10 gallon tank ideas - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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10 gallon tank ideas

Ah yes. The 10 gallon tank. The tank that started it all for me. As a college student, I recently got gifted one, which I plan to set up at the beginning of my hopefully senior year of college. It's gonna be an adventure! But...I want this tank to be relatively special. I only plan to be in the area for another year (after this last year, I'm out of this area). And i've spent the past week banging my head against the wall trying to figure out what in the world I should put in the tank.

The last time I checked the water in my area, it was around 7.4 ish, after a night of degassing. I'm planning on making a trip to the fish store to check for all the fun stuff, but I've been making ideas with this parameter in mind, hence all the fish listed do well in this water.

Filtration is going to be a sponge filter. I love the amount of filtration I can get out of them.

I don't plan to use a substrate. I'm aiming for a moss bottom tank, with a few pots of plants here and there. This way I don't have to move 30 extra pounds of gravel at the end of the year. Besides, the sponge filter will provide plenty of surface area for the fish.

I have enough Vallisneria to donate to my now former TA. I also have Hygrophila sp. ????, as well as Rotala. I plan to get red root floaters, and some xmas moss from home, which I plan to attach to mesh, something I've been meaning to do for a while.

But...I'm bored. Endler's have been a thing in my desktop 2.5. So have shrimp. CPD's. Goldring danios. Even a rosy loach! I want excitement, something that will remind me "here's why you became an aquarist." Something that will jazz up my senior year with a tough, but doable project. I'm thinking of a breeding project, culturing microworms and baby brine shrimp. Something that will say "here's something that i can do!" I don't necessarily enjoy growing hard to keep plants, and the tank will be ultra low light for the express purpose of reducing algae.

Maybe I should do a species tank? So far in the queue of thoughts have been the following:

Celestial Pearl Danios: but they're kind of overdone. And they're pricy fish. But they offer a good return if I can get them to breed. Still a viable option though

Danio tinwini: Nope, not happening. They're simply too dull for my tastes at this point. I know that I can keep them, and breeding them would be hard, but I don't think that I'm too interested in them.

Rosy loaches: Interesting. I'm not sure about the price point yet. I don't think there's many documented breeding cases of them, at least enough to make the front page of Google. But I also wonder how in demand they are.

Pea Puffers: only 3 in a 10 gallon tank, and it would have to be heavily planted. While I think breeding them would be cool, there's not enough fish mass for me to want them badly enough.

Doryichthys martensii: The return of the pipefish. I did briefly entertain going into saltwater, but the equipment bill alone is too much of a turnoff for me at this point in time. Freshwater pipefish sound like a suitable adventure, and I could pair them with Oto cats, which I have yet to breed. I think it would be fun to see what I could do with a pair/trio in the tank along with a small shoal of Otos, but this also seems very pricey, as I don't know how much the pipefish sell for in the area, as well as how market saturation might work. Brine shrimp might be a bit of an issue, but I'd love to see if i can train them onto frozen BBS and then frozen mysis. But at the same time, they might be too finicky for my schedule to suitably handle. Also a pair/trio in this size tank might be too big. I even think that the place I'm working at this summer has a Catappa tree that sheds its leaves.

Killifish: Yeah....turns out that I don't think my 10 gallon can handle 30 of any killifish species swimming around the tank. And 30 is around the quantity that I can find on e b a y/aquabid.

Food will be variable on which fish I get. Regardless, I'm getting a brine shrimp hatchery. Two if I get the pipefish. Golden pearls if I get the CPD's. Repashy Gel food if I get Oto cats (Soilent Green/Bottom Scratcher), or Rosy loaches (Grub Pie or insectivore diet).

Part of my decision will be informed by price research. If a pipefish is $50/fish, then I'm obviously not going to buy one. If a CPD is cheaper than a rosy loach, I'll probably get a shoal of CPD's.

At this point, I need some advice. Which fish would you choose? Are there options I'm missing out on? Anything that I should keep in mind?

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 02:34 PM
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Three ideas come to mind for a species only tank:

1) A cory only tank. One or even two of the dwarf cory species - habrosus, hastatus, pygmaeus. Habrosus stay along the bottom more like the full size cories, while hastatus and pygmaeus use more of the mid-water column. I've had habrosus breed a few times, and with hastatus I got one fry who unfortunately didn't make it with other fish in the tank. Haven't had pygmaeus myself. In this set up, I would do habrosus and hastatus - probably 6 habrosus, 8 hastatus.

