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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've kept a few aquariums in the past but always used fake plants. I was drawn back in after 2 or so years without a tank by the All In One tanks. I purchased a 3.7 Gallon AIO for a Betta and then I saw some Red Cherry Shrimp while browsing the internet and decided to go for a shrimp tank.

Update (11-2-15)
Full Tank shot as of November 2nd 2015:


Flora:
- Water Wisteria (not really visible yet)
- Anacharis
- Moneywort
- Amazon Sword
- Various Mosses (mostly Java Moss)
- Needle Leaf Java Ferns

Fauna:
- 11 Neon Tetras

I figured I would keep the first post updated with a current state of the tank, and post updates on the thread as they happen.

Original (10-15-15)
So I picked up a 10 Gallon Aqueon tank, and some plastic sheets to create my own All-In-One tank. In the Photograph Below you can see the Layout. I then cut the Plexiglas and siliconed everything into place (with plenty of silicone to allow for swelling)



While watching the Silicone dry I was reading up on plants for the tank and decided that I wanted to Dry start the tank. I collected some various local materials to use in the tank, Limestone for the rocks, and a piece of Manzanita for driftwood. I scaped it out and then started Java Moss on the rocks. (Driftwood isn't shown because I have it soaking to leach out the tannins) The Substrate is 20/40 Black Diamond Blasting Sand



This Photograph was from Day 1 of the Dry start, and it has now been 8 days. The Java Moss is showing decent growth (I think?) It is growing anyways and most of it has attached to the rocks. I plan to flood it in about 6 days if I can hold out that long.


My plan is as follows for the stocking.

Flora:
Java Moss
Java Fern
Anubia Nana (Current thought anyways just so add some more variety)

Fauna:
11 - Red Cherry Shrimp
11 - Neon Tetras

I'll be building the Hood this weekend and figuring out the lighting (Planning to use two LED daylight bulbs)
 

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Try putting a couple of drops of vinegar on any of those rocks. A reaction means it's not good for an aquarium.
Actually love that in the front rock on the right.
 

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Watch out with high lighting levels with this low-tech tank (with relatively low bio-mass). Else algae might become a mess.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Try putting a couple of drops of vinegar on any of those rocks. A reaction means it's not good for an aquarium.
Actually love that in the front rock on the right.
The Vinegar I did not see a reaction. I also tested with API Nitrate Bottle 1 (Hydrochloric Acid) and with that I did see a bubbling reaction.

From what I've read online Limestone will just increase the Alkalinity and Hardness of the water. The ph of my well water is already 7.4 I tested some water that I had sitting in with limestone chips and it tested around 7.6 after a few weeks (lots of limestone in maybe a cup of water) I'll definitely keep an eye on the ph and see what it does before adding any Fauna to the tank.

I think White Cloud Minnows may also be a better fit for the tank than the Neon Tetras.

Watch out with high lighting levels with this low-tech tank (with relatively low bio-mass). Else algae might become a mess.
For sure, The light fixtures that I am using are some old clip on shop lights (without the clip on part) as such they have a switch on the fixture itself already so I'll be able to shut one off individually if needed. I plan to wire them together and run them into a timer.

As for the bio-mass there will be quite a bit more, I want the back right side corner of the tank to be somewhat thickly planted with Java Ferns. possible some kind of foreground plant where the small limestone chips are now. I'm open to suggestions, but I'm not going to run Co2, and the substrate doesn't have any nutrients (so preferably something that draws from the water column)
 

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Haven't researched White Clouds.But the livebearers like the harder water.
W. Java Fern stay smaller(10g tank) than other Java Fern, but on a 1-10 scale towards
contributing to plant mass...a 2 or 3 perhaps due to very slow growth rate IMO.
I'm lease locked to 10g or less so I've been searching "the-world-over" for "right" sized plants that fit the size perspective. Purely for decorative purposes as opposed to adding
anything to plant mass you might want to look at mini Buces. My 10g has a couple of plants you may like. In this photo: Mini buce in top of Crypt Petchii on right. W. Java Fern not well established on back left. Rotala Magenta.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/pGallery/pg_12314e.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I've been bad about updating this.

I do like the look of Buces, and have picked out a variety of plants for the tank. I have them all planted now, and I'll update in a few days with a list of plants in the tank.

I continued the Dry Start until the 27th, This photograph is from the 22nd when the moss looked best in my opinion (after this it started to melt in a few spots)


I flooded the tank yesterday, and then today my GH and KH test came in so I tested some initial parameters.

Ph: 7.4-7.8 (It is out of range on the low range test [7.6 ph] but on the High range test it looks to be between 7.4 and 7.8)
GH: 7
KH: 8

I didn't test for Amonia, Nitrite or Nitrate yest as there should be much/any. There are a few snails that came in with the plants.

I'm thinking of picking up the Neon tetras and pouring the bottle of Tetra Safe Start in and then just watching the water parameters. and doing water changes as needed. I'm not sure how much the plants that I have need.

