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Old 01-03-2011, 10:59 PM   #1
Sirius
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10 gallon help


I'm very new to aquatic plants and the amount of information and selection is slightly overwhelming. I've been looking on this forum for days now and decided it couldn't hurt to put up a thread for help. I don't want this to break the bank either.

So I started off wanting something small, like a 5 gallon, but would like a decent amount of fish so I think I'm going to try a 10 gallon.

What I would like is to have half being a field of dwarf hairgrass with maybe and on the other side have a nice piece of driftwood with larger plants in the background and Anubias nana in the front. I would really love some HC too.

Would this require medium-high lighting? Could I use 2 x 18 watt CFL's?

The DIY yeast/sugar C02 doesn't seem that hard, but I would rather not have to do it.

And the fertilizers confuse me with the amount of products. Would Seachem Flourish and Flourish Excel work?

Thanks for taking the time to answer!
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:11 AM   #2
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what you describe with dwarf hairgrass and HC will indeed require high lighting, DIY CO2, and seachem flourish, and other ferts (while youre not feeding fish/shrimp in this tank). once you are feeding, you wont really need to dose any seachem Nitrogen, or phosphorous. but potassium is likely still needed as is the regular Flourish containing micronutrients (the NPK was macro nutrients).
The two 18 W CFLs will give you fairly high lighting conditions if you space them apart properly over the tank. CFL is a good low-cost choice over the T5 fixtures.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:26 AM   #3
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Alright, thanks!

I was thinking of using this (have a gift card so might as well):
http://lllreptile.com/store/catalog/...ium-canopy-18/

I'm thinking of emmersing the HC and dwarf grass. Anyone have any tips on that?
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:43 AM   #4
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First of all, welcome! This is likely the beginnings of what will become an addictive hobby for you! (just speaking from personal experience here).

I started with a ten gallon aquarium as well, so I'll share with you what I found works well and what doesn't work well.

For beginners, lets talk about lighting. There are many detailed postings out there about what kind of light, spectrum, and how lighting works in a general sense. If you wish to understand it on a more intimate basis, I say read up on your literature. But for brevity, I will make you a recommendation based on what you're wishing to grow.

Saving yourself money and hassle, go and purchase one of those standard black ten gallon hoods with the two screw in light sockets. Then, go to walmart and pick out "daylight" compact fluorescent bulbs (you know, the twisty looking ones). If you're able to, look on the back of the bulb packaging and see if on it anywhere it states 5500K or 6700K. This is the bulb spectrum. 6700K or 10000K is optimum for plant growth and is a nice white light. But most bulb manufacturers will only sell 6700K for some reason. That will be likely what you're able to find. Then, as far as what wattage, two 18w bulbs, at your tank depth, will be high lighting. You will be able to grow any high light plant but it will come at a cost (will discuss momentarily). I would recommend two 15w bulbs or something close to that number for moderate to moderate-high lighting.

If you choose high lighting, you will need to diffuse c02 in your aquarium. If not, you will find your tank to be full of algae. DIY c02 isn't that bad and lasts around 3 weeks. Just search for instructions on this forum or the web for more details. I'd say if budget isn't an issue, just go ahead and get a pressurized system. Pressurized will last a year or more for a small tank like that. It also makes growing HC much easier.

For fertilizers, there are many methods and products to use. In time, you will have to somewhat experiment and find what method you like best. I started with the Seachem line of products. There is nothing wrong with their product, but over time, the amount of money you will spend on their fertilizers adds up quickly. Do some research on the EI (Estimative Index) method created by Tom Barr. It's a cheap, easy way to dose all the required elements that plants need for growth and will save you loads of cash over the long run. In a nutshell, you buy the compounds, mix them at the desired concentration, and dose the same nutrients found in commercial products at pennies on the dollar.

Your other option is to not dose fertilizer at all and look into using something like a mineralized topsoil substrate. This provides all the nutrients plants need for years and beats both price-wise and effectiveness-wise almost all commercial products sold for substrates. After several years at this hobby, I will never go back to using fertilizers and will always use a mineralized topsoil substrate. The results are just superior to anything I've ever seen.

Hope this helps, and enjoy!
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:48 AM   #5
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Here is the hood that I was referring to:



Here is the type of bulb I was referring to:



Information about EI dosing:

EI Dosing

And information about mineralized topsoil:

Mineralized topsoil
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:50 AM   #6
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yes you can always use soil as a bottom layer of your tank, plant your plants then cover the soil with substrate like sand or something. the soil will provide the fertilizing for the plants and even a source of carbon (still DIY CO2 at that light intensity is recommended) I'm doing the soil route on my 1 gal bowl. working well so far
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:12 AM   #7
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Wow, thanks for the info!

I'm definitely interested in the mineralized substrate. Can I get all that at Home Depot or something?

Money is pretty tight but whats the cheapest for the pressurized CO2?
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:35 AM   #8
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pressurized CO2 is not cheap at all. cheapest i know of is probably those systems that run off paintball CO2 cans. the co2 cans arent included so you have to buy the refills at a sports store, but the system costs around $100 which is the cheapest pressurized one i've seen.

You can get good soil at Home Depot, yes, thats where i bought mine pretty cheap too for a bag.
the sand used to cover the soil is even cheaper than the soil, and you get plenty. if you dont want to use sand, just use some gravel, but you must have something covering the soil otherwise things get messy very quickly.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirius View Post
Wow, thanks for the info!

I'm definitely interested in the mineralized substrate. Can I get all that at Home Depot or something?

Money is pretty tight but whats the cheapest for the pressurized CO2?
Mineralized substrate is something you create from something you purchase. What you would purchase from home depot is a really cheap topsoil. Check out the link I provided regarding mineralizing topsoil. It will provide you all the instructions you could ever ask for.

Cheapest for pressurized co2? That's a tough question to answer. For your tank, you could get away with using a paintball co2 tank and one of the few regulators they make for planted tanks to use paintball co2 bottles.

Here's a link to the red sea paintball regulator.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Newman View Post
pressurized CO2 is not cheap at all. cheapest i know of is probably those systems that run off paintball CO2 cans. the co2 cans arent included so you have to buy the refills at a sports store, but the system costs around $100 which is the cheapest pressurized one i've seen.

You can get good soil at Home Depot, yes, thats where i bought mine pretty cheap too for a bag.
the sand used to cover the soil is even cheaper than the soil, and you get plenty. if you dont want to use sand, just use some gravel, but you must have something covering the soil otherwise things get messy very quickly.
+1 I used eco-complete to top my soil. I like the aesthetics of it.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatPlantedAquariumGuy View Post
Mineralized substrate is something you create from something you purchase. What you would purchase from home depot is a really cheap topsoil. Check out the link I provided regarding mineralizing topsoil. It will provide you all the instructions you could ever ask for.
I mean all the ingredients for the substrate, can they all be purchased in one place?
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:11 AM   #11
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ooo, mineralizing process seems involved, but worth it. looks like something I might do in a larger planted dank in the future , thanks for the link!
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