10 gal planted RCS tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-11-2008, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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10 gal planted RCS tank

I added a more recent FTS at the bottom of this post. Every time I update this thread I will include the most recent FTS here so you can see the progress. Not that anyone is looking or anything...

So when it gets cold I start to maintain my fish tanks. This inevitably leads to some long drawn out project that I usually give up on come spring time. Hopefully that is not the case with this tank. Thanks to this forum and others I have learned a lot that will help maintain my tanks and keep the inhabitants happy, healthy and growing. That will certainly help with the motivation to keep up on the maintenance.

I have a 65 gal planted tank that I am moving from my old house to my new house. I decided to set up a 10 gal tank to transfer the fish. Well, one thing led to another and now it is another planted tank with CO2 and a bunch of red cherry shrimp. Can't put fish in a shrimp tank DOH!

This is my DIY special. I made the canopy out of 1/2" MDF and used some regular keyless light sockets that you would use for a bare basement bulb. The reflector is made from a small section of 3" round duct that I pried open to make the proper radius. The reflector is attached to the removeable lid so I can take it out and work in the tank with the lights on. The three holes in the back are for heat ventilation. For lights I used two 23 watt daylight compact fluorescents.

The strange thing in the dead center of the tank attached to the back wall with the airstone under it is a parakeet feeder with the bottom removed. The airstone is hooked up to my 2 liter bottle full of water, sugar and yeast for my DIY CO2 setup. The airstone lets the CO2 fill the parakeet feeder to help maximize the contact time of the CO2 and water, thus helping it dissolve better. One of my buddies has this same setup in his 55 gal and it works great so I decided to give it a try. You can get a 2 pack of parakeet feeders at Petsmart for $3. Good thing they come in a 2 pack since I broke the first one trying to drill a hole in it for my suction cup, so I used JB Weld to hold the suction cup to the current one. If you look closely you can see the JB Weld spot lol.

About half of these plants will be transferred to my 65 gal tank, that is why some of them are still in the plastic pots. I plan to use the HC to create a nice green ground cover for the entire front middle foreground. The Riccia will be transferred to the other tank, along with the large mass of Java Moss to the left and the dwarf hairgrass. The plants that are staying are the short crypt up front (the crinkly crypt in the back will be going to the larger tank), the Rotala Indica, some of the Java Fern and the HC of course. I have some crypt Wendtii in the other tank that will go in here and maybe some ludwigia as well. I haven't settled on the scape at all thus far, other than the carpet of HC and the middle background using the Rotala to hide all the equipment.

The inhabitants right now are 20 red cherry shrimp (RCS) of varying stages of maturity. These guys breed like rabbits and should have the tank full within a few months. Unfortunately you cannot keep any fish in the same tank since the fish will eat them. Only the adults are large enough to not make a meal. Eventually I plan to move the adults to the big tank and keep this 10 gal as a breeding tank.

The large rocks are petrified wood and the substrate is Onyx sand.

The pics were taken with the lights on in the tank and the room lights off. No flash was used. If I knew how to do the camera settings I suppose I could make them look a little better, but that is pretty much how it looks when you are standing in the room. Those two little lights are pretty bright over that small tank. Once everything gets rolling, if I need more light all I have to do is run to Home Depot and grab the next larger bulb.

I would like to add a special thanks to sweetaquaticplants.com for all their help with the plants and shrimp.


















Here is a FTS from 2-10-09:

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Last edited by coolnick; 02-23-2009 at 12:15 PM.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-11-2008, 11:32 PM
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Looks like a great start!

Do you plan on planting the plants in the pots?

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-12-2008, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ZooTycoonMaster View Post
Looks like a great start!

Do you plan on planting the plants in the pots?
Hahaha yeah the dwarf hairgrass and riccia are going in my 65 when I get it moved, then I will be planting the HC where the riccia rock is currently sitting. I just started it up on Sunday and everything is already growing like crazy. This is the first time I have added plants and CO2 on day one of a new tank and I am blown away by how well everything is doing.

Lots of stuff will get moved around when I get the 65 gal in my new house, but I'll take weekly photos to show how it all progresses.

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Last edited by coolnick; 12-18-2008 at 05:43 PM.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-12-2008, 02:40 PM
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Very nice DIY project!!!! Please keep the thread updated... It'll be interesting to see this progress.

Thanks for sharing!
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-16-2008, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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The Riccia finally started growing. Now I am going to transfer it to a small piece of slate and wait a little while before I split it. By the way it is going now, it looks like I will be able to split it in about a week or two.

The JB Weld failed at exactly the 1 week mark. I was moving the parakeet feeder around yesterday when I did my water change and the suction cup came right off. I went to HD and read every single label of every glue/epoxy available and settled on Loctite waterproof adhesive. It was not recommended for potable water, so I used it to stick the suction cup to the parakeet feeder, then waited 24 hours for it to cure. Once it cured I went over it with aquarium safe silicon to make sure it is sealed off from the water. Once that cures I will toss it back in and cross my fingers.

