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AquaStudent 01-05-2011 03:58 AM

AquaStudent's First Tank - Plans for an Upgrade (New Video Update)
 
~~Most Recent Update Video~~


Relatively Recent FTS
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...k/DSC_0049.jpg

The original thread...
I am starting my own 10 gallon (Low-Tech) tank (My Dad had a 30 gallon when I was little). I'm a bit overwhelmed at the depth of this hobby but very excited. I admit that I didn't start off with much of a plan. The only idea I had in my head when I went to PetCo last December was that I want a Betta (possibly a community aquarium) in a tank somewhere between 5-10 gallons (so it can fit in my dorm and I'll be able to transport it in my Ford Explorer).

I came home that day with a package deal from PetCo (the local pet store was significantly more expensive) on a 10 gallon tank (heater, decent lighting, filter) all included. After a few weeks I got a bit more ambitious and added some live plants an Amazon Sword (echinodorus bleheri) and a Marimo Ball (suggested by a PetCo employee). I was a bit skeptical of the Marimo Ball at first but I definitely think it was a good buy. It's an interesting piece of aquatic life that's for sure. I also started off with a simple decoration ("Greek" ruins).

http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294202107
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294202234

I didn't save any of my pictures of the overall view of the tank (stupid me :angryfire).

My stock at this time included 3 Zebra danios. They were very energetic and would play tag with each other. They are very entertaining fish to watch.

About a week later I added another inhabitant to the tank, a male Delta Tail Betta. This guy caught my eye at my local PetCo (the local store doesn't treat their fish very well). I am actually quite please with the way PetCo treats the Bettas. They are housed in the "largest" mass produced containers I have seen for a betta. They also didn't stack them at all and had a large variety. All the bettas seemed alert and energetic (I had looked at them a couple of times, even between shipments the fish looked good). Anyway this guy caught my eye. He is blue with a very distinctive marble pattern. I have also only had the veil tail variety (when I was about 10 years old I had one in a 1 gallon bowl...what was I thinking?).

http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294202357

http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294202431

My tank had developed quite a bit of Diatom buildup, especially on the columns, Amazon Sword, and Marimo ball. Eventually I increased my stock to include a Chinese Algae Eater, two more Zebra Danios, and a Bamboo Shrimp.

The story behind the bamboo shrimp is funny because I asked for a ghost shrimp but the lady at PetCo gave me one of the bamboo guys. I didn't complain :angel::angel::angel:

A few days ago I increased the plantlife in my aquarium by adding a Micro Sword, Crypts, Java Moss (attached to the columns via fishing line) and a plant that I can't remember the name (it sits in front of the columns if anybody can identify it that would be GREAT!). I am however very worried because I didn't originally plan on having multiple live plants. I didn't purchase high end gravel, in fact I purchased the cheapest gravel possible (PetCo brand in black). I'm worried that the gravel is too large for individual plants. This is why I refuse to remove the plant from the wool it was purchased in. :/

Anyway here are some photos current as of January 4th, 2011.
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294202992
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294203066
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294203152
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294203194
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294203229
http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/r...g?t=1294203253

My betta, named "Pax," is really attached to the Crypts. I hope they make it I've read so many horror stories about them.

Please post with any comments, questions, or concerns. I could use some criticism. Once I get settled at school I was considering changing my substrate, adding in a layer of topsoil beneath the gravel. I have no experience or knowledge of dirted tanks so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

sewingalot 01-05-2011 07:25 AM

My suggestion is to remove the rockwool and pots from those plants.

Cottagewitch 01-05-2011 10:06 AM

What a beautiful Betta!

GMYukonon24s 01-05-2011 10:56 AM

I totally agree with sewingalot. When I got my 10g awhile back it came as a package deal and I ended up switching out the bulbs because they were incandscent and I bought 2 bulbs from walmart that fit perfect in the fixture.

kevmo911 01-05-2011 01:02 PM

If those bulbs are long and thin incandescents, they won't be enough to keep your plants healthy. I agree with GMYukon, switch them out with cheap spiral CFL's.

AquaStudent 01-05-2011 02:20 PM

The bulb is a 15watt 8000k Fluorescent daytime bulb. That was one of the first things I checked.

I'm also hesitant to remove the plants from the wool because I have very large and generic gravel. I don't know how well the plants will hold up in them. I was going to keep them in the wool until I get settled up to school. I was thinking of upgrading to a 2 layer substrate with Dirt (Topsoil of some sort) on the bottom with the large gravel on top. Does anybody have any experience with this sort of setup?

AquaStudent 01-05-2011 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cottagewitch (Post 1247038)
What a beautiful Betta!

Thank you! Pax also says "Thanks" :icon_mrgr:icon_mrgr:icon_mrgr

Hilde 01-05-2011 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AquaStudent (Post 1247146)
I was thinking of upgrading to a 2 layer substrate with Dirt (Topsoil of some sort) on the bottom with the large gravel on top. Does anybody have any experience with this sort of setup?

