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kparrott 12-05-2012 02:29 AM

Low-Tech 10 gallon help
I have an empty 10 gallon tank from 10 years or so ago that I want to turn into a low tank tank. But I'm new to this and need some setting up the tank.

I should start by saying I want to have 4 or 5 female bettas and no co2 or ferts if possible.

I will be using a standard hood(its what I have already) and need advice on lighting. Whether to get the 15w or 25w bulb from the LFS or another bulb. I was planning on using Oil Dry as substrate.

I've looked through the "low tech show and tell" thread, but being new to planted tanks makes me nervous about screwing up.

Thanks in advanced everyone, I plan on make a journal about this build also.

gabysapha 12-05-2012 03:45 AM

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Yay for new tanks!

Do you have plants in mind that you'd like to try? Or an idea of what the tank will look like? For example, do you want a lawn? Are there tanks you've seen that you'd like to emulate?

I have several 10gs that are planted and I just use the stock lights that come with them. Decent lighting enough to grow ludwigia and all the low light classics.

I have also tried keeping a betta sorority in a 10g. It didn't last and the girls did much better once I moved them up to a 20g long. That being said, I don't recommend a long-term betta sorority in a 10g just from my experience. 4 or 5 bettas seems like a lot for one small tank too.

Looking forward to seeing your tank come to life.

tinkerpuppet 12-05-2012 04:16 AM

I have a low tech 10g and its doing pretty well. Without CO2 or ferts and with low lights, there are still plants that will do great.

I have two 9w daylight cfl's. I found in such a small tank, if I went for the 15w cfl's, it rose the water temp. 'Daylight' is important, 6500k-ish.

I used fluorite black capped with gravel. I am not using root caps at this point as I don't seem to need them. I have egeria najas, dwarf saggitaira, asian ambulia, a crypt, bacopa and anubias. You can see my tank in my sig.

I can't offer any advice on the betta sorority, hopefully others will have some experiences to share.

Hope that helps!

steven p 12-05-2012 04:20 AM

9 or 13 watt cfl's.. and a proper substrate(dirt/potting soil..capped).. i melted one hood with 25?w bulbs... Whoops... Woke up to the smell of burning plastic.. it was soft enough for me to leave a perma-fingerprint...

Spraypaint the inside of the hood white... Black plastic is never going to reflect light well.

Paragon 12-05-2012 04:25 AM

The betta sorority can get relatively nasty. You have the right idea with having more females, but you should be prepared to remove either the main aggressor or the loser if things go south.

lochaber 12-05-2012 08:45 AM

My first tank back in college was real similar to what you are planning.

daylight compact fluorescent bulbs in an incandescent hood, lined the hood with aluminum tape.

used kitty-litter for the substrate. I may have thrown some peat, vermiculite, and laterite in there as well, but that was so long ago I can't remember.

Things turned out pretty well, especially considering it was my first tank.

I think the oildry would probably work better then the kitty litter I used.

And painting the hood white is probably a better (and cheaper) way to increase reflection.

You could probably get daylight CFL bulbs at a lowes/home depot for a fraction of what they cost in the fish store.

Don't worry too much about screwing up, there isn't much you can do that you won't be able to correct/work around, and you'll learn in the process.

kparrott 12-05-2012 11:46 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. Looks like I'll turn away for bettas, I'll start looking for small, colorful fish. Maybe fancy guppy?

As far as plants, I haven't really thought about it too much. I think I'll stay away from carpet plants.

Good news is the tank holds water, filled it last night and no leaks overnight :)

tinkerpuppet 12-05-2012 06:41 PM

I love guppies, but unless you want to deal with a lot of fry, stick with the males (I prefer their colourful tails anyways).

Dwarf saggitarius does an interesting 'grassy' carpet. Mine went crazy in my old tank with only 2700k bulbs. Covered the bottom, and I only started out with a few plants.

STS_1OO 12-05-2012 08:01 PM

Is that without CO2 and heavy ferting?

gabysapha 12-06-2012 06:06 AM

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I second dwarf sag. I have some growing all over the bottom of a 29g. It's a tall tank AND it's using the ancient hood and light that came with it. It's very low light and still dwarf sag does well with minimal ferts and of course no co2. I do have eco-complete substrate though. I don't like it so much though.

Since my 29g is lush even though it's very low light and low tech, I'll go through what I have. Even with the basic stock light on a 10g, you will get brighter light than my 29g gets, so whatever I'm growing will certainly work for you.

My anubias are putting out new leaves all the time and the crypts I have are doing very well. I think I have 5 species of crypts.... All the common ones I found on this forum that folks were selling because they had surplus. They put out new leaves constantly, but I do use root tabs for them. It's a basically a small rock of fertilizer you stick under the plants (like crypts) in the substrate, and it slowly releases the fertilizer over time. I think 3 months of something. Jungle vals also do well.

If you go through the nano tank forum you will find lots of stocking ideas for your tank. I am a big fan of a small schooling species with one centerpiece.

kparrott 12-06-2012 11:56 PM

Maybe an idea?
I think I might have a beginning game plan... What are everyones thoughts on this.

Ludwigia Repens in the back corners, a java fern(maybe two) in the back middle, and then Dwarf Sagittaria in a half circle from the front corners back.

I may be wrong, but these should do alright in low light and no co2?

I might end up adding ferts if needed. What is recommended and what schedule for dosing?


gabysapha 12-08-2012 05:49 AM

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I had the same plants in a 10g with the lights if came with. Those are all low-mid light plants, but you may find the ludwigia may lose any red it might have if the light is low. It still grew quickly for me. The leaves closest to the light got a very pretty blush in my tank.

Java fern and dwarf sag will have no problems.

Have you considered anubias? They add lovely contrast in leaf shape and texture, and they are very low light plants.

Vals, such as corkscrew and italian vals, are great in the background.

And crypts are a very popular choice for mid-height plants, and there are tons to choose from. The most common ones grow well in low light. If you look at the Sell/Trade forum, you'll see what people have available and what they look like. Choose the ones you like best.

I like using Flourish for ferts. I'm lazy and not interested in dosing schedules or exact amounts, so I add a few drops every week. For crypts, root tabs are good.

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