10 Gallon Dorm Tank - 'Struggle' - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow 10 Gallon Dorm Tank - 'Struggle'

Hey everyone! After taking a break from the hobby for a year or so, I'm finally getting back into planted tanks now that I'm somewhat settled into my dorm. How I managed to rack up over 700 posts on this forum since three years ago, I have no idea, but I know for a fact it was time well spent. I wasn't planning on setting anything like this up, but after just seeing the sheer amount of 'stuff' during the packing process that I already have, I figured it'd be a waste not to use it. (It's also a pretty good excuse to spend money).

The tank is just a standard 10 gallon Aqueon has been (somewhat poorly) derimmed, and here's the equipment I'll be using:

-Finnex Fugeray that I bought forever ago, is still working amazingly
-Sunsun 280B canister filter
-Haven't decided on CO2 yet - I've heard that I might be able to get it to work without. If I come across a deal on craigslist, I'll be sure to give it a shot because why not.

As of now, plants are still on their way, so I'm spending the time trying to get the scape just right. Aquascaping is hard and I've never even used stones at all so I'd definitely appreciate any tips or critiques! I ordered some "seiryu stones" (highly doubt they actually are) off of eBay, but they look okay so I think it'll be just fine. To be fair though, I don't know if this is actually 10 pounds, and it's definitely not a lot to work with. This is what it came to after playing around a bit:

(Edit: Google drive images aren't compatible with forum posts?? Idk why I'm failing at this)

I really have no clue what do with the smaller stones. Should I add more substrate (which you can probably tell is ADA Amazonia)? Funny story, I actually got this bag of soil from them a while back as a gift for an order error on their part and haven't gotten around to using it until now. The rock shapes are kinda strange and thus I'm not too happy with the formation - comes off as unnatural, any ideas on what to do? I'm thinking about shifting the cluster on the left over to the right and rotating it additionally to create a more unified appearance.

Plantwise, I'm thinking hemianthus callitrichoides 'cuba' in the foreground and some pockets of staurgyne repens or something in the background. Hopefully there will be shrimp here eventually! Question: should I dry start the s. repens with the hc or wait until the tank is ready for filling to plant?

While digging through my old supplies, I found some root tabs, would it be a good idea to bury some in the with the amazonia? I don't remember ever using any, they must've came from another member on this forum. Thanks for reading, will update soon once I receive the plants!

Last edited by assasin6547; 09-18-2016 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Photo failed to attach
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 07:10 PM
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Can you repost picture

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 08:32 PM
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I like it. We tend look left to right. Id put larger rock on left. Just me though. Id try a little more slope in back left corner. Maybe add a couple smaller rocks to break up outlune a little.

At the end of the day its your tank. So if your happy that all that matters.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redneck tenner View Post
I like it. We tend look left to right. Id put larger rock on left. Just me though. Id try a little more slope in back left corner. Maybe add a couple smaller rocks to break up outlune a little.

At the end of the day its your tank. So if your happy that all that matters.

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Thanks for the kind words! I ended up rearranging it around quite a bit, and I'm still not exactly happy with it, but figured that it'll never be perfect. Using the smaller rocks to round things out definitely helped, so hopefully it's a bit more pleasing to the eye now.


Update: 'Monte Carlo' arrived! First impressions: its leaves are practically microscopic; looks amazing. Love the color too. As soon I was finished with my chemistry exam (weird how they pick Saturday morning of all times), I got busy planting. Planting is a lot more tedious than I remember it being!


Two 2x2 pieces barely ended up being enough, so I had to split everything up as small as I possibly could. It wasn't long before I realized my mistake: I don't have any plastic wrap or a spray bottle. The easier fix for the latter was to use a small water pistol (see below), and let's just say it didn't work amazingly. Nevertheless, I got it done! Currently in the process of seeing if any of the RA's have plastic wrap I can use.


