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New to planted tanks experts needed!

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Okay so I've been posing a lot for a reason. And am learning. I am new to planted tanks. They are awesome. But I still need to know a few things... Lighting fertilization and all that jazz. So with that being said let me start.


  • TANK - 10g standard
  • FILTER - Tetra PF10
  • HEATER - 50 Watt
  • And a stick. I have a stick in it right now... Ha

So with lighting I think i want maybe low-med? If CO2 is needed then I'm sure I can DIY and will be willing to DIY. Is this light good enough to grow a decent amount of plants for a beginner? I want a dense tank. IS the light low or high?

If This isn't good enough or if this is to high/low, I was thinking of either using one or two DESK lamps, or one or two clamp on lights? Thoughts?

For this I am some what stumped. Will this be all I need?

It seems to be what I am looking for.

For this I am not sure. People say to get ECOcomplete but also others say that you can just use regular gravel? What should I do?

My filter isn't great. It's a tetra PF10 that came with the tank. Will that do? It doesn't cause a lot of current in my tank but I have no idea if ill need a bunch of filtration. I'll leave that for the experts to decide.

Overall I want my tank to be dense. I want a nice jungle look. I don't know if I can do that with low light? But if I can hell yeah. I just want enough light, fert, for a nice dense tank. I want to have some neon tetras in it and maybe some clean up ground crew. of course I'll do water changes. Weekly? Then after water changes do my doses? I need help. And will appeciate anything I get. Everyone is just so scattered and it's hard getting answers. People only answer few questions. This is all I'll need to know. Thanks:)
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3,021 Posts
no idea about the light. i would suggest a 18 " finnex planted plus.

go with the eco complete as you will want a decent substrate and plain gravel will not be a good option. plus for such a small tank I would splurge more on the details.

again no idea about that specific filter but you always want something that is more suited for a bit bigger. I would advise against kits. and just get the stuff seperately. kits are cheap and include crappy parts.

don't put neons in a 10g they like / need more room to swim around. look into nano fish instead. more suited for smaller tank.

Bump: as for plants stick to NON stem plants. they are more suited for jungle style tanks in my opinion. you want nice broad leaves and things such. look at jungle pics and you can see what I mean.

some plants to consider for this of scape could be anubias, java ferns and other ferns, all kinds of crypts, dwarf sag and things like that.

Bump: those ferts are fine, it covers npk and micros. that all you need.

27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ii am on a budget so does anyone think my current filter will do? Again. On a budget so i can't go out and blow 100$ on a lighting system. Will buying two brooder lamps and putting in some daylight 6500k 18watt bulbs be good for lightin?

301 Posts
I love aquatraders for lights. People on here tend to lean towards Finnex, which is a quality product. I've owned two Ray 2's and they were crazy awesome. They never had issues turning on or staying turned on, and the resale value was high.

Now for aquatraders, I have bought two of their lights as well.

(For my reef tank)


(For my planted tank)

Both are awesome. They both tend to provide medium light, which is nice for my first reef tank. The one on my planted tank is great too, never had an issue with anything and boy does it grow plants.

Aquatraders is pretty great when it comes to inexpensive LED's IMHO. I've never tried their T5's, but I would like to soon.

12,433 Posts
You are correct to go carefully when thinking of lights. It is one of the most overtalked items. You can very easily get too much spent as well as get too much light. Think balance when gearing up. You don't want pressure CO2 or lots of ferts --- so lots of light will be a killer. Go for a balance in those three!!!
While there is not as much "bling" in a couple CFL lights, it will due fine for starting on a ten. Learn on the tank and if/when you feel needed, then is a good time to break out the big bucks for lights. You may be rich by then?
Sort the plants to match the equipment and go from there.
This is a 20 that I started using three CFL screwed into temporary bulb holders.
I put a few plants n pots, gravel bottom and fish to grow out.

After a few months and lots of staggering around, I got this. The fish grew, the plants boomed and I "needed" bigger. CFL bulbs can work fine!

Save spending money until you have it as well as when you know more what to spend it on!!!

361 Posts
You want to save money in this hobby? Boy are you in for it.

To save yourself $15 try ordering the fertilizers separately, rather then as a package.
The bottles are nice but do you need a fancy bottle?

Put that money towards a powerhead to circulate your water.
If your interested in DIY CO2, that money can go towards that at well.

Keeping your goals in mind, you do not need to be very ambitious when adding fertilizer.
Moderate lighting, slow health growth, no additional CO2, most tanks you describe, space the day for changing water further apart and keep the water parameters stable, over the longest period of time, before disrupting them with a water change. That means maintaining 5-10ppm of NO3 while maintaining PO4 and K+ levels relative to NO3. There are several options of how to maintain them at those levels, with fewer water changes and under moderate light. Add CO2, then more growth > more nutrients > more frequent water changes and I'm going to stop here. More frequent water changes are the best way to maintain stable water perimeters - it's all about the CO2.

Add GH booster (K2SO4 and MgSO4 will suffice) every week,
add KNO3 and KH2PO4 one day,
add CSM+B the next day.
Wait a week or so and start again, GH, NPK, trace.

Just remember when using fertilizer in these low ranges, supplementing NPK is only effective when it enhances growth.
When we dose less fertilizer then the plants need to maintain healthy growth, we experience problems.

I'v seen optimal water flow in natural environments close to 2 knots. :eek:

You need a filter that is appropriate for your tank. I'm not sure that yours is, yet with healthy growing plants, I'm not sure it isn't. a number of planted tanks have flow rates that cycle 10 gallon tanks, 10 times in an hour. Small prop style powerheads are a great addition to a filter. Your flow will not need to just come from the main filter, just facilitate it's effectiveness.

More on light by Hoppy;
What some bulb colors look like;
light reactions;

260 Posts
Ii am on a budget so does anyone think my current filter will do? Again. On a budget so i can't go out and blow 100$ on a lighting system. Will buying two brooder lamps and putting in some daylight 6500k 18watt bulbs be good for lightin?
if the filter atleast has the capacity to rotate 4-5 times the tank's volume then it should be ok.

CFL lamps can be used with great results, 2X18W would be enough to grow most of the plants with CO2(pressurized, liquid carb or DIY).

if you are on budget, you can go dirted tank way, else ecocomplete with EI or PMDD dosing method would work fine.
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