Stocking advice for new 10 gal please - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Stocking advice for new 10 gal please

Hello, I'm a newbie. I've been secretly reading the site for two months, now I would like some advice on stocking my first tank (actually, tanks, because I got MTS while I was still in the shopping phase but I'm focusing on the 10 gal first).

Setup so far:

*10 gal with full-spectrum light hood, Marina SlimFilter, Eheim Jager 50 w heater, Malaysian driftwood
*Anacharis, moneywort, Amazon sword, creeping charlie, hornwort and a crypt (I bought a multi-pack, I don't mind taking some out if they aren't right)
*Tank is mid-cycle, with ammonia going from 3ppm to zero in 24 hours, nitrite isn't yet converting to nitrate
*Well water without chlorine, but high kH and pH (dKH 16, ph 8.4) out of the tap. We use a water-softener and iron filtration system
*One (apple?) snail smaller than a peppercorn that came on the crypt, but seems to have disappeared

I have Prime, which bring pH down even though I don't need it for decholorinating, and Flourish, and I did not use any other products to boost the cycle after reading here about how they don't work. I just bought API pH Down, but I haven't used it yet, since the pH dropped after I added plants used Prime just yesterday – do I need anything besides Prime?

In general, how am I doing?

I would also like stocking suggestions; I promise NO ANIMALS before the parameters are stable. I like the following fish and would like to know what combinations would be happy in a small tank, and how many of each kind. I know I can't have all of them but I hope some combination would be successful. I can always get another tank for the rest, right…

Celestial pearl danios (with sparkling or powderblue dwarf gourami?)
Harlequin rasboras (with honey dwarf gourami?)
Pea puffer (any tankmates at all?)
Pygmy corys
Red cherry or orange shrimp or other shrimp except ghost, they scare me

Any great fish I haven't considered yet? We have a good LFS with all of the above on a regular basis and many others, too.

Thank you in advance, and thanks for all the great forums I've already benefited from!

Last edited by Andarina; 02-22-2015 at 02:24 AM. Reason: params changed
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 02:24 AM
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If it were me I'd go with pygmy corys, ember tetras and cherry shrimp.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Are ember tetras better than harlequins or CPDs?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 02:40 AM
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pH is not a stand alone value. The pH down sorts of products do not work well if there is a lot of carbonates in the water. On the contrary, if you get rid of the carbonates the pH will drop without having to add acidic materials.

What is the GH? This is calcium and magnesium, which fish and plants need. Better not to use a water softener that removes these minerals unless you are also going to run it through reverse osmosis to make the KH and pH also much lower.

For the fish you want, that is what I would do.

Get the GH and KH around 3-5 degrees. Then the pH will also be in the right range.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 03:25 AM
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Despite what is said about them in my experience dwarf gouramis are bullies in smaller tanks. They will pick on the smaller fish relentlessly possibly even forcing them to jump out of the tank. Mine did that to a couple tetras and a pygmy cory (watched it happen).

I would go with marble hatchets. They are so unique and will give hours of endless viewing pleasure! Amano shrimp, nerite snails, maybe an otto.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 07:40 AM
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I've had my dwarf puffer with about 20 cherry shrimp for a month, so dar so good. I've heard they do alright with otocinclus too. I'm sure kuhli loaches would do alright with it too.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 07:53 AM
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Puffer generally are known to be nippers and snails and shrimps are there natural diet. So you have to keep a close eye on your shrimp population.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-22-2015, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
pH is not a stand alone value. The pH down sorts of products do not work well if there is a lot of carbonates in the water. On the contrary, if you get rid of the carbonates the pH will drop without having to add acidic materials.

What is the GH? This is calcium and magnesium, which fish and plants need. Better not to use a water softener that removes these minerals unless you are also going to run it through reverse osmosis to make the KH and pH also much lower.

For the fish you want, that is what I would do.

Get the GH and KH around 3-5 degrees. Then the pH will also be in the right range.
Thank you, I didn't know that. Okay, today's water test results:

Ammonia 0
pH 8.2
nitrite 5.0 or higher
nitrate < 5.0
dKH 13? (chart ends at 12 drops, it took 13)
GH greenish from first drop, never orange, are drops to degrees a 1:1 proportion?
(all API kits)

How do I bring down KH and raise GH? I can't bypass the softener system unless I just use bottled water.

