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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I talked my grandmother into setting up a fish tank, it will be something we can enjoy together since we live in the same house. I started rummaging though my spare supplies and came up with a 10 gallon tank I had derimmed in the past but I will need to have the edges smoothed at my local glass shop because I have cut myself several times on it. It is going to be more of a riparium than an aquarium so the open top rimless theme works perfect, I have this one 10W LED floodlight but I will be adding some more light.

I had a 150W heater sitting around I never used I think it came with a National Geographic 15 gallon tank it will be more than enough for this. The filter is not that great, I have a tired Aquatop HOB for I think a 10 gallon and a quite new Topfin HOB for a 5 gallon. I am thinking about using both of them at once until she ends up buying a new filter...not sure what I would suggest either a Marineland bio-wheel HOB rated for something larger than a 10 gallon or for the same price a cheap SunSun canister from eBay (I have one and it works perfectly fine). The bio-wheel may have better biological filtration than a canister I am not sure, but they are not as clean looking as a canister.

I will pickup a bag of natural looking gravel, I am not going to dirt this tank so I would love plant suggestions for a gravel-only tank. All that comes to mind is Jungle Vals along the back and Anubias if I can find a shaded area, I will not use any CO2 or Excel probably leave an air pump on 24/7 using a diffuser (not an air stone) however I may dose Excel once a week at the same time because I will already be dosing Flourish Comp. I am not sure how I feel about using root tabs in gravel I think something like Osmocote would float to the surface without dirt, depends how concentrated I can get the plants. Usually I use either rocks or driftwood (Japanese style or jungle style) but never both however I will likely use both in this tank with the lack of plant variety.

As for fish, please feel free to make suggestions this is a community tank so I'm not sure...Guppies maybe? Anything they sell at Walmart? haha. I know for sure I will toss 5 Amano shrimp in there, as well as a Pearl snail and Nerites but those are a friggan joke anyway I can not get them to live longer than a few days but that is a long story. She wanted a "glass sucker fish" probably thinking of a Plecko but I can not think of any glass sucking fish that will work in a tank this small in the long run?


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think keeping the elderly in aquariums is a good idea. To keep them in captivity, a nursing home is more appropriate.
hahaha come on man, a joke without some advice is just harsh. This tank may keep her out of a nursing home...her bird died of old age and she treated that thing like a king. It ate better than I did and was warmer than I was in the winter lol
 

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Moss and cherry shrimp, no fish.

Why shrimp?

There are so many of them so you don't really form attachment to any particular one. I don't care much when I find a dead shrimp, there are 2352388 more in the tank. If I find a dead cory it is a sad evening.
They breed easily, observing a full life cycle is fascinating
They can withstand harsh condition that would kill most fish
Air pump, sponge filter and you are done

May be add ottos once they tank is more established
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have so many plants in my riparium that I can personally leave the light on 12 hours without any issue, I have a 1ppm nitrate reading or less at all times. With that being said, she is a night owl and sleeps about 3 hours a night for the last decade. So, this is a good thing you brought this up I wanted to split the photo period up, what is the smallest amount of time a blackout can be beneficial?

I will take the shrimp tank into consideration, however she wants something she can look at from her chair lol. She can not even read the TV clearly I do not think she will be able to enjoy shrimp much but great idea!
 

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For someone suffering insomnia it may be best to have the light off during the night, even if it's prime watching time when there's nothing else to do. Insomnia can be made worse by the type of light thrown out by aquariums, just like watching TV or playing on your phone etc instead of darkness that tells your brain to shut off.

Plants are tolerant of many split photoperiod combinations. When you think about it, in nature it goes from sunny to cloudy to shaded in the course of a day and plants are adapted to this. Try to think of the total photoperiod length rather than the various split combinations, all splits will work so long as the total duration in 24hrs is within acceptable limits.....

I wouldn't put ottos in there, they like clean water and this tank might be prone to missing water changes etc. Cherry shrimp will do a pretty good job keeping algae in check just by constantly disturbing the surfaces and by eating some of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh trust me I know all about light affecting melatonin, I personally use a sunlamp in the winter when I wake up. She will be watching TV all night anyway.

LFS here does 4 hours on/off on their display tanks so there may be something to a designated amount of time for algae (not what plants tolerate)

Likely I will be doing the weekly maintenance, or at least dosing which will remind her to clean it she is good about this. Each Amano shrimp will probably do better than 5 cherry shrimp alone as far as cleaning.
 

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The break in photoperiod is a technique to deal with algae. Plant can ramp up their photosynthesis fairly quickly and able to make use of shorter period. Algae has longer ramp up so with the break in the middle plant would have big advantage.

Amano shrimp can't breed in freshwater. That is the down side.
 

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4hrs on 4hrs off is common because a photoperiod of 8hrs is so common, not really for it's algae annihilating benefits....... The shop you mention is likely only open for business for 8-10hours.....

A break of 3-4hrs in between photoperiod is common due mainly to the necessity of ensuring both photoperiods occur within waking hours for tank visibility....
 

