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firefiend 09-01-2011 05:21 AM

Getting Dirty with a 10 Gallon
This is the re-scape of my 10 gallon outlined in my Low Tech Thread My First NPT - A 10 Gallon Journey. I've decided to continue the journal here instead because it just seemed more appropriate.

Subtrate: Soil with a pea gravel cap.
Flora: Bacopa Monnieri, Rotala Roundiflora, Hygrophila Difformis, Ludwigia Repens, Cryptocoryne Undulata, Cryptocoryne Lutea, Anubias Nana Petite, Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata, Helathium Tenellum, Hydrcotyle Leucocephala.
Fauna: going to be cherry barbs and yet to be determined companions.
Ferts: 1mL 1.5% Glutaraldehyde Solution daily.
Lights: 2 23W, 6500K CFL.

So... after some planning and lots of waiting my 10 gallon B. Monnieri garden, which had some super great emergent growth was trimmed out and the clippings were used to replant this tank, a 5 gallon with a pending journal, and my office 1 gallon.

The only other plants that survived the original planting and subsequent H2O2 misadventure were the Anubias, and Hydrocotyle so they were reused, of course.

I have a HOB on the left side which directs flow from the left rear of the tank, across to the right. On the right side I have a pump that directs flow from the front right across to the left.

I added a background... 95% limo window tint. This was my first time using this product and there is definitely a learning curve. Overall, I'm pleased with the result and will use this on my 55 when I set it up. It allows some light pass through which so if you desire a solid opaque look, this might not be the best option.

I'm also pleased with the way the scape came together. I only have 1 plantlet of Lutea because, well, I just didn't get a good pot. I'm going let the plant dealer know... It was the only disappointing part of the plant shipment.

Well, that's it... here's the FTS!

Hilde 09-01-2011 05:53 AM

Uncertain what you are trying to accomplish. May want to check out thread on golden ratio rule, which is used to direct the eye in photos. When you move plants move just a few and do a water change afterwards.

Think a right angle scape would work with what you have.
Here left angle scape.

firefiend 09-01-2011 03:43 PM

It will have more shape after the plants get established, the stems grow in, and the Repens and Wisteria get shaped.

It looks weird now because the Lutea is already large while everything else, aside from the L. Repens is small.

The Dude 09-01-2011 05:32 PM

There's no delicate way to put this so I'm just going to spit it out and please do not take it as an insult. After viewing your tremendous skill with the vivarium build I am thoroughly dissapointed. I would like to see you empty the tank, put the plants in some tank water and create a tank scape that with blow my socks off as you did with your 46g. One of my tanks is a 10g and I have no talent in the aquascaping Dept, so I would like to see what someone with serious talent could do. Empty the water and build some sort of background like you did in the 46g and put the plants in the holes like you have there. The put that driftwood in with the high point leading to one side of the tank and maybe a smaller grey stone somewhere on the other side or keep that side free of tall plant and only use a low carpeting plant such as dwarf chain swords or Staurogyne. I am not critisizing the tank, I just want to see more of what you are obviously capable of.

Hilde 09-01-2011 05:41 PM

Patience is the name of the game when it comes to dealing with plants. Most with good scapes start the way this one has.

firefiend 09-01-2011 05:48 PM

Dude, no offense taken. I agree that this isn't a mind blowing scape. Really it wasn't meant to be. This is my first planted aquarium so really this, and my 5 gallon are all about getting the experience.

I have a 55 Gallon sitting empty on the floor in my bedroom. I'm working on the stand diagram now as it will be custom built.

I'm planning on setting this tank up next year and I assure you that if all goes will with the 10 and 5 that this 55 will meet the same standard as my vivarium, which was well over a year in the planning stage.


firefiend 09-03-2011 03:19 AM

There seems to be some sediment or something settling on the plant's leaves. I should have plenty of water movement but I ended up adjusting the water pump's flow so that it is more downward into the water column. That's helped some but there are still some plants that seem untouched by the flow.

Is this build-up harmful to the plants? When I finally add the fish will their movement alleviate this?

demonbreedr16 09-03-2011 04:22 AM

I'd just recommend brushing it off[pushing your hand in and pushing water over the leaves] when you feel like it, to be honest. I doubt it'll harm the plants but it might if it stays on them for a week or more[block out the light]... :) It is a nice tank! I can't wait to see it grown in...