How do I bring down the nitrites? They are always at max despite multiple water changes and nitrates aren't rising.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:49 PM
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I have the same problem with my tap water, since we use a water softener. Any water running to faucets outside of your house should bypass the water softener. I would not recommend doing that though. I tried doing a combination of my hard tap water and distilled water but you need to use something that you know will be stable every time you do a water change.

Go to your local Walmart and buy however many gallons of Spring Water. I tested the RO water but the GH and KH both came back as 0 (which I found odd). But in the Spring Water, the KH is 2 and GH is 4, which is about where you want it according to Diana. I have had no problems at all with it so far and you shouldn't either. Give that a try unless someone else says otherwise. Oh and in regards to Prime, you should always use it anyways, whether it be from bottled water or your tap, because you never know if there's actually something in there.

I hope that helps with your water situation.

I see though you said you bought other tanks. You might want to consider other options if you need a lot of water. You could buy an RO filter. Just something to think about in the future.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 04:39 AM
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Might be perfect for cichlids but don't know any small cichlids off the top of my head. Might be able to keep guppies too.


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Neatfish View Post
Might be perfect for cichlids but don't know any small cichlids off the top of my head. Might be able to keep guppies too.
You mean like Apistogramma? I think they need at least a 20 gallon. Sure there are some keeping them in 10's though.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 10:51 AM
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Corys and RCS all the way! I have some green corys in my 30G and they are adorable! They school around the tank, run up and down the sides, play with the glass, dig in the sand, hide in the plants and they aren't scared of you sitting right next to them and watching. It might not seem like the most exciting thing, but I think corys are the best for a small tank if you don't want just a puffer and food.


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 01:46 PM
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NO2 at 5 or higher is a REAL problem. Not just for fish, but for people, too. Double and triple check this: Bad test? Where is the NO2 coming from? Maybe check the neighbor's water, too.

Look up methemoglobinemia for more info.

RO water is a great place to start. No minerals, salts or anything else. Then add what you want. Just the right levels of carbonates, calcium, magnesium and so on. I use baking soda or potassium bicarbonate for KH and Seachem Equilibrium for GH.

Spring water may vary from one batch to the next, I would not trust it.

Quote:
Ammonia 0
pH 8.2
nitrite 5.0 or higher
nitrate < 5.0
dKH 13? (chart ends at 12 drops, it took 13)
GH greenish from first drop, never orange, are drops to degrees a 1:1 proportion?
(all API kits)
pH: ought to correct itself when the other things are corrected.
NO2: This is bad. Maybe the test kit is bad? Check this with another test kit, even if you have to take a sample to a store. Do not drink this water.
NO3: 'under 5' is OK.
KH 13 German degrees of hardness: This is holding the pH up there. Reverse osmosis would remove the carbonates. Yes, it is oK to call it 13, just because the paper stops its chart at 12 does not mean the kit is not good for higher values. Both GH and KH are 1:1. One drop = One German degree of hardness.
GH 0-1 degree: This is not good. Even fish that thrive in the softest water need some calcium and magnesium. Plants need them, too. However, low GH makes it good to run the water through a reverse osmosis system. The RO membrane tends to clog when there is too much calcium.

There are portable RO units: hook it up to a sink when you want to use it, then dry it off for storage. This will also get rid of the NO2 in the water.

How I would handle this:
Use RO water.
No tap water until the NO2 issue is resolved. (Bottled water for people)
Add minerals to the RO water to make the GH and KH suit the fish.
If it is a black water species, filter the water through peat moss to add the organic acids these fish like.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 04:16 PM
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Totally agree with the cory. I have an albino and a peppered cory. They are very active as previously mentioned. Digging and swimming back and forth along the glass. Sometimes they just lay on the bottom as if they were sleeping. Seem to be very hardy fish also.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2015, 05:42 PM
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Most species of standard Corydoras aren't suitable for 10g tanks. Probably just C. habrosus or, C. pygmaes. The only DWARF cichlids I'd consider are Kribensis, if only a pair of P. pulcher or, a pair of M. ramirezi.
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