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Siesta period: I did it because the summer heat + lights warmed the tanks too much. Big break in the timing during the hot part of the day made the difference. Besides, I was at work, and the morning and evening lighting worked better for viewing and maintenance. The first year I did notice a reduction in algae. The second year not so much. (Maybe other things changed, so there was not much algae anyway) I first heard about it for algae reduction. But it makes sense for other reasons.

Loricariads for 10 gallon:
Otocinclus and their close relatives such as Parotocinclus. There is no way any of the larger Loricariads would work.

Other stock for a 10 gallon:
Any schooling fish that stays quite small.
Ember Tetras, Endlers Live Bearers, Celestial Pearl Danios, Dwarf Rasboras (several species), Dwarf Cories (several species)
Fewer, slightly larger fish:
(3) male Platies
(1) Betta with a smaller school, perhaps Dwarf Cories.

CAUTION: A lot of fish may jump out of a rimless (no lid) tank. Bettas can jump. If it is not too unsightly there are ways of making a lid with something like window screen or coarser material that will keep the fish in yet allow the light in. Plants that grow over the surface are good, too. Allow the Vals to arch over the surface, or grow Salvinia (if it is allowed in your area) or other floating plant.

Small plants for this tank: There are smaller Vals, the Wendelov variety of Java Fern, Dwarf and Nana Anubias, and some Crypts that are good in moderate light.

Filter: Aquaclear 20. Nitrifying bacteria live on all the surfaces in the tank, and on all the media. The plants also count as part of the biofilter. No need for a biowheel on a planted tank.
A small canister would work well, too.

Fertilizer:
Fish food is high in N, P and most traces.
Fish food is low in K, Fe, Ca.
Look for fertilizer that has K and Fe, not more traces. Something like Leaf Zone.
Calcium should come in with the water each time you do a water change, as long as the GH is over 3 German degrees of hardness.

I am including the fishless cycle. Since you already have tanks running you can jump start the population of nitrifying bacteria. Just do not take so much filter media from the established tank that it has problems.
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Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine. (7.5-8 seems to be optimum)
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher (to 95*F or about 35*C) is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, and trace elements like CSM+B that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. I have even heard of the right bacteria growing in the bio film found on driftwood. (So if you have been soaking some driftwood in preparation to adding it to the tank, go ahead and put it into the tank) Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
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Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1a) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria may use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off. They use the carbon from CO2, and this is generally pretty low in water, but can be replenished from the air and from carbonates. Keep the carbonates up to keep the pH up, too.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better. To grow them at optimum rates, keep the pH on the alkaline side of neutral.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving. 1 ppm twice a day will grow almost as much bacteria as 3 ppm once a day.
 

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I used a Turtle Canister Filter from Petco on my 10G, worked beautifully. :)

I would say Shrimp and then maybe go with a live breeding fish such as Guppies, platties, etc... This goes to the same aspect as the Shrimp in the sense they replenish themselves. :)
 

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If the water is harder, higher GH and KH there are some smaller relatives of Rainbow fish that could work. Look into Pseudomugils (there are several species).

If you like the look of a Goldfish, then look into some smaller relatives, or perhaps a few Platies (males). They can be gold in color, but do not outgrow the tank.

Pseudomugil furcatus
 

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One generic fancy goldfish. Easy to replace.
Fancy goldfish live 8 to 12 years, will get about 8" and need at least a 20 gallon for one fish. They are messy fish and need strong filtration. They are smart fish that can be taught to hand feed and even perform simple tricks.
The idea that goldfish are "throw away fish" needs to be ended.

Back on topic, with an open top aquarium, a layer of floating plants can help prevent jumpers from hopping out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies.

I think we will be steering away from Goldfish for several reasons. A single Male Betta is a possibility, we talked about schooling fish she did not seem to like that idea, Platies is a great suggestion and so are dwarf Rasboras, Celestial Pearl Danios is another, Endlers Live Bearers are kind of like Guppies. Without using schooling fish how much of a community can this be? Of the fish listed below what can I mix together??
-Guppies
-Dwarf Rasboras
-Celestial Pearl Danios
-Endlers Live Bearers

I think I have decided since this is a riparium with planters full of porous clay balls at the surface I will go with the canister which is cleaner looking. Those clay balls at the surface where the oxygen in the water is better must be a great bio-media addition.

I already use Seachem products so I figured Flourish Comp. was a good supplement for this small tank.

So crypts will work without dirt? I will use them plus Vals, what about Amazon Sword? I do have some Frogbit she can have that if isolated the Anubias of any kind will grow well below, or I can use a Banana plant to shade Anubias.
 

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Most Amazon swords will get too big and they are heavy root feeders

How is her eyesight ?
If it's not that great then maybe fewer fish but at a larger size
Swordtails or mollies

As a rule I go by 1inch of fish per litre of water

So I'd go with either
Platys, swordtails or mollies as they come in loads of colours and swim at all levels in the water
Then go with some albino corydoras for the bottom as again they are easy to see plus you could put in some amano shrimp
 
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