But I'm going to let the tank settle for a few days to start with and by then I'll have pictures and a plant list posted.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the Heater that I had purchased for the tank did not function. Visually the heater looked to be in perfect condition, it just never turned on. It was a 50 Watt Hydor submersible heater. Returned the heater to amazon, and they sent me a new one and it came in 1 day instead of 3. The tank is at 74 F now, and my goal temperature is around 78ish.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The tank is getting there, now that I have the plants in I have to stop myself from fiddling with everything.

I planned to do various stems over there. There is also a Driftwood piece that takes up a portion of the tank.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a quick cell phone photograph.



I have mixed feelings about the Driftwood now that I've had to try and work around it. Anytime that it needs to come out it is pretty much guaranteed that I will uproot most of the plants. But I like the way that it looks in the tank so if it bothers me to much I'll modify it so it will stop disturbing the plants so much.

I'm not 100% sure on the plant id of two of them (The two midground plants, I think they are either Crypts or Amazon Sword)

In the back stem section, starting under the driftwood is:
- Water Wisteria (not really visible yet)
- Anacharis
- Moneywort

The the two unknownish midground plants (came in a plant package from Ebay) Possible a Amazon Sword (Echinodorus Bleheri) and I'm not really sure what the one more to the left is (may be the same)

In the foreground where you just see hairnet is Riccia, that I am hoping will carpet out.

On the Driftwood:
- Various Mosses (mostly Java moss)
- Needle Leaf Java Ferns

The Needle leaf Java Fern is also in various other spots. Then there is the Java Moss that is on the rocks. I'm thinking about adding an Anubias plant to the top of the rock cave.


More on the Plant Package from Ebay. Ebay had sent me a $10 off coupon and I decided to use it for something aquarium related. So I found a plant package that I liked the listed plants and ordered it.

Plant List:
- Amazon Sword (Echinodorus Bleheri)
- Anacharis | 5-7 stems
- Cryptocoryne Wendtii Bronze
- Rotala Indica
- Moneywort
- Hornwort

I received the Anacharis, Moneywort, and Hornwort for sure those are easy. I also recieved the Bronze Crypt and then the two other plants. One I'm sure is the Amazon Sword but I don't think the other one is Rotala Indica.
 

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I belief the middle plant with broad leaves is indeed a (amazon) sword.

I wonder if it will not become to big for the plants that are in the back of it. When things grow, will the background plants be viewable? In think non-stem (big) plants are more difficult to keep in the middle ground. A stem can always be trimmed in the middle to keep other plants visible. For other types mostly the whole leaf needs to be severed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I imagine your right from what I've read the Amazon Sword can grow quite large.

They are not really what I wanted in the tank, just what came in the package. I'll probably leave them for now until they grow a bit larger and then move them to a different tank. I'm slowly planting my Betta's tank (3.7g AIO) and a large sword plant could be really nice in the back of that tank.


I wouldn't mind a bit of color as well, possibly I'd replace them with a Ludwigia or Rotala Indica.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I added 11 Neon Tetras to the tank. It seemed like the plants were settled, and they were showing growth.

I acclimated them to the tank temperature and then set up a homemade drip.





When I released them into the tank all 11 of them darted down to the bottom and hid out for a while. Later in the day they were all exploring around the tank. I even saw one hiding out inside of the cave, but it was to dark to get a decent picture of him.



I'll be doing daily water tests for the next couple weeks to keep an eye on the water parameters. So far nothing is registering on the tests.

Today's water test came back

PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate GH KH
7.6 0 0 0 9 8
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just a quick update on this tank today. I've just been letting all of the plants grow out. I don't consistently dose anything into this tank. I was trying to does excel and iron for a while but then I'd forget to do it for a week at a time. This is just a quick and dirty cell phone photograph of the tank, next week I'll get some dslr shots.



Most of the plants are doing well, the Amazon Sword in front has some dying leaves on it that need to be trimmed. The Anarchis that in the back isn't growing much, but it still looks health (in fact you can't see it behind the moneywort. The Riccia in the tank is still alive...but not where I want it to be. The snails in this tank go crawl around on the net ad knock bits of it out that float up and grow on the surface. Next week I will be pulling out all of the Riccia.

I also somehow ended up with Duckweed in the tank, I believe it came from a Betta that was temporarily homed in this tank (for about 3 days) I'd like to give rid of it but that may be a multiple step project. I was a bit of an unbeliever and wondered if it was a weird flower from Riccia or something and posted about it here.

There are still no shrimp in the tank, this coming Monday and Tuesday I'll be trimming some on the tank, and cleaning the filter out, as well as working on the hood. All in preparation for some Red Cherry shrimp. I also need to have a copper test done on my water just to make sure...it is well water. I tried a few ghost shrimp in another tank, but they all died off pretty quickly (well one hung on for a few weeks)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This tank has basically crashed. I'm pretty sure that in the next few weeks I'm going to rescape this tank and replant.

Current Tank Shot:


So What happened? Well, I allowed Dwarf Water Lettuce to grow uncontrollably in the tank, at one point there where about three layers of dwarf water lettuce on top of each other. At first I wanted the Water Lettuce (it chocked out the duckweed that got into the tank) it also prevented most of the light from getting to the plants, as a result they died off for the most part.

