MrSpiffy's 10G Tank Journal - My first planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-23-2015, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere, out there...
Posts: 33
MrSpiffy's 10G Tank Journal - My first planted tank

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:

Equipment:
Tank: 10-gallon Marineland w/ basic LED hood
Substrate: Eco-Complete (maybe sand on top..?)
Filter: AquaClear 30 HOB filter
Heater: 50W... thinking the Cobalt Neo-Therm, but I can make do with less
Lighting: Unsure... considering Finnex 20" Planted+ or possibly a DIY LED setup
CO2: no pressurized, probably just Flourish Excel, for now
Fertilizer: Flourish, to start... but happy to take suggestions

Plants:
Background: African water fern or Hornwort
Mid-ground: "Petite" Anubias barteri or Cryptocoryne beckettii
Foreground: Dwarf Baby Tears (HC) or Dwarf Hairgrass

Possible Inhabitants:
Harlequin rasboras
Mosquito rasboras (Boraras brigittae)
Ember tetras
Rummynose tetras
White Clouds
Threadfin Rainbows
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.
MrSpiffy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-24-2015, 11:30 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hilde's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 6,247
Is this going to be a low tech tank?
Hilde is offline  
post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-24-2015, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere, out there...
Posts: 33
Since it's my first planted tank, I was hoping it would be a simpler setup. But I'm not opposed to some DIY CO2, if need be.

After some research, I'm leaving toward the Finnex fixture rather than the DIY route. But I'm still concerned about balancing light levels with nutrients and CO2. Will the fixture be too bright?

As for startup methods, I'm considering the dry start method. It seems pretty straightforward.
MrSpiffy is offline  
 
post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 02:16 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hilde's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 6,247
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSpiffy View Post
I'm leaving toward the Finnex fixture rather than the DIY route.
Which Finnex? I have seen a Finnex FugeRay, Finnex planted, Finnex Ray II and Finnex Stingray.
Hilde is offline  
post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 02:25 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Dead2fall's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Nj
Posts: 1,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
Which Finnex? I have seen a Finnex FugeRay, Finnex planted, Finnex Ray II and Finnex Stingray.
Op specified planted plus in first post
Dead2fall is offline  
post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 02:45 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hilde's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 6,247
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSpiffy View Post
After some research, I'm leaving toward the Finnex fixture rather than the DIY route. But I'm still concerned about balancing light levels with nutrients and CO2. Will the fixture be too bright?
I found the hard way that it is cheaper in the long run to buy a fixture. That is a perfect light.

For nutrients I like select aquatics brand. It comes in dry form. You mix some in water. Cheap and last a long time. I learned about at aquarium club.

If you don't do DIY Co2 get some Metricide28 and dilute it to excel strength (1.5% Glut). Formula is (1.5 x container)/ cidex glut% = glut. Doing DIY Co2 works best if you have more than 1 bottle. I had major problems with leaks form bottles I used and hated the smell of yeast. Thus bought a citric acid DIY Co2 kit on Ebay
Hilde is offline  
post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 02:59 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Dead2fall's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Nj
Posts: 1,137
Hilde:
I've recently been looking into the metricide route for my non co2 tanks. Tired of paying for commercially branded aquarium products. Isn't metricide 28 the one with surfactants?

Just trying to confirm before I order something.
Dead2fall is offline  
post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 03:05 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Dead2fall's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Nj
Posts: 1,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSpiffy View Post
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:

Equipment:
Tank: 10-gallon Marineland w/ basic LED hood
Substrate: Eco-Complete (maybe sand on top..?)
Filter: AquaClear 30 HOB filter
Heater: 50W... thinking the Cobalt Neo-Therm, but I can make do with less
Lighting: Unsure... considering Finnex 20" Planted+ or possibly a DIY LED setup
CO2: no pressurized, probably just Flourish Excel, for now
Fertilizer: Flourish, to start... but happy to take suggestions

Plants:
Background: African water fern or Hornwort
Mid-ground: "Petite" Anubias barteri or Cryptocoryne beckettii
Foreground: Dwarf Baby Tears (HC) or Dwarf Hairgrass

Possible Inhabitants:
Harlequin rasboras
Mosquito rasboras (Boraras brigittae)
Ember tetras
Rummynose tetras
White Clouds
Threadfin Rainbows
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.
I put a finnex planted plus on a 5.5g. Initially I saw no issues. Two months later I'm seeing small amounts of bba. Very tiny bit on about 5 leaves in my tank. I never had any algae for the 12 months prior to putting this light on with the exception of a one time gsa outbreak that I scraped off and never saw again. It was lit with a 23w cfl positioned horizontally in the stock hood. I have no other issues with any algae. Tank is dosed ei with api co2 Booster as carbon source. Light is about 8-10 inches from sub. I know it's not a ten gallon, just relating my experience with these fixtures on a smaller tank.
Dead2fall is offline  
post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 03:10 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hilde's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 6,247
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead2fall View Post
Hilde:
I've recently been looking into the metricide route for my non co2 tanks. Tired of paying for commercially branded aquarium products. Isn't metricide 28 the one with surfactants?

