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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first planted tank. I'm using regular substrate and don't wanna dose. Will this set up work or am I way off. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Equipment
1. AGA 10g tank
2. Penguin Bio-Wheel 100 HOB Filter
3. Tetra 50w Heater
4. Current Orbit dual 40w Power Compact (bulb combos are 2 6700k/10k or 1 6700k/10k and 1 Actinic or I can shut off 1 one light all together)
5. 2 1/2 in play sand bed
6. 2 pieces of driftwood

Plant List:
1. 3 Cryptocoryne wendtii Red
2. 2 Cryptocoryne wendtii Green
3. 1 Java Fern
4. 2 Hornwort
5. 1 Wisteria

Stock List
1. 6-7 Neon Tetras
2. 10 Cherry Shrimp
3. 2 Amano Shrimp
 

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Congrats on starting your first planted tank...Very exciting!

So I'm assuming that since this is posted in the low tech forum that you do not want to do any CO2. If that is the case, you are running too much light on the tank. I would definitely keep one of the bulbs off. Even with that you have 4 watts per gallon on a 10 gallon tank. I know that WPG formula is a bit skewed for small tanks but I still think the light might be too much without any CO2. I would just run 1 bulb and keep the photo period very short to start (6 hours). Then I would scale up 1 hour per week until you see algae.

When you say you don't want to dose I am assuming you mean fertilizers. If you want to grow plants and want to avoid having to dose, I would recommend layering some mineralized soil or laterite under your play sand.

Do you have Diane Walstad's book?
 

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First of all you definitely don't want to use that dual actinic bulb, so turn that switch off for sure. Secondly, even if you replaced that bulb with another dual daylight and used all 80 watts of the fixture, without CO2 you will have an algae farm in about a week.

So stop using that second bank, and just use the one that the dual daylight bulb is in. This is still going to give you high-light, but you can get by without CO2. I'm using a single satellite fixture right now over a 10g, with no CO2, and I don't have an algae problem. But I only keep that light on about 8 hours a day.

I don't know what you mean when you say you are using "regular substrate." What's that?

If you don't want to dose any ferts ever, it limits you in what you'll be able to grow. But it can be done. You could use fertilizer tabs that you stick in the substrate, then plant Crypts or other heavy root-feeders around them, like Hygrophila, or Rotala. You could also grow a fair share of mosses without any fertilizing. Fish poop should keep them green. Anubias nana could also work.

But ultimately, since you already have the dual satellite, what you should do (or at least plan on doing) is swap out the dual actinic bulb for another dual daylight, keep 1 of the bulbs on for 8-10 hours a day while the other comes on for 2-4 hours as a "noon burst," get a CO2 tank and regulator and start injecting, and begin an EI dosing routine.

That was essentially the setup I had on my most-cherished planted tank of the past. Here's a few picture of it in its glory:

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. I bought a bag of Seachem Flourite Red today, pulled out the old sand and put in the Flourite not rinsing it per my LFS.
Sorry I don't know the lingo yet of planted tank enthusiests, but i'll get there.
I was hoping not to have to dose CO2 or ferts. Am I still pretty limited plant wise or does that open up some more choices?
 

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Your LFS said not to rinse your fluorite? That's a little odd... most people agree that fluorite needs to be rinsed. I guess you'll find out once you add water, and if you see dusty sludge circulating through the water column... it will settle after a few days anyway, so no big deal.

If you are hoping not do dose CO2, that's doable. But if you are hoping not to dose ferts ever then yes, it limits you big time. If that's the case, I'd recommend sticking to mosses and ferns.

Good luck!
 

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You'll need to get a different light if you don't want to dose CO2 or ferts. You've got about 8x the light you need now. Even if you only ran one bulb you'd need CO2 and ferts.

Personally, I'm happy running just the standard flourescent 15 watt T8 bulb over my own 10gal. At that level lighting, I don't need to dose ferts or CO2 or use Excel and the plants are doing just fine (assortment of Crypts, moss, and Sunset Hygro).

I can't imagine why an LSF would tell you not to wash Flourite. I wash the begeebers out of it every time I use it, then I also let it dry in the sun.

Doing that is the only way I've kept it from clouding up my tanks for days and weeks on end...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I didn't have much cloudiness, I put a Phos-ban reactor with carbon in it on the tank for about half an hour and it cleared up. The reactor is no longer on the tank.
I know everyones tank is different and there is alot of variables involved, but for fertilizer dosing is it a once a week thing or daily? The reason I ask is I have an SPS salt tank and was looking for something beautiful without daily dosing of another tank, weekly wouldn't bother me. And I'm still trying to get past the "you guys are dumping nitrates and phosphates in your tanks intentionally, wtf?!"
I can get a 32 watt bulb that works with the ballast I have, so that's 3.2 wpg. Is that a better number or would it still be too high?
Can anyone recomend a good brand for a phosphate test kit, all the ones I've tried don't seem likey read accurate.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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I think Salifert makes a phosphate test kit, they're one of the more reliable brands.

The more light you pump into a tank the more quickly you're telling the plants to grow. The more quickly they grow, the more nutrients you need to add to keep up with their needs.

3.2 wpg is still pretty high light. You may find a way to get around to only a few times a week, but my advice would be to lower your lighting to around 2wpg if you want to only do weekly.

Everyone's tanks are different, though; you may very well experiment enough with your dosing to find a way to make it work and only do weekly!
 

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You do have a lot of light over your 10G. I would use only one bank like others have mentioned. However with one 40W PC your still at a pretty high light for a non c02 tank. One solution might be to raise the fixture so that it is higher off the water than it is currently. Perhaps try to raise it a few inches and see how things go.

Good luck, keep us posted.
 

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Low Light/ Low Tech

I also think you want to go with at most one daylight bulb. You may be ok with the 20W/10 gal as I am using 32W/24gal. I don't use fertilizer or CO2 as I outline in greater detail in my post yesterday in the Low Tech forum. I did however use Diane Walstad's method for adding a limited amount of substrate to an existing tank so I have added nutrients in that manner.

Don't forget as a Newbie to cycle your tank before you start adding organisms. Also once cycled your water values ie pH, kH, etc may affect what plants you use.;)
 

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Definitely experiment! You can go crazy with dosing your tank with all sorts of fertilizers and regimes. Although you do sound like an advanced beginner so you could probably dive right into it. But from my own experience I had more difficulty finding the fertilizer balance in a 10 gallon (since it is a fairly small system) and I started off by throwing some root tabs in every couple of months, and occasionally dosing seachem flourish and trace every few weeks. Just watch for nutrient deficiencies, and if they occur find the right fertilizer for the deficiency and/or adjust photoperiods. The best learning one can do is through trial and error.
 
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