Then the next stage was when I finally removed all of the Water Lettuce, there were so few of plants left alive and active that Algae has been out of control. For the past 4 months I've been dosing excel daily in an attempt to bring the Algae back under control, at one point it looked like it was working, but not so much now. It is currently in day 3 of a semi-blackout (no tank light just ambient light)

I'm 99% sure I'm going to call this scape, and rescape it. I want to remove the Driftwood, while it is really cool piece, it also makes cleaning and maintaining the tank really hard. I think I'm going to move the Java Ferns into the 10g Battlefield tank. The Moneywort will stay, along with the moss and the amazon sword. My first thought is to move the Amazon Sword right up under the filter output. I plan on keeping the save, and adding some more java moss in an attempt to cover the cave better. I want to add some Water Wisteria again to the back behind the moneywort, and probably move the moneywort forward just a bit (as well as propagating it) I also want to pull out the airstones/air pump and go back to not having it.

I'm thinking of just turning this into a Betta Tank. Without the Airstone this tank will have very little surface agitation or currents, I think a Male Betta would enjoy the tank, and have the opportunity to create Bubble Nests.

I also want to make a few changes to the tubing from the pump, I would like to add a ball valve to make water changes a bit easier, if I add the Ball Valve I'll also need to drill a few holes lower down to properly drain water from the tank. I think I would try to hide the additional holes behind the rock cave. I also want to make a cover to go over the filter area, as well as the viewing area of Plexiglass. I have a spare Beamworks LED light that I would also start using. Rather than the homemade Aquarium cover/Hood I have on it now. The hood is currently the size of the aquarium itself (but it hides the various equipment). I think I'd rather have something a bit more modern looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm going to be working on this tank some tomorrow, and it will carry on into next week (I have 3 four hour days at work so, a bit of extra time).

Tomorrow (Friday) - Most of the rescaping, removal of the driftwood and java fern. (its going into the 10g Battlefield tank) a few modifications to the filter area to better accommodate a Betta (namely the intake grate needs to be rounded/smoothed), clean the filter, possibly I'd add a Betta to the tank tomorrow (depends on if I see one that I like)

Next week - Filter area cover (to keep light out of the filter area), plexiglass tank cover (to help with evaporation)


Light will be changed to a Beamwork FSPEC LED light with the timer module. I have an extra one from when I added on to the Battlefield tank, never been used, just sat next to this tank for the last year or so.

I feel like the filter for this tank has worked really well, I've never had to do anything to it, my one issue has been with the water on the pump side getting really low, and just making a lot of noise. The display side would still be almost completely full. I've though about drilling a hole lower down to hopefully change the water pressure enough to keep the pump side higher. Still considering it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I worked on this tank some today, I'm happy with the progress and hope to put some finishing touches on next week.





Ready to rescape the tank, propagated the moneywort, and moved the Amazon Sword around.




I cleaned out the filter today for the first time, I pulled out all of the filter media and rinsed it off in tank water, then reinstalled. The Purigen need to be regenerated so I started that process and just have the tank running without it. I also added another big bag of ceramic beads (mostly because I already had them) also because it brings up the intake media (Filter Floss, Purigen, Sponge)




A full tank shot after the rescape.


A new Inhabitant (Male Delta Tail) I saw this guy at the store and it was a toss up between him and a look alike "brother" decided on him because he was slightly smaller and potentially younger. This picture is him still in the little cup.


I then acclimated the temperature and released him into the tank, he started exploring and interacting (aka pecking) at some of the snails.


I then set up the timer for the Beamworks light and shortly after finishing (setting it to night mode) he explored the cave a little (he did go inside)


Also while at the store I picked up some Crypt "green" in a tissue culture pack. I plan to add them to the foreground and up around the Amazon Sword. I also saw some moneywort in a Tissue Culture, that I wish I had picked up. Going to go back to the store tomorrow after work and see if they still have one. I hope to make the moneywort grow in thicker and bushier.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Continuing with the rescape a bit today, by adding two tissue culture gel packs of plants. Cryptocoryne wendti "Green", and Bacopa monnieri (Moneywort). I had really good luck with my other tissue culture crypts (they didn't even melt last time) and I figured that the moneywort can grow pretty much regardless. I still find planting root plants to be something of a pain. Stems are easy, just stick them in the substrate. but with a rooting plant you have to try and get a wad of roots to stay in the substrate as well. I did experiment and trim some of the roots back to make it easier, so we will see how they do.



The new (currently unnamed, I usually name after a month) Betta was trying to distract me from planting by going into the cave.



The fully rescaped and planted tank, I'm quite happy with how this is shaping up and I think it will look really cool when everything grows in. Let the waiting begin. I may add some Ember Tetras later on, but I want to let the tank get established first. Also my first thought on this Betta is he seems to be a bit aggressive, he will go around and peck at snails and whatnot (none of my other Bettas have ever cared)




The Purigen has been regenerated and is currently in its 8 hour de-clorination phase. I will add it to the tank tomorrow morning, also going to pull the sponge and floss and give them a rinse just because of the settling and junk still in the tank.
 
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