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Old 02-11-2009, 05:01 PM   #1
CAM6467
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10 Gallon Project - 5,600K & 10,000K


Hey guys. I have been interested in starting a planted aquarium for a little while now, and I have finally rounded up all the essential equipment to begin. Below is a short rundown of the equipment which I will be using on this tank:
  • 10 gallon aquarium.
  • Eheim 2213 canister filter.
  • Marineland Stealth Heater.
  • DIY CO2 Reactor.
  • 2 x 15 Watt flourescent tube lights.
  • Eco Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate.
  • Small loose gravel on top of Eco Substrate.
  • Two small pieces of driftwood and a stone found at my inlaws' land.
I have no photos as of yet, but as soon as I can I plan on getting initial set up pictures posted. The tank is pretty simple right now, as it only have the substrate, heater, and water in it. My canister filter should arrive tomorrow, and my DIY CO2 is in the works. I am in the process of "leaching" the driftwood. This process is, however, quite fruitless, and I am getting frustrated. I know that I can soak them as I have been doing and boil them, but is it ok to simply add activated carbon (charcoal) to my canister filter periodically to remove the tannin from the water?

Well, that's about it thus far. I am a "newby" at this, but I feel that my extensive research will prove very helpful over the long haul. If anybody has any tips or advice for a beginner like myself, I would be very apprectiative. Also, I have created a nice little list of possible flora and fauna which I will post the next time I'm on here. I'm just trying to get some imput from you guys.

I am currently a doctoral student, and my work/school schedule doesn't really give me much time to do this web-based forum interaction. I'll be checking from time to time and posting new things as I can.

Thanks and have a great day!!

Last edited by CAM6467; 09-10-2009 at 04:47 PM.. Reason: Update
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:10 PM   #2
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I've got a few pictures of my tank.

The set up is in our bedroom on top of our taller chest of drawers (dresser).


This is the same front angle, but it's obviously a closer shot.


I needed to purchase a second light housing to go on top of this tank, so I had to do away with the original plastic lid. In order to support the two light housings on top of the tank, I cut two pieces of plexi-glass to fit down into the top of my tank. This worked out perfectly and I still have enough of a gap between the two pieces to get my hand/arm down into the tank. I know...it's ghetto, but it works!


Here's the main reactor chamber for my proposed DIY CO2 reactor. It's a 64 ounce juice bottle with brass fittings serving as the "bulkhead" in the white, plastic cap. I used a liberal amount of aquarium grade silicone to seal up the little gaps around the fittings. I'm not sure if it's going to work yet, but it's ready to rock and roll just as soon as I get my filter going and go to the grocery store for yeast. I put a one-way check valve in the silicone tubing that I decided to use. I have read that typical airline tubing will get brittle over time with CO2 injection, so I decided to go ahead and get silicone...Just in case. I haven't really decided what I'll do for the CO2 diffuser, but I'm leaning on an idea that I picked up from another thread. Somebody simply cut a small hole in their canister filter's water-return line just as it started to curve back down into the tank from the canister. They inserted the silicone airline tubing from their CO2 reactor into the hole and siliconed the insertion point to ensure a seal (i.e. NO LEAKS). I am, however, still undecided. Anybody have any suggestions? DIY would be nice, but I'm also looking for cost effective/efficient here.




And finally, here are some photos of the driftwood accelerated "leaching" process. I have about five good pieces of driftwood which have been accumulated over the past decade of aquarium keeping. I am boiling them to not only remove excess tannins, but also to sanitize them. I doubt that this is going to get rid of ALL the tannin, but I'm hoping that it helps. I'm sure that activated carbon is going to be my best bet, but I am definately open to suggestions.


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Old 02-12-2009, 12:21 AM   #3
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Not sure about charcoal soaking up tannins, so I won't comment on that, although other nutrients you put into the water the charcoal will soak up, so I would stay away from it. Charcoal over time is a great place to house bacteria.

I use clip lights for my 10 Gal. when it's set up, with CFL's at my respective color temp, I like the mode it puts out when people see it.

I drilled a tiny hole into my outflow line of my eheim and it works great, the force of the water chops the bubbles up, I wouldn't trust it in the intake because of cavitation in the pump, and noise.

with anything over 20 watts in a 10 Gal, I've come to realize doesn't do too hot without CO2, just be wary of the stocking level, and how much CO2 ur dumping into the tank. Even with DIY CO2 you can overdo it in a tank that small, be sure to pull the line out of the water at night, or make a good amount of surface agitation.
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:43 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice Sarge. I will most likely have to just deal with some tannin staining of my water for a while. I have heard that it can/will go away with proper water management (i.e. water changes and such). Crystal clear water is nice, but it's not a necessity.

I'll definately follow your method of inserting my CO2 line in my filter's outflow pipe. That is the method that I had been considering, and it's pretty clear that it's the most efficient method for dispersing my CO2 gas without spending any more money or adding any more equipment to my already limited aquarium space.

