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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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1st Planted Tank-Planning Stage

Okay so I'm finally going to be picking up my ten gallon tank in the upcoming month. I think I got everything but I'm not completely sure, but this is what my current plan is!

Tank:
Will be a Tetra 10 Gallon Starter Pack.

Filter:
Aquaclear 30 (maybe 20). Will probably check start pack hood to see if the filter fits in back, if not will be going with a standard 10 gallon tank, and figuring it out from there.

Lights:
If hood fits with filter, going to be replacing Incandescent bulbs with CFL, if it doesn't, between a Catalina Aquarium 20 inch 1x36 Watt Power Compact Aquarium Hood, or a AquaticLife dual T5 fixture, though I'm fairly certain that the 36 watt CFL from Catalina Aquariums will probably be enough to grow most if not all of the plants I want to grow-correct me if I'm wrong. I'm still a newbie.

Substrate:
Eco Complete Black Coarse

Plants-updated:
Fissidens Fontanus
Christmas Moss
Willow Moss
Anubias nana petite
hydrocotyle tripartita-Thank you for the suggestion theericafish!


CO2:
Excel, though if I can get away with it, none.

Inhabitants:
Tiger Shrimp

Out of Tap Water Parameters-used test strips:
7.6 pH
120 ppm kH
200 ppm GH
Nitrate: less then 20ppm
Nitrite: between 0-1ppm

Out of House Water Softener (big system downstairs runs to kitchen sink):
between 6.8-7.2 pH
40 ppm kH
25 ppm gH
Nitrate/Nitrite the same as out of tap

Is the water coming out of the water softener going to be good enough for Tiger Shrimp? Mix it with R.O? Remineralize R.O? I heard that there's a risk having Anubias with shrimp, is that true?

Layout Plan (will upload sketch later on):

Inspiration photo:


I want to try and create a miniature forest in a standard 10 gallon tank, 20" x 10" x 12". In order to create more depth, I'm going to have the creek, made from a mixture of sand and grey gravel, start slightly off center on the left side of the tank start straight, and curve to the right, and then disappearing behind a "hill" on the right side of the tank. The left side of the tank will be a bit flatter then the right side of the tank, though towards the edges and back of the tank, the substrate will be slightly sloped, following the curvature of the creek.

On the flatter areas I'm going to try to create a carpet of H.C, with a few Anubias nana Petite along the side of the creek bed. Aside from the H.C. and Anubias nana Petite, the rest of the plants are going to be a mixture of Mosses. For trees I'll be using Driftwood from along Lake Michigan-boiled, and trying to attach a mixture of Fissidens Fontanus and Christmas Moss on different pieces to create a variation of trees. Some smaller pieces of driftwood, if I can find them, will be on the forest floor, with willow moss attached. The LFS had some great small rocks that I hope to use in my tank, and maybe with some luck, I'll be able to attach some moss to them!

I really loved a display tank at my LFS where a piece of driftwood was laid across a gap with moss on it, with a shrimp sitting on it picking at the moss, so one piece will be laid across the creek as well. It won't be nearly as dense as the photo, but I'm going to try and mimic some of it.


If anyone knows of some relatively low-light plants that don't grow very tall and would fit a forest themed tank, please share away!

Are egg-crates the way to go to create hills? I don't want to have to use TOO much substrate. The creek will probably be only about 1 inch of sand, the sides 2 inches, and about 3 inches for the "hill". Is 2 inches going to be enough for H.C.?


Well that's all I got for now. I'm hoping by using mostly mosses, it will make it an easier first tank. We have a variety in our 40gallon, but it isn't exactly an Aquascaped tank.

Last edited by Little Soprano; 03-29-2014 at 07:55 PM. Reason: updated plants
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 01:08 AM
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I've never kept tigers but I think your tap water is closer to their parameters than the water softener would provide.

Also I've had no problems with anubias and shrimp, I think that is a myth. I would recommend investing in an api master test kit for freshwater. Having nitrate and nitrite out of the tap could be a problem, but it could be that the test strips are giving a false reading(they tend to not be very accurate).

Shrimp are kind of fragile but once fully acclimated can adapt to the conditions in your tank. If you start with younger shrimp they tend to fare better than adults. The main thing to remember is shrimp thrive in stable parameters.

As for lighting, 2x 13w(might be 14w) 6700k cfl bulbs in the built in hood will grow most plants pretty well and keep you in the low/med light range. If you go t5ho I would recommend using co2, possibly diy or pressurized. I tend to stay away from co2 in my shrimp tanks.