2) Sparkling Gouramis. I haven't had luck breeding these (and I no longer have them), but I've read of others who have.

3) Dwarf pencilfish or Beckfordi pencilfish. I have the dwarfs in a tank with WCMM and if there's any breeding going on, I haven't seen it. But I also have a red variety of the Beckford pencilfish in another tank, and have had 6 fry survive so far from a single pair of adults. Hoping for more.

Here's another one:

4) Peacock Gudgeons

Last edited by SueD; 06-11-2019 at 03:04 PM. Reason: added idea
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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I just got my tap water tested:

pH: somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6, so let's go with 7.4

Hardness (GH): 75 ppm

Alkalinity (KH): ~20 ppm

Sue, thanks for the recc's! I don't think I can do pygmy corys because of the pH, and the same goes for sparkling gouramis and gudgeons. I might look more into the pencilfish, but my hopes for any fish from South America is really low, mostly because of the low pH there.

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
I just got my tap water tested:

pH: somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6, so let's go with 7.4

Hardness (GH): 75 ppm

Alkalinity (KH): ~20 ppm

Sue, thanks for the recc's! I don't think I can do pygmy corys because of the pH, and the same goes for sparkling gouramis and gudgeons. I might look more into the pencilfish, but my hopes for any fish from South America is really low, mostly because of the low pH there.
A Ph of 7.4 is fine to keep many soft water species: certainly most South American tetras and corydoras species.
For the more sensitive species, however, like discus, geophagus, Uaru, and many of the South American black-water species KH/GH are a far more important number to consider.

So, Im wondering...



If 1 dKH is about equivalent to 17.9 ppm- isnt your KH and GH very low? I usually think in terms of General Hardness(GH) and Carbonate Hardness (KH)- not ppm.

https://fishlab.com/aquarium-gh/
https://fishlab.com/aquarium-kh/

@Deanna?

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
A Ph of 7.4 is fine to keep many soft water species: certainly most South American tetras and corydoras species.
For the more sensitive species, however, like discus, geophagus, Uaru, and many of the South American black-water species KH/GH are a far more important number to consider.

So, Im wondering...



If 1 dKH is about equivalent to 17.9 ppm- isnt your KH and GH very low? I usually think in terms of General Hardness(GH) and Carbonate Hardness (KH)- not ppm.

https://fishlab.com/aquarium-gh/
https://fishlab.com/aquarium-kh/

@Deanna?
OP mentions a night of degassing, but Iím not sure what is being degassed if CO2 isnít being injected. I would think pH would be unchanged. Maybe just chlorine/chloramines?

Youíre right about the KH readings being very low. pH is determined by CO2 and KH. If KH ~1.2 (20 ppm), there is very little buffering and OP is likely to see pH drop if water changes and cleaning regimen arenít good. CO2, from atmosheric source should be about 2-3 ppm. With a KH of 1.2 and 2-3 ppm CO2, pH should actually be about 7.1-7.2. As you know, a pH pen is better at finding pH than the reagent tests. My guess is that KH is higher than the OP suspects. Of course, some water companies add sodium hydroxide to raise pH to prevent acidic water from damaging plumbing, which throws the calculations out the window. Iíd ask the water company if they do this.

To test low KH levels, I use five times the recommended water levels for reagent tests (such as APIís) then divide the results by 5 to get a more accurate read. If we can be sure of KH readings, youíll be better able to assign fish to appropriate levels and to project pH more accurately on an assumption of CO2 being in the 2-3 ppm area..

Concerning water softness, I would look at 4 dGH (75 ppm) as being borderline soft, but not much higher. Might also be useful to get a TDS reading, but letís make sure about the TDS meterís scale (.5 or .7) - probably would be .5. I view TDS as being a better guide for my fish, but I donít get into the more sensitive species that you do.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
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OP mentions a night of degassing, but Iím not sure what is being degassed if CO2 isnít being injected. I would think pH would be unchanged. Maybe just chlorine/chloramines?

Youíre right about the KH readings being very low. pH is determined by CO2 and KH. If KH ~1.2 (20 ppm), there is very little buffering and OP is likely to see pH drop if water changes and cleaning regimen arenít good. CO2, from atmosheric source should be about 2-3 ppm. With a KH of 1.2 and 2-3 ppm CO2, pH should actually be about 7.1-7.2. As you know, a pH pen is better at finding pH than the reagent tests. My guess is that KH is higher than the OP suspects. Of course, some water companies add sodium hydroxide to raise pH to prevent acidic water from damaging plumbing, which throws the calculations out the window. Iíd ask the water company if they do this.

To test low KH levels, I use five times the recommended water levels for reagent tests (such as APIís) then divide the results by 5 to get a more accurate read. If we can be sure of KH readings, youíll be better able to assign fish to appropriate levels and to project pH more accurately on an assumption of CO2 being in the 2-3 ppm area..

Concerning water softness, I would look at 4 dGH (75 ppm) as being borderline soft, but not much higher. Might also be useful to get a TDS reading, but letís make sure about the TDS meterís scale (.5 or .7) - probably would be .5. I view TDS as being a better guide for my fish, but I donít get into the more sensitive species that you do.
Thanks @Deanna- I knew you could provide information that would help me and the OP.
In last year I bought a TDS meter and have been monitoring. It appears to range, for me, between 85-115 TDS- depending on time of year.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Thanks @Deanna- I knew you could provide information that would help me and the OP.
In last year I bought a TDS meter and have been monitoring. It appears to range, for me, between 85-115 TDS- depending on time of year.
If you want to know the actual ppm burden, use this calculator: https://www.translatorscafe.com/unit...-conductivity/

In the US, it's likely that you have a .5 conversion model (would be on the mfg website). This will understate actual ppm. The calculator will give you actual ppm by inputting the 500 reading and using the 700 conversion.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
If you want to know the actual ppm burden, use this calculator: https://www.translatorscafe.com/unit...-conductivity/

In the US, it's likely that you have a .5 conversion model (would be on the mfg website). This will understate actual ppm. The calculator will give you actual ppm by inputting the 500 reading and using the 700 conversion.
I have an electric-conductivity meter included on my filter for my discus tank. I dont know how accurate it is. I have a Fluvel G6.



Thanks for the link- Ill take a look.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice!

Degassing clarification: I notice that when I run my tap water at cold, the pH changes. I attribute this to us getting it from a mountain reservoir, which screws with the oxygen levels. The pH changes drastically from what I remember being 8.0 to 7.4, so I assume this is too much oxygen in the water. I dose Prime at recommended standards to remove chlorine/chloramines.

pH clarification: I actually went to the local Petsmart to get my water tested (so it was a pH strip...) and not a solution test....

Should I use Equilibrium to bump up my GH/KH? The last time I did calculations for this was back in high school, so I'm kind of fuzzy on the math behind this.

For measuring pH/GH(hardness)/KH(alkalinity), is there a specific brand that you would recommend? I understand the importance of testing, but also I'm a college student who's going into academia, so if it's cheap and it works, then it's cheap and it works.

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 01:53 PM
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Thanks for all the advice!

Degassing clarification: I notice that when I run my tap water at cold, the pH changes. I attribute this to us getting it from a mountain reservoir, which screws with the oxygen levels. The pH changes drastically from what I remember being 8.0 to 7.4, so I assume this is too much oxygen in the water. I dose Prime at recommended standards to remove chlorine/chloramines.

pH clarification: I actually went to the local Petsmart to get my water tested (so it was a pH strip...) and not a solution test....

Should I use Equilibrium to bump up my GH/KH? The last time I did calculations for this was back in high school, so I'm kind of fuzzy on the math behind this.

For measuring pH/GH(hardness)/KH(alkalinity), is there a specific brand that you would recommend? I understand the importance of testing, but also I'm a college student who's going into academia, so if it's cheap and it works, then it's cheap and it works.
That makes more sense (I thought you were degassing the tank water). Given your water source, it's possible that it contains no CO2 (often it's the opposite) and allowing it to sit causes CO2 absorption and, subsequently, a pH drop.

