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Old 01-22-2012, 06:47 AM   #1
ArabTanker
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My First Fish Tank Journal- 10 Gallon


Hello all, my name is Sherif but you guys can call me Woody.

I bought my first fish tank about two weeks ago, an all glass 10 gallon tank with a canopy, light, a Marineland Bio-Wheel 100 filter, a generic heater and some filter replacements for $30 used. Ehhhh, not a bad deal in my opinion. Plus, it was practically shipped to my door haha. Anyway. I spent a day cleaning it, next day i prepped it for paint, spray painted the back white with Krylon paint. Then i went to the back yard, stumbled over a few over grown shrubs (it was cold and I'm clumsy, dont judge me.) and got to the abandoned pond. I broke the ice apart and picked out a few rocks, took them inside and scrubbed them. Then i soaked them in a hot water/bleach mix for an hour or so then rinsed them. Went to the LFS aka Petco and Petsmart and got some things i thought i needed including: a big bag of midnight Flora-Max, a syphon gravel vacuum, some airline tubbing, some gravel, test strips (the cheep ones because i have no live stock other than plants atm), tap water conditioner, and a new heater. I set everything up and this is what i ended up with. (First and second image)

While in my Marine Bio class (still in highschool ), I ordered some plants. One pot of Dwarf Hairgrass and one pot of Dwarf Baby Tears (is that the same thing as HC and Cuba?) I got the shipment two days later with a little surprise, I revived two pots of Baby Tears. . Took the plants to my room and prepared them while i drained some water out into a bucket witch i put back after i was finished. I made a weak attempt at planting them, i never would have thought it would be that hard... ever. I feel like the BTs was meant to float like Duck Weed. Nonetheless, i did what i had to. (Third and fourth image) A few hours later i made a DIY CO2 system and added it to the tank. I tuned off the filter and added an extra light. It staid like that for the night. How long should i wait before i become concerned if i don't see changes?

Little did i know that was the easy part. Right now i am a little concerned about a few things such as lighting. It light that came with the tank was a 15w 17"... thats all i know about it. It also has the LG logo on it. Everything else is faded. Anyway, some people say WPG isn't important, some say it is. Some say you need CO2, some say you don't. Some say you cant keep Cherry Shrimp with CO2, some say you can. You get the point. But anyway. I will list what im working with, and what my goals are. Ill wait for some experts to school me.

As far as pressurized CO2... Maybe in the future, but i don't want to invest too much not even knowing if my plants are going to survive for a week.


10 Gallon Tank-

Substrate: Flora-Max with some gravel
Filter: MarineLand Penguin 100
Heat: Tetra HT30

As of now:

Plants: Dwarf Baby Tears, Dwarf Hairgrass
Fish: None
Invertebrates: None
CO2: DIY
Lighting: 15 wats


Goals:

Plants: Dwarf Baby Tears, Dwarf Hairgrass
Fish: 10+ Neon Tetras
Invertebrates: 15-30 Cherry Shrimp
CO2: Maybe pressurized
Lighting: Unknown


So, what am i doing wrong, what am i doing right, and what should i do in the near future? Thanks in advance everyone.

-Sherif 'Woody'
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:37 PM   #2
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Ehh, i guess i talked to much in the last post. So ill just ask a simple question for now. Should i add Neon Tetras or wait until i get some growth? My water parameters are:

Nitrate: 5 ppm mg/L
Nitrite: .5 ppm mg/L
GH: 300 ppm
Chlorine: 0
KH: 180-300 ppm
pH: 7.8-8.4

Will the fish help plant growth?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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I would wait to add the neons until the tank is done cycling. Neons can be very very sensitive. Fish will help plant growth though, they add CO2 and nutrients to your water.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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Yeah you definitely need to wait till the tank is done cycling- both ammonia and nitrite need to bottom out and stay at 0ppm before the water is safe for livestock.

And I'm moving this thread over into the Journalling forum since that's really where it should go.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Yeah you definitely need to wait till the tank is done cycling- both ammonia and nitrite need to bottom out and stay at 0ppm before the water is safe for livestock.

And I'm moving this thread over into the Journalling forum since that's really where it should go.
Thank you, i had a feeling i would do that.
Is it true cycling is faster in a planted tank? Also, do i need to do any water changes? Or should i just let it be?
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:59 PM   #6
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I usually don't do water changes in a cycling tank until the near end of the cycle.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:37 PM   #7
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Thank you.
How long should i give the plants before I become worried about not seeing any growth?
What should i add first? RCS or the Neon Tetras?
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArabTanker View Post
How long should i give the plants before I become worried about not seeing any growth?
Maybe a month or so? With this low light level, growth won't be quick, though you should get some.

