Justin's 10 Gallon F-ever
So like the title says, or not. This is my First EVER fish tank. I have always loved to have a fish tank, but for some reason, it never really happened earlier... And finally, I started this tank ~2 months ago. For the first 4-5 weeks, a couple young convict cichilds were borrowed from my cousin to cycle the tank. Being a normal noob, I just started going right away without reading much before hand... As a result, the tank started pretty primitive, and I slowly add this and that to complete the package. I wasn't even thinking about keeping a journal or taking any pictures of this tank; so I will start the journal from 9/7/2009, about 3 weeks since it first started. So here we go, this is the journal of my first 10g tank :icon_bigg
Tank: 10g with an Aqueon Deluxe Full Hood
Lighting: 1x15w fluorescent bulb that comes with the hood
Filter: Marineland Penguin 100
Hardscape: Malaysian drift wood and some random stones
Substrate: Inert aquarium gravel
4 x Convict Cichild
- look at the getto CO2 airtubing with a rubberband... waiting for CO2 diffuser at this moment
- the poor juvenile convicts were kept in a breeder cage between they kept uprooting my precious, and melting hc...
I REALLY like my Malaysian Driftwood. I spent 2 weeks visiting every lfs in cleveland and didn't find any I liked. And one day when I visit a Petco, which only had mopani wood before, for some fish food, I find THIS ONE.
Echinodorus "Rubin" looking pretty slick
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis (microsword) sending out runners already, in 1 week time
Most of the once cute (when first bought) HC is melting with MINIMUM new growth. Just hope some will survive...
At this point, I am still not using any fertilizers as I was experimenting how well the plants could grow without anything. So it went bad and after seeing my HC dying little by little, I read more and figured that it could due to K or micro-nutrients defiency or something (I still believed that my fish poop was giving enough N and P).. So I drove for like 45min to get to the ONLY lfs in cleveland that carries Flourish. I ended up getting API LeafZone for K as well...
Oh well, I was also helping some kind of algae problems. This is the link to the video I took. So I asked around here and figured that a fast growing stems could help. So I got some wisteria from a lfs and it seemed to help a little, idk... After a week or so, I got a water test in a lfs and woohoo, zero NH4 and NO2, and damn, zero NO3..... So inevitably, I ended up getting some dry ferts from Rex (which took about 2 weeks to get them... unfortunately). It makes me wonder why I spent $20 for the 2 bottles of WATER w/ minute amount of minerals and not getting dry ferts in the first place, and the one and half hour drive for those 2 bottles wasted.......
hum... kinda tired now... "update" later~
Congratulations on setting up your first aquarium and getting into live plants. You've learned a lot in a short period of time. Part of the problem you may be having is that the standard 15W fluorescent hood you have isn't necessarily providing enough light for your choice of plants. Your HC (and the sword) would do much better with higher intensity lighting. Some plants which should do well in your tank include Java moss, Java fern, Anachris and many of the Anubias and Cryptocorynes. An Anubias would look very good anchored to your driftwood.
We have the same filter (on my 10G) and I chuckled to myself when I saw yours because I know how you got that "extra intake" portion to fit. I did the same thing, but now I want shrimp, so I took it off.
I don't think you will be getting any CO2 to make it back into the tank due to the Biowheel. The surface agitation on the outlet will likely degass all of the CO2. I recommend moving the CO2 line.
As for a diffuser I use a Rhinox 1000 and it works with my DIY. I have heard of many other diffusers that do not, but I have pics proving the Rhinox 1000 does.
My journal if you want to see the diffuser at work:
Looks like an awesome start, now just pack it with plants.
From my experience here is what lies in your future.
You will have an algae outbreak, this partly normal, but mostly because you do not have enough fast growing plants in the tank able to deal with the nutrients.
You will get poor plant growth. The lighting is not sufficient for most of the plants you have in there. The inert gravel will not be enough for the sword plant. The leaves will probably accumulate algae.
My suggestions. Add fast growing plants. With that amount of light it might be tough. Id suggest floating plants. They will have all the co2 they need and will be right next to the light source. They will soak up nutrients like a sponge. I agree with previous posters, java fern, java moss, anachris...those would do ok in there. If you want to widen your plant choice you may need to upgrade your lights and maybe add some root tabs after the tank is fully cycled. Those floating plants will be your best friend while the tank is young.
Just an FYI knowing the folks here you will probably get cr@p for cycling the tank with 4 cichlids.
Looks like you are your way. Have fun!!
Yup, the lighting would eventually become a problem. Come back to my "update" (which actually had happened) to see what's up.
Haha, that was so frustrating and funny... Why the hack did they make the intake connector tube so damn long.... I didn't really measure and just cut that little by little and after about 30 minutes of messing around, I only kept less than 1/3 of the original length.... I should have just cut it in half first and save myself some time... oh well!!! It is funny! I actually did get a diffuser. Come back for "update" (which actually had happened).
Yup, I actually have come across all those problems.... unfortunately, I will do an "update" of what had happened since 9/7/2009.
Those are only 4 BABY/Juvenile convicts. All less than an inch long. Oh well, they seemed ok, which did make me feel better, or less guilty!!!
Thanks for your comments on my threads and congrats on taking the plung into planted tanks. If you stick around this site long enough, your tank will be well on it's way in no time. As of now, my suggestions are:
1. Get a bunch of stem plants in there, unless you're planning to do a "low tech" tank, then I'd get low light plants such as mosses, anubias, java ferns, and some hygros just to name a few. The Swap n Shop always have plants avail here (one good source, if not the best for plants are from other members).
2. Get better lighting - if you're on a budget like me just get 2 gooseneck clip lamps from from Wallmart. They also sell the 6500K bulbs there as well for dirt cheap. Trust me, these lights work! PM me if you want details.
