Hi, everyone! I've been lurking around the forum on and off for quite a while, but it's time to finally start a journal for the setup of my very first planted tank.
Before I begin, I'll provide a little background.
About 10-12 years ago, I began my foray into fishkeeping. Of course, before that I'd kept the obligatory betta bowl, but I'd never really known much about what I was doing, nor had I really tried to keep fish.
Finally, I kicked off my adventure with a 20-gallon saltwater reef tank. That tank really took off and inspired me to expand my knowledge beyond the basics. Eventually, I also acquired a 29-gallon freshwater tank that we used to experiment a bit with some shell-dwelling cichlids, brackish water, and keeping various fish, from gouramis to puffers.
My last tanks were a fair size, at 55 gallons for freshwater and 65 gallons (plus a sump) for my reef. Unfortunately, we had to part with them as we moved to a new home, and I haven't had a tank since. That was about 5 years ago...
I've had the itch to get back into aquariums, and really wanted to try a planted tank. I now have an empty 10-gallon aquarium sitting ready for me to get to work. I just have to come up with a plan. And that's where all of you come in, as I hunt for knowledge and expertise among the great members of this forum!
To kick things off, I'll lay out what I've come up with so far, as well as seek some answers to questions I'm struggling with right now.
Here's what I've come up with, thus far:
10-gallon Marineland w/ basic LED hood
Eco-Complete (maybe sand on top..?)
AquaClear 30 HOB filter
50W... thinking the Cobalt Neo-Therm, but I can make do with less
Unsure... considering Finnex 20" Planted+ or possibly a DIY LED setup
no pressurized, probably just Flourish Excel, for now
Flourish, to start... but happy to take suggestions
African water fern or Hornwort
"Petite" Anubias barteri
or Cryptocoryne beckettii
Dwarf Baby Tears (HC) or Dwarf Hairgrass
Mosquito rasboras (Boraras brigittae
Small shrimp (Red Rili, Ghost, Tiger)
I'm planning to find a nice piece of driftwood to provide some caves and hiding areas for the fish, with a higher part of the driftwood on the left side of the tank. This leaves the right side a bit more open. I'll plant taller plants in the background, and hope to have a carpet of HC in the middle/front. Maybe have a small rock or two to add a different texture to the tank.
I'm still not sure what to do as far as the fish I want to keep. Iím thinking that the Harlequin Rasboras will be a nice, easy choice. The Mosquito Rasboras are really small, so I could really get a nice school going, but I'm not sure what else to put in the tank with them as they're extremely peaceful. I'm also totally fine with the other fish on my list, as well, if someone suggests a neat combination. Even other suggestions would be cool. Maybe something with a pop of color, like yellow or blue?
I'd also add a species of shrimp to help keep the tank clean. Any issues with the ones I've listed?
Lighting is another point of contention. I'm unsure if the Finnex Planted+ is too intense for such a small tank. I don't want to fry anything with too much light. I could possibly hack the fixture to add a dimmer, which would be really great to add more control to the light level in the tank. But, if I do that, I might be better with trying a DIY route and buying parts to make my own light setup. (Any suggestions on where to buy components and get assembly instructions?)
In any case, any advice would be useful. From setup methods to lighting to dosing fertilizer/CO2, and anything else in between. Any and all help is appreciated!
I'm looking forward to sharing progress! It may be a bit before I get things rolling, but I can't wait to give it a try.