MrSpiffy's 10G Tank Journal - My first planted tank
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:02 AM   #1
MrSpiffy
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MrSpiffy's 10G Tank Journal - My first planted tank


Hi, everyone! I've been lurking around the forum on and off for quite a while, but it's time to finally start a journal for the setup of my very first planted tank.

Before I begin, I'll provide a little background.

About 10-12 years ago, I began my foray into fishkeeping. Of course, before that I'd kept the obligatory betta bowl, but I'd never really known much about what I was doing, nor had I really tried to keep fish.

Finally, I kicked off my adventure with a 20-gallon saltwater reef tank. That tank really took off and inspired me to expand my knowledge beyond the basics. Eventually, I also acquired a 29-gallon freshwater tank that we used to experiment a bit with some shell-dwelling cichlids, brackish water, and keeping various fish, from gouramis to puffers.

My last tanks were a fair size, at 55 gallons for freshwater and 65 gallons (plus a sump) for my reef. Unfortunately, we had to part with them as we moved to a new home, and I haven't had a tank since. That was about 5 years ago...

I've had the itch to get back into aquariums, and really wanted to try a planted tank. I now have an empty 10-gallon aquarium sitting ready for me to get to work. I just have to come up with a plan. And that's where all of you come in, as I hunt for knowledge and expertise among the great members of this forum!

To kick things off, I'll lay out what I've come up with so far, as well as seek some answers to questions I'm struggling with right now.

Here's what I've come up with, thus far:

Equipment:
Tank: 10-gallon Marineland w/ basic LED hood
Substrate: Eco-Complete (maybe sand on top..?)
Filter: AquaClear 30 HOB filter
Heater: 50W... thinking the Cobalt Neo-Therm, but I can make do with less
Lighting: Unsure... considering Finnex 20" Planted+ or possibly a DIY LED setup
CO2: no pressurized, probably just Flourish Excel, for now
Fertilizer: Flourish, to start... but happy to take suggestions

Plants:
Background: African water fern or Hornwort
Mid-ground: "Petite" Anubias barteri or Cryptocoryne beckettii
Foreground: Dwarf Baby Tears (HC) or Dwarf Hairgrass

Possible Inhabitants:
Harlequin rasboras
Mosquito rasboras (Boraras brigittae)
Ember tetras
Rummynose tetras
White Clouds
Threadfin Rainbows
Small shrimp (Red Rili, Ghost, Tiger)

I'm planning to find a nice piece of driftwood to provide some caves and hiding areas for the fish, with a higher part of the driftwood on the left side of the tank. This leaves the right side a bit more open. I'll plant taller plants in the background, and hope to have a carpet of HC in the middle/front. Maybe have a small rock or two to add a different texture to the tank.

I'm still not sure what to do as far as the fish I want to keep. Iím thinking that the Harlequin Rasboras will be a nice, easy choice. The Mosquito Rasboras are really small, so I could really get a nice school going, but I'm not sure what else to put in the tank with them as they're extremely peaceful. I'm also totally fine with the other fish on my list, as well, if someone suggests a neat combination. Even other suggestions would be cool. Maybe something with a pop of color, like yellow or blue?

I'd also add a species of shrimp to help keep the tank clean. Any issues with the ones I've listed?

Lighting is another point of contention. I'm unsure if the Finnex Planted+ is too intense for such a small tank. I don't want to fry anything with too much light. I could possibly hack the fixture to add a dimmer, which would be really great to add more control to the light level in the tank. But, if I do that, I might be better with trying a DIY route and buying parts to make my own light setup. (Any suggestions on where to buy components and get assembly instructions?)

In any case, any advice would be useful. From setup methods to lighting to dosing fertilizer/CO2, and anything else in between. Any and all help is appreciated!

I'm looking forward to sharing progress! It may be a bit before I get things rolling, but I can't wait to give it a try.
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Old Yesterday, 12:30 AM   #2
Hilde
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Is this going to be a low tech tank?
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Old Yesterday, 12:45 AM   #3
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Since it's my first planted tank, I was hoping it would be a simpler setup. But I'm not opposed to some DIY CO2, if need be.

After some research, I'm leaving toward the Finnex fixture rather than the DIY route. But I'm still concerned about balancing light levels with nutrients and CO2. Will the fixture be too bright?