Hc may be a bit difficult to grow in the light range though, it thrives in high light with co2 and fertilizers. I would also recommend fully cycling the tank and waiting for the brown algae bloom to go away before adding mosses, the brown algae tends to strangle the moss before it has a chance to grow. You can try to avoid that by adding some amano shrimp and nerite snails(ive had best luck with small ones like horned nerite, big ones sometimes randomly die), or you could clean it and wait for it to go away as the tank stabilizes.

http://shrimpkeeping.com/?attachment_id=110


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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I've never kept tigers but I think your tap water is closer to their parameters than the water softener would provide.

Also I've had no problems with anubias and shrimp, I think that is a myth. I would recommend investing in an api master test kit for freshwater. Having nitrate and nitrite out of the tap could be a problem, but it could be that the test strips are giving a false reading(they tend to not be very accurate).

Shrimp are kind of fragile but once fully acclimated can adapt to the conditions in your tank. If you start with younger shrimp they tend to fare better than adults. The main thing to remember is shrimp thrive in stable parameters.

As for lighting, 2x 13w(might be 14w) 6700k cfl bulbs in the built in hood will grow most plants pretty well and keep you in the low/med light range. If you go t5ho I would recommend using co2, possibly diy or pressurized. I tend to stay away from co2 in my shrimp tanks.

Hc may be a bit difficult to grow in the light range though, it thrives in high light with co2 and fertilizers. I would also recommend fully cycling the tank and waiting for the brown algae bloom to go away before adding mosses, the brown algae tends to strangle the moss before it has a chance to grow. You can try to avoid that by adding some amano shrimp and nerite snails(ive had best luck with small ones like horned nerite, big ones sometimes randomly die), or you could clean it and wait for it to go away as the tank stabilizes.

http://shrimpkeeping.com/?attachment_id=110
Thank you so much for the information!

Do you know of any good carpeting plants that can thrive in medium light conditions? If I can avoid CO2 that would be better.

Are the water parameters listed on most of the sites in degrees? I do know our Amano and Bamboo shrimps in the main tank thrive in the water straight out of the tap with no problems, but reading about R/O stuff made me a bit nervous about using tap water.

If it is in degrees, I think my numbers come out to be 6.7 kH and 11 GH. Will it make a big difference with the GH being higher then the recommended? For the shrimp tank water changes I do plan on putting the water in a bucket with an air stone and de-chlorinating it over night just to be safe.

I've never dealt with brown algae before, but I will definitely cycle the tank until it's gone. Does barley help to shorten the time during which brown algae is present? We use it almost religiously in our Koi Pond, both as a preventative and to eradicate it. Or is it better to just let it cycle out on its own?

Sorry for all the questions lol. I'm quite a noob when it comes to planted tanks.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 02:35 AM
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I'm sure ur set on the hc, but I would wrap up small stones with some riccia flutans or java moss as a replacement. Hc thrives with high light and co2. I didn't see plans for co2 and judging from ur plant list hc will require the most effort. Hc can be grown in lesser conditions but will be harder to carpet. Riccia flutans is a fast grower.

Sorry Theericafish, I just realized ur post. +1 on ur comments

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I'm sure ur set on the hc, but I would wrap up small stones with some riccia flutans or java moss as a replacement. Hc thrives with high light and co2. I didn't see plans for co2 and judging from ur plant list hc will require the most effort. Hc can be grown in lesser conditions but will be harder to carpet. Riccia flutans is a fast grower.

Sorry Theericafish, I just realized ur post. +1 on ur comments
Yeah I'm thinking of cutting it out of the picture. I'm not all that set on it, and I know mosses are way easier lol. I do like the idea of wrapping up stones with moss. Could give them a bush like appearance as well, that and what creek isn't complete without moss covered rocks!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 05:46 AM
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That's a great photo u chose to model your tank after. Looking forward to seeing some pics.

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That's a great photo u chose to model your tank after. Looking forward to seeing some pics.
Thank you! I'm so excited to start putting it together. Getting the tank in April, and heading to the dunes when it gets warmer to gather driftwood, and some stones as well.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 06:37 AM
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Usually the brown algae bloom is just part of the initial setup of the tank, most of the time it kind of goes away on its own. Not sure about the barley technique as I've never owned a pond(maybe someday ;D). Also remember that some algae is good in a shrimp tank, they snack on it along with bio film.