I learned something about prefilters as well. I learned that I need one lol. While doing the water change and filter cleaning I happened to look down into the bottom of my Aquaclear 50 and I noticed about 12 of my shrimp hanging out. All of them were alive and seemed perfectly content. I dumped them back in and they all look happy. I thought they were hiding hahaha. Needless to say I ordered up a prefilter. The Top Fin 20 has really small slits in the intake pipe and is total weaksauce so I don't think it will be sucking any of the little guys in. If it does I'll just ditch it, I can't remember quite why I put it on there in the first place. Probably just because it was laying around.

I'll put up some new pics on Thursday just to keep it on a weekly update schedule.

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Time for my first weekly update...

I added 4 Ottos over the weekend and I tossed in 20 more RCS last night. I wanted RCS from at least 2 different sources so I wouldn't have a bunch of inbred shrimp. Hopefully they get a little bigger so you can tell that I have 40 shrimp in there.

I fixed the parakeet feeder and put it back in the tank last night. Everything looks like it will work a little better this time.

I took the riccia off the original rock and noticed that it was super dense so I cut it in half and tied it to 2 different pieces of slate. I am going to let it grow for another week, then I should be able to tie it down again with it covering the entire piece of slate. This stuff grows really fast.

I moved the Riccia over to the side so I could plant my HC. It was really starting to grow and I didn't want to stunt it in those pots. I removed the rockwool and realized that it was going to float so the two pieces of petrified wood are currently holding it in place until it roots into the substrate.

The hairgrass is going nuts, but it will be moved to the other tank. The way things are going right now it looks like it will make its way out of the pot and into this tank whether I want it to or not. Oh well, worse things could happen.

The crypts are doing really well, lots of new growth from both of them. The crinkly guys won't be staying in this tank, they are just part timers. The Rotala is going nuts as well. All the tops have turned a nice pink color and the leaves are becoming much larger. I will probably split the big clump in half with the next water change this weekend and start filling in the area right in front of the parakeet feeder.

I ordered up all my dry ferts this week and look forward to getting on the EI regimen as soon as they come in. I can't wait to get the 65 over to this house so I can get it back in order and get all the extra stuff out of this 10g.

Here are a bunch of new pics...






















This one is my favorite, it really shows how massive the canopy looks compared to the tank. Reminds me of the monolith from 2001 A Space Oddysey lol.



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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 07:24 PM
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Really nice tank! If this DIY 10g looks this nice, I can't wait to see the 65!

Oh man, every time I see that someone made a nice DIY hood or stand or something, it makes me totally bummed that I a) don't have tools like saws and routers and b) don't own my own house where i'd have someplace to put those tools! I LOVE working with wood, I just don't have the space or tools to do real projects. One day. I wonder if my professors in the college scene shop (i used to do set construction) would let me do a project using their tools if I brought my own wood......hmm...

anyway, your hood is really cool! I'd love to know more about how you put it together, I could always have Home Depot do the cuts for me if I wanted to do a small project like that I suppose!

Also, as for RCS and fish, it is actually pretty doable. You may lose some babies, yes, but they drop so many babies at once that you'd still end up with good breeding. I started out with 5 juvenile RCS in my 30g tank that has 3 zebra danios, 5 male endlers, 2 male guppies, 15 ember tetras, 15 b. brigttae and a sparkling gourami. All fo the shrimp (i think) grew to adulthood, I've definitely seen 2 males and 2 females at once, so I assume #5 made it. Anyway, with only 2 females and a load of fish (granted some are small) I still have a bunch of little RCS roaming around the tank. So if you really wanted a few small fish in there (other than otos) I'd say you could do it.

I found 6 or so happy healthy baby RCS in my filter yesterday too just hanging out....silly shrimp!


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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the compliments. I do plan to put some small fish in there in the future after I have enough fully grown RCS. I'm not necessarily into the breeding aspect of the shrimp, but I think it looks pretty cool when a tank is crawling with them. I will probably go with white cloud minnows at some point in time.

As far as the hood goes, I used 1/2" MDF since that is about the only thing home depot carries that isn't warped big time. I used a 1/2" rabbet bit on my router to cut a groove in the vertical ends of the front and rear faces, then I just used wood glue and some finishing nails to hold it together. I routed the whole top all around so the top of the canopy just sits in the groove. Makes it pretty easy to pull out. MDF is horrible for painting, so that was the biggest challenge.

As far as not having the tools or space, I am certain your college would let you use their equipment as long as you clean up your mess and use their tools responsibly. I used to use our machine shop at school all the time when I was in college. There were also times that I made simple designs that would allow me to have home depot or a lumber yard make all the cuts, then I could assemble them at home. My use of the router was just to make things quick and easy.

The 65g is going in my living room so the stand and canopy need to look perfect. I am taking my time on that one, but hope to have it up and running sometime in January. The frame is done, I just need to add trim, doors and build the canopy. I might even go crazy and run water lines from the basement up into the walls for automatic water changes.

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 07:51 PM
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Hahaha if you know how to do it, you might as well go nuts and plumb the tank for automatic water changes i'd say! Sounds like a good project though!

