My first NPT - A 10 Gallon Journey
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:47 PM   #1
firefiend
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My first NPT - A 10 Gallon Journey


I finally took the plunge and started my first planted tank after keeping fish for nearly two decades. So I'm starting with a 10 gallon NPT.

I've been keeping this journal at APC but I'm not getting the experienced feedback there that I was hoping for so maybe this community will be more responsive.



13 days ago I received my plants (ordered online). Unfortunately RL decided to kick me with lots of pressing matters so its wasn't until 10 p.m. that I got to start planting. I was afraid of leaving them packed another night (which I now think I should have done).

I planted some Hydrocotyle Leucocephala on the left back corner;
Ludwigia Arcuata as the front most background, little on each side.
Bacopa Monieri on the right side back corner
Egreia Najas mixed into the background
3 Anubias attached to the wood
2 java ferns

I used ~1in. Organic Choice that is actually about 2 years old. I topped this with fine gravel.

I have a 100 gph pump providing circulation.

Lighting is 2 - 23W 6500k daylight CF bulbs, currently about 10 inches above surface level (this can be adjusted). I plan on 2 6 hour perios with 4 hours off between them.

Currently... The H. Leucocephala has uprooted itself and is now floating, though I'm not too worried about this as my research has shown that this plant is commonly kept this way.

The L. Arcuata has all lost it's leaves and many stems have blackened or completely melted. The leaves are all over the tank and it's nearly impossible to collect them all.

The B. Monieri is mostly doing well. Several stems are going ariel.

The E. Najas has mostly melted away but there are a few stems that have survived and are now responding well.

The anubias are all doing well, there are three attached to the driftwood.

The java fern seems to be doing okay but there are black spots on all the leaves, this is how they arrived. They don't seem to be getting worse or better.

The fauna... I placed 6 pond snails in there at set up and the first babies hatched a couple days ago.

I had 6 harlequins and 5 of them have died. The Am., NO2 and NO3 have constantly tested at 0 so I'm guessing they were just bad fish (did get them at PetCo., afterall).

On day 6 I started noticing some Green Hair Algae on the java fern's leaves and dirftwood so I added a Chineese Algae Eater, and 3 Nerite snails. I also added some duckweed.

These additions have curtailed the algae growth rather well.

Finally, I'm noticing air bubbles in the gravel and every so often a small air bubble shoots up to the surface. My soil is MGO but it is also two years old and should have gased out but I guess it wasn't quite done, lol.

Anyone know what the effects would be on fish? The Ammonia, N2 and N3 are all at 0. Makes me wonder if I have a dud test kit.


I would appreciate any thoughts or insights you all have to share... I've been keep fish successfully for a long time but find planted tanks a bit intimidating, lol.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
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Isn't it recommended for NPT (no use of filtration, just a current added) to be in direct sunlight from a window? I'm just asking, I thought that's what I read on apc when I was looking into it.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahugo View Post
Isn't it recommended for NPT (no use of filtration, just a current added) to be in direct sunlight from a window? I'm just asking, I thought that's what I read on apc when I was looking into it.
Yes, this is correct... however, temporary use of mechanical filtration to remove debris is often practiced.

My tank has no filter unit. I did have a HOB filter for the first couple of days but the noise annoyed me and the pump I use to provide circulation does a good enough job of collecting loose particles.

As far as direct sunlight... it is recommended but not essential.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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The white rock looks like a type of limestone/marble/dolomite. I'd take it out.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:42 AM   #5
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Just my opinion:

For a small tank like this, I would have only 1 type of rock. Get several in varied sizes and place them naturally. Once your rock and wood is in place, plant around it. Small plants in the front, tall in the back.

I think you have a really nice pallete here. Good luck in the future.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil' Swimz$ View Post
The white rock looks like a type of limestone/marble/dolomite. I'd take it out.
I've been thinking about removing that rock... water testing suggests it inert but either way it just doesn't look right in the tank. I'm most likely going to remove the rock. Then I'll shift the wood to the left a bit more (but still off-center). Then maybe fill the gaps with a nice flooring of crypts.

Today's update... There is a lot of rotting plant material that I need to remove, some white fungus is starting to appear on some of the dead plant matter. This will be tomorrow's project.