Yes, most sites I know list gh and kh in degrees but some in ppm, I think you divide ppm buy 17.86 to get degrees. Water hardness affects the shrimps molting cycle. This is why getting smaller ones comes in key, the adult shrimps will have a carapace that has grown in whatever parameters the seller has so when you switch to your water(if not the same) they could have molting issues which will lead to them dying. Smaller shrimp have a better chance because as they grow their shell grows with your water conditions and they can adapt to that.

Usually the hardest part about a shrimp tank is the beginning, often people buy 10 and have most of them to die "mysteriously". Most of the time this is due to much different water conditions than the seller and low kh/gh or no knowledge of them(I learned this the hard way haha). Re-mineralization of ro could be a viable option if thats what you want to do but I think most people use ro more for crystal red shrimp and other low ph soft water shrimp because it has no kh and low ph so they just re-mineralize gh. In the case of tiger shrimp they do like a moderate amount of kh and gh and from what I've read around the main issue is keeping cool water around 72-76~. Personally I think knowledge of their parameters is a good thing but it does not mean they will not breed in other conditions. Stability is key. I have seen people that breed crystal shrimp successfully in tap water with high ph of 7.2 and almost ignoring the tank(high nitrates, high tds, etc.). I feel that once you get them breeding they kind of just continually multiply. This is not true for higher grade shrimp though as most of the time they are inbred to create coloration etc and have less tolerance for poor water conditions(also if your shrimp cost around 20-420$ I'm sure you would keep them in optimal parameters haha).

Another thing about ro is it helps maintain your tds(ro has no/low tds). As water evaporates from the tank and you do top offs the tds rises(minerals remain in the tank water as water evaporates). This could cause issues in the long run but water changes will help balance things out and as long as your tds isnt in the extreme it shouldent be a problem really. You can pick up a tds meter at wallmart in the RV section for about 3-4$.

Also I would look into your substrate, I did a little googling and I found it could raise the ph. Some people have said it does and some people say it doesn't(the product description says it does not affect ph?). Just a word of caution.

As for a low/med light carpet plant you could try glosso although it might mostly grow upward you could continually trim and replant it until you get the look you want. Or you could try making a moss carpet with moss on stainless steel mesh or rocks. I think making the hill shape with eggcrate would work, various mosses on rocks and possibly some hydrocotyle tripartita combined with some cool driftwood could give you that foresty look. Maybe some crypts too.

Don't be sorry about questions this is a fish tank forum we come here to talk about fish tanks(yeah we are crazy...). If you haven't already maybe check out and make a post on the inverts sub forum, I'm sure you'll find much more qualified people there


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Last edited by theericafish; 03-29-2014 at 07:05 AM. Reason: Just rambling on...
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Usually the brown algae bloom is just part of the initial setup of the tank, most of the time it kind of goes away on its own. Not sure about the barley technique as I've never owned a pond(maybe someday ;D).

Water hardness affects the shrimps molting cycle. This is why getting smaller ones comes in key, the adult shrimps will have a carapace that has grown in whatever parameters the seller has so when you switch to your water(if not the same) they could have molting issues which will lead to them dying. Smaller shrimp have a better chance because as they grow their shell grows with your water conditions and they can adapt to that.

Usually the hardest part about a shrimp tank is the beginning, often people buy 10 and have most of them to die "mysteriously". Most of the time this is due to much different water conditions than the seller and low kh/gh or no knowledge of them(I learned this the hard way haha). Re-mineralization of ro could be a viable option if thats what you want to do but I think most people use ro more for crystal red shrimp and other low ph soft water shrimp because it has no kh and low ph so they just re-mineralize gh. In the case of tiger shrimp they do like a moderate amount of kh and gh and from what I've read around the main issue is keeping cool water around 72-76~.

Another thing about ro is it helps maintain your tds(ro has no tds). As water evaporates from the tank and you do top offs the tds rises(minerals remain in the tank water as water evaporates). This could cause issues in the long run but water changes will help balance things out and as long as your tds isnt in the extreme it shouldent be a problem really. You can pick up a tds meter at wallmart in the RV section for about 3-4$.

Also I would look into your substrate, I did a little googling and I found it could raise the ph. Some people have said it does and some people say it doesn't(the product description says it does not affect ph?). Just a word of caution.

