New 10 Gallon Planted, Need Advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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New 10 Gallon Planted, Need Advice

Hello all I am fairly new to aquascaping and I am trying to do a cheap setup if possible.
I got the tank, light hood, filter, and heater all for free so I'm trying to stay cheap.
I just finished planting my ten gallon with a betta and here are the plants inside.

Dwarf Hairgrass
Dwarf Baby Tears 'HC'
Banana Plant
Micro Sword
Dwarf Sag
Dwarf Hygro

The substrate is eco-complete and is about two and a half inches deep. I have a couple of questions that hopefully can get answered soon so my plants can flourish and live.

1. How much light do I need for the plants to carpet/spread? I currently have a GE Aqua Fresh and Saltwater 15W bulb and I was wondering if that is enough for the plants to spread?
2. Is the filter really needed, I heard the current from filter can be dangerous to a Betta.
3. Do any of these plants need any fertilization, and if so what is the cheapest? Tablets? Any brand specifically?
4. Can the Dwarf HC, Hairgrass, and Sword spread into a carpet without fertilization?
5. Now that there is a lot more hiding spaces can my Betta live with a cherry shrimp and an otto?
6. I just ordered a nano CO2 diffuser, will that be enough to keep these plants alive?


Here is a pic! I will be checking on this log once a day and a new pic will come once a week. Thank you.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by chumblaka View Post
1. How much light do I need for the plants to carpet/spread? I currently have a GE Aqua Fresh and Saltwater 15W bulb and I was wondering if that is enough for the plants to spread?
The light is on the low side for the hairgrass and HC but I think may be OK, however, I think if you add CO2 to the tank you'll have better results.

Quote:
2. Is the filter really needed, I heard the current from filter can be dangerous to a Betta.
Yes, I think a filter is a good idea. I would recommend putting a sponge over the intake for the filter both to kep the betta's fins out of it and also to keep the shrimp from being sucked in, however. Bettas don't like FAST flow, but some flow is fine, and actually very good for planted tanks.

Quote:
3. Do any of these plants need any fertilization, and if so what is the cheapest? Tablets? Any brand specifically?
You can probably make do without ferts, given your lighting and bioload. Seachem makes a good series of liquid ferts, but dry ferts are the cheapest way to go over the long run (though there isn't nearly as much savings with a tank as small as yours, so I'd probably stick with the Seachem line). You can use root tabs if you'd like.

Quote:
4. Can the Dwarf HC, Hairgrass, and Sword spread into a carpet without fertilization?
They'd all probably spread much better/more quickly with ferts and CO2, though the chain sword will probably do the best out of the 3 in your current setup.

Quote:
5. Now that there is a lot more hiding spaces can my Betta live with a cherry shrimp and an otto?
It really depends on your betta. Some will hunt and eat shrimp very aggressively, others ignore them. The oto is probably just fine.

Quote:
6. I just ordered a nano CO2 diffuser, will that be enough to keep these plants alive?
Probably, since you've got a small tank. You'll just need to make sure to keep your DIY CO2 mix nice and fresh.





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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 04:07 AM
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I really like your raised garden and the rocks lining it.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, thank you lauraleellbp for the fast and great reply.

1. So for lighting how much higher would I need to go? How many watts, also do they sell 18" bulbs at higher wattages than what I currently have?
2. Is there anything specifically that needs to be done as far as making the plants carpet out? Do I need to bury them more, leave the roots a bit exposed like they are now or dig them deeper?
3. I have this tank in front of a window where it receives a couple of hours of added sunlight behind white plastic blinds that are closed. Is that sufficient or do I still need a bigger bulb?
4. How long does a DIY kit of CO2 last? I am going to use a 2 liter bottle with the two cups of sugar and 1/2 tbsp of yeast.

I guess I will use Seachem and just continue my weekly water changes.

Thank you itrack4u it took a bit of planning, hopefully the Hairgrass will spread in its garden nicely!
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 04:36 AM
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Honestly, I'd leave the lighting as is and get the CO2 worked out. If you can get good CO2 levels in the tank but still end up with the HC growing tall and leggy, then you'll know you need to look at increasing light.

IMO people increase light more often than they need to, and end up creating more work for themselves than if they'd figured out how to take care of plants that aren't growing nearly as quickly/higher demand. If you DO decide to upgrade your lighting, you'll probably want to go with a 20-30 watt Compact Flourescent fixture. And then you'll HAVE to have good CO2 and a fert regimen nailed down.

