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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey y'all! Haven't been here in a year, but I did spend that year experimenting and learning through my own experiences. Just wanted to share one of my greatest successes, a maintenance-free (kind of a broad statement) 10 gallon tank. It sports 2x 6500k 23watt CFL bulbs, your run of the mill cheaply made filter and heater, and of course a dirted substrate. Whole tank setup probably cost less than 150$, possibly 100$ if you really tried. Hopefully I can throw out some pointers that'll help others.

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Tank stocking includes 1x betta, many pond snails and many shrimp.

Nitrates stay very low, under 10ppm. Water changes whenever I remember, maybe every month or two. The only things I have to do for this tank is dose Iron or very diluted Plantex CSM+B from my EI dosed tank every once in a while, as well as your usual water top-off.

When first starting the tank, I went straight with 2 of these 6500k CFL bulbs. Very overkill and caused a lot of diatoms, not to mention green algae in the mix. It wasn't a pretty sight for many weeks, but it was a matter of growing, trimming, propagating until there was enough mass to battle the algae.

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This was intended to be a high tech tank at first using DIY co2, but the stupid diy co2 broke on me and fluctuated since the day I had it set up, so it wasn't much help anyway.

I dose micros every once in a while, as I believe the dirt mostly gives out macro nutrients.

Any questions... leave them here. I'll be glad to answer!
 

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So eventually the algae went away completely!? Impressive! Did you have to pull a lot of it out or did it eventually just die off because of how large the plants grew? Did you stop dosing nutrients for a while?
 

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Just extrapolating on your nano and my macro 240 gallon. 46 watts on 10 gallons is like 1104 watts of light on my tank with many of the same plants...but i have only a 80 watt double fluorescent and a 33 watt LED shoplight. So,about one tenth of what your plants get.
AND-lol,why I set my old big tank next to window. In fact as days are long and sunny I not only this year have sheer curtains,I found that using even more shade from white t shirts (worn out) and cut to block more direct sun has helped control algae that comes with 20 or so fish of Rainbows and Loaches.
Your tank does though look perfect..not a speck of algae..I can't say the same.
 

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That looks fantastic! Sometimes tanks just work when "by the book" they shouldn't. My old 55g was like that - I used DIY CO2 and was growing plants that I shouldn't have been able to. High light but little to no algae. The 36g I had at the same time, using the same water, ferts, CO2 etc did OK, but never great.

I'll be setting up a 10g tank in my office later this summer or early fall - I'd love to not need CO2 but figured I would have to. Hmm, maybe not?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So eventually the algae went away completely!? Impressive! Did you have to pull a lot of it out or did it eventually just die off because of how large the plants grew? Did you stop dosing nutrients for a while?
I did pull a lot of it out for the first few weeks, but they also definitely died on their own as well. Yeah, I only ever started dosing micros when I found the hygrophilia in the foreground turning white. They're really fast at showing deficiencies so I always look at them and dose accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That looks fantastic! Sometimes tanks just work when "by the book" they shouldn't. My old 55g was like that - I used DIY CO2 and was growing plants that I shouldn't have been able to. High light but little to no algae. The 36g I had at the same time, using the same water, ferts, CO2 etc did OK, but never great.

I'll be setting up a 10g tank in my office later this summer or early fall - I'd love to not need CO2 but figured I would have to. Hmm, maybe not?
Definitely not needed! But considering it is an office tank.. Your coworkers may not appreciate the almost always wet desk from the constant removal of algae for the first couple months as the plants are growing :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just extrapolating on your nano and my macro 240 gallon. 46 watts on 10 gallons is like 1104 watts of light on my tank with many of the same plants...but i have only a 80 watt double fluorescent and a 33 watt LED shoplight. So,about one tenth of what your plants get.
AND-lol,why I set my old big tank next to window. In fact as days are long and sunny I not only this year have sheer curtains,I found that using even more shade from white t shirts (worn out) and cut to block more direct sun has helped control algae that comes with 20 or so fish of Rainbows and Loaches.
Your tank does though look perfect..not a speck of algae..I can't say the same.
Really, it's all about providing the nutrients for plants in correlation to the light provided. I cant say the 46 watts provide the full spectrum that may otherwise inhibit algae growth since they're just CFL, maybe they do I surely don't know. I have had great success with dirt all throughout my tanks that I pretty much swear by it. The way I see it, if there are ponds that are clear as heck with beautiful plants in the strong sunlight without artificial co2 dosing, then it can happen in an aquarium. Dense planting, bright lights, fish, algae eaters, excellent plant nutrition and nature does all the work for you.
 

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Amazing tank you have!
I’ve actually been wanting to do a similar no maintenance tank. Currently have a custom long 12g tank with nothing but water and substrate.
I would like to know what plants are all in there? And which plants, in your experience, would not do well in this exact setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Amazing tank you have!
I’ve actually been wanting to do a similar no maintenance tank. Currently have a custom long 12g tank with nothing but water and substrate.
I would like to know what plants are all in there? And which plants, in your experience, would not do well in this exact setup?
At the moment, I have:

Water Wisteria, Ludwigia Repens, Rotala Rotundifolia, Althernanthera Reineckii 'Scarlet Temple', Hygrophilia Siamensis 53B, S. Repens, Crypt Wendtii Green, Bacopa Monnieri

All the plants I've thrown in this tank have survived thus far. Hell, even Ammania Sp. Bonsai survived (with very little and slow growth, though. It did stay green and algae-free) The stem plants, despite being mostly water column feeders, grew massive roots. I would say hornwort would be the one plant i'm sure wouldn't do good in this setup. I only dose traces, and with most of the macro ferts coming from the dirt, it wouldn't fare well and would have deficiencies. I'm gonna be adding walichii soon and seeing if it survives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
very nice. Is the heater necessary?
The tank is on the second floor of my house, which gets really cold in the winter, so yeah it is pretty necessary. As far as all the other seasons, It's not necessary but if the heater is automatic and isn't much of an eyesore, I'd rather be safe than sorry 😁
 
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