Just want to make sure this plan sounds good - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: So Cal
Posts: 6
Just want to make sure this plan sounds good

I'm close to setting up my 10 gallon low tech RCS tank. I've gathered a few items, but just want the okay before continuing with my plan, as well as any advice you have to offer. So here's the plan:

Lighting: Current USA Satellite LED+. If I understand correctly, I can just dim it to get the right amount of light. I know it might be overkill, but to me the extra features make it worth the extra $20 or so over its competitors.

Filtration: I plan on using one of those cheap double-sided sponge filters. I'm not really sure on a pump yet. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Substrate: I'd like to do a layer of MGOCPM under Black Diamond sand. My only questions here are should I add anything else like clay to the mix? And is it okay for the sand cap to have hills and stuff (maybe 3-4" tall) above the layer of dirt, or should I build up the dirt at all in the high areas?

Plants: The plants I'm definitely interested in are anacharis, water sprite, water wisteria, and java moss. I'm not sure on any others yet. I understand I'm supposed to plant pretty heavily to begin with, but I'm not really sure what constitutes heavily planted. Can someone give me an idea of how many plants I should use?

Ferts: I don't plan on using any. But is there a possibility that they will become necessary for some reason?

That's about everything. Does the plan sound good, or does anything need to change? Right now all I have is the tank, sand, rocks, and driftwood; so the rest is easily subject to change. All advice is welcome and appreciated.

Last edited by LZTYBRN; 07-30-2014 at 06:47 AM. Reason: added anacharis
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 05:26 AM
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Location: Phoenix
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Love the light choice. Between the co2 tank, regulator, canister filter, etc etc I have bought in the past year...the Current Sat + is by far my favorite purchase. Regulators are pretty awesome, I have never owned anything that had gauges other than my vehicles, but still the light is by far the coolest.

As for ferts, one of my tanks is low tech and I still dose EI but I'm not the biggest expert on plant species. Maybe your plants will be okay I just live under the assumption that even low requirement plants can benefit from ferts.

Have fun!

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 06:03 AM
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Huummm...no takers on this one yet. Guess I'll give it a shot.
You have two things which may conflict in there. No plans for ferts and heavilly planted don't really fit together well. It can IF you look up all the plants and get only those which are labeled "slow growing". The Wisteria is the main one on your list which "needs" ferts. It can get along without thembut likely to develope holes in the leaves as it is a Potassium user in larger amounts than most plants. The holes being the symptoms of. Plants can live off of the nutrients from fish/shrimp waste.
But it's when there are plenty of them(as in heavilly planted) or they are the fast growing type that they may run short some of the nutrients they need.
If you had planned to have a tank full of plants eventually, then start/w enough to put one every three or four inches apart or about 12-14 plants. Some should be shorter like the Java Fern which will actually take up more room than a tall thin plant.
But if you have many in there it will be a chore to catch any shrimp out of there.
Tanks with many plants have less algae and are a bit more stable usually but it is
not necessary to have that many in a shrimp tank. Just a personal choice thing.
The Java Fern should not be planted. It has a Rhisome(i looks like a stem running across the bottom of the leaves and the actualy roots hanging down from that.
The roots can be planted, but not the Rhisome which is the reason people often tie them to rocks/wood instead of planting them.
Test kits you will need: Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/KH/GH and after your tank is mature you will not usually use them regularly anymore. But with dirt as a sub you will need to wait till it gets about 60 days or more old before putting in any shrimp as the dirt leaches ammonia for a while after water is added. Part of the reason for that kit.
This needs to happen in your tank before putting in fish/shrimp.
With dirt as a sub, you already have all you need for it to work in your tank. It will produce the ammonia you need. Just add the water, plants and filter.
Whisper pumps are more quiet than other pumps I have had and my first one is 4 now and still going though weak now. A number 20 would be better as I bought a number 10 and that is the one I was talking about. For the next tank I got the #20.
I get a lot from Pets mountain or Doctors Foster & Smith's because of their prices.
Pets mountain is where I got the pumps from. That filter will work well just doesn't look so hot. Could be placed on one end to make a circular current in there. May need a bit of help with an air stone though in addition to it. Lots of breeders use them just because they work well and are cheap. Those pumps are quiet IF you don't let the case lay against something.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: So Cal
Posts: 6
Thank you both for your input.