You'll probably need to change out the mixture once a week to maintain consistent CO2 levels.

IDK about the sunlight behind blinds. Sunlight is hard to regulate, since it fluctuates with the weather and seaons, so most people avoid it. Since you've got blinds on the window I'd probably just try and see what happens.





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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 04:49 AM
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The light may be a bit low for HC. If it grows up though, try trimming it. I have found that HC does grow well in lower light than people give it credit for but may not spread without trimming. HC responds well to trimming. Co2 is more important than light to, so I agree it should come first.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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I have an extra hood with the two bulb sockets, I guess Ill see after a month how much its grown and I'll add some CF's accordingly.

So the DIY CO2, how expensive does that get? Do I need to continue it all the time, or just until I get the growth I want, and then I just go with Seachem?

Ill wait a while and see what the sunlight contributes.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
The light may be a bit low for HC. If it grows up though, try trimming it. I have found that HC does grow well in lower light than people give it credit for but may not spread without trimming. HC responds well to trimming. Co2 is more important than light to, so I agree it should come first.
Does hairgrass spread if I trim it? It has bulbs right now at the tops like its flowering.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 05:07 AM
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Oh yes- I forgot that part- all your carpeting plants will fill in more quickly if you separate them out more now. Tweezers are indespensible with planting carpets IMO.

And yes, "mowing" hairgrass also will encourage it to fill in, just like mowing the lawn outside. It just tends to be messy...





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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Aaah, haha it was such a pain to seperate the hairgrass and HC as it is into those clumps. I tried individual strands but I couldn't get em to stay in the substrate so I just went with clumps.

Should I go ahead and trim Hairgrass right now? Or should I wait for them to root more?
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 08:56 AM
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I think if you add diy Co2 and Seachem tabs you will be okay with the light. Diy Co2 cost little. There several ways to diffuse it in the tank. Simplest way to find more info is start a thread on Diy Co2 and after you post the title tab to box and many threads will come up on the subject to choose.

In the summer you would be best to use the CFL bulbs for the other bulbs probably create heat.

I have a Betta in a 29 gallon tank with a powerhead and he loves the current. When I used a HOB (hang on back) filter in a 10 gallon I cut a bottle in half(long ways) and taped it so that the curve covered the output.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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I think if you add diy Co2 and Seachem tabs you will be okay with the light. Diy Co2 cost little. There several ways to diffuse it in the tank.
Well I already ordered a nano CO2 diffuser from eBay for five bucks so hopefully that is what I need. I guess I'll start a thread once I get the CO2 going.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 09:17 PM
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the nano diffuser should work great. i know how you feel about the dwarf hairgrass. im in the process of covering my 40 gallon with it- and it is a PAIN IN THE BUTT to plant! i think this is a great start and will look good once it starts to fill in!

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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you JennaH!

Let's see... So far on the list I am waiting on my shipment to come in with:
1 x Nano CO2 Diffuser
1 x Seachem Flourish Excel
2 x CO2 Tablets (36 in each pack)

Ok, I now have a question about the CO2 tablets, the packet says to add one or two every wee for every ten gallons of water. (my tank is ten gallons) I was wondering how effective these are, I bought them out of curiosity and the hope that it may be cheaper than a DIY CO2 and less of a hassle.

What I was also wondering was if I could put these tablets in a 20 oz bottle with water and hook it up to a diffuser to maybe make the tablets last longer? Would it make a difference if it is just in the tank vs in a bottle + diffuser?

Well here are my plans. Once the shipment comes in I will do DIY CO2 for about two weeks with Seachem Excel and see how it goes. Then I will switch to tablets and Excel for another two weeks and see the progress there. I will stick with whatever is easiest and gets the effect I want.

Oh another question I have been doing some research online and I've read that in a 10 gallon tank Seachem Excel is enough and doesn't need CO2 for plants to carpet given adequate lighting? How true is that? Is Seachem CO2? Sorry if any of these questions are dumb.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 02:18 AM
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excel is a liquid carbon compound. it can be used together with co2 or by itself. you may see better results using both, but a 10 gallon could probably sustain with excel alone.
i've never used the co2 tablets and haven't heard many people use them. that's prob for good reason. check out this page on seachem's website talking about excel- it may help you understand excel a little better

http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...rishExcel.html

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