10 gal freshwater mayhem - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-24-2019, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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10 gal freshwater mayhem

Not sure how to check how large my post is. If I did this wrong, please tell me so I can fix it!
Ok, so here's what I got:
10 gallon tank recently rescaped. New specs:

Low tech tank.
Aquaclear 20 with 2 sponge filters and 1 bag of bio media. I also have a sponge over the filter intake to help decrease clogging and protect animals.
Aqueon adjustable 50W heater. It's currently running around 74-75 degrees F
Cheap imagitarium air pump with an adjustable airflow valve. This can double as a sponge filter if needed as I have the attachment for it.
Light: Current Satellite Freshwater LED plus - does give me 5500 lumen. I had accidently bought a current satellite freshwater LED. I'm going to try to find a plug for it so that I have lighting front and back of aquarium. My glass lid has a black hinge right in middle and can make the lighting a bit uneven.
My tank is also placed next to an east window and does get some sunlight in morning. I may lower blinds a bit more as days get longer.
pH - 7.4 - 7.6. Due to the rock I just got, I am going to look into emergency measures on how to decrease pH if it goes higher.
Phosphorus - .25
KH - 4
GH - 9
Nitrates tend to be between 5-10.
Ammonia tends to be between .25-.5 - part of this is the tank is still relatively new (about 7 weeks old). Also, my water tends to run higher in ammonia at around .5. I use seachem prime, which can give a higher false reading. I've also only recently added more sponge media to increase bacterial growth within the last 2 weeks. Free ammonia, when checked with seachem's test tends to be below .2. I also will assess it with a calculator I found online. But I'm hoping the plants will help to also keep the ammonia down.
CO2 meter (fluval indicator) has been running consistently at - CO2.

Substrate - base is Seachem flourite black and regular flourite. there's more flourite black because that one was not as dusty. Most of top layer is seachem flourite sand due to loaches.

Plants:
Amazon sword. I believe it is echinodorus amazonicus. Sorry for the sideways view. It's in the back now. Also I am working on a solution for the algae.


Aponogeton boivinianus - same for this. I'm researching algae, algae types, and how to combat it



Ceratophyllum demersum aka Hornwort - I am floating this.


Nymphoides aquatica - I just got this yesterday (2/23) and so far so good!


Java moss

Marimo balls - my marimo balls are in a bit of a sad state. I had 3 large ones and I split 2 of them. so they're a bit raggedy.

Decorations: aquarium safe Tardis - the loaches love hanging out in Sexy. Naturally all 4 can fit because it's bigger on the inside

Pagoda rock - I just purchased this and found out it can increase pH slightly. I'm going to be monitoring pH more closely in next few weeks

sea glass

Fish:
4 Java loaches (Pangio oblonga)
3 Nerite snails - horned, tiger, and olive
unknown number of small malaysian trumpet snails
6 dwarf golden barbs (Pethia gelius) - these were added this past weekend.

As of right now, my biggest problem is algae. I believe I get hair algae, brown algae, spot algae. The snails do decent job on the glass and sometimes hit the plants. They also lay eggs constantly on glass and plants. (Nerite eggs won't reproduce in my tank since I have no salt due to loaches).

My thoughts:
I'm still trying to figure out the best liquid fert setup. I used my last 2 root tabs when I changed substrate and plan to get more. I currently use API leaf zone and Seachem flourish comp. I usually dose once a week for full amount but am considering trying to do smaller, drop amounts throughout the week. I'm not sure yet. I do PWC anyway from 25-40% weekly though it's been a bit erratic lately due to having to dose the tank with general cure for the loach. He had skinny disease but he survived and has recovered beautifully. I also wonder if the barbs are going to spawn soon. I think they are showing spawning behavior. I don't plan to have a seperate breeder area at this point simply due to stocking of tank and just trying to figure out how my tank works., If eggs get eaten, that's nature.
The plan today is to figure out how to get the java moss to stay on the pagoda rocks to encourage them to root onto the rock. I'm going to look into getting the super glue gel or some cotton thread. I'm leading towards the gel only because I think it will be easier for me to do.

Last edited by chi1013; 03-02-2019 at 04:31 PM. Reason: shorten title
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Well I did the rescape on Saturday. Yesterday I check Ammonia and it wasn't too bad, like .25.