Still seeing lots of gassing of the substrate. This surprises me since the soil is two years old.

The pics attached show the the Bacopa submerged and going ariel. You can also see the some of the newborn pond snails.

Note the duckweed... on Tuesday I cleared all but maybe 4 sq. inches of it. Three days later it needs another thinning out.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahugo View Post
Isn't it recommended for NPT (no use of filtration, just a current added)
Ms Walsted doesn't have filtration but she has a UV sterilizer in her tank. I tried a tank without filtration and had problems with BBA. Now have canister filter in my planted tank. Love it.

Good start. I think the big black rock should be on the right though. The golden rule helps to direct the eye toward a focal point.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:58 AM   #8
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Good start. I think the big black rock should be on the right though. The golden rule helps to direct the eye toward a focal point.
The black rock is actually drift wood... Thanks for the link, that's some great info and will definitely use it... I'm kind of debating whether I want to aquascape this tank or just focus on growing plants.

Believe it or not I had actually sketched a whole layout but the day the plants arrive was crazy busy I didn't start planting the tank until after 10 pm and was really far too tired to have even started. Had I just kept them boxed up I probably should have planted the tank the next day when I was rested.

Anyway, the tank is really messy but I think the plants are really starting to take off... the Hydrocotyle is floating because it didn't take root but all research says this plant does just fine as a floater so I'm not worried, especially since it seems to be getting its vibrancy back. Maybe I can eliminate the use the duckweed.

The Bacopa has several stems that are ariel, one of them is even an inch or more above the water line. These are really taking off well seem to all be really healthy.

Several of the E. Najas have developed side shoots. I'm waiting till they grow in more before trimming and replanting them. A couple of my original stems of these didn't quite make it though.

The L. Arcuata seems to be the only wild card so far... they lost most of their leaves but since then seem to be stabilized. The jury is still out though.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Believe it or not I had actually sketched a whole layout but the day the plants arrive was crazy busy I didn't start planting the tank until after 10pm and was really far too tired to have even started.
Quite understand for I have done the same thing. One time put it off and the plants died. Thus I think it best to plant as soon as possible for you never know what obstacles you have the next day to deal with.
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The L. Arcuata seems to be the only wild card so far... they lost most of their leaves but since then seem to be stabilized. The jury is still out though.
It is a nitrate hog. Dosing with potassium nitrate(KNO3) should help revive it. Dose daily for a week then daily (1tsp daily/ 1Tbs wkly). KNO3 dry can be bought dry here. For liquid form I like Seachem potassium. Cheapest here (dose 5ml daily/ 10ml wkly).

What ferts are you dosing?
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:22 PM   #10
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looks good, I agree with the others about the white rock fitting in and the wood placement.

you could try pygmy chain sword as a foreground plant.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:09 PM   #11
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I'm not using any ferts other than fish waste and fish food and the soil substrate.

I may end up getting some ferts to use for emergencies but all-in-all I'm trying to manipulate the tanks as little as possible. I'm sure I'll loose some plants (and be limited in species) at the cost of experience but in the long run it will be worth it.
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:55 AM   #12
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Well I thought I got rid of the hair algae but today I see that my java fern has a couple leaves just loaded with it... it's the only algae I see in the tank though. This fern's leaves were very black when I received it and I just don't think it "take root" quick enough to stave off the attack.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:12 AM   #13
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I see that my java fern has a couple leaves. I just don't think it "take root" quick enough to stave off the attack.
Take it out and spray with excel or peroxide is the fastest way to deal with it. They don't take root.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:29 AM   #14
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They don't take root.

hehe, I meant "take root" as in establishing itself after being shipped and then placed in a new environment... hence the quotes.

Thanks for the tip on the peroxide... do I use straight-up peroxide or do I dilute it?
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:51 AM   #15
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I may end up getting some ferts to use for emergencies.
I'm trying to manipulate the tanks as little as possible.
I would recommend Seachem Excel.
Yeh it is cheaper in the long run to just keep plants that work for you.
I accidentally found that overfeeding my fish increased my nitrates, which were 0 at 1 time.
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Do I use straight-up peroxide or do I dilute it?
It is already diluted. Soak it in peroxide for 5min may help. Nothing is certain when dealing with nature.
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