Quote:
What should i add first? RCS or the Neon Tetras?
I'd add the shrimp first - and I wouldn't add the Neons till the shrimp have at least a decent amount of plant cover grown in so they can hide from the tetras.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:49 PM   #9
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What would you recommend as a suitable light source?

That was my original plan, so ill definitely hold off on the Neons.

Thanks.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:43 AM   #10
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Im getting a bit overwhelmed, I've been reading a lot about lighting but im still completely lost. I do plan on going to the LFS to get the new lights tomorrow after school tho. So any insight is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I have been wondering how much PAR a typical T12 light produces. Like most everyone else I have just assumed that watts per gallon was a way to guess the light from T12 bulbs, but there is no more reason to expect that to mean anything than there is to expect it to mean anything for other bulb types. So, I decided to do some testing.

I borrowed a new two bulb 48 inch T12 light fixture from one of our local aquatic plant club members, bought a new T12 bulb - a Phillips "Natural Sunshine", 40 watt 5000K, 92 CRI bulb at HD, borrowed our club PAR meter and took some readings. Since I have previously found that I get virtually the same readings with water in the tank and with air in the tank, I omitted the water this time. Then I plotted my smoothed data on a common plot with T5 and PC data:



To compare this with "watts per gallon", I know that a couple of 2 bulb T12 fixtures will grow plants in a 55 gallon tank. That tank is 20 inches deep, so if the substrate thickness is about the same as the height of the bulbs above the top of the tank, each bulb should give about 9 micromols of PAR, or 36 micromols for 4 bulbs. That is right in the middle of the low light range. So my data is consistent with real life results.

The light fixture I borrowed has an acrylic splash shield and a removable back, which is a white reflector. I tested the light with and without the splash shield to find that the shield reduces the intensity about 7%. Testing with and without the white "reflector" shows that the reflector increases the intensity by about 36%. The data used for the chart is with both the shield and the reflector.

Some popular tanks are only 12 inches high. For those tanks T12 bulbs should give about 25 micromols per bulb, so a 2 bulb fixture will give low medium light intensity, probably a good choice for many people with one of those tanks.

I believe T8 bulbs produce about the same amount of light as T12 bulbs, but at a lower wattage, because they are more efficient. The fixture I borrowed uses starters and magnetic ballasts, so I didn't try it with a T8 bulb.

EDIT: Updated chart above and added the following chart:
Another way to use this is to convert it into a simple table, that lets you select a lighting option based on tank height, how high you want the light to be above the top of that tank, and how much light you want. This assumes that multiple bulbs are mounted close together, reflectors are typical for that particular type of light. And, I left out the AH Supply light kits.

I was reading this sticky and i had a question regarding the second chart. I would like to get a T5HO and put it on top of my tank (12in) but the chart says it is too high. Does this mean i will encounter algae problems? Will the HC and Hairgrass out compete any algae?
What do you guys recommend for lighting. Please help.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:29 AM   #12
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Well, i went ahead and took my best shot at picking out the best light for my canopy. I got a Coralife 10,000k Daylight T8 15 watt lights. Also got some plant fertilizer, Aqueon Plant Food to be exact.

Should i see some growth soon?
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:52 AM   #13
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Patience is the name of the game. The plants take a little while to settle in, the bacteria take a while to get going (which helps both the plants and cycling the ammonia/nitrite) and with a little time you will have a nice place both for the plants and the livestock. Your scape is pretty nice, when it fills in it will be great. Keep stidying the site and a lot of this stuff will help you.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by endgin28 View Post
Patience is the name of the game. The plants take a little while to settle in, the bacteria take a while to get going (which helps both the plants and cycling the ammonia/nitrite) and with a little time you will have a nice place both for the plants and the livestock. Your scape is pretty nice, when it fills in it will be great. Keep stidying the site and a lot of this stuff will help you.
I never thought i would be so satisfied with such simple advice.
But, your right. Thank you, sir.
One step at a time, right?

Well, while at work (a library) i found a few books on aquarium plants. I just got accepted into college so i guess its time to set the school work aside and focus on my baby!
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:15 AM   #15
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I had a bit of a scare today. I found a huge algae bloom on the front side of the tank. Im not sure what kind of algae it is, i will look into it. But right now my concern is how to get rid of it. What fish/snail will clean up without disturbing my gravel or plants? Or should i just wait until i get shrimp? Do shrimp even eat algae??

Please help. I almost **** myself when i saw it.
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