Today I check all water parameters:
Ammonia: .5 ppm
nitrite: .5 ppm
nitrate: 10 ppm
pH 7.4
temperature 75 degrees
GH 9
KH 4
Phosphates somewhere between 0-.25.

Not sure why I'm having a nitrite spike. I ran the test again to make sure and it was at .5. I double dosed prime to handle the .5 ammonia and .5 nitrite. Numbers for the "big 3" are still the same tonight.

I had hornwort in that was shedding a bit but I took that all out. I didn't really like the look. I'm not sure why I'm spiking. I didn't touch any of the filter media during my rescape. I kept the media in the rest of the bucket of tank water to make sure it wouldn't dry out. I didn't clean the filter this week because of the sponge I have over the intake. There's a lot less goop inside the filter tubing.
All fish and snails are alive and accounted for. I haven't been overfeeding I think becaues there doesn't seem to be much left in the morning once the loaches get through the night with the food. I've had this load of fish for at least one week, maybe 1.5 weeks. Otherwise, I got nothing. All fish seem ok, eating, swimming around. there may be some flashing of golden dwarf barbs but I see no signs of ich. the water current is as slow as I can make it for them but they seem to be doing ok with it.

I dunno. Unless I'm going through a mini cycle but I didn't think it would happen this late after getting the fish. Could glueing the moss to the rocks have done it? I used super glue gel type. Plants still look alive. no melt or mush or significantly drooping leaves. In fact the nerites are starting to get some of the algae on the amazon sword (FINALLY).

Right now I wait and see and keep testing and hope it goes down I guess
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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growing pains and increased nitrite

Yesterday I continued to have increased nitrite. I did a 30% water change last night and cleaned my prefilter sponge, hoping to get rid of some of the increased plant matter and any wasted food. Retesting after about an hour, still gave me about .5 nitrites. my nitrate may have been closer to 20 but I'm not having significant algae throughout the tank. ammonia was at .5.
As of this morning:
Ammonia .5
Nitrite .5
Nitrates between 10-20
pH 7.4
temp 75 degrees.

I did a water change and added a regular dose of prime to the new water. I should have approx 2x the dose in theas I added one dose prime yesterday morning.
The fish seem relatively active. barbs are chase each other. loaches are doing donuts. nerites are eating algae and laying eggs.

I'm not sure where the nitrite spike came from. Only thing I can think of is when I changed my substrate if there was more bacteria in the substrate than I thought. I've ordered fritz zyme 7 as I was told it's pretty good. Does anyone have any experience with it?

I have stability but I've heard mixewd reviews. Either way, I figure it can't hurt.

I also have to figure out this plant issue. my A. boivinianus seems to be doing ok. I'm waiting for a plant wait to help keep the bulb in the ground until it gets established.
My amazon sword is not looking great. there's algae on it but growth isn't good. Any suggestions on what's going on?
Click link to see large pic. It's in a public album in my google photos.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/SzT3MmLSQskCPWoz6



same with my banana plant. I'm seeing some breakdown in the leaves. just little patches.




my fert system I just started trying is API leaf zone 5-6 drops MWF; Seachem flourish comp 5-6 drops TThS. Sunday is rest day. I have 2 api root tabs in substrate and need to get more tabs.

Otherwise, I'm not sure what to do besides wait it out. Any suggestions would be super helpful
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 03:03 PM
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I appreciate the TARDIS being called by her proper name

When you say you re-did the substrate, did you take it all out or just cap it with something else? Disturbing the substrate can cause organic waste to kick up and cause spikes. Also, the substrate is one of the main places where beneficial bacteria accumulate so removing it all at once can cause issues even though you didn't touch your filter. What fish were in the tank before the rescape? If you added fish after messing with the substrate that could compound the issue.

I've used super glue for moss and as long as it was fully dry before putting it back in the tank I had no issue.

As far as algae goes I've had good luck with spot treating individual plants with excel. I usually take a syringe and dilute the recommended amount of Excel in tank water and use the syringe to squirt the mixture directly on the offending algae. I wouldn't mess with this until your water parameters are more stable though.

Are you injecting CO2? I'm not too sure why you would need a CO2 indicator unless you are adding additional CO2.

How long are your lights on during the day? Reducing the photoperiod can help keep algae under control. I can't speak on the intensity of the light on that size tank and low-tech set-up, but perhaps one of the more experienced folks can help with that.