Going heavily planted isn't something I necessarily want to do. I just thought that's what you're supposed to do with dirted tanks or planted tanks in general in order to prevent algae and have a healthy tank. I'd be more than happy to go more lightly planted. I'd love to avoid ferts altogether if possible. So if I go more lightly planted and leave out the wisteria, would I be good?

I know about the nitrogen cycle, but I had no idea the dirt would leach ammonia. That's actually surprising. Thanks for telling me.

I'm wondering if dirt is even a good idea for a newb like me. If I'm mostly using the easy, newb-friendly plants, would I even see much of a benefit from dirt?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 08:43 AM
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Not familiar/w water Sprite but the Wisteria if skipped would reduce the need for nutrients. Many tanks in the low tech part of the forum have no added ferts and
some have a fairly healthy amount of plants in them. I believe the major item involved in calling a tank high tech is injected CO2. Other than that I have not heard any other
ingredient so to speak being called a high tech only item nor have I ever heard of any
specific deffinition. So dirt is not associated with anything but better sub for the plants.
It stands to reason that if all of the plants roots are in something they can get nutrients from, that it would be better for the plant. But you can come close to that by just using a good fert tab which has full nutrients.
But the Java moss and Fern you talked about get ferts from the water normally.
And to further confuse things, I know two people who use sand for the sub and no tabs and have healthy plants from adding ferts to the water.
Fish and shrimp food/waste are plenty enough for a reasonable amount of plants
without adding any extra ferts. Adding them just makes more available to those plants.
A few of the shrimp people don't use ferts to be sure they don't hurt the shrimp.
Some do use them without problems. It is a choice instead of any necessity.
The dirt thing..well a few new people on here have started with it with no major problems so it to is more a choice than anything. Has a couple of problems but none
major other than it does eventually needs to be replaced. But with just a few plants that could be two years. And really instead of replacing it you can just add root tabs. But no I really don't see any large benefit in your tank.
As long as your willing to wait it out till the ammonia stops being leached from it
you should be OK with it. That won't hurt the plants BTW and will assist the cycle.
The plants you get will have some of that bacteria on them and it will transfer to the filter and the ammonia will feed them. Saying that if you use the dirt it will keep you from having to add anything else to do a cycle. One plus in it's favor.
For a long time I just used gravel but a fine type of it. Some mom & pop shops carry it.
This shows how fine it is. Cheap/about $12 for 40-50 LBs at a sand blasting yard.
BTW I just dose two kinds of liquid ferts found in any pet shop that are reasonable priced and have all the nutrients needed by the plants. I dose them each once a week and do monthly 50% water changes because I use these minimal amounts of ferts.

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Last edited by Raymond S.; 07-30-2014 at 09:00 AM. Reason: added more
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 10:23 AM
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My 80 gal low tech was set up with miracle grow organic choice mixed with some plain unscented cat litter and a bit of pure sphagnum peat.
Both the cat litter,and peat will help hold nutrient's longer than the soil itself and I can get two maybe three year's of available nutrient's for the plant's.
Folk's that claim they want a planted tank but do not want to add nutrient's to feed the plant's baffle me.
Yet they go out of their way to flood the tank with mega lighting which in the absence of CO2 or nutrient's is disasterous for the plant's and windfall for algae and lot's of it.
Plant's can adapt to low levels of CO2 (see El natural,or Tom Barr's NON CO2 method)but they grow slower and can do well under low to moderate lighting.
Fish waste and food in my view can provide nutrient's but perhaps not so much once the plant mass begins to grow in and or stocking /feeding levels are low.
Best in my opinion for low tech, to offer the plants a bit of all needed macro-micro nutrient's from the outset and be stingy with the light while also starting with lot's of plant's .
Way less issues with algae which some spend all their time scheming way's to rid their tanks of.
Much more enjoyable to watch plant's grow .
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-06-2014, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: So Cal
Posts: 6
Sorry for the late reply. And thanks again for the advice.

For now I think I'll stick to the same plan with dirt and all. I'll have to do some more research into ferts and see if I want to go down that road. For now I'll just keep gathering supplies.
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