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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! Really excited to upgrade from my 2.5 gallon Fluval Spec to this 10 gallon tank. More room for plants and fishy friends! :)

Just set it up today. Don't worry about the fish, the water is partially from my old tank, as well as the plants and some of the bio-filter media is in the new filter. The plants are bubbling up nicely under the leaves with nice fresh O2 for the fishy friends and the substrate is that nice, cycled rock that already has some plant-friendly cycling goodness in it!

Heater is meant for up to 30 gallons, and has heated up to a nice, cosy 82 degrees F! Filter is an Aquafilter for a 30 gallon, so plenty of water flow and filtration. LED Fluval lights should provide more than enough light for any manner of plants that I decide that I want, although looking back I am worried that my substrate could have been better... Thoughts??

I don't really know what direction this guy is going to go. I want to get a nice piece of driftwood but I want it to be THE ONE, if you know what I mean, so I'm in no rush. If anyone has some nice Manzanita or an awesome-structured piece of driftwood shoot me an email I'd be more than interested.

Thoughts on plant-life? I'd love to get some baby tears in here. I've tried it previously but didn't have high enough lighting for the poor babies back then (it was one of my first planted tank ventures... My mistake.)

For now these are just some tetras to help with the cycling. Going to be testing parameters and hopefully in the next two weeks I'll feel safe with adding some new plants. I'd love to have the aquascape going before I add any more fishies.

Like I said, 10 gallon, mostly planted open top, so no jumpers. I don't mind a big school of nice looking fish. No more than 5 or 6 fish (if a small, nano-type school) because I want the focus to be the plants. Not a HUGE fan of shrimp.

Thanks in advance for any helpful tips! Been so long since I had a freshwater I was proud of. This java fern I've got going was just a small-sized piece from Petsmart originally and it's thrived in the old tank I had. I don't know if I'll keep it but for now it's a start!

Just a quick video and a picture. Just set it up today. ALSO...

Any feeding suggestions? I would love to give my fishy friends a more varied, healthy diet.
 

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Driftwood is a nice addition and the java ferns need to be attached, preferably on a driftwood. Your substrate could be better for growing plants especially baby tears. About schooling fish, you could keep your neon tetras and add a few more , or harlequin rasboras. I have 8 of them in a small tank, they school nicely and they don't seem to jump, I have an open top as well. You might need to lower your temp to at least 78 degrees for your tetras. Since you already have fish in a cycling tank, keep an eye on your ammonia and do partial water change to keep it from weakening your fish and their immune system, in case you want to keep them.
On the fish food, I rotate, flakes, freeze dried bloodworms, tubifex worms and brine shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's still early enough in the tank's life that I am willing to break it down and switch substrate. I have the Activ-Flora substrate in there now but I suppose I could switch it out for the finer grained version? What would you recommend as far as substrate? I don't want anything too messy, so potting soil is something I'd rather stay away from!

Also, I dialed down the water temp. I swear I read somewhere that tertras prefer the higher temp poor little babies lol.
 

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So many substrate to choose from, Eco complete seems to be the one of many most people use. I use it and it grows plants well, and no matter how much you disturb it, it willtont make a mess. Not sure but there might be a subject regarding substrate within the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
After looking into my set-up a bit more, I was disappointed to find that the lighting is NOT a good light for high-light requirement plants, even though that was what the LFS I went to told me. My fault for not doing a bit more research, I suppose. But oh well. That really upsets me. I was looking forward to being able to use this LFS but I guess I'll have to travel to the other one that is a bit farther but provides MUCH better and HONEST customer service, regardless of the price tag.

So I'm changing the plan. I don't really want to go out and buy a whole new light so it's going to have to be a low-light set-up but that's okay because the maintenance should be a little bit easier, which is always A-okay with me. The light is a Fluval LED that provides 9 watts for the 10 gallon tank.

