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10 Gallon Planted Journal- Getting Back Into The Hobby

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Hullooooooooo! My name's Mouse, I'm new around here, and I have to say I was really surprised to see what looks to be an active aquarium forum in 2019! Dang! :D These days it seems like forum culture has really died down, so I'm excited to jump in and try and get myself situated in the community! Hope it's alright if I come aboard! ^w^

Anyways, uh, a little about me! I've been in the aquarium hobby for about nine years now, since I was a kiddo. I started with keeping betta fish, upgraded to planted freshwater tanks. I had a pretty cool 38 gallon setup and a 20gal long as well. Got bored of that, tried saltwater for a bit, got bored of that and tried biotoping, got bored of that and tried brackish. I was a regular in the hobby until about high school and after that dipped in and out. It's been about 3-4 years since my last tank at this point? I'm in college now learnin how to be a real good grownup, living alone with my mouse and mah bunny, and figured, hey! Why not get back into things and make my apartment a little more homey with a new tank? :D So that's just what I'm gonna do!

The plan right now is a 10gal low tech setup! My apartment complex sadly doesn't allow anything over 10 gallons. u.u Big boooo! But hey, you can make somethin special outta somethin small! The plan for this tank is to be as low maintenance as possible. Small bioload, simple equipment, not gonna try to tryhard it too much. I'm not planning to get animals until further down the line (I actually can't get animals until my old lady mouse passes away for lease reasons), but when I get to them, I'm planning on a betta fish (my absolute favorite fish!), a RCS colony, and maybe a few nerite snails. I think it would be cool if I got a red betta and tiger blood nerites, so all the red animals will contrast with the green plants. Christmas tank, heheh! But maybe that would be too boring, so we'll see!

Anyways!



Here's what I have so far! Sorry the image is massive, I don't know how to fix that. ;;;owo But yeah! What we have so far is your bog standard 10gal tank that I picked up from Petsmart, a glass top to minimize evaporation and keep Mister Future Betta from jumping to his doom, and a hagen aquaclear 20 HOB filter. Usually I'd go for more powerful filtration, but bettas like more still water, and with just one fish and a shrimp colony, I figured I didn't need to go overboard on the filtration. So we just got something small! The filter media in there right now is a coarse sponge, carbon, and biobeads, but I'm probably gonna replace the carbon with a fine sponge cause I'm not huge on carbon filtration personally. But we'll see! And the substrate is just basic black aquarium sand. I was debating for a while between a nutrient-rich substrate versus sand, eventualyl caved and got sand for price reasons, but now I kinda regret not getting something like aquasoil or eco-complete. >w< Gosh darn. But, we got sand now, and I can't return it, so we're just gonna have to get root tabs and make do with what we've got!

I'm not aiming to pump CO2 into this tank, I want something lower maintenance and have had bad experiences with trying to do CO2. So for carbon supplementation, I'll just be using Seachem flourish excel. This is the light fixture I'm aiming for, the brand is an old favorite of mine and I much prefer LEDs to anything else. Other than that, I just need a heater. I'm probably gonna get a Tetra heater cause I have a coupon for one. I like Aqueon heaters a lot but they're more expensive, so it'll probably be Tetra. I'll probably start with one heater and pick up a second down the line. I do like the safety buffer that provides! Once I get those things, I'll be ready for plants!

The plants I'm aiming to get right now are pygmy chainswords, cryptocorynes, water wisteria, elodea, and java moss. Most of it will be new to me, so it's pretty exciting! I've kept crypts before with a moderate amount of success, they were a bit melty but at least got bigger, and elodea is easy enough.

But, yeah! That's how things are going so far! The next step right now is to get the light, the heater, root tabs, and a bucket, and I'm hoping to get plants in March once I get some more money. I'm planning to take the cycle nice and slow, not rush into things, and then I'll probably leave the tank as it is during my summer break and start getting animals at the start of the next school semester? We'll just have to see!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Helloooooooooooooo! So I know it's been a while since I updated, but progress was slow for a while. I was pretty busy with work, so the tank took a small pause, but finally we're moving along! I planted the tank today! :D



