The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all -

i'm setting up a new 10 gallon planted tank and I had a couple questions before i get things up and running. I just got a cheap topfin 10 gallon starter kit and the ~18 pound bag of fluval stratum, that's all that's in it right now. Tank is filled, filter is running, and i added the "good bacteria" quick starter (or whatever the technical name for it is) and water conditioner.

1) With the wimpy light that comes with the tank, is it even worth trying to get low light plants to grow, or should i upgrade the light right away? and if so, any suggestions for a budget 10 gallon light? I know when i used to keep tanks when i was in high school i just put compact fluorescent bulbs in regular hood lights.

2) Can i go ahead and stock the tank with plants fairly quickly, or should i let the water cycle for a week or so? I've heard/read both. I also haven't added hardscape yet, would adding rocks/wood now set the cycle back?

3) When i do add plants, should I add fertilizer? I've read that adding it too early can lead to algae, and that with the fluval substrate plants don't necessarily need it.

4) I eventually want to get some blue ram cichlids. Will the stock filter + live plants be adequate for a lightly stocked tank? Like, can i add different filter media or whatever into the stock filter, or will this need to be upgraded too? Along these same lines, should I even attempt to keep blue rams? I used to have a couple when i was into the hobby in high school (31 now) and I couldn't get it right with them, so if me buying them is destined to wind up with them dead I would avoid it.

thanks very much for any advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
I'd start out with something a little more forgiving than rams for your reentry into the hobby- rams are very sensitive and starting with a small school of maybe ember tetra or a similar nano species that's heat tolerant will give you a good start to upgrade to a ram tank once you've gotten the tank matured and all the kinks worked out.

You didn't mention if you're wanting to add co2, but what it sounds like is you're trying to keep this as close to what came with the kit- you can possibly get some low light slow growing plants to grow if you keep them in the light. Most of these plants don't really need ferts.

I don't, personally, like most of the filters that come with topfin kits, I usually replace with a small sponge or internal for small applications, especially with low tech. That's a personal preference.

I tend to plant right away and use the standard water change schedule (stratum is an active substrate so you're going to want to factor that in).

I'd say search out some ram tank journals here, since they are ultimately what you want to keep, and see what successful keepers have done. Good luck!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the reply! Sounds like the filter isn't necessary to replace right away so i'll plan on using that for now and maybe upgrade later.

Slow growing/easy plants are definitely what I want to start with so maybe i'll get some java fern, anubias, etc (which i think are on the easier side?) at my local store and start with them and see how they do with the stock light and plan to upgrade later.

Re: CO2, not opposed to adding it down the line but not super interested in getting into it right away.

You mentioned stratum being an active substrate, what is that exactly? and how do i factor that in? For water changes i was going to like 1/3 - 1/2 weekly, or thereabouts.

I will definitely do some more research into rams,

thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Active substrates will leech ammonia. I, personally, follow the same start up water change schedule for all active substrates- 50% water changes daily first week, every other day second week, 2 times the third week and weekly thereafter.

Starting with the included filter will give you some media to help seed your upgraded filter, should you decide to. Win win.

Java ferns, java moss, anubias and maybe float some hornwort (you can use tubing from an air pump to corral it and keep it from getting in the filter) would do ok I think. The lighting would be an issue for almost any other type of plant, even the above mentioned plants most likely won't thrive but, given they aren't overshadowed, should do okay.

I honestly don't think you'd need too much for ferts, maybe some API leaf zone if you notice yellowing.

Do you have tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to help get you through the initial start up process?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yeah i got the full test kit thing at the store so i was going to do all that before i put any fish in it for sure. Is it worth testing sooner than after a week or two?

i didn't realize the water changes had to be so frequent initially, guess i better get on that haha.

thanks again!
 

·
Registered
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." Gandalf: Lord of the Rings
Joined
·
289 Posts
I recently set up a 10 gal with Fluval stratum. I didnt buy the tank with a kit though, and I capped the stratum with sand. I used a Hygger programmable light on amazon for $30 but that was a sale. Now I think its $40. I planted the week I put the substrate in. I have jungle vals, water wisteria, and Salvinia minima. for hardscape, I have dragon stone I got for $30 at PetSmart. My tank journal is right here: Green Guppies 10gal shrimp tank
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
would this light be good for a 10 gallon? seems with the sizing chart it would be, and it's nice and cheap. With a light like that how much does evaporation play a factor? Should I get just a clear plastic cover for the tank if i go that route?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
1) With the wimpy light that comes with the tank, is it even worth trying to get low light plants to grow, or should i upgrade the light right away? and if so, any suggestions for a budget 10 gallon light? I know when i used to keep tanks when i was in high school i just put compact fluorescent bulbs in regular hood lights.