I've not used Leaf Zone, but I feel like there are better ferts out there that are more complete and useful in low-tech set-ups than leaf zone and flourish. You may be dealing with nutrient deficiencies with your plants as well, but once again someone with more experience than me would be more helpful with that.

I hope that helped a little!

Last edited by LadyWonkyMcJankeypants; 02-27-2019 at 03:05 PM. Reason: adding
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Lady,

so I took the substrate out completely. In doing my research and learning about fish tanks, I had read that the majority of the beneficial bacteria is in the filter. That there is not much in the tank itself. I figured I would be ok to take out the substrate and replace it to promote improved plant growth and therefore help my cycle. Clearly I was totally wrong. So that makes a lot more sense as to why I'm having a spike. other than replacing the substrate and adding the pagoda rocks, nothing else has been done. no new fish have been added either.

I'm holding off on excel to see if I can get the tank to equalize as well. I'm hoping the snails start doing a better job on those leaves! But I don't plan to do anything until I get these numbers under control.

I had gotten the CO2 monitor to see if I was having any increase in CO2 in the morning since all I run is the HOB filter. It was more to make sure that my water was circulating ok and my fish weren't having issues with low O2.

Lights are on for about 10-12 hours a day.

I saw on a forum that using flourish and leaf zone as a fertilizer group is good. flourish comp has a bunch of trace nutrients and some of the macro nutrients. It has smaller amounts of those nutrients that you expect to get from fish and food waste. leaf zone has the iron and extra potassium that comp doesn't have. So I figured it made sense to try it out.

Thanks for the reply! Here's hoping my fish survive this bump in the road
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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feeling like a bad fish mama

I tell ya, some days I wonder why I got into this.

Did a pretty good water change and tank clean last night. 40-50% change of 10 gal tank. it was a filter cleaning week, gently squeezed out sponges, cleaned algae off glass, rinsed rocks and TARDIS in dirty tank water, the works.
Yesterdays numbers before change:
Ammonia .5
nitrite 2.0
nitrate 10-20

This morning:
Ammonia .25
nitrite 2.0
nitrate 40.
phopates .25
pH 7.4
GH 9
KH 4

Like when I first cycled the tank, I never got nitrite or nitrate numbers like that. I don't know why my nitrites have doubled. I know my tap water has nitrites but this is first time it's actually reflected that.
I just got Fritzyme 7 and put some in. I hope that will continue to jumpstart the bacteria process. I've been at 1-2 nitrites since 2/26. But nitrate just bumped to 40 like last 2 days. Last night when I cleaned the tank I did a sand/gravel vac too. I don't know what else to do. Do I do another water change? Nitrites never seem to go down? Should I wait and just add prime as needed? I added prime in to the water I changed last night so I should about 1 dose in there. Should I add another dose of prime so it is 2x the amount to counteract the nitrite?
I'm doing my best to try to research this but it's hard to figure out what is bad vs what is good. I'm still waiting on access to the planted tank guide to see if there is anything in there that can help me. I would prefer to have some books on it but I haven't had much luck in finding any books to help with troubleshooting.
Any recommendations on how to further understand the water chemistry would be helpful. I feel like I'm missing something. Otherwise, is there something I can do now to help my fish? All are alive and moving but I'm trying to be proactive.

thanks all

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-02-2019, 05:04 PM
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I'm a newbie myself and read a lot on the aquarium subject. lol and it can get pretty confusing and I've not even gone in depth on any particular subject as of yet so...

maybe your still cycling, idk
BUT as far as your question of Prime I found this: "A: Prime® will bind up those compounds for up to 48 hours. If they are still present after that time frame, they are released back into the water, unless Prime® is re-dosed accordingly. Also, if your ammonia or nitrite levels are increasing within a 24-hour period, Prime® can be re-dosed every 24 hours"

"Re: overdosing prime

Hey grelot,

Thanks for posting. Your nitrites in your tank should be covered with a single dose (since you said you have about 1-1.2 ppm), but it should be safe to double dose it... At that level, you do not need to dose 5 times the amount. ... "

try google seachem prime dosage, it seems Seachem has a forum of their product usage

There's also Beneficial Bacteria additives for the aquarium, I've used a couple one at startup of a new aquarium and another in the form of a bb ball to jump start a new cannister filter with biomedia. I can't vouch if it works as I've not done used them in an experimental way but just added them for what they are claimed to be/do.