In other news, my roommates aren't exactly happy about my RO/DI system taking up space in the bathroom...

I'm also in search of these plants, so shoot me a PM if anyone's got some for sale! Preferably in one package as that would simplify my life quite a bit, getting too many individual packages lately. Still trying to figure out what I want to put in the far corners for a bit of a background though.
  • 1x1 patch of dwarf hair grass
  • 5-8 stems of staurogyne repens
  • 1x1 (or less) patch of mini fissidens or something of the like
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 10:10 PM
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Looks good. Awesome progress

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-27-2016, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow

Appreciate the comments!

Time for an update, finally. Being bogged down with studies and activities is probably good for my nonexistent patience, and I'm actually noticing lots of new leaves on the 'Monte Carlo,' as well as some root growth from the other plants. Speaking of which, I received not too long ago. Thanks for the fantastic plant pack @Bartohog, they're lovely! Kind of wish I could've gotten some more S. repens stems, but this is fine. The AR mini is beautiful! There's some small pockets of hair grass that I've scattered around the rocks and in the background, really hope they blend in okay.

Here's a picture of plant progress, I'm hoping to be able to flood within the next four weeks or so. A little worried about some parts of the tank being submerged too much, is this a problem? I certainly don't need to slow growth or help propagate mold or anything like that. Meanwhile, I'm trying a few emersed bowls of HC, DHG, and "magic carpet seeds" on the windowsill, but they don't seem to be doing very well, but I'm not sure what the problem is. Might update with a post or something on them later, I was thinking it might be cute to have some various low tech bowls around the dorm, and maybe even one larger bowl with a betta...

My 5lb CO2 tank and extremely cheap af regulator got here in the mail, but I've yet to find time or an easier transportation method to get the cylinder filled. It could potentially help speed up the emersed growth even... I plan to get all that figured out before tests start rolling in (which is soon). Thanks for reading.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-27-2016, 11:15 PM
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It looks good! I've never done high-tech myself so obviously I'm no authority on the subject, but FWIW, I've seen a few times now that there's no point in adding pressurized CO2 to your tank while doing a dry start, as the plants will get plenty from the air, and won't really pull more even if you try to increase the concentration in the tank's atmosphere. I've also never seen anyone try to add pressurized CO2 to a dry start, so doing so is probably not worth your time or money.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-28-2016, 02:56 AM
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Looks really nice hope I remember to check back in a month to see it grow in
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-28-2016, 04:00 PM
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set up is on point. nice job planting the plants. very uniform. i like the water gun idea. def got style.

this tank is set up to grow up to blow up your snap chat.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 06:43 AM
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I like the AR minis!
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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Help

Thanks all for the feedback, really appreciate it! I'm so glad I brought the water pistol lol, but just so everyone knows, it's nowhere NEAR as efficient as a proper spray bottle. As for dry starting, I have a ton of questions that would be fun to learn more about and maybe even do some research/experiments and such!

1. As for CO2 in dry starts, I initially assumed it wouldn't be very necessary, since the plants have plenty of access to it provided there is air circulation, but then I realized that CO2 supplement is still used in some hydroponic/greenhouse/commercial operations? Does that mean that it does have an effect, or doesn't have as much of an effect, or only affects certain plants?? Lots of confusion.

2. Is it possible to grow some aquatic species emersed without high humidity? I'm trying to grow some HC and DHG in open bowls with just wet aqua soil, but it doesn't seem to be doing so well and I am perhaps having some issues narrowing the problem down. Could be lack of light, but could humidity play a factor even though the soil is still really wet at all times?