2) Can i go ahead and stock the tank with plants fairly quickly, or should i let the water cycle for a week or so? I've heard/read both. I also haven't added hardscape yet, would adding rocks/wood now set the cycle back?

3) When i do add plants, should I add fertilizer? I've read that adding it too early can lead to algae, and that with the fluval substrate plants don't necessarily need it.

4) I eventually want to get some blue ram cichlids. Will the stock filter + live plants be adequate for a lightly stocked tank? Like, can i add different filter media or whatever into the stock filter, or will this need to be upgraded too? Along these same lines, should I even attempt to keep blue rams? I used to have a couple when i was into the hobby in high school (31 now) and I couldn't get it right with them, so if me buying them is destined to wind up with them dead I would avoid it.
1. I think with the stock light, anubias and java fern would be the way to go. If wanting to go to route of grading, I used to use the Nicrew lights off of amazon with no issues at all. It was the basic one but now there's different models. I was going to try to find a photo to show you results, however I apparently take WAY too many photos on my phone and it was getting near impossible to find the one I was looking for. But I got good growth to fill my tank w/ just basic gravel and no ferts.

2. Setting up hardscape/plants is fine, no need to let it cycle to add it. Depending on where you get the plants from, there will be some bacteria living on the plants surface to help a little, albeit not much but its something lol. I don't think adding the hardscape now would set it back as most of your bacteria is gonna be kept in the filter and substrate.

3. I never waited to plant, I just slam dunked them in as soon as I could. I would hold off on the ferts, depending on stocking you might not even need to use ferts.

4. I don't recall what the stock filter is, but most likely you're able to add your own media vs the cartridges they sell. Rams are smidge picky with their params but you def could do them if you did a little more research on them. Plus the stratum will help a little with that since they like lower pH's anyways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Lol if you want to go dirt cheap I've been successful using clamp lights and cfl 6500K and led grow light bulbs 😉 but that's a whole different conversation... Though I do have a clamp light and a cheapo wal mart grow bulb on my cube... Like $9US. It does pretty good.

My honest suggestion for upgraded lighting would be to look at the plants you're interested in keeping and see what others have used successfully to grow them. I'd suggest getting a light that has at least some grow spectrum to it (reds and blues) if you get bit by the scaping bug it will help out a lot. A little bit of perusing through some of the lighting threads might give you some idea of what others are using. My lights are- finnex 24/7 planted+ on my 40 gallon low tech and 2*5 watt 6500K leds and a 30 watt rgb led grow light on my 13 gallon (it's really a 10 that only holds 8 set up and scaped) mid tech cube.
 

·
Registered
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." Gandalf: Lord of the Rings
Joined
·
289 Posts
Water does evaporate, about a cm or 2 a week. I would get lid if you do not want to top it of regularly.
 

·
Registered
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." Gandalf: Lord of the Rings
Joined
·
289 Posts
yeah i got the full test kit thing at the store so i was going to do all that before i put any fish in it for sure. Is it worth testing sooner than after a week or two?

i didn't realize the water changes had to be so frequent initially, guess i better get on that haha.

thanks again!
That is basically the light I got just without the timer and different color lights. I paid the $13 extra so that in the future if I wanted to use the effects I had the option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i went ahead and got that hygger light, it got good reviews and i think it's worth starting out on the right foot.

on an unrelated note - i bought a piece of driftwood from the store and i'm in the process of treating it, and i'm wondering how many times i can expect to have to boil it and change the water and boil again before it's ready to put in the tank? the water is still pretty brown after 2 times.

thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Hi all -

i'm setting up a new 10 gallon planted tank and I had a couple questions before i get things up and running. I just got a cheap topfin 10 gallon starter kit and the ~18 pound bag of fluval stratum, that's all that's in it right now. Tank is filled, filter is running, and i added the "good bacteria" quick starter (or whatever the technical name for it is) and water conditioner.

1) With the wimpy light that comes with the tank, is it even worth trying to get low light plants to grow, or should i upgrade the light right away? and if so, any suggestions for a budget 10 gallon light? I know when i used to keep tanks when i was in high school i just put compact fluorescent bulbs in regular hood lights.

2) Can i go ahead and stock the tank with plants fairly quickly, or should i let the water cycle for a week or so? I've heard/read both. I also haven't added hardscape yet, would adding rocks/wood now set the cycle back?

3) When i do add plants, should I add fertilizer? I've read that adding it too early can lead to algae, and that with the fluval substrate plants don't necessarily need it.