The only true concern that I have at this point is my lighting. I'm not sure if 30W will be ample to support the type of growth that I am interested in attaining. You mentioned something about "CFL's" and "color temp", but I am admitadly ignorant on the subject of lighting. Could you explain what you mean? Sorry if I'm being dense, but I'm just excited to learn from somebody with real experience here!

As for night time CO2 levels, I guess that I will have to monitor my levels very closely at first. I will remove the line from the aquarium at night if needed.

Well I need to get back to my boiling pot of driftwood. Take care and we'll speak again soon.
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:25 PM   #5
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Carbon soaks up tannis for me! You've got some nice driftwood.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:40 AM   #6
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Well I got my canister filter in today. I immediately began hooking things up and realized that it didn't come with enough vinyl tubing, so I had to run to Ace Hardware to get some. Once home, I hooked all the pieces up and got it going. So far it's working just perfectly.

I have read some threads where people complained about Eheim filters, but I don't understand why. This thing is so simple and efficient. I think that I'm going to have to go with those of you out there who have given these filters so much credit. It's quite, powerful, and small. What more could I ask for?

Anyhow, here are a few pics from today's work...

Here's the box that the canister filter came in.


My DIY CO2 system.


A closer look at the CO2 system with the newly added DIY bubble counter.


My CO2 ingredients.


My tank with newly added Eheim 2213 classic canister filteration system and a couple pieces of my driftwood.


Now it's time to sit back and wait for a few days. I'm going to probably give this system the weekend to cycle. I have a bottle of "Stability - New Tank Stabilization System" which I am going to use to accelerate the process a bit. I am planning on introducing my first plants within the next two weeks, and I'm not certain on what sort of flora I am going to use. Below is a short list of flora which I have seen in other tanks and really like:

For the foreground/carpet type plants:
Eleocharis Parvula (Dwarf Hairgrass) - Although it's been called eleocharis acicularis as well, I'm not sure which is the correct name.
Glossostigma Elatinoides (Glosso)
Hemianthus Callitrichoides (Hemianthus 'Cuba')
Vesicularia Dubyana (Java Moss)
Vesicularia Montagne (Christmas Moss)
Fissidens Fontanus (Phoenix Moss or US Fissidens): This one is probably my favorite of the mosses. I have read about it, and I like the idea of having a moss that stays put and requires less maintenance.

Mid-Sized Plants:
Nanjenshan Rotala (My favorite of this bunch I think.)
Hemianthus Micranthemoides (Pearlweed or Pearl Grass)
Blyxa Japonica
Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern)
Lysimachia Nummularia 'Aurea' (Golden Moneywart or Creeping Jenny)
Bacopa monnieri (Dwarf Bacopa)
Proserpinaca Palustris (Mermaid Weed): I want to add some color other than green to my plant life, and this plant has a gorgeous red tint to hit.

These have caught my eye over the past year from website to website, and I'm interested in knowing a little about these guys. If anybody has helpful information I'd love to hear it!
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:50 AM   #7
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Looking good looking really good.
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Whats this green fuzzy stuff thats growing in my tank.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:41 PM   #8
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Compact flourescent, they have different wattage bulbs you can find these at walmart, homedepot, lowes, etc.

I use the clip lights with adjustable necks as I can focus on one area or raise the light above the water any height I choose. Trust me when I say lighting is a fun DIY, it's all up to your imagination, hang the lights from the cieling, clip them, rest them on the tank, etc. it's all up to you. If you think you can make it or buy it, do it.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:27 AM   #9
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Of course, another person in the hobby in Denton right after I leave!
But off to a good start! As far as plants go, from what I've seen Glosso is the easiest to grow but getting it to form a carpet takes a little patience and a lot of trimming. My personal experience with HC thus far hasn't been pretty, but with the right water parameters and upkeep on trimming and whatnot it shouldn't be to hard. And trust me people around here aren't joking when they say plant it plantlet by plantlet. It's a pain but the plants I planted that way already have spread a decent amount while the one's I planted in bunches don't seem to have grown any. Also I think some Java Fern would look good on that driftwood.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:39 PM   #10
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Thanks a bunch Ramos. I see that you're up in Illinois now. Wow, what a change from Texas! How are you liking your winter so far?!? I'll take your advice and plant each plant at a time. I've heard that it can be a pain, but it's worth it for better results. That's sort of why I chose a 10 gallon to start with. That way if this turns out to be a whole lot of work/upkeep I won't have too much to do!

Also, since you were a Denton resident, I was wondering if you have any advice on a good LFS. I've been going to Fish and Chirps on 380, but they don't usually seem to have anything beyond the standard flora/fauna and I'm not sure if I want to order things through them (Their stock always seems to be dying or ill).

