Take a walk in the wild side! First dirty 10g
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:10 AM   #1
GimmeGills
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Take a walk in the wild side! First dirty 10g


So I started my very first dirty tank today! I found a 10g on Craiglist for $30 that included Crribean sand, 2 filters + cartidges, a wave maker pump, a automatic feeder and a Current Nova 18" t5 fixture. I've been wanting to set up a Betta tank and thought I'd try my hand at dirty so here it goes!

Specs:
Lighting:
Current Nova dual T5 Truelumen 12k and 460nm Actinic (will change out the actinic eventually)
Substrate: MGOCPM capped with Black Diamond blasting sand
Filtration: Penguin 100, biowheel removed
Plants: Egeria Densa, Vallisneria Americana, Bacopa monnieri, Pistia stratiotes, Taxiphyllum barbieri, Azolla caroliniana


I bagged the sand and set it aside to donate to someone and cleaned all components and tank thoroughly.

Ready for dirt!


Added MGOCPM and pushed away from front edge


Got me some of this


And capped off the soil


Capped


Filled her up nice and gentle using a sheet of baking parchment to protect the cap. I used 3g from my established 10g as well as shoved some old filer media into the new filter. I planted with my wild collected plants


Mounted the light fixture about 8" above the tank with shelving brackets


And cut up a stainless steel sink drain to create the beginning of a planted HOB


Wait did I say wild plants?! Yep! I went hunting for some daphnia for my Dario darios and found some plants that I just couldn't pass up. These were in a canal that drains from Lake Okeechobee. My understanding is the concern with collecting wild plants is a) introducing unwelcome hitch hikers and b) introducing fish disease. I figured I'd start these in a tank without fish that still needed to cycle and see how it went. I cleaned the plants in 3 different water buckets then meticulously picked off any snails, limpets, etc. I then rinsed them under a decent stream of tap water and blew off any remaining dirt and hopefully hitch hikers. I cut back the Val to where there was no algae present on the leaf and then did a 2 day black out on everything to discourage any remaining algae. Haven't seen any hitch hiker yet!

Val at the edge of the canal


Bacopa emersed


The canal


The treasures!
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:14 AM   #2
tattooedfool83
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That's cool.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:16 AM   #3
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Yay South Florida! Interested to see how your treasures turn out.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:00 PM   #4
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Wow, 3 days and already I'm seeing a ton of growth! Believe it or not I've never had Egeria before and I am completely shocked at how quickly this thing grows. Not only has it developed 4" roots but it's grown 3" in height and created 9 side shoots with equivalent growth in just 3 days! The vals are also increasing in height and the bocopa is reaching for the light and putting down roots.

I traded some Hygro for some Anubias and the gentleman brought me ludwigia, water sprite, rotala and a random hydrocotyle so I stuck a bunch of that in here too for now. My ultimate plan for this is to have a few stems, anubias and a java moss branch (branch is soaking still) but we'll see how this works for now.



I'm also surprised at the complete lack of ammonia. As I understand dirt releases a ton of ammonia to begin with but I haven't had any past the first day. I used 2.5 gallons of established tank water along with a good portion of filter media and I've already got 0ppm NH3, 0ppm NO2 and 25ppm NO3. Is this tank really already cycled or should I expect a spike any day now? Plants are thriving, not fauna yet but will be a betta and some corys.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:39 PM   #5
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What kind of light?
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:45 PM   #6
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Just a word of caution. That dirt looks pretty thick. It really shouldn't be much thicker than an inch or so. I would bet that in a day or two, if you start jabbing holes in it, you will see a huge amount of air (or other gasses later on) released. If you just let it go, there is a good chance that a massive release will rip out half of your plants and spew dirt and sand everywhere.
Been there, done that!
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:12 AM   #7
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Light: 18" dual T5, 1 daylight, 1 actinic (came with it)

The dirt is actually only about an inch high, the cap is between 1"-2" in the back. The reason it looks so thick, and my concern, is the black diamond blasting sand I used turned out to be the fine stuff so it is like a nice soft sand. The plants seem to really like it but I'm worried I'm creating a big anerobic bed below it. I've been poking into the soil bed daily and just a few bubbles here and there come up. Any other tips on this?
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:50 AM   #8
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Just keep pokin, and make sure you have plenty of rooted plants growing in there. Should be fine if they are only and inch each. Might be a little dicey towards the back, so be sure to get some holes and plants with deep roots back there.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:00 AM   #9
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Thanks! I was going to plant some dwarf papyrus in the back and let it grow out riparium style
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:22 AM   #10
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You could get some MTS snails to aerate the soil, but these can get out of hand and tend to uproot newly planted plants with small roots. I use the 'poke' idea now. I actually have a soil bed up to 8" in areas of one of my tanks, capped with aquarium gravel. I have one borrowing assassin snail in there, and just keep poking as far as my chopstick will reach. I see air (anaerobic bacteria) pop up often, especially in the beginning, but no burbs of dirt and sand spews. Although, the gravel might hold that down better than sand.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:27 PM   #11
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I'm very pleased with how this tank is doing so far. It was instantly cycled thanks to established tank water and filter media and even after fully stocking ammonia and nitrites have remained at 0ppm with a little nitrate present. Plants seem to be thriving despite my awkward lighting.

As of a week ago I tied on java moss and added the driftwood. I got a large Anubia barteri that was in my other 10 but thought it would more appropriate in this set up. It is HUGE! I guess I'll keep it until I get a larger tank but it does seem to like it's new home and the betta love hanging out under the leaves. I moved the red ludwigia from here to the other 10 as well.

I added 1 Betta, 5 neon tetras and 3 cory cats. The corys love the fine substrate and I have yet to see any large bubbles escape from the soil bed as feared.

Enough chatter, onto the pics. BTW this Betta needs a name! Any suggestions?









Stretch!


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Old 09-12-2013, 05:20 AM   #12
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The tank looks cool, it does have a wild jungle-like vibe to it, and that anubias IS huge, was it growing out of the water in your other 10g? I think it's cool you found all those plants near home, I live in Canada, and buy my plants, but I can say, I've bought elodea densa, which I think is like your Egeria, and it grows about an inch a day! I am curious about your planted HOB, how did it work out, I couldn't see it in the pics?
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:34 AM   #13
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I actually got the Anubia in a plant trade that was in a 90g, go figure. I told the guy it would be too big but what do you say when he hands it to you anyway?? Might do something with it in the future so for now it stays.

Elodea is similar to Egeria but Egeria has little teeth on the sides of the leaves, branches a little more and can get much longer. Elodea is native to North America, Egeria is an invasive weed. The weird thing is, to my knowledge there is no Elodea densa BUT there is an EGERIA densa which is what I have. Egreia is sometimes called Brazilian Elodea. Sooo....what do you actually have? Check this link out for some more info:

Egeria densa aka "Brazilian Elodea"

The planted HOB - ug. It's seriously disappointing me at the moment which is why I didn't take any pics. The java moss seems to be spreading but look brown and ugly. I put in a sprig of fittonia which grew roots quick but the leave look all sad and droopy. Once it actually looks like something planted I'll put up pics but for now it's just a sore spot
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:31 PM   #14
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Very nice tank. I prefer my tanks to have thick plant growth so I am gunna suggest to add some more plants and let the tank fill in towards the back
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:41 AM   #15
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Thanks Scotty - I was thinking about moving my java ferns into here. Any other plant suggestions?
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