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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-10-2020, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quag's 10 Gallon Standard

It was time for me to scratch my itch and run CO2 again, so I broke out my collection of miscellaneous aquarium goods and pieced together enough to determine I could set up a standard 10 gallon tank with minimal extra expenses.

Tank: Brand new 10 standard gallon 20"L x 10"W x 12"T - actual water volume 35L measured by exact weight during initial fill + top off.
Filter: Eheim 2213 with Fluval intake skimmer.
CO2: RedSea Paintball CO2 Kit into an Ista inline reactor - Will target 1.1 - 1.3 drop in pH.
Lighting: DIY hood with 2 x 23 watt compact fluorescent bulbs mounted horizontally. I am planning to add some LED's mostly for some blue's and red's + whatever extra PAR that will give me.
Source Water: RO water with 55% weekly water changes. 35ppm Ca (Ca Gluconate + CaSO4 + CaCl2), 12.5ppm Mg, 1.0 dKH based off 19.5L. pH is still settling out / calibration was not the greatest on my pH pen = 7.3 degassed but it's likely 7.1 or so from previous experience. I will target 6.0 from CO2 to start.
Fertilizer: 10ppm NO3, 3ppm PO4, 15ppm K front loaded based off 35L - Will likely mix up some micros with the latest recipe and dose 3x weekly at 1/2 strength.

Current plants:

Crypt Flamingo
Crypt lutea 'Hobbit'
Rotala macrandra
Rotala Wallichii
Mermaid Weed
Ludwigia glandulosa
Ludwigia Super Red Mini
Ludwigia ovalis
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
Hygro Poly Sunset (on the chopping block)

Future Flora Wishes:

Cabomba pulcherrima 'Purple'
Cabomba furcata red 'Red'

Stocking "Plan":

Chili rasboras x 10 or 15
Oto cats x 3 or 4
Amano Shrimp x 4
Neo shrimp colony (most likely yellow or blue rhili / carbon rhili, not sure yet)

As to substrate, I went with something completely new to me that I've always wanted to try, just never had "the right" tank to try it on. Lawn Top-Dressing Soil + Calcined Montmorillonite Clay + Sand capped with coal slag. I used a mix to achieve a physical structure of my liking. 3/4" - 1.0" of soil capped with an equal amount of coal slag.

Empty tank:

Here is the soil after initial wetting with a sprinkle of NPK + micros 12 month slow release formula:

Still lots of lumps / wood, so I strained + soaked in a pail and skimmed off the surface floaties:

Added the Calcined Montmorillonite Clay to give it's CEC a pre-charge, left out in the sun to begin mineralization:

Back into the pail for another soak:

I repeated this 3 or 4 times, soaking and then baking in the sun, removing any large material I could find during each step.

Finished product with sand added to reach the structure I liked, and dumped into the tank:

Spread out evenly:

Moved away from the visible edges of the tank:

Capped with coal slag:

RO water checks out as good:

Filling the tank VERY slowly:

Initial planting, the bubbles on the front glass are from a water change I performed just before taking this photo:

Filter + Reactor setup:

Tank has been running for 4 weeks now, none of which the CO2 was running. Ammonia was present at 0.25ppm pre-water change, so not as much as I had expected. I will monitor this before getting into livestock, I haven't been testing for 2 weeks now. I'm planning on getting the plants thriving and a good routine down before buying animals for this tank. Hopefully it will keep me occupied while I save up / plan for the main display tank

That's all for now, CO2 is up and running, initial plants are looking good / pearling, a few more weeks and I should get an idea of how this tank will play out!

"No Ice? Just Freeze Some Water"

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