Last edited by Pocho; 03-02-2019 at 05:33 PM. Reason: added words/sentences
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocho View Post
try google seachem prime dosage, it seems Seachem has a forum of their product usage
Pocho, believe me I have been using Prime like a champ. Seachem has a great customer service and I have called them many times for help. Their forums are great too but take a little longer for a response. I think prime is the only reason my fish are still alive and swimming!

Edit: when i hit "go advanced" it keep adding the bump to this post. ??????

Edit x2: so it combined the 2 posts????? whatever. here's my update!

Quick update before I go to work:
Started new tank, more on that later. fishless cycle right now and for a Betta I eventually wanna get.

For the 10 gallon, somehow all fish are still alive and kicking.

Did another ~50% water change last night and did not feed fish.
Numbers:
Ammonia: 0-.25 (!!!)
Nitrite: 1-2 (??? see below)
Nitrate: 5-10 (prolly from all the water changes)
pH 7.0 (again prolly from all the water changes)
temp: 74-76 (this I'm annoyed with)

With nitrite, it's hard to tell because it's a lighter purple but lighter than 2.0. But there's not a lot of blueish like the .25 trends towards. So I'm not quite sure and being conservative.
temp: this is pissing me off. I went from glass thermometer to LCD strip because LFS guy said that was better. LCD is on glass away from all light/heat sources. It's saying like darker blue 74, lighter blue 76, reddish 78. But when I use a digital thermometer, I get 74.3. Originally everything else was saying 75-76ish! So I have no idea what my heat has really been in the tank. my aqueon 50W is not calibrated right and it's driving me nuts. I'm considering getting one of those temp probes or something but can't spend the money right now since I bought the setup for the new tank. any suggestions on what works for you all?

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Last edited by chi1013; 03-04-2019 at 12:15 PM. Reason: somehow this got bumped? Not what I meant to do.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 02:39 PM
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again, my newbieness led me to read more on Nitrite:

"What causes high nitrite levels?

Does your tank feature any of the following?

Over feeding
A sudden buildup of waste
No nitrifying bacteria in the filter
Weak filtration
Overstocked aquarium

If so, your tank is at a high risk of elevated nitrite levels."

another find: "Ammonia is the most significant dissolved waste in an aquarium. It is produced by fish wastes, rotting leftover food, and decomposing plant matter. The bacteria in your biofilter convert ammonia first into nitrite and then into nitrate. While ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic to fish, nitrate is much less so."

do we have enough bb to convert ammonia to nitrite and more so in your example of having enough bb to convert your nitrite into nitrate, maybe a spike? and it seems your bb is producing Nitrates since you have it after/prior to a water change?
or maybe your test kit is shot?
Maybe there's a seasoned aquarists that has the knowledge of other things that could cause higher Nitrites in the water parameters or something? Maybe ph, gh/kh, temperature plays a role/or adds to Nitrite or the lack of converting to Nitrate?
Plant supplements?

what a Hobby if you like to figure things out, it keeps the mind going.

Last edited by Pocho; 03-04-2019 at 03:19 PM. Reason: added more wordings
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocho View Post
again, my newbieness led me to read more on Nitrite:

"What causes high nitrite levels?

Does your tank feature any of the following?

Over feeding
A sudden buildup of waste
No nitrifying bacteria in the filter
Weak filtration
Overstocked aquarium

If so, your tank is at a high risk of elevated nitrite levels."

another find: "Ammonia is the most significant dissolved waste in an aquarium. It is produced by fish wastes, rotting leftover food, and decomposing plant matter. The bacteria in your biofilter convert ammonia first into nitrite and then into nitrate. While ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic to fish, nitrate is much less so."

do we have enough bb to convert ammonia to nitrite and more so in your example of having enough bb to convert your nitrite into nitrate, maybe a spike? and it seems your bb is producing Nitrates since you have it after/prior to a water change?
or maybe your test kit is shot?
Maybe there's a seasoned aquarists that has the knowledge of other things that could cause higher Nitrites in the water parameters or something? Maybe ph, gh/kh, temperature plays a role/or adds to Nitrite or the lack of converting to Nitrate?
Plant supplements?

what a Hobby if you like to figure things out, it keeps the mind going.
It really works on problem solving, I'll give you that!

I think it was a combo of different things. When I first started, I didn't really know about cycling, just that I had to test for this stuff. Suddenly I was reading up about the nitrogen cycle and going omg what did I do. I thought I had (eventually) cycled the tank though I never really went through a nitrite spike. This can happen, from what I've read.