As for startup methods, I'm considering the dry start method. It seems pretty straightforward.
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Old Yesterday, 03:16 PM   #4
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I'm leaving toward the Finnex fixture rather than the DIY route.
Which Finnex? I have seen a Finnex FugeRay, Finnex planted, Finnex Ray II and Finnex Stingray.
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Old Yesterday, 03:25 PM   #5
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Which Finnex? I have seen a Finnex FugeRay, Finnex planted, Finnex Ray II and Finnex Stingray.
Op specified planted plus in first post
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Old Yesterday, 03:45 PM   #6
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After some research, I'm leaving toward the Finnex fixture rather than the DIY route. But I'm still concerned about balancing light levels with nutrients and CO2. Will the fixture be too bright?
I found the hard way that it is cheaper in the long run to buy a fixture. That is a perfect light.

For nutrients I like select aquatics brand. It comes in dry form. You mix some in water. Cheap and last a long time. I learned about at aquarium club.

If you don't do DIY Co2 get some Metricide28 and dilute it to excel strength (1.5% Glut). Formula is (1.5 x container)/ cidex glut% = glut. Doing DIY Co2 works best if you have more than 1 bottle. I had major problems with leaks form bottles I used and hated the smell of yeast. Thus bought a citric acid DIY Co2 kit on Ebay
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Old Yesterday, 03:59 PM   #7
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Hilde:
I've recently been looking into the metricide route for my non co2 tanks. Tired of paying for commercially branded aquarium products. Isn't metricide 28 the one with surfactants?

Just trying to confirm before I order something.
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Old Yesterday, 04:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSpiffy View Post
Hi, everyone! I've been lurking around the forum on and off for quite a while, but it's time to finally start a journal for the setup of my very first planted tank.

Before I begin, I'll provide a little background.

About 10-12 years ago, I began my foray into fishkeeping. Of course, before that I'd kept the obligatory betta bowl, but I'd never really known much about what I was doing, nor had I really tried to keep fish.

Finally, I kicked off my adventure with a 20-gallon saltwater reef tank. That tank really took off and inspired me to expand my knowledge beyond the basics. Eventually, I also acquired a 29-gallon freshwater tank that we used to experiment a bit with some shell-dwelling cichlids, brackish water, and keeping various fish, from gouramis to puffers.

My last tanks were a fair size, at 55 gallons for freshwater and 65 gallons (plus a sump) for my reef. Unfortunately, we had to part with them as we moved to a new home, and I haven't had a tank since. That was about 5 years ago...

I've had the itch to get back into aquariums, and really wanted to try a planted tank. I now have an empty 10-gallon aquarium sitting ready for me to get to work. I just have to come up with a plan. And that's where all of you come in, as I hunt for knowledge and expertise among the great members of this forum!

To kick things off, I'll lay out what I've come up with so far, as well as seek some answers to questions I'm struggling with right now.

Here's what I've come up with, thus far:

Equipment:
Tank: 10-gallon Marineland w/ basic LED hood
Substrate: Eco-Complete (maybe sand on top..?)
Filter: AquaClear 30 HOB filter
Heater: 50W... thinking the Cobalt Neo-Therm, but I can make do with less
Lighting: Unsure... considering Finnex 20" Planted+ or possibly a DIY LED setup
CO2: no pressurized, probably just Flourish Excel, for now
Fertilizer: Flourish, to start... but happy to take suggestions

Plants:
Background: African water fern or Hornwort
Mid-ground: "Petite" Anubias barteri or Cryptocoryne beckettii
Foreground: Dwarf Baby Tears (HC) or Dwarf Hairgrass

Possible Inhabitants:
Harlequin rasboras
Mosquito rasboras (Boraras brigittae)
Ember tetras
Rummynose tetras
White Clouds
Threadfin Rainbows
Small shrimp (Red Rili, Ghost, Tiger)

I'm planning to find a nice piece of driftwood to provide some caves and hiding areas for the fish, with a higher part of the driftwood on the left side of the tank. This leaves the right side a bit more open. I'll plant taller plants in the background, and hope to have a carpet of HC in the middle/front. Maybe have a small rock or two to add a different texture to the tank.