3. Get on a fert regimen - Estimative Index (EI), PPMD, or PPS Pro. There's a ton of info if you search for any of these 3 types. I prefer EI since I don't mind just dry dosing my tanks. Remember to do regular water changes according to your fert regimen requirements.
4. Good CO2 diffusion - for a small tank like yours try this one, assuming you're running DIY yeast CO2. Or if money's not an issue, you can just jump right into pressurized CO2. :D
5. A nutrient rich substrate is always beneficial, but not totally necessary to grow most plants if you're dosing ferts. The harder plants to grow can be very picky but you'll tackle those obstacle when you get to them.
After you've done all the above, you should be well on your way to getting some decent plant growth. Have fun!
Pretty good start, but will you be keeping the Convicts? Because four adult Convicts are way to much for your 10g. I was really stupid when I got mine, but now I know that six, 3-4in adult convicts is over the limit for a 20g. Good luck!
So this is an update following the one on 9/7/2009.
Dosing dry fertilizers with EI method, my HC still did not respond and kept melting. So I started to wonder maybe the lighting and/or the CO2 level were causing the problems.
The lighting section here in TPT had definitely helped a lot. It did seem like a good 20" lighting fixture was hard to come by and only a few options were available -> especially when I did not want to shell out too much money on lighting fixture... You know, I didn't really know that the equipments were THAT expensive... I bought my tank for $5 and initially, I thought my Aqueon Deluxe Hood ($30) was expensive already... If you know what I mean... Left_C has really helped a lot for this. After reading all his posts about lighting, I was pretty much set to get the Current Satellite 1x40w PC for $60 from BigAl's. Been waiting and waiting... and it always appear OOS, and eventually, I was told that the whole line of Satellite was discontinued... I was then debating between the Coralife Aqualight 1x28w ($45) and the Catalina 1x36w PC fixture ($60) for a little bit, until I saw someone with a 24" fixture hung over a 10g tank. I had never thought of that before and there were quite a few more options for 24" fixture, especially the T5HO ones. So after some asking around, I have decided to get the Current Nova Extreme T5HOx2 2x24w Freshwater fixture for a good $55. Thanks to Left_C, mizu-chan, and ddtran46 for all your advice~!!!
My little nano CO2 ceramic diffuser arrived and I was pretty amazed by its ability to mist the CO2, ONLY for the first three days until some white fuzzy stuff clogged the ceramic disc... I guess my diffuser wasn't made well in the first place because the bubbles only came out from the left half of the ceramic disc; and after 3 days, the bubbles only came out at 2-3 "pores" and the bubbles were much bigger...... So I looked around here in the DIY section and it seemed like it was from the yeast solution. I had tried using another bottle to "wash" the bubbles but it never really helped... Another problem with the CO2 diffuser for me was that I could only keep a CO2 level at around 10-15ppm, from the KH and pH readings (I know this ain't perfect, I am still waiting on the drop checker). So I decided to make myself a CO2 reactor using a Rio+ 600 powerhead and a gravel filter.
I got a gravel vacuum with the smallest diameter http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/t...009_10g_01.jpg
Rio+ 600 powerhead came with more connectors than I could make use of, the best one being the airline intake. No drilling necessary~!! http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/t...009_10g_02.jpg http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/t...009_10g_03.jpg http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/t...009_10g_04.jpg
DIY CO2 reactor in action http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/t...009_10g_05.jpg
The KH and pH readings suggest a CO2 level of ~18-20ppm. Humm.... I am wondering whether 30ppm could be achieved with DIY CO2 and HOB filter... If you had any comment or recommendation about DIY CO2 reactor (nothing inline because I only have a HOB filter), please let me know!! Thanks!!
Even one convict is way too much for that tank. They get 6 inches long at maturity, and pretty aggressive. They will start killing each other very soon, or your water will be so bad that it will kill all of them.
And a lot of people get told that they need fish to cycle a tank, but you don't. You can do a fishless cycle by just setting up the tank and 'feeding' it with fish food as though there were fish in it. You can also drop a little bit of raw fish from the grocery store in there (or shrimp, I guess). Cycling with fish is pretty cruel to the fish; you are giving them a poison bath that will at best damage them, but probably end up killing them.
I would recommend taking the convicts back where you got them as soon as you can, and get something more suitable for that size tank. (once it is cycled, of course!)
No, I did not keep the convicts. I just borrowed them for the first 4 weeks to help cycle the tank, of course with constant monitor of the water parameter. They were small and seemed ok, and still thriving in my cousin's tanks now.
Lighting: 2x24w Current USA Nova Extreme T5HO - 10,000K + pink freshwater bulbs
Filter: Marineland Penguin 100
Hardscape: Malaysian driftwood
Substrate: Inert aquarium gravel
3 x Guppies
1 x Oto
1 x Ghost Shrimp
FTS on 10/24/2009
So pretty much everything is set up. Just hope that I could get some good plants here and fill in the tank. Anyone wants to trade some plants with me? I got some laboratory grade 4dKH solutions as well.
How is your HC doing now that you have the T5 on it? Mine is also not looking so hot under two stock 5200k light. I was planning on doing the same thing if it wasn't going to be to much light for it.
Looking good though!
What's your CO2 level. It seems like turning UP CO2 has a bigger effect. Try that first and wait for some time to see how your HC responds. It's hard to tell the difference as HC grows pretty slowly at first. If your HC is not melting, that's already a good sign.
From what I read, lighting is not THE factor affecting HC's growth. So I will try playing around with your CO2 for now.
Don't understand you diffuser. What is the white item on the bottom of the tank? Where is the output?
I copied the diffuser idea from here.
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