I am looking at starting up a 10 gallon planted tank for a pair of german blue rams. I have kept a pair in a 10 gallon before and they spawned and I had free swimming fry. The fry eventually passed away, and so did the parents, however I loved their personality and colors and would like to keep them again. Here is a video of the free swimming fry in the 10 gallon with the parents....
So I'm trying to figure out what I should do for my setup; lighting, filtration, substrate,ect. I plan on using an aquaclear20 as I like the flow, as well as the ability to change the media easily.
The 10 gallon tank I used for the rams was planted however it was rather lowtech and was lit by two 10 watt Compact Florescent bulbs, with no co2 or fertilizers added. I had flourite black sand which is sitting in the tank right now, but I'm not sure what I want to use this time. The tank still has water in it, but the filter and heater is shut off and the male ram disappeared and after the female passed away, I shut it down but never took the tank down entirely.
I would like to make this tank medium tech and possibly high tech but I don't want to be spending a fortune either. I'm a teenager and with a reef tank, I am already spending a lot! I also would like to implement some sort of co2 system, however I know that co2 can cause pH swings and I don't want to kill any fry or prevent the parents from spawning.
For lighting I was planning to go with leds but I was wondering if there is a good relatively cheap led system for a 10 gallon planted tank out there? I remember I looked before and couldn't find anything that good.
Also I was wondering what I would want for a fry tank. I know that ram fry usually shouldn't be raised with the parents, but would a 5 or 10 gallon suffice? I don't have much room, but I would like to raise some of the fry if possible. If a 5 or 10 gallon is to small then I may just keep them for their colors and personality and if they breed then just leave the babies in with them and see what happens and if anybody survives. My plan was to set up a 5 or 10 gallon fry tank with a sponge filter, a heater, some java moss and possibly a HOB with a sponge on the intake to prevent the fry from getting sucked up, and just raise them in there. I figure it will make me a little money and hopefully be something interesting and rewarding. I would be alright with doing a water change every week but if I would have to do a water change every day or two in the fry tank, it might get a little bit much. I think that if a 5 or 10 gallon is to small to raise all the fry in then I might take half of their fry and raise them in the fry tank and then leave the others in the main tank with the parents to see if they will raise them in the tank and whether or not they will survive. I know that some ram parents are good, and others are not, so we will see.
I also recall that the rams dug mini pits after the babies were hatched or right before where they kept them and therefore I think that sand is probably the best option. Should I stick with the flourite black sand. Should I get some new stuff, or is my old sand sitting in the 10 gallon still good and nutrient rich?
If you can't tell this tank is still in the making and it's not set in stone I just want some more info before I try it again and make the commitment towards these fish...
Thanks for the help,