Just trying to confirm before I order something.
I don't know. It comes with and extra little of bottle of chemicals that is discarded when using in an aquarium. I have been using it since June 2013. Since my water has no nutrients in it I add liquid kelp to it.

What state and city are you in?

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead2fall View Post
I put a finnex planted plus on a 5.5g. Initially I saw no issues. Two months later I'm seeing small amounts of bba.
I at times have BBA crop up in my 29G. Just have 2 Coralife T5NO fixtures over it. Even had it when had with T8 light strips over my tank.
Hilde is offline  
post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere, out there...
Posts: 33
Thanks for all the replies!

Hilde, thanks for recommending the dry fertilizer. I've read that dry ferts are the best route to go over the long run. I never usually plan for the short-term and want to do what's right for the tank, not just a quick fix. So, I'll definitely look into the dry fert that you recommended. My other idea was to use Flourish and Flourish Excel, but that will probably get expensive.

Dead2fall, thanks to you for sharing your experience with the Planted+ on a smaller tank. It helps to know that it may not overpower the tank and cause an algae outbreak.

After some consideration, I believe having a customizable fixure will be helpful down the road. Even if I deconstruct it and assemble the components into another configuration (or a larger fixture), I believe it will be worth it. My vote is to go for a DIY LED setup and use a driver with a PWM input to dim the LEDs for this setup. I'll likely use an Arduino to do this. Dimming will allow for gradual sunrise and sunset periods. That should keep the fish happier, and look great.

Speaking of looking great, I dropped into an aquarium store while we were out and about, hoping to find some driftwood. We'd never been to that store before, and it's nowhere near our home, so it was a long shot. Sure enough! We found some root-like wood for one side of the tank, and a small stone to set on the other side for additional texture on the bottom. What do you guys think? I may prune the wood a little, but I want to see how it sits with substrate first.

EDIT TO ADD: I've not run into the Metricide before. I assume it's similar to the Excel, just not in a fancy, branded bottle for aquarium use?

MrSpiffy is offline  
post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere, out there...
Posts: 33
Okay, did some reading on the Metricide (glutaraldehyde). Very interesting stuff. It's also a bit dangerous if mishandled, so need to use caution while handling it. But I found a thread detailing its breakdown via metabolic functions into CO2 within plant cells. It's amazing how nature can utilize such chemicals! Though, I'll try to avoid using it, if possible. I may try starting without a CO2 additive and go from there. Adjusting light levels, bioload, etc. may be better methods of controlling CO2 levels than adding a carbon source.
MrSpiffy is offline  
post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 12:24 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Dead2fall's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Nj
Posts: 1,137
With a bright light you'll most likely need a carbon source.
Dead2fall is offline  
post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-26-2015, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere, out there...
Posts: 33
I've read that high amounts of light will require more CO2 to balance the tank. That's a big reason I want to go with dimmable lights, so that I can adjust them to whatever brightness suits the tank.

I think I'll go with a dual driver for the LEDs, so I can control half the LEDs on one driver and half on the other. It should allow for better brightness and color control, particularly for sunrise/sunset programs.
MrSpiffy is offline  
post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2015, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere, out there...
Posts: 33
Looking at LEDs, I think I'll go with 9-10 Luxeons in a mix of 4000K and 5000K with a dimming dual driver to control each color separately.

Also changed my plan for the driftwood. Thinking I'll use it as a centerpiece and plant on either side of it.
MrSpiffy is offline  
post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere, out there...
Posts: 33
So, I went ahead with the plan and ordered 5 each of the 4000K and 5000K Luxeon LEDs. I also picked up some Mean Well LDD drivers, PSU, 60-degree optics, aluminum t-slot rails for heatsinks, mini breadboards, an Adafruit Trinket (Arduino, but miniaturized), RTC chip, LCD screen, temperature probe, and some other miscellaneous items.

I've gotten a chance to wire up and test out the LEDs and they work! Well... minus one of the 4000K LEDs, but Steve's LEDs has been kind enough to ship a new one to me to replace it.

Here are some photos to show off where I've gotten so far:

Using thermal adhesive, I've attached the LEDs to the aluminum. I've only set the optics over the LEDs to see how well they'll work, but have not attached them, yet.





They work! (minus the one bad LED...)


Shot of the tank, not using the optics. Should be plenty bright!


Simple hanging setup. Plan to put the PSU and controls on top of the cabinets to hide them, and just run power wires down to the LEDs.


Once a few more items arrive, I'll be working on the dimming program to perform sunrise/sunset operations. The Arduino will also be able to monitor tank temperature, control the fans via PWM (once I get some and attach them...) so they get turned off when the LEDs are turned off, and display some basic date/time/mode/temp info on the LCD screen.

Can't wait!
MrSpiffy is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome