Hello, first post here and looking for some advice.
I am restricted to only having a 10 gallon tank so i decided to go a planted route. I've been keeping cichlids for over 2 years and a new tank sounded like fun. I have questions for just about everything as i haven't done a tank this small yet. To get started im going to be using a 10 gallon standard glass tank, 24x8x12 or so.
I am probably going to use eco-complete but i was unsure if i should put a layer below that of peat, fluorite or another nutrient based soil? Also how deep is appropriate for plants or does that vary on the choice of plants?
I like the aquaclear 20 seems like that will be sufficient filtration for this little tank. Would this be appropriate? Would altering the media in the filter be a good idea or no?
I'm either thinking a school of tetras or a few apisto's. I'm not sure if the apisto's would work for a small tank like this, let me know. What other sorts of non-fish inhabitants would work well?
I plan on using a DIY 2 two-liter bottles with a separation bottle to ensure theres no liquid that could get into the tank. I'm not sure what to do with the product end of the line. Can i hide in within the filter? Is there a better way to do it?
Unsure yet have to check the local stores but I'm thinking a few tall/medium plants and some grass/moss type plants. I would like to have a nice thick cover on my substrate of green. A decent sized piece of driftwood with a plant or two attached to it.
Any recommendations as a general fert or does that depend on plant choice? Or is that unnecessary due to substrate?
Thanks for the help.
Welcome to the plantedtank.net forum!
Here you will find lots of helpful people.
For substrate: eco complete is a really good choice. It's a complete plant substrate, so you actually don't have to add anything else like peat, laterite, etc. Usually about 2" of substrate is ideal. To calculate how much you need, just use the substrate calculator here: https://www.plantedtank.net/substratecalculator.html
Aquaclear 20 is rated maximum capacity 20 gallon. This should be pretty good. I use an aquaclear 20 for one of my 10g as well. Most filter media types should work well. Carbon is usually not used on a permanent basis, just used to adsorb tannins, organics, heavy metals, remove medication, etc. However some use it 24/7. Other good media types include Seachem purigen, filter floss, coarse sponge foam.
As for fish selection, a school of tetras would work well. Apistos would be more suitable for a 20 gallon, but maybe 1 pair would do in a 10 gallon. They will establish a part of the tank near the bottom as its territory and defend it. But otherwise very peaceful and timid. Some schooling fish that prefers the top-level of the tank will do well with apistos, as apistos prefer the bottom part of the tank.
I'm not sure what you mean by the DIY co2 product at the end of the line. The CO2 line should be above the yeast/water/sugar solution near the top of the bottle, and the co2 gas as the only thing in the line. You can another bottle with only water in between the CO2 bottles and the tank. The co2 line will go under the water of this bottle. This way you can count the number of bubbles coming out. Then another tube going out of this bottle taking in gas from this bottle, going into the tank.
As for plants, a nice cover of green plants on the substrate could include dwarf hairgrass, pygmy chain sword, glossostigma, HC, HM, dwarf saggitaria. There are more choices. Just make sure to have a densely planted tank to start with, with lots of fast-growing stem plants. This way, you give the plants a headstart, not giving a chance on algae to grow. The slower growing plants will have a chance to catch up. As for plants on the driftwood, java fern and moss species can be tied to it without needing to be rooted.
Fertilizer would be recommended as most plants take in nutrients from the water column more than in the substrate. You can buy commercial fertilizer, and just use as directed. This is more costly but is easier to start with. The cheapest alternative is to use bulk dry fertilizers. You have to control exactly how much fertilizer you add as the dry fertililizers are extremely concentrated, so a good regiment of fertilizer dosing is needed. There are several methods of dosing regimes that work well depending on your needs.
Good luck on your tank. Look forward to pictures.