Quag's 10 Gallon Standard - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 43 (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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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-11-2020, 02:54 AM
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Looks like a solid setup! Keep us updated!
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Life has been super busy this summer, seems to be a trend with many of the regulars on here this year. Tank is moving along at a medium pace, which I expected given it's not being driven too hard or anything.

Started dosing micro's for 1 week, which immediately stunted both Macrandra and Wallichii, 2 weeks after stopping the micro's they are both growing back, Wallichii is taking longer to settle back in with some odd sideways growth instead of vertical growth. No micro dosing for now, unless I start seeing problems.

Looks like Lilaeopsis brasiliensis was a poor choice, it's growing way too tall and is way too aggressive. I'm going to try and find some black plastic to build little barriers that will be hidden in the plant growth to try and keep it contained. If that fails I'll opt for something else.

Still trying to find a supplier that is carrying the remaining plants I want. Hygro poly Sunset is obviously way too aggressive, I'm pulling out loads of it each week. Ludwigia ovalis is also not to my liking, it's not as compact or coloured as I once had it under much stronger lighting.

Crypt flamingo is back to bright pink, just a few older leaves I need to trim away to clean the look up a bit.

I installed 32 feet of the cheap LED stick on strip lighting into my hood, which really brightened up the look of the tank, I just have them set on max right now to help out the 6000K compact fluorescent bulbs yellowy look, although the tank looks the best with the reds / blues turned up only. Also put on a black backdrop to clean up the visible equipment hanging being the tank.

Nothing too impressive, waiting on finding more plant species and the background tissue culture's are taking a while to fully get going.

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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 06:46 PM
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Hey Quag good to see an update.

These small high tech tanks always fascinate me. Hard to believe you can get so many species into a small footprint, but it works. They always look bigger to me than the actual dimensions.

And you must have to keep the scissors sharp with ANY stem plants. I imagine they could take over the tank in no time.

How do you like the soil? Besides the micros any changes to normal dosing?

Looking forward to seeing how this goes.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Hey Quag good to see an update.

These small high tech tanks always fascinate me. Hard to believe you can get so many species into a small footprint, but it works. They always look bigger to me than the actual dimensions.
Apart from a few species I typically keep, my first preference for any species in a smaller tank is physical size / structure. A lot of the plants I look for would be used as for-ground or mid-ground plants in larger tanks, and I use them as mid-ground or back-ground plants respectively. Plants like Ammania bonsai have small leaf structures, and are slower growing IME, perfect for smaller tanks. Blyxa japonica can be used as a focal mid-ground plant, where as in a 24" tall tank you could pile them up right in the for-ground. Super small crypts like lutea "hobbit" or parva are perfect for the front, or ground hugging hygrophila araguaia. Bacopa sp. "compact", blyxa, star. repens, hairgrass, chain sword, anubias, java ferns, mosses, gratiola viscidula, pogo helferi, for mid ground, and then any stems with smaller leaf structures for the back ground. No massive stems with 8" + horizontal spread on the top leaves for me.


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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
And you must have to keep the scissors sharp with ANY stem plants. I imagine they could take over the tank in no time.
Not too bad to be honest, I hardly ever just trim, for the most part I rip them completely out and never keep any bottoms. My groupings are typically only 5 stems for the most part, maybe up to 10 on the smaller leaved species.

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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
How do you like the soil? Besides the micros any changes to normal dosing?
Soil so far has been good. No algae issues apart from 2 weeks of diatoms. A little hair algae on the filter outlets but completely fine. I just keep the siphon tube right near any groupings I pull up and make sure to remove as much mulm as I can with my water changes. I'm not about to pull up any larger rooted plants like the crypts just yet, and I'm steering clear of stem plants that I've seen massive root growth on in other tanks (not entirely possible of course). I'm sure I'll have a few chocolate milk moments with the tank during deeper clean and re-scapes.

Only thing I've changed is dropping KH to 0.5 degrees instead of 1.0 degrees, but typically wallichii likes this, macrandra maybe not so much? They are both not fully growing as they "should" - about 75% transitioned from their dwarfism being stuck in their emersed state in the tissue culture cups.

