First planted tank-- 10 gallon - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 04:11 AM Thread Starter
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First planted tank-- 10 gallon

I've been keeping fish for several years now and have done everything from 5-75 gallons. All fake plants until now due to some ever-hungry silver dollars in my old tank. I've been wanting to take the plunge into planted tanks for a while now and am slowly accumulating equipment for my 125 gallon tank that is yet to be set up. I am partially waiting to set it up until I move in the summer. So for now, I thought it would be a good idea to try my hand at a planted tank on a smaller scale to kind of work out some of the kinks before doing it on such a large scale--and boy I'm glad I did!

I started by using a standard 10 gallon tank that I had in my closet. I also had a tetra whisper filter that is good for tanks up to 10 gallons as well as a small heater. I experimented with putting my koralia 1 powerhead in there but it was just wayyy too much flow. It turned the whole tank into a whirlpool almost. For substrate I used some potting soil I got at lowes that is supposed to be for orchids and maintain a lower pH. This soil also has miracle gro in it and I have since read that this might not have been the best idea. I haven't noticed any problems with this so far. Lastly I covered the potting soil with some black aquarium gravel. For lighting I used two 10 watt compact fluorescent bulbs in the standard hood. This was my first scape on Jan 23.
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I wasn't really happy with the look of the big rock and I really wanted some wood in there so I found a piece of wood when I was hiking. I boiled it for about 30 minutes and weighted it down with another rock I found.
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This was a little more of the look that I wanted but I really wanted to figure out how to get more light in there. I wanted more options than I felt the 20 watts would give me by itself. I did a little scavenging and found that the ballast in my 5 gallon eclipse hex was the exact same one as in the my 10 gallon hood. So I should be able to have a total of 40 watts using the same bulbs with both ballasts. Only problem was all of this wouldn't fit in the stock hood so I had to build something else. A short trip to Lowes, some super glue and some cutting later I ended up with this.
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I'll eventually paint it probably but for now I think it looks fine. So now I've got 40 watts of light and things seem to look a lot better to me.
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So now today, not even a month later I've been really happy with the growth and bought a few more plants. I think once everything fills in I should get a pretty decent looking tank.
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Still working on the algae but I think it's going in the right direction.

The final flora stocking includes some micro sword (Lilaeopsis brasiliensis), Water wisteria (Hygrophila difformis), Pygmy Chain sword (Echinodorus tenellus), Java fern, moneywort (Bacopa monnieri) and Scarlet temple (Telanthera roseafolia).

Fauna includes 1 german blue ram, 2 mystery snails (black and gold), 8+ ghost shrimp and 1 chinese algae eater (shouldn't have added him but now he's impossible to catch!!).

Comments and suggestions are welcome!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 04:47 AM
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Quite the change, it'll look better once it's filled in.
Oh yeah that orange speck of substrate up front is really bothering me .


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I don't really know how to fix that without tearing everything back out. I guess I'm used to it already.

Here are a few more pictures that I forgot to add before.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 06:06 AM
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Oh, I like this tank. How long has it been up?

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 12:48 AM
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Beautiful ram, and I love the gold mystery snail. Those guys are really messy though. Your substrate looks really deep... maybe add some MTS to keep it from going anaerobic? Im not sure how things work when you're using soil beneath gravel.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments. The substrate really isn't that deep--it is 5cm or 2 in at its deepest. I was originally planning on doing DIY CO2 but for now I don't think I will. I think the 40watts of light is too much actually. I'm going to cut it down to 40 watts for only 4 hours and 20 watts for the other 6. Either that or just lower my photo period because I am getting really crazy growth. My banana plant just sprouted a leaf last week which is about 3.5" in diameter! It just looks enormous in the tank and now it has another one coming up. The wisteria is almost to the water line now and takes up the entire end of the tank. I also have about 4 baby ferns... It hasn't even been a month yet so I think this is pretty crazy growth, but I don't really know what to expect as this is my first planted tank.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 01:48 PM
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Nice tank. I'm starting a 10 gallon also, but I haven't gotten my plants in yet. Do you add any fertilizers yet? If not, this is truely amazing growth in a month without CO2 or ferts. I like what you're doing, and I'm interested in seeing more and more pics. Good luck and take care!

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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I haven't used any ferts, excel or even water changes! I haven't had any fish losses and from my past experience German Blue Rams can be pretty sensitive. My main problem is algae growth though. I think it is probably due to having too much lighting and not enough algae eaters. I am thinking about possibly adding a couple of otos soon to see if that helps. For now, I am going to adjust the lighting some.

Here is an updated FTS. The one in my previous post is from 5 days ago. If you can tell in the picture, the water wisteria has grown almost to the surface and it seems that the Telanthera has grown some too.



The next pic is of the banana plant leaf I just pruned. This leaf also sprouted and grew in the last 5 days. Look how huge it is, especially for a 10 gallon.



I guess what I really want to show people from this thread is that planted tanks can be easier and more affordable than you might think. I had the tank, filter, heater and ballasts already but other than that I have spent under $100 including substrate, lights, fish, inverts, plants, hood everything you'd really need. Plus it really isn't that much work to maintain and it is right by my computer so I can enjoy it more often. No CO2, no water changes (just top offs every few days), no ferts just soil under layer and 40 watts of fluorescent lighting.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 04:08 AM
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Pretty sweet set-up!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 04:49 AM
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Wow, that's amazing. I like that you took a stab at no ferts, CO2, or water changes. Very informative thread. Keep those pics coming....

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