3. I'm running into some minor issues with fungal infections and I have no idea what to do about it. Google didn't turn up much other than some previous posts about people having the same issue mostly with HC, but there was certainly no consensus on the best course of action. Anyways, in certain areas, this strange spider web like fungus has been making progress killing some monte carlo patches. It seems to spread rather slowly, but surely ends up sucking the life out of all kinds of plant matter and also looks rather creepy with its thin, stringy threads and sticky nature. I know filling up the tank would solve the problem relatively quickly, but the wrench I ordered for my CO2 system isn't here yet and I'm not so sure I want to end the dry start so quickly since things were going okay. However, I must note that spot treatment with rubbing alcohol definitely burns leaves - tried that earlier today. I do believe it will destroy the spores - and it was only applied on nearly destroyed areas, but I'm really hoping I can figure out something else... Don't have anything on hand though which sucks.

Aaaand update on the magic seeds: they have finally actually germinated, much to my surprise, and even though they might not be the most applicable for most aquascaping situations, I still think they have some merit for betta bowls or short term tanks or something. May post pics later. Thanks in advance peeps would love to hear some about experiences with dry starting!


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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-10-2016, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assasin6547 View Post
Thanks all for the feedback, really appreciate it! I'm so glad I brought the water pistol lol, but just so everyone knows, it's nowhere NEAR as efficient as a proper spray bottle. As for dry starting, I have a ton of questions that would be fun to learn more about and maybe even do some research/experiments and such!

1. As for CO2 in dry starts, I initially assumed it wouldn't be very necessary, since the plants have plenty of access to it provided there is air circulation, but then I realized that CO2 supplement is still used in some hydroponic/greenhouse/commercial operations? Does that mean that it does have an effect, or doesn't have as much of an effect, or only affects certain plants?? Lots of confusion.

2. Is it possible to grow some aquatic species emersed without high humidity? I'm trying to grow some HC and DHG in open bowls with just wet aqua soil, but it doesn't seem to be doing so well and I am perhaps having some issues narrowing the problem down. Could be lack of light, but could humidity play a factor even though the soil is still really wet at all times?

3. I'm running into some minor issues with fungal infections and I have no idea what to do about it. Google didn't turn up much other than some previous posts about people having the same issue mostly with HC, but there was certainly no consensus on the best course of action. Anyways, in certain areas, this strange spider web like fungus has been making progress killing some monte carlo patches. It seems to spread rather slowly, but surely ends up sucking the life out of all kinds of plant matter and also looks rather creepy with its thin, stringy threads and sticky nature. I know filling up the tank would solve the problem relatively quickly, but the wrench I ordered for my CO2 system isn't here yet and I'm not so sure I want to end the dry start so quickly since things were going okay. However, I must note that spot treatment with rubbing alcohol definitely burns leaves - tried that earlier today. I do believe it will destroy the spores - and it was only applied on nearly destroyed areas, but I'm really hoping I can figure out something else... Don't have anything on hand though which sucks.

Aaaand update on the magic seeds: they have finally actually germinated, much to my surprise, and even though they might not be the most applicable for most aquascaping situations, I still think they have some merit for betta bowls or short term tanks or something. May post pics later. Thanks in advance peeps would love to hear some about experiences with dry starting!
i would rec dont have it too humid for the dry start. keep the soil wet. as long as the plants can dip into something wet, they are ok. but keep it not too hot and humid in the tank. otherstuff will start developing in there. i sprayed mine twice a day and left a small crack to air out.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Disaster strikes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IntotheWRX View Post
i would rec dont have it too humid for the dry start. keep the soil wet. as long as the plants can dip into something wet, they are ok. but keep it not too hot and humid in the tank. otherstuff will start developing in there. i sprayed mine twice a day and left a small crack to air out.
Hmm, I probably should have left a crack, that was probably my mistake. I didn't I think because I had no easy way to spray consistently as the water pistol is less than ideal. Interestingly enough though, even my completely uncovered and open emersed bowls still have small mold colonies, why?? Perhaps I need to invest in some fungicides that can be diluted and just sprayed on.

Anyways, things were going pretty well after I decided 'f it' and just filled up the tank with some RO as well as old ADA fertilizers... The mold definitely disappeared pretty quickly underwater, but of course, I immediately ran into some other issues. As you can see, however, there are several brown areas that were the result of infection by the fungus.