Macro's are still based on the entire water volume and are front loaded at 10ppm NO3, 3ppm PO4 and 12 or 14ppm K (whatever comes from KH boosting + KNO3 + KH2PO4). No micros at the moment.

I remineralize my RO water to:
Ca 35ppm (1/3 from CaSO4, 1/3 from Ca gluconate, 1/3 from CaCL2)
Mg 12.5ppm from MgSO4
0.5 KH from KHCO3 (used to be 1.0)

No ammonia was present before my last water change, I'll try and catch the 4 amano shrimp I have from that little 5 gallon tank and move them over, plus I'm currently looking for some neo shrimp to get a colony going. I've also put out a few feelers on local club's web pages for some of the plant species I want - me and @Hendy8888 were discussing how all of our favourite Canadian plant retailers seem to have become "copy and paste" Tropica dealers. Nothing against any of the retailers (I like buying from / will recommend all of them) or Tropcia, it's just the variety on the common market is lacking lately. I'd have to purchase one or two species from 3 different websites each only to get 75% of the species I'm after, that adds up to more than I want to spend at the moment unfortunately. Thinking about setting up a personal farm tank....
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 10:34 PM
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What species are you looking for?


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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-11-2020, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hendy8888 View Post
What species are you looking for?
Rotala / Ammania bonsai

Ludwigia glandulosa

Blyxa japonica - LFS probably has some.

Lagenandra meeboldii "Red"

Crypt lutea "Hobbit" - TC cups are the only place I have ever seen this.

Crypt parva - LFS probably has some.

Cabomba "purple" - (pulcherrima I think) I've only ever seen it once at theaquascaperoom . ca

Cabomba "red" - (piauhyensis or furcata)

Hygrophila araguaia

"No Ice? Just Freeze Some Water"


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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-12-2020, 01:54 AM
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I have araguaia, glandulosa, and bonsai but the last two are nothing spectacular. If they ever smarten up for me I'll PM you. I moved the araguaia and it's just starting to get weedy again.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 09-02-2020, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like this tank prefers 1.0 degrees of KH. I dropped down to 0.5 and a bunch of plants did not like it, lost 3 of 4 Amano shrimp as well.

Wallichii and Macrandra are bouncing back but... Crypt flamingo's are hurting really bad which baffles me.

Going to bump up macros today with my water change 15-5-17 most likely. Also going to drop back the Cal2 / Ca Gluconate dosing to 1/2 strength, because I have no idea how much Cl I'm putting in there.

Maybe I'll run into a few local fish shops today and do some searching for plants.

I also have access to a free 55 gallon tank + stand from a family member... decisions decisions....
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Life has been super busy over the last year for myself, with fall weather finally setting in I'll be paying more attention to the aquaria hobby. I really want to join up with my local aquaria club, but for obvious reasons they aren't having meetings or letting newbies into the club for now. The 10 gallon had a rough go over the last few weeks - lack of water changes, lack of trimming, CO2 ran out and one of my 2 bulbs burnt out.

I cleaned up the plant mess, swapped in a new used bulb, did a big water change and dosed my ferts back up - working on filling up my CO2 this weekend again.

Not much to look at, but there is some growth.



Stunted crypts:



Plants are ever so slowly beginning to grow out of stunting. I realized I don't have enough light to get the reds I want. I can't find it in me to spend any more money on a little 10 gallon, especially when this was given to me for free by my old man. Some of you may recognise it as the tank I stuck my pond goldfish in for the winter - sadly they have passed through the digestive tract of a great blue heron earlier this year, RIP Patsy and Steven 2:



The plan is to use this 55 gallon tank to acquire the equipment I need for a 4 foot setup - I eventually want something in the 4 foot, 100+ gallon range, but the price tag on the things I'll want is just too much for a one-time purchase at the moment.