As for a low/med light carpet plant you could try glosso although it might mostly grow upward you could continually trim and replant it until you get the look you want. Or you could try making a moss carpet with moss on stainless steel mesh or rocks.
You've got to get yourself a pond someday! Koi are such characters too. Mine will come right up into your hands, eat from your hands, suck on your fingers, etc. It's a challenge in some aspects, but so worth it! Easier then planted tanks to me. The barley is so ingenious too. We had MASSIVE amounts of string algae last spring. We didn't know about the barley before that, ended up having to drain the whole thing, sit there with scrub brushes and a bleach mix, and scrape it off the liner. Took around 11-12 hours. Wouldn't come off with a scrub brush alone. Our local Koi place recommended the barley, and it's the most incredible stuff! For the pond we just put two bundles of it into Guinea-Pig sized Hamster balls, let it sink to the bottom, and they kept the water crystal clear, no string algae, barely any algae at all.

I would really like to do the ADA Amazonia but it's expensive! I have never heard of the Eco Complete raising pH, I'm going to have to look into that more. I thought it was inert, which I figured with current water parameters, would be a good situation. I did read that initially it might release a buffer for the first month or so that might raise your pH, and then afterwards it will go back to what it was, so hopefully that's the case.

Maybe doing top-offs with R.O, and doing water changes with tap water could be a good middle of the road method? I'll definitely look into getting a TDS meter, don't want to kill my shrimp off right away. I don't expect my first go to be perfect, but I want to at least give my shrimp a chance. Our summers don't get too intense here as far as heat go and the tanks are in the basement against an outer wall, though I think the heat from the lights will probably be the biggest heat source.

I'm going to be ordering my shrimp from Alpha Pro Breeders, and the site says that the shrimp will between 1/4" to 3/8", which should be small/young enough, I think....

Ooooh! Just looked up Glosso Carpets, and if I could keep it under control, it would fit perfectly along the creek bed! Especially mixed among mosses.

Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge with me, I appreciate it a lot!

Just saw the edit.... I ramble as well, so ramble on! That hydrocotyle tripartita is quite nice as well. I'm not very well versed in most of the plants. I have a small book with a variety of plants, but it doesn't have too much. I need to rethink my plant list, I love your suggestions.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 08:06 AM
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Our rambling was getting a bit lengthy . I do think doing top offs with RO could be a good middle ground as long as you add the RO relatively slowly to not cause a shock. I tend to be overly careful though.

There are some alternatives to amazonia but you also need to consider they also have ph buffering which could lower your ph a bit. Amazonia has also been known to leach a bit of ammonia in the first month(can be a plus..helps cycling). It might also be another good "middle ground" situation though. Could possibly lower your ph to more of the middle ground for tigers but I'm not certain. The soil basically has a buffering capacity and removes your kh from the water and brings your ph down. Depending on your water change schedule the tank will maintain a certain ph. You can counter the effects of the soil with crushed coral in your filter which will bring the kh up a bit more.

personally I use Azoo Plant Grower Bed because its a bit cheaper. I do not have tiger shrimp though so I cannot recommend for your use.

That being said, your tap seems pretty close to ideal parameters and with ro top offs you might achieve ideal parameters with a inert substrate. You could also add some Indian almond leaves which might lower the ph a tad(barely noticeable) but the shrimp like to snack on them and they provide anti-bacterial properties(some will say). Depending on your wood, it could also release tannins and lower the ph a bit. You could also consider pre-mixing your tap with ro and just keep things simple. Probably aim for 7.2ph kh 6 gh 8ish. Then after that all you would need to do was watch your tds and nitrates.

It all sounds kind of complicated but once it comes together it just kinda does its own thing. I always end up over analyzing and stressing over it.


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Last edited by theericafish; 03-29-2014 at 08:11 AM. Reason: I want some tigers now...gah
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-01-2014, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Well I got my tank today! $40.00 Aqueon Kit. Was going to get the Tetra dollar per gallon sale, but decided to just get the kit. I have my Aquaclear 20 coming in the next few days, but for now I'm just using the filter that came with it, called an Aqueon QuietFlow 10, which is the quietest filter I've ever heard. All you can hear is the trickle of water into the tank. This thing is SILENT.

I have two Micro-Mini CFL 14W 6500k bulbs I'm going to be putting into the hood, hopefully they fit under the splash guards. If not going to have to figure something else out....



Substrate!