Thanks for the how-to on the canopy, it occurs to me my buddy and his brother both ahve a lot of tools that I bet they'd let me use as well, the only reason I'm not sure my college would let me do it is that I graduated a few years ago I still live in the area though and I worked in the shop 10+ hours a week (did it as a work-study) so I know the profs who run the shop really well, so they might not mind

Otherwise, simple designs I can put together if HD cuts the pieces for me would work too. I know my friend has a router, and those always make projects easier


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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-22-2008, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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I got all my stuff for EI dosing from aquariumfertilizers.com on Fri, so yesterday when I did my water change I went ahead and made up my stock solutions. I dosed macros yesterday and today I plan to dose my micros and iron.

This may end up being a tank with no hardscape. I really like my petrified wood (no pun intended lol) and would like to show it off in an Iwagumi style tank. I may grab a 20 long at some point and move all the petrified wood in there and do dwarf hairgrass and riccia or HC.

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Time for my weekly update. I have been dosing EI all week and so far so good. I had one shrimp carrying eggs last week and 3 carrying them this week. I don't know how long it takes them to hatch and get big enough to see, but I have seen a couple really tiny guys hanging out in the moss the past couple days. I put an enormous pre-filter on my Aquaclear so they won't get sucked up anymore, it's amazing how many shrimp are in the tank now that half of them aren't hanging out in the filter hahaha.

I went to one of the many LFS last week and found a Hagen bubble ladder for $5 so I snatched it up. The only thing better than DIY stuff is cheap fish store stuff lol. Between all the glues I tried I spent more money on that parakeet feeder, but the bubble ladder dramatically increases the bubble contact time.

The Riccia is going like wildfire still. I'm going to let it get a little bigger then tie it down to the slate again so it covers the entire piece of slate. My original intentions were for no riccia in this tank, but it looks so bright and healthy that I may tie a piece to a small rock and keep it in this tank.

The HC is still mad at me, but it is slowly growing and not melting so I guess that's a good sign. Once it has some good root growth I can move things around a little and hopefully watch it take off.

I cut and replanted the tops of the rotala indica again and I am starting to get a nice dense little area of it. I haven't decided how I will shape it just yet, but so far I really like the look of the pink tips. I may look for some rotala walichii to mix in there for a little texture and color change.

Hopefully I can go pick up some trim for my 65g stand and start working on that this week. I am itching to visit the plant dude again, but the 10g is a little too cramped until I can move things out of here. The 65g is really going to be fun since I will be starting from a clean slate.

Just a few pics this week. That bubble ladder won't look so bad if I ever let the rotala grow a little.










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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 05:14 PM
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i'm really liking this tank so far. I like how there are only a few different kinds of plants, but every one looks great... haha i have like a million species but none of them are exactly thriving..
I agree about the wallichii. a little splash of red would add a lot to the tank. I think you should move the petrified wood (would that be pw instead of dw?) in front of the HC. Its such a small plant, i think it should be the very front of the tank if its in there.

also, i like how the hairgrass still isnt planted! lol, its growing like crazy though, great job! and the hood looks sick, i used to have something sorta like that except mine sucked

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-01-2009, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by demosthenes View Post
i'm really liking this tank so far. I like how there are only a few different kinds of plants, but every one looks great... haha i have like a million species but none of them are exactly thriving..
I agree about the wallichii. a little splash of red would add a lot to the tank. I think you should move the petrified wood (would that be pw instead of dw?) in front of the HC. Its such a small plant, i think it should be the very front of the tank if its in there.

also, i like how the hairgrass still isnt planted! lol, its growing like crazy though, great job! and the hood looks sick, i used to have something sorta like that except mine sucked
That little piece of petrified wood is just holding the HC in place until it gets rooted a little better. Once it is rooted I am going to take out that rock and hopefully let the HC cover the entire foreground. The hairgrass pot is just chilling in there until I get my other tank setup. Of course it has been in there so long that it has completely grown out of the pot and into the substrate so it looks like I'll have a little hairgrass in here too hahaha.

The CO2 isn't going quite as fast as I would like it to be so I am going to mix up a new batch with a little more yeast. I'll probably do a little air separator to make sure I'm not clogging up the check valve. I put in some fish yesterday. I added 5 white cloud minnows. I intend to add 5 more in a week or two and see how they like it in there. The current 5 look like they are having a good time, but they definitely need more friends to start schooling.

I buried one patch of Riccia just to see what it looks like and I like it a lot. Maybe I'll cut a patch off and tie it to a smaller rock to keep in this tank permanently. Looks like the right side will have a nice little Riccia and dwarf hairgrass patch when I get things in their final spot.




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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-01-2009, 08:29 PM
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The HC will spread better if you seperate it out to small groupings of 2-5 stems and plant them that way.

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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-01-2009, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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The HC will spread better if you seperate it out to small groupings of 2-5 stems and plant them that way.

Craig
Thanks Craig, I'll give that a shot. It was rooted in rockwool so it doesn't have much of a root structure right now. It's pretty hard to keep it in one spot. The smaller pieces might be easier to hold down.

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