4) I eventually want to get some blue ram cichlids. Will the stock filter + live plants be adequate for a lightly stocked tank? Like, can i add different filter media or whatever into the stock filter, or will this need to be upgraded too? Along these same lines, should I even attempt to keep blue rams? I used to have a couple when i was into the hobby in high school (31 now) and I couldn't get it right with them, so if me buying them is destined to wind up with them dead I would avoid it.

thanks very much for any advice!
-----------------------



I have a 30 Gallon Planted Aquarium

In my opinion, I would suggest you purchase Hardscape at around the same time as the low tech plants you are considering. The reason being is that different Hardscapes sometimes require preparation. Certain woods need to be soaked several days for example so they will properly be water logged. Once the Hardscape is ready, I suggest preparing the setup and gluing any plants such as Java ferns ahead of time before putting into the tank. Rooted plants of course are different. From experience I found out it is best to layout your Hardscape plan first. If you need to attach wood to stones, do all of that ahead of time before putting into the tank. For example, my driftwood got attached to Dragon stones on both sides. One may need to use fishing line, glue or other method of attachment and you might as well attach everything together as well as glue all Java ferns onto your driftwood and/or stone(s). Get that out of the way.

So you can fairly quickly add low tech plants to your setup early on.

Another thing I learned from experience is do NOT have your light duration ON too long in the beginning especially. 8-10 hours maximum per day or you very likely may find an algae problem early on that can easily be avoided.

Everyone usually tries several different low tech plants such as Anubias varieties and Java Fern among a few others. Each of us will have some winners and a few losers and the results vary from one specific setup to another.

I do not have any experience with cichlids. I can suggest letting your plants take hold for a while before adding some varieties of fish. After a good portion of my plants took hold, I added Rasboras, Honey Gouramis, Otocinculus catfish. You may find that fish may not fare as well as if you wait for the plants to take hold. Things will work, but you may end up replacing fish more. As my plants began to really flourish, I now rarely lose any fish at all. Over time, I added Cherry Barbs, Dwarf Gourami, Corydora catfish and now even one male Betta. They all get along. In the beginning, I was losing Otos but now I rarely have any issues.

I did go with a mini CO2 regulator by FZone which cost about $100 and attach it to 24oz CO2 Paintball canisters. I get about 35 days per refill which is so much better than adding liquid Carbon and the results are much better.


My 2 cents.
 

·
Apex user
Joined
·
38 Posts
Peter on the wood. Boil it till most of the brown comes out and it sinks. If you do not mind brown water you can move faster if it sinks. I have had pieces take a week or more before it sinks if I do not Boil rinse and repeat with something holding it under water overnights. For kick starting your tank you need to grow bacterial in the substrate and filter. The best way is to take media from an existing tank but if that is not available, my favorite is over the counter is Microbial-Lift Special Blend (O_MY This stinks) so brace yourself. Then a few days later a product called Bacter AE is good for making biofilm to support nerites (black racer is best), shrimp (amano are best as cherry can be temperamental to water issues) and small fish like Otto's while the tank is settling in. Do not use more than a half scoop a week or you will create an ammonia spike if there is nothing to eat it. People use it for baby shrimp. Do a lot of water changes for the first 3 weeks to keep the ammonia and nitrates down. Do not be afraid to use your nose to smell the tank. You can tell pretty quick if something is changing by doing that. Most people will want you to take 3-4 weeks to do this and I would too if I was not in a hurry. PS Rams are for after you kill a few of the cheaper fish breaking in your tank and you fell more confident.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks a bunch for the replies! I ended up getting some dragon stone and a piece of driftwood from a local store. I boiled the wood a bunch for a couple days and rinsed off the rocks. I ended up putting the hardscape in before I had plants, which was suboptimal but i think I made it work ok. When i did that I added a quick start (API quick start) and water conditioner. A few days later i started planting. I just stuck some anubias in the crevices of the wood and stones (see picture below). I'm not sure the hairgrass will survive but i figured i'd give it a shot. Other than that i added some java ferns, and then a few i'm not totally sure the names of but i think it's a hygrophila something in the back left and then two cryptocoryne's in the midground in the left. I also did end up upgrading the light to the Hygger 14W and man I love it, it looks so good (imo).

1031752



Any tips on which plants do go with next? I wanted to add a few more of those cryptocoryne's since i really like how they look, and maybe a few more smaller anubias on the wood and rocks.

Also, anything you guys would change about how I have it laid out right now? One thing i'm wondering is if that bigger anubias on the wood is a little out of place. I also know the hairgrass isn't spaced out super well so I may try to adjust that, though as above i'm not sure it'll survive anyway. I'm sure the scape overall isn't great, technically speaking, but I really like how it looks so far. I probably could have planned it out more but i figured i would just go for it and see how it came together.

thanks for any advice!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top