It's rare that a LFS will do any reliable testing of water, and test strips are the worst form of testing. Based upon your LFS source, I wouldn't trust the results you have. Play around with this calculator to determine GH and KH loadings: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator. Although, I prefer Zorfox's calculator (which can better analyze GH: Zorfox's Planted Tank Calculator. The API GH/KH and pH reagent kits are fine and cheap (<$10 each) and, in the case of GH/KH, you can increase their accuracy as I described, above. pH pens are better than reagent kits, but will be much more expensive.

If modifying KH, I'd recommend potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3). That way, you add potassium (which plants like) instead of sodium from baking soda (which plants don't like). Equilibrium will raise GH, but not KH.

However, before modifying these components, I'd work with @Discusluv and @SueD to decide what fauna you want and take their advice on optimal KH and GH levels. Then, you can modify the water parameters as needed. you may not need to increase GH at all, maybe will even want to lower it depending upon what they say.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
I just got my tap water tested:

pH: somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6, so let's go with 7.4

Hardness (GH): 75 ppm

Alkalinity (KH): ~20 ppm

Sue, thanks for the recc's! I don't think I can do pygmy corys because of the pH, and the same goes for sparkling gouramis and gudgeons. I might look more into the pencilfish, but my hopes for any fish from South America is really low, mostly because of the low pH there.
My PH runs 7.4-7.5 and I keep all of these fish. Many of them do well in a wide range, e.g. peacock gudgeon - check here --- https://www.seriouslyfish.com/specie...a-ocellicauda/
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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This...is going to sound uneducated.

Why do I need to adjust for alkalinity/hardness again? If alkalinity is a function of how well the water can be buffered against pH changes, then wouldn't I just be fine with making sure I don't add water changing elements to the tank? I.e. no leaf litter, no CO2 pump, no fancy Ohko or Dragon stones, no Fluval Shrimp Substrate. I literally only plan on growing java moss on a mat, and maybe some plants in small planters using pea gravel and root tabs. While CO2/O2 buildup may be a concern, the fact that I'm using an air driven sponge filter should neutralize (ha, a pun) both CO2 and O2 buildup.

I'm trying to keep this tank as simple as humanly possible. Just 50% water changes every week, a school of fish, and a few plants to release phytochemicals and uptake nutrients as a nitrate sink. No EI, no additives, nothing like that. At most, hatching baby brine shrimp or adding leaf litter (which might be a no go given the alkalinity). While I can appreciate the science behind all of this, now is not the time for this for me. I'm really only looking for fish recommendations based off of my parameters.

So many fish to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
This...is going to sound uneducated.

Why do I need to adjust for alkalinity/hardness again? If alkalinity is a function of how well the water can be buffered against pH changes, then wouldn't I just be fine with making sure I don't add water changing elements to the tank? I.e. no leaf litter, no CO2 pump, no fancy Ohko or Dragon stones, no Fluval Shrimp Substrate. I literally only plan on growing java moss on a mat, and maybe some plants in small planters using pea gravel and root tabs. While CO2/O2 buildup may be a concern, the fact that I'm using an air driven sponge filter should neutralize (ha, a pun) both CO2 and O2 buildup.

I'm trying to keep this tank as simple as humanly possible. Just 50% water changes every week, a school of fish, and a few plants to release phytochemicals and uptake nutrients as a nitrate sink. No EI, no additives, nothing like that. At most, hatching baby brine shrimp or adding leaf litter (which might be a no go given the alkalinity). While I can appreciate the science behind all of this, now is not the time for this for me. I'm really only looking for fish recommendations based off of my parameters.
You donít have to make any changes to your water. You opened the door when you asked: ďAnything that I should keep in mind?Ē

So, when @Discusluv answered your question about what type of fish to keep, he gave some suggestions, but also explained that, if you choose some of those species, it would be best to have the water parameters that those species thrive in. If you donít want those species, your water will be fine for the vast majority of tropical fish.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 12:43 AM
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Yep- you are open to keeping pygmy corydoras and some smaller Nano sized tetras like Ember tetras or Green fire tetras.

But, with a ten gallon, an even better choice would be a group of micro-rasboras- they come in unusual colors. A striking fish. I would get a larger group of one variety. But, I am far more interested in making sure that schoolers and shoalers feel comfortable enough in the aquarium to display natural behaviors. This means adequate numbers- the bonus of this is possible breeding behaviors/fry. A few oto's could fill out the tank.
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180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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