwarf Hair Grass
Java Fern.

I got rid of some of the Pennywort that had bad leafs.

I cut off all Java fern leafs. Most leafs had holes in them, and or black spots on them. I'll see what happens with them; hopefully new leafs will grow back. I'm still waiting for my Java ferns to come in the mail as well, so I'll have some soon.

I separated all the micro sword to give it room to grow and moved it away from the hair grass.

I basically just organized it so that I can monitor the growth. This tank is my first crack at plants and growing them. It is going to be my growing tank. I have a 55G that I want to scape eventually. If everything goes well with the 10G, then I will start working on the 55G.

Here is a break down with my experience with each of these plants so far:

The pennywort has been growing like crazy. I had a lot more, but got rid of most of it that had bad leafs from when I bought it at my LFS. It is really easy to propagate and grow.

the Micro Sword has been growing steady as well. I noticed that some of the tips have been turning yellow. I don't know if it is because of too much lighting or from lack of nutrients. Time will tell. I spread it all out to give it room to breath in the tank and hopefully fill in.

The Java Fern has been my slowest growing plant. I have very slight new growth on them. I had a baby java fern that I accidentally sucked up into my gravel filter on my last water change that was growing pretty well. I forgot about it and it is long gone now.

The Dwarf Hair Grass is my second slowest growing plant so far. I think I have a few new hairs coming up, but it is hard to tell. I really want this to start growing because I like DHG quite a bit.


Here are some pictures of the tank right now. The sand is really dirty because of my incident with my last water change. I will clean it up a bit each week during my water changes.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-21-2013, 02:14 PM
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I dont use carbon in any of my tanks. I feel like it strips things from the water that my plants would take care of and or use for growth
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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I dont use carbon in any of my tanks. I feel like it strips things from the water that my plants would take care of and or use for growth
Thanks for the comment. I'm a leave it in for now, maybe later I will take it out and see if I can notice a difference. One Difference is that it would be cheaper lol.
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