And honestly, 'scaping isn't as easy as it takes alittle while of plants growing and determining what plants do best for you, how they grow in the tank, and such...I'm sure you'll make it look even better when you've seen how the plants are gonna do. :D

firefiend 09-19-2011 12:09 AM

18 Day update!
Well, things are going along rather nicely I think. The L. Repens is growing up and is almost emergent. The C. Undulatus is coming in slowly after a little melting; the C. Lutea however is really taking off. I had planted only 1 rhizome that had three leaves on it because the pot only had two rhizomes that were in good condition. Honestly, I though this plant would be a bust but the three leaves has turned into eight and there are several new plantlets forming around the original rhizome. There are also three other plantlets that I think belong to one (or maybe both) of the crypts; it's too early to tell.

The E. Tenellus is adjusting great. One of them is sending out runners like mad.

I have some serious diatom issues that have developed. So today I went out to get some more Zerites (since I killed my first three with an H2O2 treatment). They're leaving behind a nice trail of clean gravel as they travel along, haha.

Also, picked up this little guy.

Oh yeah, all the dark spots on the leaves are actually snail excrement! Pond snails make a lot of poop!

I'm still letting the plants grow-out a bit before I start shaping the tank... for instance, I'm going to keep the L. repens short and bushy and I might be adding some stems in the right corner instead of the S. Subulata that is currently there.

2in10 09-19-2011 12:14 AM

Nice growth, should really start exploding soon.

firefiend 09-21-2011 05:41 PM

So... added three apple snails (and I think I have a mixed pair in there because two of them have been doing an awful lot of "wrestling") and 4 otos to combat the diatoms.

I drip acclimated the otos for 2 hours... I found 1 dead, 1 is still alive and seems well, and two are MIA. Are they likely dead? is it common for oto's to be MIA like this for days?

On the diatom front, the snails have nearly cleaned all the gravel. Hopefully they will get work on the plants soon.

firefiend 09-25-2011 05:06 PM

Well, I think I'm done with otos. I bought 4 of them at different times from different fish stores. Drip acclimated them for two hours and my water parameters are stable. I found only 1 body. The last one that was alive has now disappeared with no body.

I've never dealt with such a sensitive fish before. And I can't even find the bodies to take them back with a water sample. Fortunately the apple snails are making quick work of the diatoms.

madness 09-25-2011 05:38 PM


Originally Posted by firefiend (Post 1526303)
Well, I think I'm done with otos. I bought 4 of them at different times from different fish stores. Drip acclimated them for two hours and my water parameters are stable. I found only 1 body. The last one that was alive has now disappeared with no body.

I've never dealt with such a sensitive fish before. And I can't even find the bodies to take them back with a water sample. Fortunately the apple snails are making quick work of the diatoms.

Otos are famous for not surviving long after purchase. From what I gather it has less to do with water parameter shock than it does with the health of the fish before you even purchase them.

The key seems to be finding a fish store (usually an LFS) where the otos have been in stock for a while and have both survived the catching and shipping processes and also have adapted to eating manufactured fish food.

I never had much luck with Otos but I picked up some early in the summer at a good LFS and they did great. I have picked up a total of about 25 over the summer for various tanks and have not lost a single one. In talking with the pet store guy yesterday (while picking up another 10) he said that they get them in batches of about 300 and I was just taking the last of the previous batch so they had all been in the store for several months.

Once you get them to live in your tank they seem to be hardy enough. I don't even feed real veggies like a lot of people suggest. Just algae wafers.

firefiend 09-26-2011 01:37 AM

Thanks for the info, Madness...

It seems that my lone oto is still alive and kickin'; he must've been just been hiding really well.

He and the apple snails are making quick work of the diatoms in the tank which is looking so much cleaning right now. He has a nice round belly so I'd be surprised if he does bite it. Just hate losing fish, you know?

firefiend 10-03-2011 06:37 PM

Diatoms gone... GSA arrives!
Hi all, so the oto and apples snails made quick work of the diatoms but now I see some GSA popping up.

I'm pretty sure that its just because the tank hasn't balanced yet but I don't want to let any algae get out of control. I understand that GSA is usually the result of low phosphates, yes?

If that's the case what's the best method of adding phosphate to the tank... I don't currently have any fish aside from an oto.

What's the best source of phosphate and how do I supplement it? I'm completely new to ferts and since I'm using a soil subtrate I want to keep my dosing to a minimum.

The only thing I'm currently adding is 1 - 1.5mL excel a day.

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