Then, I rescaped my tank. The most important thing was I took out all the substrate and replaced it. I did nothing to the filter but clean it the way you clean a filter (with dirty tank water and with filter brushes). But in doing so, I think I disturbed the fragile but slowly growing (?) bacteria I needed. So suddenly I had a tank that was truly cycling.

I had spoken to a guy who owns an aquarium set up business and he said to get the fritzyme. it was way better than stability, which is what I was using. I'll tell you, he was right. I started it the fritzyme 7 on Saturday. It's Tuesday and my nitrates went from 2.0 on Saturday to .5 tonight (WAHOO!!!). My ammonia went from .5 Saturday to 0 today. I think my tank is finally truly cycling and completing the cycle.
in these last 2 months I have learned more more than reading up on a fish tank before purchasing it. One thing that I would have liked to have seen on some of those cleaning videos is mention of the nitrogen cycle. the one thing I absolutely made sure to look at was how to clean the tank. mentioning that in a cleaning video would have alerted me to the fact that I should pay attention to this.

Well, so far the fish are ok and alive and swimming. So I hope this keeps going. Thanks!!

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 01:17 AM
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I'm just getting back into my 10 gallon. It's nice to see what other people plan with theirs. Any full tank pics, or Tardis?



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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogmanjared View Post
I'm just getting back into my 10 gallon. It's nice to see what other people plan with theirs. Any full tank pics, or Tardis?
Thanks!

Here are pics I just took this morning. excuse the algae. tank cleaning day is this weekend. I also want to add more plants. I'm trying to decide what I want to do or how to add. it. I need to look up how to clean substrate (it's sand on top with flourite base) if I do a carpeting plant. I'm considering adding an anubius or java fern type to one of the rocks.
I got the tardis on amazon. Also I'm placing an image link to the direct image on imgur if you want to see it in original size.


tank with bonus cat!



close up full tank



close up tardis

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 02:37 PM
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Nice! Are you planning on a fish that will inhabit the Tardis, so the doctor can regenerate as a fish?
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Nice! Are you planning on a fish that will inhabit the Tardis, so the doctor can regenerate as a fish?
The Java loaches have claimed it for their own so I have a doctor loach and its companions!
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Now with more plants!

My shipment from Aquarium coop came in and I put them in and I'm still waiting for one more plant! I went a little crazy. The algae was getting out of control so I figured, why not put more plants?

I don't have any closeups but a bit has changed in my tank. I finally finished cycling. Ammonia and nitrite are at 0. I added a few more fish. Current count is:
4 java loaches
6 golden dwarf barbs
2 nerite snails
3 amano shrimp
2 dwarf gouramis (male and female)

It's a lot but I keep up on water changes and testing. Also I'm hoping on plants to help with filtering as they grow. Using aquarium advisor, I also found I had to increase my filtration with all the fish. I'm now running an Aquaclear 30 (versus the aquaclear 20). I put a small piece of sponge from the extra 20s I had to help slow down the flow rate for the dwarf barbs and gouramis. All the fish I have don't like high flow and the 30 at minimum flow rate runs at about 50 gph. the 20 was at 33 gph and the fish were ok with that. I figure adding a small sponge at the output plus keeping a sponge on the filter intake should slow the flow down a bit for them. I also am not running carbon in my tank. When I put in the 30, I put the 2 sponges from my 20 in, plus the new 30 sponge, plus the bag of biomax from the 20 and the new bag of biomax to make sure I didn't lose any bacteria I worked hard to get in there. So far, my numbers have been steady and good.

So! Current plants that I (think and know) I have.

2 marimo balls
1 windelov java fern attached to my rocks with black cotton thread
1 water sprite
1 microsword broke up and planted throughout the substrate
2 amazon sword
1 a. boivinianus
java moss
1 banana plant
1 dwarf lily without the bulp planted directly into the substrate (it was accidently broken off at the store).

Again, this is low tech. I am also waiting on a bucephalandra already on wood from aquarium coop. I'm not sure where I'm gonna fit it into my 10 gal but I will find a spot! I'm excited about that one since I know it can flower. I gotta look it up. even if it doesn't, it's still a beautiful plant.

closeups to come once the plants settle in. for now, here is a full view.
Before:

https://imgur.com/B0MgtYO

After:

https://imgur.com/1GCHSdJ

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