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Old 03-16-2013, 07:35 PM   #1
Patti7dc
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Advice for a Newbie's 10G low tech Setup


Hello All. I am new to this forum and relatively new to the fish keeping hobby. I have a pretty good idea of what I want but need lots of help on how to get there. I REALLY love the look of planted tanks. I currently have a 55 gallon community tank setup and I have a bunch of happy, healthy fish in there and no desire to rip it up and start again from the ground up. So I have an empty 10 Gallon that I'd like to set up. Your advice on the items below is appreciated and THANK YOU for reading!

Here is what I'm working with:
I am a student so I'm on a budget. My water ends up being a pH of 7.8 in the tank so putting something in this tank that might make it a bit more acidic wouldn't be a bad thing, as long as I can keep it stable.

Hardware:
10 Gallon Tank
Perfecto hood with 15W Sylvania Enhance T8 Linear Fluorescent
Aquaclear 20 HOB (I like this because I can adjust the flow)
I do NOT want to have to heat this tank (part of the low tech)

Substrate:
I need help with this part. I want it to be a nice looking tank, I want a dark (if not black at least very dark) colored substrate and I like the look of sand but I'd rather not pay out the a$$ for fluorite if it's not necessary. I've read that there are cheaper options that work just as well if I use root tabs. Any advice is appreciated! I don't want to mess with peat or soil or anything crazy difficult. The easier, the better since I am a newbie. Also, did I mention cheaper = better?

Scaping:
I like the look of driftwood with plants growing on it and rocks with moss growing on it. Can I just take rocks and wood from the beach and tie on the plants and moss? I feel like this would be the cheapest option, haha. I would boil the items before putting them in the tank of course.
If this isn't ideal, where do ya'll get the branchy wood that you put in your tanks? Because they look awesome and I haven't seen any similar.

Plants:
I want easy, low-light plants. So far I already have Anubias, Java Fern, some kind of moss, and a crypt. I love the look of crypts with driftwood so I will probably get some more of those once I start the setup. Any additional advice?
What would be a good low light carpeting plant?

Fish:
So for this tank, since I don't want to heat it, I have limited options on stocking it. I have a bunch of red cherry shrimp recently purchased that I'd like to put in. My temp without a heater will stay around 70 in the room I will have it in, which I've read is fine for them. So the key is to make sure the substrate and other items added to the tank wouldn't negatively affect the shrimp. The shrimp also prefer a more acidic water, so like I said, something that might lower my water pH from 7.8 down to 6.5-7.0 wouldn't be a bad thing as long as it stays stable. The only other thing I might do is eventually (once cycled) move the Danios in my 55G into the smaller tank since they can tolerate cold water.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:19 PM   #2
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Well, as far as substrate goes, since you'll only need one bag for a ten gallon, flourite (i use Floramax which is a little bit cheaper, but similar) wouldn't be terribly expensive, however, if you really want to do this on a budget, why not try plain old black sand from Petco and add root tabs under the crypts? I've never used sand, but I think you have to watch it to make sure it doesn't go anaerobic, so make sure you get some Trumpet Sails. I've never kept shrimp, so I don't know if they would take issue with that sand either.

As for driftwood and rocks you collect, I think its fine to use any you find, however you really need to boil the heck out of (and maybe bleach) anything you find to make sure you kill off any nasties that might be on it. Also, if you don't know what kind of rocks you put in your tank, they can mess with your water chemistry, so you'll probably want to research whatever you find.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:22 PM   #3
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Petco black sand is overpriced. Buy a bag of black diamond, it will cost <$10 and give you more than enough
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:49 PM   #4
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Thanks mama. My plan is to cycle the tank for a bit before adding the shrimp so I can keep an eye on how any rocks affect the pH anyways.

pmcarbrey - thanks! where do I get the black diamond sand?
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:49 PM   #5
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It's blasting media, tractor supply stores across the country carry it
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