10g Low Tech Iwagumi - First Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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10g Low Tech Iwagumi - First Tank

Hi, all. This is my first planted tank and my first time keeping fish in 15 years or so. After stumbling across some images and videos online, I jumped in blindly and my wife and I decided to set up a tank.

Equipment
Tank: 10g Marineland (from kit)
Light: CurrentUSA Satellite Plus Pro 18-24"
Filter: Sunsun HW-603B
Heater: Hydor 200W inline heater

Hardscape and Plants
Rocks collected from a hike
Aquarium sand
Caribsea FloraMax black substrate
Amazon Sword (echinodorus amazonicus)
Madagascar Lace (aponogeton madagascariensis)
Rotala Indica
Alternanthera Reineckii 'mini'
Cryptocoryne Wendtii "red"
Red Dwarf Lily (nymphaea stellata)
Dwarf Hairgrass

Fish
5 leopard danio (danio rerio)
2 chili rasbora
1 dwarf gourami

CURRENT TANK PHOTO, 12 NOV 2017:



We decided to go for a relatively simple, low-tech Iwagumi-ish layout. Not exactly sure if that's the right description. After setting up the tank and letting it be for a few days, I realized a couple things. First, I definitely should have rinsed the substrate. Woops. The water is still cloudy 10 days later (see last photo), but that could be from any number of mistakes I made along the way or just a low-quality filter. Second, my plants started to yellow after a few days and I realized I needed to replace the kit light with something brighter and of the right color temperature. The Current light has been installed for a couple days but it’s yet to be seen if the plants will bounce back. The first two photos are from the day of the setup. The third photo is from today (9/14/2017).

Since we jumped in blind, we had no idea how involved this could be. For the plants, all we have is API CO2 booster and some Aqueon plant food. I’m currently doing some poking around to find good rules of thumb for types of fertilizers or other things to add to the water for the plants. I’ll also be doing a water change this weekend.

We’re mostly after an aesthetically pleasing tank and having some fun with plants. It’s like a little living sculpture. Feedback is always welcome.







Cheers!
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Last edited by architect; 11-13-2017 at 02:06 AM. Reason: Changing current photo, updating plant list
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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I decided to try out a canister filter for this tank because I wasn't satisfied with the filtration from the Marineland HOB filter from the kit. The ultimate goal is to get better filtration and reduce the amount of visual clutter in the tank. Before I dropped a ton of cash on any equipment I decided to try out the Sunsun HW-603B with some cheap Ebay lily pipes. I broke one of the cheap lily pipes and I don't like that they only had one suction cup meaning they don't want to stay vertical, so I ordered replacement cheap lily pipes with two suction cups.

After running this setup for about a week, the water clarity is a lot better. Once my inline heater and new lily pipes arrive, the visual clutter in the tank will be at a minimum. The circular current around the tank works very well for clearing debris, and the danios seem to like it quite a bit.

As a side note, the danios have gained a lot of color since I brought them home from the store. The males are a great gold color, and the female's have a bit more silver or bluish iridescence.



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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Added 2 sewellia lineolata (reticulated hillstream loaches) to the tank last night to take care of some scavenging duties and if they decide to go for it, the small amount of algae currently in the tank. As they are hillstream loaches, they should appreciate the cooler temps in my tank and the decent water movement from the filter. They're beautiful fish, but I've heard they can be a bit finnicky with water quality.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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My Hydor heater and new lily pipes arrived and I made the switch over to clear hose from my LFS. Tank clutter is now at a minimum. At some point, I'll build a stand for the tank with a power strip inside to contain all of the filtration components and aquarium supplies.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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Couple of new plants today because it seemed like the tank needed some additional biomass along with some added height at the rear of the tank. Added some java fern windelov, an additional amazon sword, and then some algae in the form of a marimo moss ball that my wife has been wanting me to add since she saw one at the store when we first bought the tank. I'd love to add some bronze crypto back there as well to play off the color of the hardscape.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-01-2017, 04:12 AM
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You tank is just spotless. I really like the separation of the sand vs plant substrate - excited to see everything grow in!


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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My LFS had an 18th anniversary sale this weekend so I decided to head in and grab a couple things I needed. First was the API liquid test kit. Also picked up a couple new plants: a nymphaea stellata and aponogeton madagascariensis. My tank is now much more full than the sparse iwagumi layout I had originally planned, but I figure itís my first tank, so I may as well get the plants I like and see how it goes.

When I first started this tank, I really knew nothing about cycling. I was lucky that my fish have been hardy (as danios tend to be), as I have been doing frequent water changes and using Stress Coat and Quick Start to keep the nitrates and ammonia down. As of Saturday though, things changed for the better. I tested, and nitrites and nitrates were way down. Ammonia was less than .25ppm. Same results yesterday and a little better this morning. The plants have seemed really happy and have started pearling and regularly releasing oxygen the entire time that the light is on. Fish seem to be doing better as well. Note to self: fishless cycle and much more frequent testing for the next tank.

The rhizomes of the lily and madagascar were both packed tightly into the tanks at the LFS (they had stocked up for the big sale) and were throwing out super leggy stems. It will take a bit of time for me to trim back the older growth and get the new growth a bit more compact.

Below you can see pearling on my dwarf hairgrass and a shot of the full tank as it is today.



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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 05:57 PM
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That's a nice layout especially for your first setup.