Equipment I already have include:

Tank + Stand
Lights (LED's and T5's)
Filtration
Griggs style reactor (unsure if it's efficient enough + I want a bypass valve for easy maintenance)

Equipment I'll need now:

CO2 regulator + Solenoid (no more low quality paintball system stretched to its limits)
CO2 tank (5 or 10 lb)
RO unit + fill station in the basement dedicated to aquaria (hose and pump in the basement with line running to the tank)
DIY reactor if my current one isn't efficient enough (not sure on design just yet)

Equipment I'll add over the long term (as my budget allows):

Aquarium controller (for lighting and CO2)
Lighting (more T5's likely)
Livestream camera
Sump (**maybe** I love my Eheims)
DIY finished stand
4 foot rimless tank in the 100 gallon range



So, unfortunately I lost my love for this little 10 gallon, at least as my main / only tank. Maybe it will be brought back as a countertop betta tank with Aqua Soil or something in the future, who knows! For now I'll continue sorting out its issues while I gather the required equipment for the 55 gallon.
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 02:30 PM
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@Quagulator how are you liking that reactor? I have the Ista Turbo and seems to be working decent for me. I did notice that there are bubbles leaving the outlet of my filter.


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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 02:31 PM
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Interesting.

I'm not real surprised to hear this. With all the work that goes into maintaining a planted tank, I've always thought a larger canvas has a lot more options as far as plant selection and scape goes.

Looking forward to seeing the next chapter in the journey!
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 02:35 PM
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Looking forward to the setup of the 55! Enjoy the process of prepping... That was one of my favorite parts when building the 75. The opportunities in your imagination are endless!
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Econde View Post
@Quagulator how are you liking that reactor? I have the Ista Turbo and seems to be working decent for me. I did notice that there are bubbles leaving the outlet of my filter.
It's "okay", good for nano tanks but that's about it.

Again, 10 gallon tank with an Eheim 2213, so not very much flow at all.

I can barely get to a 1.0 drop in pH before bubbles are shooting up and out into the tank, the "turbo" wheel thing on the inside does nothing except inhibit flow - it doesn't "chop" up the bubbles at all, it doesn't even spin freely = it's seized up 3/4's of the time blocking even more flow.

The only way I could get it to stop spitting bubbles into the tank was to throttle back the filter after the reactor which increased backpressure and dissolved slightly more gas.

It's a nightmare to prime / purge the air out of for maintenance unless you completely turn it upside down (annoying).

It's quite loud for it's size - lots of sloshing and splashing noises, especially if the filter lets a little burp of air out.

For $20 I got what I was expecting I guess, so I'm not upset about it
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 02:52 PM
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It's "okay", good for nano tanks but that's about it.

Again, 10 gallon tank with an Eheim 2213, so not very much flow at all.

I can barely get to a 1.0 drop in pH before bubbles are shooting up and out into the tank, the "turbo" wheel thing on the inside does nothing except inhibit flow - it doesn't "chop" up the bubbles at all, it doesn't even spin freely = it's seized up 3/4's of the time blocking even more flow.

The only way I could get it to stop spitting bubbles into the tank was to throttle back the filter after the reactor which increased backpressure and dissolved slightly more gas.

It's a nightmare to prime / purge the air out of for maintenance unless you completely turn it upside down (annoying).

It's quite loud for it's size - lots of sloshing and splashing noises, especially if the filter lets a little burp of air out.

For $20 I got what I was expecting I guess, so I'm not upset about it
I have 2 of them. It works decent for my 22 gallon. I did have to install an inline water pump with stronger GPH(370 ish). The one I'm using for my 30 breeder is hooked up to an Ecco Pro 2236. I always run it full throttle and has more than enough flow to keep the reactor flooded. The bubbles are more visible in my 30 vs my 22. Black background on my 30 vs white on my 22.

One thing I tried on my 22 was flipping the upper impeller upside down. The slots are facing up now and I honestly cannot tell the difference in efficiency with the impeller orientation. All in all I can't really complain for a 20 dollar reactor. I get my 1.5 drop on both tanks.
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