So here's how we're looking! I got in crypt wendtii, anacharis, wisteria, and pygmy chain sword. And WOW I ordered too many plants!!!! D: I'm not used to planting a tank as wittle as a ten gallon it seems, cause hot diggity dog I ordered too many. I had to PACK that tank full of plants, and I still have some left over now! I'll hop over to the buy/sell subforum to see if anyone might wanna take the extras off my hands in a bit. But overall, I'm happy with how nice and dense the tank looks from the get go! I usually end up with a much sparser looking tank from the start. I am a little worried that it might be SO densely packed that it'll inhibit growth, but I don't think there's a ton I can do about it at the moment. And I at least have a strong light fixture, so I'm hoping it'll be fine and there'll be enough to go around for everyone. Worst comes to worst, I'll just have to thin the herd, pull some plants out and sell them. But yeah, I'm happy with the look right now!

Starting up the equipment too, and I'm a tiny bit concerned cause I can't quite tell if my heater's working or not. I got a cheap one cause, tanks are expensive, and while the heater does feel hot too the touch, I don't think the light's gone on. I don't have a thermometer yet, so I won't be able to tell for a little bit. But I'm at least glad I don't have any animals yet! I think I can get it all sorted in time. Haven't started the filter yet, but the light fixture's at least working beautifully! Very happy with it!

But that's where we're at! I'm gonna let the tank sit for now cause I have spring break starting up real soon, but once I get back into town, I'll start the cycle. Things are moving forward! How exciting it all is! :D
 
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Looks good with all those plants you can probably start stocking the tank soon. Unlike most you actually packed the tank with plants from the start, that's great.

You may want to do a search on the forum for Metricide 14 as a cheaper alternative to Excel.

I also wouldn't worry about using a sand substrate plenty of guys with amazing tanks use sand. Heck, my tank (not amazing) uses pool filter sand and everything I've put in it has been growing.

Any idea on how you plan on fertilizing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Glad to hear it's good to pack a tank full of plants! I was def a little worried, never gone this hard before, but glad to hear that. ^w^

Oooooooooh, I'll definitely look out for metricide 14! :O I'm always open to saving money! As for fertilization, so far I'm using API root tabs, but haven't thought a ton about what else I might need! I'm not even quite sure what else the tank might need, actually. If you have any suggestions, I'd def love to hear em!

Also, started up the filter. It works great! And doesn't even push the anacharis around on the lowest flow setting, heck yeah!
 

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Update: One Month After Planting!



So here's how things are looking after a month! Unfortunately, every scrap of the anacharis rotted away and died. Frankly, I'm shocked; I've never managed to kill anacharis before. O.O Apparently I've reached a new skill level in aquaria. However, the rest of the plants are all doing really well! The pygmy chain swords are going BALLISTIC! They've been popping so many runners that I had to go in today, dig them all out from between the other plants, and replant them in the empty space I had from the anacharis die-off. There were so many little plantlets that I didn't even have room for them all! The crypts and wisteria are doing great too; the wisteria has straightened out really nicely, and the cryps aren't melting nearly as much as I expected. Overall it's looking good!

I haven't added any livestock yet. Right now I'm still planning on the RCS and betta fish, but I'm thinking about doing some celestial pearl danios too. However, I haven't even started cycling yet. This tank lives at school, and unfortunately I'm going home for the summer in a couple of weeks! So either I'll have to take the tank apart and bring it home with me (which, ngl, would be AWFUL since the plants were just finally getting established and it would be the worst thing ever to rip them all out and take it apart X.X), or I'll be leaving it here with a pet sitter so long as my subletter is okay with that. So probably no animals until August, which is a shame! But not much to be done about it. Another strange thing is, despite the tank not being cycled, I tested today and there's a good amount of nitrates in the tank? I decided to test everything just for the hell of it, and pH was 7.4, ammonia 0.25, nitrites 0, and nitrates 20! I have no idea what's going on there, since I've added no ammonia source. But there are some pest snails in the tank (I say pests, but I don't mind them). Could they be causing it? Real confused on that one, I might make another thread about it to see if anyone has any idea. But we'll see!

But yeah, that's where we're at! Kind of stuck now cause this tank will be in a weird situation for the summer. But really praying I won't have to bring it home cause I feel like that would be awful for a tank that's only just getting established. Fingers crossed, and maybe I can get some animals soon!
 
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