I bought a piece of manzanita from Driftwood1 on Aquabid and sent the payment, so hopefully I'll have that by next week. I've attached a picture of it below. I plan to trim and break up the piece just a bit and I'm thinking I'll tie some moss around those lovely branches. Probably will use some crypts and anubias... I'll look into that more once the driftwood comes in and I can better plan placement. :)

As far as fish... I love Scarlet Gem Badis (Dario Dario) and they should be fine to pair with a Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumilus). The tetras that are currently in the tank were originally going to leave but I think that they would be okay with the Gourami and a pair/trio of the Darios. Another one of my favorite fish are the German Blue Rams...

EDIT: Does anyone know of a list where all the Dario species members are listed? I can't seem to find anything in my searches...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, so I've been checking my parameters weekly. I do about 1-2 gallon water changes daily, or at least every-other.

4/21:
pH - 8.2
Ammonia - 0-0.25 ppm
Nitrite - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 0 ppm

4/29:
pH - 8.0
Ammonia - 0.25 ppm
Nitrite - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 0 ppm

The tank is running a bit warm. I checked it this morning and it was at nearly 84 degrees! I have effectively turned off the heater, since it appears that the heat from the light and just the temperature of the room seem to be enough for now. The heat has dropped to about 82 degrees, so hopefully by the end of the day it will have cooled down even more. If it doesn't, I think I'll have to relocate the tank to a different area.

The slight drop in pH followed the addition of my Manzanita wood but it is still high, since I'm shooting for a pH of about 7.0... I tested my source water and it tested at 8.0, so that is definitely the root of my problem. Also, after adding the Manzanita, a white film started forming over the wood and the water is a bit cloudy. Did some research and I believe that this is just the wood cycling and doing its thing. I need to start looking into some sort of algae eater for the tank. I was thinking that some shrimp would be fun. I've never had them before but everyone seems to love them, so they would be worth a shot!

As far as plants, I'm looking to go get some more today or tomorrow. I want to tie some java moss or some anubias to the Manzanita. I'm looking into Downoi (Pogostemon helferi) for a foreground plant, and some Rotala (Rotala rotundifolia) to round things out with the Java Fern that's already in the tank.

So, some things I need to tank care of:
1.) Get the pH lowered (I know there are products out there, but any suggestions?)
2.) Reduce the temperature/move the tank.
3.) Create more circulation (air stone/second filter?)
4.) Some sort of algae eater/shrimp.
5.) Get some plants!

Once again, I dose with liquid CO2 and Seachem Flourish.
 

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Let this tank cycle and settle in, maybe that pH will go down. How are you testing pH?

From what I have read, many people make the mistake of chasing the perfect pH, when there is really no need for their setup. Unless you have fish that really demand it, there is nothing wrong with a 7.4 or 7.6 pH.

Also, why are you keeping the tank at 82 degrees?

Also, mind if I PM you about your wood?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Sharko! It's still got a long way to go but it's getting there.

Let this tank cycle and settle in, maybe that pH will go down. How are you testing pH?

From what I have read, many people make the mistake of chasing the perfect pH, when there is really no need for their setup. Unless you have fish that really demand it, there is nothing wrong with a 7.4 or 7.6 pH.

Also, why are you keeping the tank at 82 degrees?

Also, mind if I PM you about your wood?
I'm just worried about the fact that my tap water runs at 8.2 pH. I wouldn't mind having it at 7.4-7.6 but 8.0 just seems a bit high to me. I'm testing with the API Freshwater kit. As for the temperature, I am not running it that high intentionally. I had it running at 78 degrees but its been hot here in SoCal and my house doesn't have air conditioning so the tank has been heating up on its own just from the room temperature. :/ And of course you can! Hopefully only good things. ;)

For now, since it's so hot, I've turned off the heater and I'm only running my light for 6 hours. With this heat wave, I might have to leave the light on over night and keep it off during the day just to prevent any additional heat from latching onto the tank. Bums me out to have this problem! We are getting a saltwater tank soon and definitely makes me feel like I'm going to need a chiller.
 

