Total newbie vs. old (planted ]:) tank syndrome in my 10g
After months of reading this forum off and on (mostly during the honeymoon stage of the tank - AFTER buying it, plants, fish, NOT CYCLING, etc.) I decided to see if you lovely folks could help give me a place to start on rebooting my poor pitiful tank.
This is my first tank that contained something other than goldfish and gravel. I am scientifically challenged, but I can learn - slowly. So instead of completely giving up this poor tank, I'm going to try this again to as a kind of practical science experiment - but I have no clue where to start other than lots of water changes for now and lighting. I am young and broke for the most part, but I don't mind buying the right stuff for the tank after I am 100% sure it's the best product/value etc.
Okay. I'm working with:
10 gal tank with stock filter
Marineland Visi Therm Heater - 50w
2 6" 10w Coralife Colormax bulbs in hood
3 slowly dying, unidentified plants (boyfriend bought & forgot names)
3 awful ugly guppies - one female & two fry
We ignored this tank for months, and now I'm doing 25-50% water changes with gravel vac every other day and being more reliable about keeping the light on for about 10 hr a day. I want to stabilize the water and current plants and although the tank has been set up for over a year, it was way overpopulated, neglected, etc and I'm not sure if it has okay levels of nitrifying bacteria. Should I ditch the fish to cycle? And as far as lighting goes, is fancy looking LED lighting worth it, or should I just try better bulbs in the hood? I wan't to keep it low-tech but I want plants to actually grow!
Yikes. That's a lot. Any starting points are appreciated.
No advice, unfortunately, as I'm pretty much in your shoes. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread, though. Good luck!
I'd start by searching the site here and identifying what you want your tank to look like first.
Then get the equipment- better lighting, driftwood or rocks or whatever, some CO2 (even DIY is cheap and easy and effective), ferts, and then get the plants that match the tank you want. And presto!! just wait and let the tank grow! (the waiting is the worst part)
check out this thread http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=99729
the tanks with only 2-3 types of plants I think look very clean and take a lot of the thinking out of the process:)
Keep everything as is, get a kit to test ammonia nitrites and nitrates. Or go to ur lfs and get the water tested. If you have no ammonia, or nitrites in the water you have a mostly cycled tank. Then you only need to fix ur plants. Those bulbs are great unless they're more than a year old. Figure out which plants you have and then go look in the sticky forr the low light low tech plant discussion. Those plants are perfect for your tank. You don't need to add much of anything else other than to probably reduce nitrates and get more compatible plants.
Btw it seems you have java fern, java moss, and some small crypt. They are good low tech plants, be sure to pull the rhizomes of the java fern out of the substrate so it is not covered. The rhizome is the stem part where the leaves and roots sprout from. Get co2 only if you want to. But most recommended is that you should get a mechanical timer to control the lighting. They should be 6 bucks or so at a hardware store.
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I forgot one thing, if your filter only has one insert and nothing to keep the beneficial bacteria in between filter changes, then dont change it and only ever rinse it in tank water during water changes.
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Those look like some type of java fern to me so first thing first - dig them out from your substrate. The rhizomes need to be exposed for java ferns to survive which might explain why they're dying. You'll usually see them attached to rocks or driftwood. You can bury them but make sure the rhizomes are exposed at the very least. The other thing looks like moss which is fine as is or you can tie the java moss to a rock or driftwood so that it just isn't a floating ball :P
The good news is those are low-light plants and don't really need a lot in terms of maintenance and care. They will grow as soon as you pay a little attention to them first! Honestly, I would just do a 50% water change (and fill the tank up, you have so much room at the top), re-plant the java fern properly, maybe do something with the moss, and let it sit for a few days to a week and see how it goes. As for the guppies, I'm not sure. I only deal with shrimp for now.
In terms of decor, I bought my river rocks from Petsmart for $1 a bag. I got like 5 really nice rocks from it. I still might have a manzanita branch or two I can send you if I find them ... they're ... somewhere ...
You have great stuff for a low-tech start with low-light plants. You just need to put a little love into it, that's all! :)
Thank you all so much!
-I don't think I'm ready to even think about CO2 yet. I'm sure I will eventually, once I get the hang of the basics.
-Uprooted the java fern! I had no idea what it was or what it needed. Hope that helps. Thanks for helping identify the plants! The names sound vaguely familiar from buying them at the LFS...
-Tested water at LFS. Near perfect.
-Added hornwort (temporarily?) and water sprite to fill in spots. And a banana plant, just for kicks.
-Forgot to pick up a timer, definitely need to keep the light on more/more regularly.
A couple more newbie questions -
1. Should I trim off brown areas on the java fern?
2. I don't have a very well-planted tank, or very many fish. Is fertilizer something I should be thinking about at all?
Hopefully stuff grows this time! Thank you all, I feel like this tank is way less... doomed...
You have good substrate, so dont worry about ferts unless the plants show yellowing and other problems. Go ahead and stock new fish slowly. You can go onto aquadvisor and check to see if theres any fishes you want. After that, watch your plants grow and your fish thrive. Change water every week and you should be fine. Look into aquascaping if you want to get more advanced into the hobby.
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I have a 10 gallon tank with the same gravel (it's too big, an early mistake, but I'm just letting it go until I'm ready to do soil&sand), similar Hang-On-The-Back (HOB) filter.
I would bring up the water level to a level so the filter doesn't cascade any more, and clean or replace the bulbs with probably 8 watt Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs (twirly bulb) and clean that great reflector you've got (I think I saw one in your pic.) And you need more plants, like a good bunch of planted Water Sprite (the kind with roots to be planted) which will grow well. For now, don't get the floating kind which would cut down on the light on the rest of the plants below.
Idk about your fish. I wouldn't add any more fish until your tank has more plants in it.
The good news is the plants you have in the tank are virtually unkillable. If you want to see real growth though, the single most important thing is lighting. Your current plants do not need ferts or co2, just give them a steady amount of light per day and change the water occasionally. I don't know the exact kind of bulbs you have, but the kind you want are "Daylight" bulbs that you can find at almost any store. The bulbs in the range of 6500-6700K are the perfect color temperature. You're on the right track with the timer, it will make everything way easier.
The key is to be consistent. All your plants will be fine. Hornwort is a weed and will grow like crazy anywhere. Tie your java fern to a rock or a piece of sinking wood with fishing line and it will thank you. Then just add fish as you see fit. Fish are good for the plants and the plants are good for the fish, it's a beautiful thing.
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