I'm still not sure what to do as far as the fish I want to keep. Iím thinking that the Harlequin Rasboras will be a nice, easy choice. The Mosquito Rasboras are really small, so I could really get a nice school going, but I'm not sure what else to put in the tank with them as they're extremely peaceful. I'm also totally fine with the other fish on my list, as well, if someone suggests a neat combination. Even other suggestions would be cool. Maybe something with a pop of color, like yellow or blue?

I'd also add a species of shrimp to help keep the tank clean. Any issues with the ones I've listed?

Lighting is another point of contention. I'm unsure if the Finnex Planted+ is too intense for such a small tank. I don't want to fry anything with too much light. I could possibly hack the fixture to add a dimmer, which would be really great to add more control to the light level in the tank. But, if I do that, I might be better with trying a DIY route and buying parts to make my own light setup. (Any suggestions on where to buy components and get assembly instructions?)

In any case, any advice would be useful. From setup methods to lighting to dosing fertilizer/CO2, and anything else in between. Any and all help is appreciated!

I'm looking forward to sharing progress! It may be a bit before I get things rolling, but I can't wait to give it a try.
I put a finnex planted plus on a 5.5g. Initially I saw no issues. Two months later I'm seeing small amounts of bba. Very tiny bit on about 5 leaves in my tank. I never had any algae for the 12 months prior to putting this light on with the exception of a one time gsa outbreak that I scraped off and never saw again. It was lit with a 23w cfl positioned horizontally in the stock hood. I have no other issues with any algae. Tank is dosed ei with api co2 Booster as carbon source. Light is about 8-10 inches from sub. I know it's not a ten gallon, just relating my experience with these fixtures on a smaller tank.
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Old Yesterday, 04:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead2fall View Post
Hilde:
I've recently been looking into the metricide route for my non co2 tanks. Tired of paying for commercially branded aquarium products. Isn't metricide 28 the one with surfactants?

Just trying to confirm before I order something.
I don't know. It comes with and extra little of bottle of chemicals that is discarded when using in an aquarium. I have been using it since June 2013. Since my water has no nutrients in it I add liquid kelp to it.

What state and city are you in?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead2fall View Post
I put a finnex planted plus on a 5.5g. Initially I saw no issues. Two months later I'm seeing small amounts of bba.
I at times have BBA crop up in my 29G. Just have 2 Coralife T5NO fixtures over it. Even had it when had with T8 light strips over my tank.
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Old Today, 12:17 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies!

Hilde, thanks for recommending the dry fertilizer. I've read that dry ferts are the best route to go over the long run. I never usually plan for the short-term and want to do what's right for the tank, not just a quick fix. So, I'll definitely look into the dry fert that you recommended. My other idea was to use Flourish and Flourish Excel, but that will probably get expensive.

Dead2fall, thanks to you for sharing your experience with the Planted+ on a smaller tank. It helps to know that it may not overpower the tank and cause an algae outbreak.

After some consideration, I believe having a customizable fixure will be helpful down the road. Even if I deconstruct it and assemble the components into another configuration (or a larger fixture), I believe it will be worth it. My vote is to go for a DIY LED setup and use a driver with a PWM input to dim the LEDs for this setup. I'll likely use an Arduino to do this. Dimming will allow for gradual sunrise and sunset periods. That should keep the fish happier, and look great.

Speaking of looking great, I dropped into an aquarium store while we were out and about, hoping to find some driftwood. We'd never been to that store before, and it's nowhere near our home, so it was a long shot. Sure enough! We found some root-like wood for one side of the tank, and a small stone to set on the other side for additional texture on the bottom. What do you guys think? I may prune the wood a little, but I want to see how it sits with substrate first.

EDIT TO ADD: I've not run into the Metricide before. I assume it's similar to the Excel, just not in a fancy, branded bottle for aquarium use?

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Old Today, 12:32 AM   #11
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Okay, did some reading on the Metricide (glutaraldehyde). Very interesting stuff. It's also a bit dangerous if mishandled, so need to use caution while handling it. But I found a thread detailing its breakdown via metabolic functions into CO2 within plant cells. It's amazing how nature can utilize such chemicals! Though, I'll try to avoid using it, if possible. I may try starting without a CO2 additive and go from there. Adjusting light levels, bioload, etc. may be better methods of controlling CO2 levels than adding a carbon source.
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Old Today, 01:24 AM   #12
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With a bright light you'll most likely need a carbon source.
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