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I had the same pH concerns when I started my tank, but I agree with DefStatic. The water that came out of the tap would always return to what it wanted to be. I put driftwood in, I used pHDown, let the water sit overnight, I tried everything to manipulate the pH, but it always returned to 8. I learned to live with it, the neons and gourami and plants don't seem to care ultimately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh, well okay then, I won't worry about it too much! I've just never had water that came out with such a high pH, so I guess it's just something different for me. The neons don't seem to mind it at all and the Java Fern that I've got in there is flourishing!

In other news, as the day progressed, I've noticed that the water has become quite cloudy... Ugh. Looks like I've got an algae problem on my hands. Anyone have any suggestions on good algae eaters for a planted tank this size?
 

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I have used pH down at 8 drops a gallon and I have never gotten it lower than 7.4. I finally gave up chasing pH after reading a great article on the subject. I wish I could find it, but basically it was about how for aquarium owners, it is like chasing a ghost especially if you are using tap water. There are way more important parameters to worry about and you will drive yourself and your fish crazy trying to get it right. Stability is the key to success, and trying to lower your pH in typically counter-productive. As long as you do not have any plants or fish that are REALLY sensitive to pH, just plain having a stable pH will be fine.

My pH test on the low range comes out at max and on the high range comes at the lowest, so my best guess is mine is 7.4 or 7.6. I had a LFS complain about my pH once and I just brushed it off.

Anyone else wants to chime in please do.
 

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And as for your wood, I was curious about what it was listed at for dimensions and where you got it from. You said aquabid but it looks exactly like listings I have seen for a website I found. I am guessing maybe he has his site and lists on aquabid too. It looks really great and I have been thinking of incorporating something like it in my new 10 gallon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
http://manzanita-driftwood.com/

That's his website! On Aquabid he listed the dimensions accurately. The piece I got fits way better than I expected. Initially, I had assumed that I was going to have to break it in places to make it fit! I believe I paid on a Monday, he had it shipped by Tuesday, and by Friday I had it waiting for me on my front porch. Of course, I'm fairly close to his location so I don't know if shipping time would vary for you but I, personally, would definitely buy from him again!!

UPDATE: I've added four Macrotocinclus affinis, or Golden Otos. My tank cleared up overnight and today I'm going to go grab an air stone to help with air flow for the little guys and hopefully some Java Moss to tie to the Manzanita... If I can find it! Anyone have any other suggestions for taking care of these guys? I know they can be sort of sensitive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Aplomado, I don't know if mine is the exception but I beg to differ! I originally had grown this Java Fern from one small portion in black sand and it grew too rapidly for the tank it was in. When my betta disappeared, I upgraded to this tank and, if you look at the first pictures I posted versus the pictures of the tank now, you'll see that it is thriving! In any case, my gravel is somewhat large and the ferns are more anchored in than anything else, so there is plenty of air flow between the roots.

In addition... I've added more goodies! Some Anubias and Downoi that I happened to find in Petsmart... lol. I don't have high hopes for the Downoi to survive but the Anubias looked to be in good condition so we shall see. In any case, they weren't that expensive and it's worth a try!

I was going to just get a simple air pump... but of course I got a little carried away. I ended up getting an LED bubble wall and a water pump to increase the circulation. There are very few deadspots now, which made the tank even clearer! I'll probably end up cinching the air pump hose to restrict the amount of bubbles but it looks pretty neat. I've never been a huge fan of bubble walls but this one is fun.

Hope the Otos like all the O2! They seem to have adjusted nicely to the tank, and three of the four looked pretty fat this morning from a nice meal of algae, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks tumbz!! Hopefully the plants do okay with all the changes. Otherwise I may have to actually do the breakdown and change out my substrate!! Then again if I do that i would want to change my lighting and lord knows I can't afford that, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just an update! Looking back on pictures makes me smile... Can't believe how much all the plants have grown! Those little Downoi are darn near ready to take over the whole tank!

Adopted some fish from my uncle, more blue neons and some orange neons. Also two red platys, but those guys may get traded in down the road. I also got a betta fish, he gets along with everyone and nobody nips at him so all is well!

Also... I might have a pregnant Oto on my hands! I'll post a pic shortly.
 

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