And it's setup! I tried shaping the Eco Complete but the water in the bag made it so incredibly hard to see what I was doing, especially since the spot I have the tank in has no light, and it was midnight by the time I had the stand together. So I threw 10 gallons of water in the tank, some de-chlorinater, and the filter, and I've been letting it run. It's almost completely clear at this point, and I'm going to siphon out about 50% of the water tomorrow, and go from there. I don't have my driftwood yet, but I have my sand, and I'm going to go pick up some of my plants tomorrow. (mostly the willow moss, and anubias nana petite or two, if I can find them.)

Very excited to start to put together the substrate layout, and get this project started! The comet going out into the pond in late April/May is going to be going in the tank for now to help cycle since it's in a 5 gallon tank after eating 6 or so neon tetras, and btw the time the comet leaves I'm hoping for the tank to be ready to go for shrimpies!
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Almost forgot. I have around 100 pounds worth of golf ball to tennis ball sized pieces of lava rock in the back near the Koi Pond that we used to use in the waterfall/filter as bio media, that we replaced last year with bio balls, which I'm going to use to help form better ledges, and I hope the willow moss will attach itself fairly easily to it, along with the other mosses as I get them!
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Tank is cleared up! I drained out about 50% of the water to make it a bit easier to work, and I replaced the bulbs with the CFL. Holy cow are they bright! Was so happy there just happened to be 6500k 13watt CFL bulbs in the house. And they are "micro minis" so they fit right under the splash guard in the tank. Lights up a good portion of the room :P.

I was going to be using the lava rocks from the old filter set-up but to be honest I have absolutely no idea the best way to go about cleaning them.... Bleach with dechlorinator? My BF said Lowe's normally doesn't care much if you take a handful or two or four from the bins, and he said they most likely won't even charge me for them! Which would be awesome. Aside from a few, the majority are going to be underneath the tank to help me build better hills, and structure. I'm going to be probably moving the substrate around in the tank and organizing it that way, or just taking it all out and going from there. Didn't think last night about the fact I wasn't going to be able to see the substrate at all...
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Well. I found an AWESOME looking Anubias Nana Petite at the LFS today (the roots on this guy are massive, lots of leaves too. really healthy looking), and I got a huge amount of willow moss for $5 bucks too. The bunch was absolutely gigantic. I also found a neat looking piece of driftwood that looks great in the tank. I like how the right side of the tank is looking so far, not so much the leftside. I had a few pieces of driftwood from last year that would've made good trees, but when I boiled them to kill anything that might be in them, they were coming apart. I had the piece on the left, which I think maybe with another piece attached to it to make branches, might work, but who knows. The rest of the left side I just pushed the rest of the moss into the substrate for now, and the rest of the driftwood was tossed in on top. I do think I need to find grayer gravel. My heater and Aquaclear 30 are going to be here on Saturday!!! I hope to find another Anubias Nana Petite, and will be sticking with that and the moss until I can get out to the beach to collect more driftwood. I have the comet that was in the little fish jail tank (probably 2 gallons) in the tank to cycle it. He's leaving in May or as soon as the pond is warm enough to add him in. I think it should make the tank cycle faster, and he looks quite good in it right now too!





Okay looking at it again, that piece on the left needs to go. Maybe laying down, along the edge of the creek/path, and covering it with driftwood could help. It would also allow the large white stone that sits at the edge of the path to be exposed, by holding back the substrate. I do need I need to half the amount of gravel in the creek as well. Thats on my do list for tomorrow. And to deal with the rest of the moss randomly thrown in the tank. I do want to get another Anubias Nana Petite and place it behind the piece of driftwood laying on the right side of the tank too. Love that plant. Other then that please comment on it so far. This is my very first try. I love the right side of the tank so far, but the left side is just ew..

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-03-2014, 08:11 AM
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Hey its me again

Looks like the tank started coming together! Maybe use some thread to tie the moss to some of the lava rocks, its kind of tedious but it pays off in the long run.

I would recommend something other than using a fish to cycle the tank though. Goldfish are pretty hardy but they can still get gill damage etc from the ammonia/nitrite spikes during cycling. If you have no other choice I would suggest "seeding" the filter. If you have an established tank you can take some of the filter media and add it to the new filter. The pond filter media might work too, but not sure about bringing stuff from outside to use indoor(bugs? algae? disease?).

Fishless Cycle

Tank reminds me a lot of my 10g(also my first tank).


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