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Phantoms' 10 Gallon - Update 29/01/2011 *

6527 Views 77 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Splendid Splendens
I thought that I would post a journal for the tank I just recently set up.
Any feedback, suggestions, comments, advice, etc is more than welcome!

It's a standard 20 gallon that I originally wanted to make into a SEA biotope riparium, and I still do. However, I decided that I am going to wait until I have more money, time, knowledge, and experience before doing so. A simple set up just seems like the logical thing to do at this point.
Anyways, the tank is set up in a "natural looking" sort of fashion.
For the substrate I used polished stones of various sizes, and I will be adding coarse sand once I get around to picking some up.
For "decor" I added driftwood, a cave, and some fake plants. As of now the only plants in the tank are java moss (scattered in various places) and a small Cryptocorne (not sure what type) in the back. I have some Bacopa that I am debating on putting in there, and I plan to get a bunch more live plants as well.

The temp is 76-78, the parameters are stable. About 50% of the water is from my 30 gallon and the other half is (treated) stagnant tap water. I soaked all of the substrate/etc in water from another tank before putting it in. Nitrates, nitrites & ammonia are perfect, pH is above 6 but hasn't gone up to 7. Everything's going well! (Aside from last night when the cats opened the filter top and pulled out some of the media, which made a mess but didn't screw up the water thankfully and the problem was solved easily enough, with an elastic band.)

Here is a photo of the tank.

This is Phantom, my main reason for setting up this tank.

In the near future I want to convince my mom (and I will!) to trade me one of my tanks/stands for her tank/stand (which is actually mine anyway) so that I can get another Betta and do this sort of thing, both tanks would be set up generally the same.

Which in my opinion is going to be awesome, especially once both are turned into biotope ripariums!!
:D I'm excited.... Obviously.

So I guess that's about all there is to say at the moment.
Though I do have some questions & ponderings.......

I'd like to plant this tank more heavily (and the other when/if I get it) and just get the general hang of "aqua-gardening" which I'm very new to.

Here are the plants I want to get:
Java Fern
Amazon Sword
Hygrophila difformis
Rotala Wallichii/Rotundifolia

I think I am going to do Dwarf Hairgrass carpets in both, is coarse sand good for growing this or do I need something else?

What are the best floating & or spreading plants to use in a low-light tank?

I'd like to get a group of shoaling fish, this Betta has a rather peaceful personality and I'd like to try Neon Tetras I think. Do you think they'd do well in this tank?

Again, any input is obliged and thanks for reading! :icon_smil
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Currently going with no CO2 and I am not sure what teither of my lights are, they both came with tanks. All plants seem to be doing well though, even without ferts, which I should be getting soon.
Phantom is an amazing looking fish and will look great is a just as pretty home. I love the simple look. Many planted tanks I've seen around this site are overwhelming with plants and decorations. This is a nice balance between swimming space and cover.

I am looking forward to see this tank mature.

Great job.
Thank you very much! :D
I also like simple set-ups, though it is a little more empty than I would like.
I want to add more spreading/floating plants in the right corner, and a lush "garden" in the back.

While I like the "jungley" tanks I see around here I can't imagine maintaining them.
Maybe one day!


I want to add a background, probably a dark brown or green.

Instead of the Dwarf Hair Grass, I am thinking that I might do a Java Moss floor, the way walls are done.
Do you guys think that would work?
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I think Java Moss would look nice. I think DHG requires high lighting. I've done everything possible to stay away from plants like that.

I am going to try to do a carpet of microsword but if that doesn't work I was considering Java Moss to carpet it instead. I like the look of Java Moss and it's fairly hardy and easy to grow.
Exactly what I was thinking about the DHG.
I love Java Moss so far, I don't even know what type of lights I have, but I got a tiny bit of JM a while back and it spread like crazy. No ferts or CO2, still it's green and nice.
I would love to do a back wall/carpet out of it, I think I am going to try.

My plan is to do both side walls and the back wall, then take one of the side walls and lay it on the ground, piling the gravel to one side.
Hmmmmmmm...... contemplation.......
That sounds like it would look cool. Give it a shot. You can always change it if you don't like it lol :)
That's what I figure! :)
I think Java Moss would look nice. I am going to try to do a carpet of micro sword.
If you could get Taiwan moss, that would be better. For it grows quick up towards the light. Xmas moss I found to be hard to be hard to control growth pattern. The narrow leaf micro sword plant, Lilaeopsis mauritiana, grows well in low light.
Yeah I've got some Micro Sword that I hope will be able to grow out in my tank (once I get some better substrate)
Yeah I've got some Micro Sword that I hope will be able to grow out in my tank (once I get some better substrate)
There are 2 different type of micro swords. The brazilian type needs high light. The narrow leaf, Lilaeopsis mauritiana, does well in low light. Which one do you have?
For low light floating plants, hornwort, java moss, water sprite and floating anacharis are all good. You might also find that you like moss balls that will sink to the substrate and sit there, adding a deep rich green. They, too, will be fine in low light, and they are nitrate gobblers, as are the other floaters.

-- Aquamom
wow I didn't realize that. I have the Brazilian version. That's probably not going to do well in my tank :/ Dang

The Lilaeopsis mauritiana narrow leaf version looks like it would make a beautiful ground cover.
I have some good and some bad news today. Brace yourselves, those who loved this setup.

Bad News - Last night, when I was out visiting my mom, the bottom of the tank blew-out.
I don't know why/how, the seal popped and there was a 20 gallon mess to clean up.
Good News - Phantom is okay. Maybe a bit resentful of being put in a temporary 2.5 gallon, but okay none the less, which is what I really care about.
oh No! that's horrible! I'm glad Phantom is OK. I guess you really have to convince your mother to trade you that other 20g.
I know I am so upset about it!
Poor little Phantom is stuck in the 2.5 for another while.

I'm debating if I will set up the 10 gallon for him, or asking my mom to trade her 20 gallon for my 15 gallon.
(I would use the 15, but it has no lid and we have cats so it's a bad idea.)
Pax is doing well in a 10 gallon so depending on what you want to do with the tank a 10 gallon works well.

You won't have nearly as much room, obviously, to do aquascaping and all that nor stock room.

Cats and bettas are two species that don't get along well :p My girlfriend's cat moved a book off a tank she had and killer her betta. it was very upsetting.
When I was a kid I had a Betta in a 3 gallon vase type deal and I came home to find my cat shredding his fins on the floor. :( He was ok, lived and healed with "stringy" fins, but I felt terrible for leaving the door open.
Hopefully nothing like that will ever happen again.

Have you decided what sort of fauna you want in the tank(s)?

Phantom will be one but are you planning on adding any companions like neon tetras, small rasboras, oto cats, cory cats, snails?

That may determine which size tank you want to get (10, 15 (also a lid), 20)
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