My layout is kind of developing nicely in my head. I'll describe sort of what I'm thinking, and you can use this picture as a guide:


I'm planning on having some Nanjenshan Rotala just to the right of my driftwood, between it and the glass. I'm thinking about placing some "Mermaid Weed" (Proserpinaca Palustris) just behind the driftwood, kind of offset to the left though. To the far left of the tank in the back, I'm planning on placing some sort of broad leaf plant...Maybe a Java Fern (Microsorum Pteropus), who knows? I'm looking for a nice stone to place to the left of the driftwood, but I haven't found one yet. As far as a groudcovering plant, I'm thinking about going with either some Dwarf Hairgrass, some Glosso, or some HC (Hemianthus Callitrichoides). For the driftwood and proposed stone, I want a coverage plant that isn't too hard to maintain. I'm thinking about some Phoenix Moss (Fissidens Fontanus), but I'll go with Java Moss if it comes to it.

I guess the best thing about Fish and Chirps is that atleast one of the staff up there has told me that if I get some Dwarf Hairgrass growing in excess, I could bring my clippings up to sell to them. I'm thinking that, since they have some planted tank guys, they would probably buy whatever clipping I bring so long as they're healthy.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:01 AM   #11
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Yeah winter up here is cold but its not a humid cold like down there so its much more bearable. As far as LFS' go, I found Fish & Chirps to be the best local one, at least for personability. Every so often they have something unique, and they tend to keep the best care of their fish in the area. I can say for a fact that I never lost a fish I purchased there! But the staff is their highlight they are always more than helpful. Other than that I think you're stuck to the Petland & Petco on 288
If you don't mind venturing a little bit there is a Petland on 3040/Round Grove in Lewisville that usually has a healthy supply of plants, albeit they usually only have run of the mill plants every so often they'll have something thats a little harder to find. Other than that you could go into Carrollton, there are a couple of privately owned places there that have some decent stuff, the names aren't coming to me though.
OH and check a place in Garland called Botiquite Pet Shop & Aquarium. It's a bit far but it's got a huge selection and a knowledgeable staff.
What part of Denton are you at? Going to school there?
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:31 AM   #12
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Yeah, my first experience with a "real" LFS was Boutique Pet Shop in Dallas. I really enjoyed those first three or four years of my aquarium life. They sold me a tiny peacock bass (cichlid) for real cheap and it grew to be two feet before it outgrew my tank and I sold it back to them. That place has EVERYTHING, and the staff actually is quite knowledgeable. Right now, I'm relying mostly on this site for my purchases. I just bought some nanjenshan rotala off a guy out of state. I sure hope it gets here alive, but I'll take that chance just to stay out of Petsmart or Petco. I broke down and went to Petsmart today with my wife to get a CO2 diffuser (cheapo, "just for now" thing). While I was there I saw some "Peacock Fern" that looked pretty cool and bought it. Low and behold, it's not even a true aquatic plant. I guess we'll see how it does though. It just rubs me the wrong way when you ask the folks in the FISH department if a plant being sold in the FISH department is meant to be fully submerged and they have no real answer for you. I guess it was a $4.00 lesson well learned.
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Old 02-15-2009, 03:20 AM   #13
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I just bought some nanjenshan rotala and dwarf hairgrass here on the site. They'll be mailed Tuesday and I'll hopefully get them by Friday at the lastest. I'm going to have to find some ferts to use for this plant to make sure it grows in strong.

Any advice on testing kits to use. I need one to test Kh, Gh, pH, CO2 levels, etc. I'm not very clear on all the water parameters I'm supposed to keep on top of. I NEED HELP! ha ha. Any good advice or sites that could let me know where I need to keep things?

Any good advice on ferts to use? Solids or liquids?

I'm currently using a typical ceramic airstone style diffuser on my DIY CO2 system. I see a steady stream of tiny/fine bubbles floating up out of the thing, but I don't really think that I'm getting much benefit from this. Should I invest in a quality glass/ceramic CO2 diffuser? Also, how do I monitor the CO2 levels accurately. Perhaps one of those nice, glass drop counters??

Thanks for the advice everybody...
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:03 PM   #14
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Nice to see another person on here that is close. I know what you mean about Fish and Chirp's. I really like thier staff, although I haven't been over there in awhile. I haven't found a LFS that I am totally happy with. I can't give you any advise on the high tech set ups, but depending on what you are looking for fish wise PM me and I will see if I can help out any.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:55 PM   #15
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I just got some photos taken of the tank as it is currently. My wife and I went to her parents' house this weekend and went walking around their property. I found a nice little rock for the tank, and I just put it in the tank. Here the newest pic...



I've ordered some nanjenshan rotala, xmas moss, and some dwarf hairgrass for the tank. They should be in by this Friday. I'm hoping to find some information on dry fertilizers soon, and I'm working on getting ahold of a nice CO2 diffuser. This tank is coming right along. I'm anxious to get the new plants in there and see what the next few weeks worth of growth have in store. After I let this tank grow a bit I'll start making some decisions about fauna.
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