In terms of plant care your really offering very little. They essentially have light and very little of anything else. Plants need light, co2 and ferts just like the grass outside. In the water there is very little co2 and some plants can get by with small amounts others need more.

The dwarf hairgrass I doubt if it will survive. The "pearling" you seeing is probably just o2 form the tap after a water change of if you trimmed them.

Its planted in inert substrate without co2 or fertilizer that provides both macro/micro. If you want to grow a thick foreground carpet of hairgrass and grow a wider selection of plants a co2 system will give you the most bank of your buck.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
That's a nice layout especially for your first setup.

In terms of plant care your really offering very little. They essentially have light and very little of anything else. Plants need light, co2 and ferts just like the grass outside. In the water there is very little co2 and some plants can get by with small amounts others need more.

The dwarf hairgrass I doubt if it will survive. The "pearling" you seeing is probably just o2 form the tap after a water change of if you trimmed them.

Its planted in inert substrate without co2 or fertilizer that provides both macro/micro. If you want to grow a thick foreground carpet of hairgrass and grow a wider selection of plants a co2 system will give you the most bank of your buck.
I'm not experienced, so you are most likely right about all of that. Couple of questions based on your comments:

  1. The substrate is FloraMax, which is not inert. It contains "magnesium, calcium, potassium and other elements". Isn't inert substrate something like sand and gravel?
  2. For ferts, I'm dosing macros/micros in one with Aqueon plant food, though I have a bottle of Thrive+ incoming to replace it. I've recently added Flourish Iron as well. What are you suggesting I do differently?

My current dosing schedule:
  • Mon - CO2 booster, Flourish Iron
  • Tue - CO2 booster, Flourish Iron
  • Wed - CO2 booster, Thrive+
  • Thu - CO2 booster
  • Fri - CO2 booster, Thrive+
  • Sat - Water change, C02 booster
  • Sun - CO2 booster, Thrive+

I understand that the hairgrass may not carpet without addition of true C02, but none of the plants have died yet. Seeing as the madagascar lace was listed as intermediate/difficult depending on where you get it, I don't expect it to do well in my low tech setup, but I'm staying optimistic and trying to give it what it needs.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 06:53 PM
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This is very good for a first time setup. I think your dosing regime is fine. Consistency is key. If your getting good results, keep doing what your doing. It has only been about a month (If the post dates are accurate) so you plants are still acclimating. I would expect to see some nice growth pretty soon.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
  1. The substrate is FloraMax, which is not inert. It contains "magnesium, calcium, potassium and other elements". Isn't inert substrate something like sand and gravel?
  2. For ferts, I'm dosing macros/micros in one with Aqueon plant food, though I have a bottle of Thrive+ incoming to replace it. I've recently added Flourish Iron as well. What are you suggesting I do differently?
The FloraMax yes it contains those elements in it's structure, but it's really not that accessible to the plants. Same with eco-complete, florite etc. Even if you were getting those you would still be lacking N and P the two vital macro nutrients. In low tech tanks people get these sometimes from fish waste and food, but your limited to light intensity and type of plants that type of system will satisfy.

The Aqueon is mostly micros. I don't believe there is N or P in it, but your getting the Thrive anyway which will have everything. For your system you don't need a dedicated Iron product. Whatever is in the Thrive will be enough.

I think your light is pretty strong for a co2-less system so if your running them more than 6 hours that's probably going to be a problem, especially since it's a no startup. Best thing you could do is keep up with weekly water changes (keeps organic levels low- this causes algae), use the co2 booster (better than nothing) and try to put in more easy grow plants that will uptake nutrients and keep the water clean.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
The Aqueon is mostly micros. I don't believe there is N or P in it, but your getting the Thrive anyway which will have everything. For your system you don't need a dedicated Iron product. Whatever is in the Thrive will be enough.

I think your light is pretty strong for a co2-less system so if your running them more than 6 hours that's probably going to be a problem, especially since it's a no startup. Best thing you could do is keep up with weekly water changes (keeps organic levels low- this causes algae), use the co2 booster (better than nothing) and try to put in more easy grow plants that will uptake nutrients and keep the water clean.
Okay, I'm with you now. I'll stick with the Thrive+ when it gets here. The light is pretty strong. As you can see in the most recent photo, there is a small amount of algae growth on the rocks. I think I have the light on for 7 hours right now. With the Satellite+ Pro, I can either adjust the intensity of the light, or the duration. I think I'll eventually back it down to about 6 hours depending on the algae. It hasn't changed in a week, so I'm hopeful that since the cycle is now complete, things will stay balanced I'll have to keep an eye out when I switch ferts though.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 08:27 PM
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Just so you know the algae spores are there, but you don't see them even at startup. It's excessive light and organics that bring them out. So if your seeing algae the process has already started. At startup with good light best to run very short light cycle (4-5 hrs) and consistently change water to keep these in check. The stronger the light the tougher it is. Co2 allows the plants to assist in this by growing faster and increasing their uptake of decomposing organics.

Just saying....

If the algae gets worse, it was set in motion much earlier on. It's a learning experience either way, everyone goes through it.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Added a dwarf gourami last night. Can't wait till he colors up more, but I'll have to find the right food mix for everyone in the tank.



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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-27-2017, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Added a a couple new plants yesterday. I've been wanting to add some red wendtii as a midground plant for a while and then when I was at the LFS, I saw some rotala indica and decided to grab some of that as well. I planted the rotala as a clump in the back, though I imagine I'll either replant it wider, or just spread out the cuttings as it grows.



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