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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, Im starting a 10 gallon tank, I have ordered flourite which is on the way. Im using a 10 gallon tank that was recently cleaned out to start a planted tank.

Existing equipment I have:
Standard 10 gallon tank, open top with eggcrate cut out for the lid
Filter: Aquaclear 50-150 GPH (AC30?? the one for up to 30L tanks)
Lights: Life-Glo 15 Watt CF bulbs (2)
50W heater
A tetra whisper pump for small tanks, and a long airstone

Existing Livestock from last tank:
Only 2 platies, currently hanging out in a 5 gal bucket with a fish bowl filter and a heater

I went out and purchased some plants for the initial cycling process, I definitely didn't get enough though and will probably go back to the LFS, I bought 3 bunches. Not sure what one of them was, the other two were moneywort I believe. The tank will be setup when the order of flourite gets in, probably on wed/thurs.

My questions are:
I wanted to get some cardinals because I really like the look of them, and the fact that they school (I would settle for neons also, I've just heard cardinals are less susceptible to disease?) Would the 150GPH from the AC be too much for them? What is a good number of cardinals for a planted 10gal? Tap water hovers around 7PH or slightly lower, and I did a test a while back and all I remember is that the water was not hard. I actually have a water distiller so I could use that water as well. In addition to cardinals I figured I would need some algae eaters, I was considering otos, but am unsure if a 10gal is sufficient.
As for plants, since I would essentially be going low tech, the total wattage of my lights is 30 which puts me at 3 watts/gal. Is this too high, or can I just reduce the photoperiod to say 5 hours?

I also have some nutrafin cycle that expired a week ago, should I even bother using this since I have plants?
 

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A 10 gal will not support otos, they need a minimum of 6 for schooling and 20G for space.

The fluorite is a good choice. That's what I used to plant my 15 gal. A good algae eater for such a small tank would be a snail but I don't recommend stocking them until you actually see algae growing as they will likely eat your plants with lack of food.

As far as how many fish... It depends on how heavily you plant and how often you want to perform water changes. I have 9 fish in my 15G and have to perform 25% changes every week, 50% every month. I have an aqua clear 3 stage 30G filter currently which I rotate changing the carbon and the sponge. Carbon one month. Sponge the next.

Stalk this forum and read as many topics as you can involving 10G low tech tanks. Mine is currently thriving with ultra hard water and a pH of 7.5, is low tech and it also heavily planted. Yours may not do as well starting out but trial and error are good.

I suggest this. Set up the tank with plants decor, etc. Let it cycle about 2 weeks. After that begin "feeding" as if you had fish and perform a 25% water change. Watch your water levels. Once you are satisfied that your tank is stable, stock no more than 6 fish at once (even that is pushing it). Get on a regular regiment of cleaning the filter and performing necessary water changes.

I also suggest upgarding your lighting to better suit your plants.

I hope this and other advice helps. Good luck!
 

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I don't understand why people think Neons are prone to disease. They are not any different than a lot of SA tetras especially if their needs are met.

Of the two fish Cardinals come from extremely soft, tannic rich waters that are hard to duplicate in the home tank. Plus they need a higher temperature than Neons.

Neons also come from very soft waters but it's not blackwater like the Rio *****'s water, and their river is in Peru, being closer to the Andes, their water is a bit cooler and they can be comfortably kept at 70~72 degrees.

You're more likely to get tank raised juvenile Neons from your LFS, Cardinals are tougher to spawn, and more likely to be wild caught.
 

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I always keep ottos in my 10g. If the tank isn't overstocked, they are fine IMO.
Larger tanks are more preferable for the ottos, but they are such great cleaners I keep them in all my tanks, including the 10g tanks.
I would make sure the tank is well cycled though, I find they are fragile during acclimation and I try to only add them to matured tanks.

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I always keep ottos in my 10g. If the tank isn't overstocked, they are fine IMO.
Larger tanks are more preferable for the ottos, but they are such great cleaners I keep them in all my tanks, including the 10g tanks.
I would make sure the tank is well cycled though, I find they are fragile during acclimation and I try to only add them to matured tanks.

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Yeah that's because they are mostly wild caught, tend to be stressed more and depending on the care (or lack there of in transit..) arrive in variably fair to poor conditions. Someone needs to crack the spawning code for breeding Oto's. Funny that a good portion of them are from Venezuela, and are co-specific with Green Neons, Parachiorodon Simulans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4DaP8HQyBU
 

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I don't understand why people think Neons are prone to disease. They are not any different than a lot of SA tetras especially if their needs are met.

Of the two fish Cardinals come from extremely soft, tannic rich waters that are hard to duplicate in the home tank. Plus they need a higher temperature than Neons.

Neons also come from very soft waters but it's not blackwater like the Rio *****'s water, and their river is in Peru, being closer to the Andes, their water is a bit cooler and they can be comfortably kept at 70~72 degrees.

You're more likely to get tank raised juvenile Neons from your LFS, Cardinals are tougher to spawn, and more likely to be wild caught.
It's worth asking if your lfs has tank raised or wild cardinals, one of mine only stocks tank raised, the other stocks both labeled accordingly. I've found the tank raised to be extremely durable well outside their normal water parameters (ph 7.8, gh 10-12, kh 7)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Unfortunately my LFS does not carry tank raised cardinals, they do have tank raised neons though. Either way, I'm not going to get fish for at least a few weeks since the tank will have to cycle :(
Just out of curiosity how do you acclimate your fish? Do you drip acclimate?
 

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To mirror what others have said, I would stay away from ottos. For algae eaters, I would look into snails and amano shrimp.

I have had neons since I was a kid. I have always found them to be one of the more hardy fish. I live in an area where a PH of 7.0 is as low as you can get without buffering your water, so cardinals aren't very popular because they require more demanding conditions.

An AC 30 might be a bit much for a ten gallon. I have an AC 20 on my ten gallon and it's got pretty decent flow. Maybe someone else with an AC 30 on a ten gallon can chime in on that.

Your light may or may not be fine. It all depends on the plants that you are putting in there. I have a couple of clip on lights and my cripts are doing pretty well.
 

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I don't personally keep snails, I grow a lot of algae so I have a rubber nosed plecostomus. But just stalking this site has given me a ton of insight on what I did wrong when setting mine up.
 

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For snails, I'd suggest nerites. They eat algae pretty quickly and seem, at least in my tanks, impervious to anything. I have both tiger nerites (Neritina natalensis) and horned nerites (Clithon corona). The tiger nerites get bigger, about an inch across, and horned nerites are much smaller, from a quarter to half an inch. Both are excellent choices, but will need supplemental feeding if they clean all the algae. Sinking algae wafers, the kind you give to otos or plecos, will work.
The nice thing about nerites is that they cannot breed in freshwater. They require brackish water for their larvae to survive, if their eggs manage to hatch at all, so you won't have nerites taking everything over. They're also not as exotic as they seem, my local Petsmart has been carrying them for over a year.

As for removing snails from plants, I suggest carefully inspecting the plants before you put them in and scraping off any jelly-looking spots you find, those are the egg sacs. If you don't manage to catch all of them and they become a problem, assassin snails (Clea helena), a freshwater species of predatory whelk, will take care of them.
 
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