Check at the El Natural section in APC forum. I have tanks set up with dirt for I liked the idea that many only change water 1x a year and don't dose ferts. My water is excessively treated thus have to change 1/3 monthly. Couldn't find the 3ml gravel needed to keep the dirt down so used play sand. Then tried pool filter sand (PFS) and then river sand. I like the river sand the best. It is brown and doesn't get dirty. I found it at a landscaping co. a 50lb bag for $3. I used Scotts top soil. It has a lot of mulch in it that needs to sifted out. Read someone got some dirt with very little mulch at True Value hardware store.

The Amazon plants tend to outgrow even a 30 gallon tank. The micro sword needs iron sulfate via API root tabs. I don't think it will stay in the big rocks without the cotton. Usually people take it out and spread it out.

The Chinese Algae Eater will get to big for the 10 gallon. Keep an eye out for aggressiveness. Some start sucking on other fish so me go after the Betta one day. Even actually to big for 30 which I have 2 in.

When you get ready to upgrade look for a 20 G L at craigslist. They look like a size that is easy to move.

AquaStudent 01-05-2011 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hilde (Post 1247159)
Check at the El Natural section in APC forum. I have tanks set up with dirt for I liked the idea that many only change water 1x a year and don't dose ferts. My water is excessively treated thus have to change 1/3 monthly. Couldn't find the 3ml gravel needed to keep the dirt down so used play sand. Then tried pool filter sand (PFS) and then river sand. I like the river sand the best. It is brown and doesn't get dirty. I found it at a landscaping co. a 50lb bag for $3. I used Scotts top soil. It has a lot of mulch in it that needs to sifted out. Read someone got some dirt with very little mulch at True Value hardware store.

The Amazon plants tend to outgrow even a 30 gallon tank. The micro sword needs iron sulfate via API root tabs. I don't think it will stay in the big rocks without the cotton. Usually people take it out and spread it out.

Thanks that's something I'll definitely look into. I was going to spread out the Micro but, like I said, I don't think I have the right substrate just yet. I know the Amazons get big I was going to prune it when it gets really large and perhaps use it's clippings to set up another plant on the other side of the tank (depends how the crypts do...i've heard so many horror stories about them). If worse comes to worse I can always give it away to someone in the area (or if my Dad starts up a larger tank at home give it to him).

AquaStudent 01-06-2011 01:06 PM

Does anybody have any insight on what substrates are good for Low-Light Low Tech aquariums?

Dirt, Sand, BioFriendly Gravel?

Betta Maniac 01-06-2011 04:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AquaStudent (Post 1248307)
Does anybody have any insight on what substrates are good for Low-Light Low Tech aquariums?

Dirt, Sand, BioFriendly Gravel?

IMO some kind of "dirt" is best. Whether this means ADA's expensive aquasoil or a Wallstad set up is less important though:

http://theaquariumwiki.com/Walstad_method

There's a ton of info on "dirt" over in the substrate section of this forum. I'm thinking of doing a walstad-type set-up and topping with ADA (cause I like the look of it) for my next tank.

Hilde 01-06-2011 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Betta Maniac (Post 1248453)

More info on this at El Natural section at APC

Karackle 01-06-2011 08:20 PM

I've found that simple eco-complete is a great substrate for low tech aquariums. All of my tanks are low tech and I actually just have plain gravel in 2 of them though, with some root tabs, the plants do just fine. :proud: Also, the plants will do just fine in the gravel without the rock wool, probably better to remove them from it sooner rather than later so the roots don't get too entangled in it causing you to pull them off if you wait to remove the rock wool :thumbsup:

orchidman 01-06-2011 10:15 PM

This is how I started. My plants did fine in normal gravel.. Except the mini sword. I gave up on it.

Looks like a good start.

Friendly tip- try changing the background, or removing it completely, I really takes away from your stunning betta


You can call me Bob ;)

AquaStudent 01-07-2011 03:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Betta Maniac (Post 1248453)
IMO some kind of "dirt" is best. Whether this means ADA's expensive aquasoil or a Wallstad set up is less important though:

http://theaquariumwiki.com/Walstad_method

There's a ton of info on "dirt" over in the substrate section of this forum. I'm thinking of doing a walstad-type set-up and topping with ADA (cause I like the look of it) for my next tank.

Thanks for the link. I've thought about that exact same idea...of course someone has made it popular already. It's such a simple but amazing idea...make an ecosystem in a smaller portion. BRILLIANT!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Karackle (Post 1248652)
I've found that simple eco-complete is a great substrate for low tech aquariums. All of my tanks are low tech and I actually just have plain gravel in 2 of them though, with some root tabs, the plants do just fine. :proud: Also, the plants will do just fine in the gravel without the rock wool, probably better to remove them from it sooner rather than later so the roots don't get too entangled in it causing you to pull them off if you wait to remove the rock wool :thumbsup:

Thanks I'll try that and see how they fair. It'll have to happen eventually and might as well make it an easier transition.

Quote:

Originally Posted by orchidman (Post 1248799)
This is how I started. My plants did fine in normal gravel.. Except the mini sword. I gave up on it.

Looks like a good start.

Friendly tip- try changing the background, or removing it completely, I really takes away from your stunning betta


You can call me Bob ;)

I was thinking about that too when I made it :/ It hides Pax quite a bit. I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the suggestion.


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