Would you could you be my fish guy?
For the last month or so I have been larking outside the forums reading – reading how to, what to do and everything in between. I am now in information melt down getting further confused the more I read.
I what I would like to do is a low tech low cost planted 10 gallon retirement home for my Betta. He is going on a year and half and I am hooked on the whole fish with your coffee.
I live in central Maine and the selection of local fish stores are few and far between. So please excuse me while I ramble… takes over an hour for a chat with the local fish guy.
I am planning on purchasing a 10 gallon 30 dollar get most of it walmart special. I had to convince myself that the $1 a gallon sale at petco would send me into the other room and needing a stand.
From what I have read I can switch out the hood lights for clf lights and should shoot for 1 to 2 watts per gallon?
I will have to pick up a heater as the “kit” doesn’t include one… The average walmart price is 15 to 20 dollars – I have looked on ebay and can get one from Hong Kong for like 8 bucks free shipping or state side for around 10. What would the best idea be for a heater?
Substrate really has me lost. I have seen dirt, clay, eco-complete, gravel, sand etc. I would like to stay away from having to add fertilizer to my tank but also think that putting something in the bottom of my tank that costs almost as much as the tank is kinda silly but we do what we must if we must… I would like to avoid having a redo later on when the tank becomes vacant, so something that would be shrimp friendly. What are my options?
Plants – there are so many!! I am looking for a tall back corner section with a carpeted front section with a bit of plain substrate showing through. My selection for said plants are even slimmer then the pet stores… I called each of the three stores within reasonable driving distance asking if they carried moss (any moss) – Petco was the only one… Could you please suggest plants that might work well? I was thinking java moss and java fern… are there any good online sellers for plants? What about ebay?
Thank you for any and all help…
A planted tank doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. This is a 10 gallon aquarium, no CO2, light with 2 screw in CFL bulbs from Wal Mart, and plants I bought here on the forum. I use Seachem Comprehensive and Seachem Excel for fertilizer 2 or 3 times per week. Besides the tank, I have a hang on back filter, substrate, and heater. Substrate is Safe-T-Sorb and is available online at Drillspot for $9.29 per 40# bag with free shipping included. 40# will do four or more tanks.
get some CHEEP top soil from your home building store of choice, one bag should do, about two bucks
toss it in a big bucket and add water to flaot out the mulch and wood, spread on a tarp and dry in the sun. wet and dry seveal times. this mineralizes the soil. toss back in said bucket and strain out the gravel, I used an old fishing net
what you are left with is a very fine sandy dirt, to this add a fist full of clay, I used potters clay, $1 a pound
sprinkle a spoon full of potash on the bottom of the tank and a quarter of a ground up cuttle bone(the kind you hang in the birds cage...it is dolamite(?)
then add your top soil and cap with swimming pool filter sand purchased for 6 bucks for 50 lbs.
easy and cost effective! here is a thread that goes into the details....
The sellers here are a good place to start for plants--not uncommon to find free /free for cost of shipping selections of clippings too. Great way to try new plants at a low cost. The other place I typically hit is Aquabid.com.
Substrate doesn't have to be expensive, everyone has their own favorite. If I'm only doing heavy rooted plants like crypts and swords and/or mounted plants like anubia and java fern, I rather like plain old aquarium gravel--in part because I've got so much of it stored from earlier tanks! If I'm going to be doing stems, I reach for Flourite. Dirtied tanks (usually capped with sand) can be wonderful--but frankly, too much of a hassle given my habits of setting up tanks on a whim and frequent re-scaping.
The one place I wouldn't scrimp on is the heater. There are plenty of reasonably priced heaters out there that will do great, but don't lowball it. A heater that just stops working isn't a catastrophe usually--the tank cools slowly enough you have a chance to catch it. A heater that malfunctions ON however can easily cook your fish and plants long before you spot the problem.
My heater was going up to 80 or 82, but when I unplugged it the temp stayed up there. Turned out it was the motor of the HOB that was doing it. And now everything works fine, since I cleaned out the HOB motor.
I have a 10g that was a generous donation from a friend who's contemplating moving. I bought two 13w bulbs but they were way too much. I have 10ws on now and I'm still having slight algae problems. Java Moss is growing like crazy. Oh, I have a glass cover covered with screen material, as I live in an apartment and can't hang the lights and raise them some above the tank. I really think that either there's not enough of some nutrient or the lights are just too bright.
well personally i much more prefer using a desk lamp to provide lighting for my 10g. it gives just about enough spread to cover the entire tank and i use a 13w daylight from the dollar store here. no cover and running the hob on the side. i collected some gravel from the local riverside and tossed a bit of dirt from the backyard and its my best tank. holds my shrimps and rainbows.
i used a 50w heater from walmart because imo its not worth the wait for a few bucks from china. although the one from walmart doesnt let me set the temp.
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