It looks okay, plants were pearling and all, but it wasn't long before disaster struck... I was unable to find a wrench that was big enough for the nut on the CO2 regulator and found out unfortunately that tightening it by hand doesn't work at all. One day when I returned from dinner, I found it leaking profusely, and there were ice crystals everywhere on the regulator, a bit scary actually. The whole thing was freezing cold too but luckily not that much CO2 had escaped. The wrench I ordered came in today and that promptly fixed the other issue.

With that problem solved of course, something else disastrous had to happen of course. This morning, my Finnex Fugeray light refused to turn on. It didn't take long to confirm that the fixture itself was faulty, somewhere, and with a bit of guidance from customer support and the internet, I realized the power supply board was destroyed. As you can see...

... there are multiple 103 resistors that have been fried, and (not shown, on the other side) there's a capacitor that's dead as well. Plus, the whole thing continuously gave off a burning odor, even when unplugged for a while. This is a bit disappointing, because for such a light I would've expected better craftsmanship, and what's the use of LEDs lasting 40,000 hours when the other components breakdown much faster? They're going to send me a replacement power supply (for $30!!) that I'll have to splice myself, with barely any tools, so hopefully that happens soon (and well). Interestingly enough, I've had a streak of pretty bad luck with various things this past month (including this tank), so I'm wondering if it's the result of bad karma from earlier...

In the meantime, what should I do about the tank not having light for at least the next few days?? I'm a bit concerned, and have noticed a tad of hair algae as well... Thanks for reading!


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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 11:52 PM
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Go to Walmart and get 2 cheap clamp desk lamps and a 3 pack of 5000k 13 watt CFL bulbs. It will cost less than 20 bucks and will hold you over with plenty of light. If you want to be even cheaper you could just return everything when your done haha.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-27-2016, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Welp, I'm in trouble. Time for an update, and I'm afraid it's pretty much all bad news. For the light breakage, I ended up using desk lamps, but unfortunately it seems like there was considerable damage done already by the lack of light... At least I have it fixed as of now. Haven't paid much attention to the tank recently since midterms and all, but that's just how life goes I guess.

The cycle is surprisingly nowhere near completion, water parameters of today are as follows:

kh: 0-1 (question about this, does a low kh mean inefficient/impossible CO2 diffusion? I'm running it at about 1bps during daylight hours, but having read some stuff online has me quite concerned).
pH: 6.4 ish
NH3: 0.5ppm
NO2: 2ppm
NO: 10ppm

ALGAE IS EVERYWHERE. AND ALL TYPES OF IT TOO. There's a ton of cyanobacteria, cladophora, staghorn, diatoms, a little of everything minus BBA. The algae is also pearling like crazy, which is really strange because my plants aren't (anymore) so I suppose it's just thriving. Way to rub it in... Without any H2O2 on hand, I decided to dose a bit of AlgaeFix just to get things under control for the short term. Which might not even work, since the bottle is years old - back from the days when I actually kept plant-less tanks. I realized earlier that my photo-period was actually set to 9 hours, which is way too long and it has since been cut to 7 hours. Would love to add some otos or something, but since the tank isn't cycled yet that clearly isn't an option. Floaters might help too but still, no access.

In an effort to raise the kh, about 2mL of baking soda were added earlier today, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference, even though I'm sure the calculations were right. It should've raised the kh by 2 or 3, at least. Is a low kh even a problem really? I'm just so confused by the whole ph/kh/co2 relationship, might actually ask my professor or somebody about it.

Looks like shrimp aren't going to be happening, anytime soon or ever. I'll be happy with happy plants and maybe a few fish or something. As for pictures, I'd post some but they're all ugly afff


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Last edited by assasin6547; 10-27-2016 at 06:00 AM. Reason: Aghh
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