Jumped the gun with a 10 gallon: What am I getting into? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-13-2005, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Jumped the gun with a 10 gallon: What am I getting into?

I've been keeping an aquarium for almost 10 years now. They've never been anything spectacular (no plants, always hardy fishr) but I always kept the tank very clean and the inhabitants usually lived for quite a long time.

Not too long ago I decided it was high time I tackled something different and begin researching a Saltwater setup. I only have a 10 gallon tank to work with, and as I understand it, a 10 gallon saltwater tank is even harder to maintain than a larger saltwater tank (which is already a task of epic proportions). Since my current income and space limitations are confining me to 10 gallons, I thought I'd stick with freshwater and merely take my current setup up to the next level.

My question is: what am I getting into with a 10-gallon planted setup? Is a 10-gallon planted tank something that a planted tank beginner should not undertake without more experience with say, a larger tank? (a larger tank being more forgiving from a pH and toxins standpoint) I looked through the galleries on this site and got so excited about the idea of populating my tank with live plants that I went out and bought some plants from the local PetSmart. Unfortunately, I did that before reading any of the articles on this site.

Current setup:
10 gallon tank
Crappy little power filter
Plain old gravel (it's purple, very unrealistic, yes it's gonna go asap)
the original 15-watt lighting (yes, I know it's gotta go too)
DIY C02 setup hooked into power filter (just finished it up)

6 Orange Platys
3 Neon Tetras
1 Albino Cory

1 Java Fern
1 Radican Sword
Whole bunch of some other plant (doesn't want to root well)

Anywho, I know the gravel needs to be replaced with a better substrate
And I know I need to go buy a brighter bulb, but other than that, is there anything else I'm missing? Will the fish I have keep well with the plants that I bought? Thanks for any input. Sorry for being such an annoying noobie.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-13-2005, 11:48 PM
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I am sure you will get replies from people with much more experience than me, but since I recently went through the same debate (salt or fresh planted nano), I will try to summarize what the people on this forum told me:
- fresh is easier than salt, but harder than a regular fresh aquarium.
- As a minimum, you need to change two things: Light and substrate.
- Substrate: Eco-complete is probably your easiest option, you dont even need to wash it.
- Light: go for at least 36w.
- Your java fern will do fine with relatively low light
- check pictures of 10 gallon tanks, that should give you an idea of other plants you can try. use the plant database on this site to check the difficulty level for a plant you are considering
- see if there is a local planted tank club in your area. members of such a club will probably help you out a lot.
- Consider doing a DIY CO2 set up: Its very cheap. Plastic 2 liter soda bottle, some silicon tubing, bakers yeast, sugar, and your set. Lots of threads and links on this site to help you though it.
- Fertilizers: lots of threads on this site to help you out. Easy but a bit pricy is the Flourish line of ferts. Lots of other options depending on how much work you want to do figuring our the chemical requirements of your plants.
- Consider getting a algae eater. Ottos or Amano shrimp would be good I think.

Hope this helps, and no you are not over your head. I plunged in just like you, made a few impulse purchases before properly researching, but got myself straightened out in no time.

Warning: Its addictive. Think you can just stay with one tank? Good luck, hehe. The only way I have been able to keep it at 2 tanks is I keep redoing my nano. I can't leave well enough alone.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 05:05 AM
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In response to your light, My original planted tank was also a ten gallon for similar reasons. Being that lighting is a large portion of the cost of a planted tank, i used the standard 15w flourescent strip and just bought a high quality bulb. I also added a reflector to the strip. But i did successfully run a planted ten gallon tank with a 15w light for about a year. I never had any real problems, and only had minor algae flings here and there. I recommend starting with your 15 watt light with a better light bulb in the 6500k range, and getting hardy plants, live java fern, moneywort, and some aponegeton's and anubias. You will be surprised at how much you can actually acheive with lower light setups and smart stocking. But if you have the money to blow, i later stepped up my game and got a 72 watt fixture. my first planted tank

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 07:38 AM
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Seems like you are on the right track. Osteomata's post pretty much summed it up for what you could do to make the tank more suited for growing plants. And i know what you mean about jumping the gun when you get excited about something. When i first setup my 29 gal having a fully planted tank never crossed my mind untill I bought a few swords to give my tank a more natural look. Then i came across this board searching for more info and the rest is history... like Osteomata said, this is addicting. I'm up to 3 tanks now and am thinking about setting another 3 gal tank. Unfortunatly my 29 gal tank is already fully stocked with fish and i don't have the heart to put them through the stress of completely changing out all the substrate... maybe when i move to a new place and upgrade the tank to a 37 gal tall tank i will switch it out. anyways, good luck with your 10 gal. I you do plant to change out the substrate make sure to be careful with your fish if you keep the fish in the tank. Make sure to keep some of the old gravel in a nylon sock or netting so your tank doesn't go into a mini cycle.

a link to my 10 gal tank is in my sig if you would like to check it out. I'm pretty happy with my setup and am have no trouble growing most plants.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 06:44 PM
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hey supaoopa are you going to use the 37 cube from oceanic?
I recently upgraded to a 30 gal, but I may be switching tanks to that cube.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by all4funwfish
hey supaoopa are you going to use the 37 cube from oceanic?
I recently upgraded to a 30 gal, but I may be switching tanks to that cube.
I think the one i was looking at was from All-Glass. The length and width are the same as my current 29 gal except the height is increased. Just want to increase the water volume without giving up my current stand and canopy.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-16-2005, 01:25 AM
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What sub would you choose?

Substrate... i have had pea gravel, flourite, onyx, and tahiti moon sand in tanks...
Personally i have alot of stem plants... in flourite i had a little, not much trouble of the them up rooting... Onyx, no problem, and tahiti no prob.
i like finer sub easier to put plants in without disturbing much, pea gravel i hated... it sucked and i didnt like it, but thats just me. I will prob never go with anything bigger than onxy just beacuse for planting reasons... now if you do like the redder stuff flourite and flourite red are a good base for root feeders and do produce some iron. But like i said if you have alot of stemplants think of this carefully look for first, the benifits of each and then do the asthetics. i love tahiti moon sand, it holds plants goood, looks awesome. and my cory keeps it soo clean. as you can tell i stay away from white, not because of the benifits but my entire house is white and i am a rebel, i want black. But alot of people have white sands and regular sands. there is a nice article here about regular playsand. All said and done. Me i go sand but its not my tank so its ultimately up to you. and theres my $.02
OH! WASHING... its like a one time deal. considering its not really that hard. i put all in a 5g bucket, run hose till clear dump in tank, and filter and syphon the rest out

out of the aquarium for a while... college
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