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Tear down or save?

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I have this 10gal tank that I've fallen out of love with. It was my first planted tank, and has been going almost 3 years. My fish have all died off, my plants got way too big and I passed them on, and now I'm down to a piece of driftwood, some grassy type plants (sorry, don't know what it is), and less then a dozen shrimp (and a thousand malaysian trumpet snails, mixed with a dozen assassins).

I am planning/preparing to get a new 29gal tank. Start from scratch, have a little more room to play with. More stocking options.

But as I'm preparing to just tear down the 10gal, a bit of nostalgia wants me to keep this one going too. But I'm not sure its worth it. I've fallen out of love and let it go. Is it worth the energy/time/money to set it up again?

What I don't like...

-hair algae. This started when I got rid of the other plants, added the driftwood and the fish died off. I haven't been actively fighting it, although am now more diligent about manually removing it, and reducing lighting. I'm also going to pick up a few oto's and amano's (that I want in the new tank anyways), so maybe they'll help too. Not sure how hard a battle this will be to get it under control/eradicate it.

-water colour. When I added the new driftwood, I had soaked it/boiled it for weeks hoping to get rid of the tannins. No luck, and my tank has this yellowish tinge to it still. I do water changes, and its still there. Is there anyway to clear this up?

-substrate. Sand. I've used root tabs in the past, and the underlayer that you can see through this glass is black. I've heard the root tabs can cause this. I don't *hate* the sand, but it definitely needs a freshing up somehow.

-plants. While my last ones got out of control (anubias and moss), at least there was something. Its so barren now. That's an easy fix.

-lights. It has a stock hood, and the fixtures make it tricky to find decent bulbs for. When I first got it, the best I could find was 7w 2700k bulbs. Maybe its still the tannins, but its never had the bright, clear look I see with other tanks. I haven't scoured eBay or international shipping for other bulbs, but this is probably not a huge problem to solve if I put some time into the search.

-too many snails. The assassins cleared out the pond snail population in no time, but don't seem to touch the mts. I'm thinking of putting on ad on the local aquarium site to give away as many as I can catch. Or maybe the fish store would take them, I know they sell them sometimes. Fairly easy fix.

What I do like...

-I have my first berried shrimp. I've had shrimp for a couple years, with zero reproduction. I did have a betta before, so I always chalked it up to him, but I'd really like to see a batch survive. Tearing down the tank and moving the shrimp I'm sure I would lose the babies.

-I do like the small size. I find it peaceful and not overwhelming. I like that it doesn't take much to fill it (plant and fish wise). I love small, mini things.

-I hate having something and not using it. I would feel this tank was being 'wasted' if I didn't have it set up. If I save it, it would probably go into my sons room with some guppies or something.

So now I've listed the problems, here are the specs. I haven't changed anything since I first got it, so maybe a few small changes would be worth it. Or maybe I should just say screw it and focus on a new tank. The new tank is happening, and I have the time/energy/money to tweak this one and make it better, just not sure I want to tear it down completely and start it from scratch again right now.

Size - 10gal
Hood/light - stock with 2 x 7w 2700k bulbs
Filter - Marina Slim 10
Heater - Tetra 50w
Substrate - sand
Ferts - root tabs in the past, nothing for probably the last 6mth-1yr

Flora
anubias clippings I saved from the big plant (sorry, not sure exactly what kind, bartari I think)
grasses (sorry, don't remember what this is either)

Fauna
7-10 cherry shrimp
1 amano shrimp
assassin snails
malaysian trumpet snails

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Grass looks like Dwarf Sag.
I found that cooler water will slow the release of tannins. You can try to reboil the wood.
Is the green on the glass the string algae? I've only had that type in my pond, where there's way too much light and tons of food/fish poo. So fiddling with lights and how much you feed may clear it up.
For dirty sand, I've stirred it all up right before starting a water change. I just keep stirring and changing out water until it's much cleaner. But, I have well water and I use the sink, so I match the temp and I don't need chemicals. Might be hard for you to do that w/o possible shrimp loss.
You can get regular strip lights and go with the daylight/blue range and avoid the ones with warm light or in the yellow side of the bar they show. I'm not sure if I've ever found a plug in strip light for a 10g. I have used two regular house bulbs instead. I just used the lamp making kit and screwed in a bulb and placed them over the tank. Then use tinfoil to reflect the light into the tank and cover it from lighting the whole room.
Too many MTS is because of too much food. Catch em and/or feed less.
 

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I would redo that tank. All things come to an end, and if you are thinking about redoing it, and no longer really enjoying it, redo.

Get things ready ahead of time, save the shrimp in something that will allow you to keep the filter running, and tear it down. Some shrimp are pretty picky about their water, so I would save enough water so the net water change is less than 50%, unless you know your tap water is a very close match for the water the shrimp are in now.

No, there is no way to stop a branch from leaching more tannins. The boiling you have already done is the right thing, but it does not always get rid of all the tannins.
Increase the water change frequency and add Purigen or Activated Carbon to the filter.
 

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Easy enough to move the live stuff into a plastic tote for a fews days to a week with your filter running on it to keep 'em going while you break down the tank and set it back up with new substrate (minus MTS) and spend a little time cleaning up the dw. Always nice to have a spare tank around for holding/growing out clippings, quarantine for new fish etc. Set it up as a low light tank with anubia or java fern on that driftwood and you won't notice or mind any remaining tannins as much and won't need to do much of any maintanance. :)
 

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+1 on purigen.

Haven't been doing this long, but the combination of great big filter and tons-o-plants seems to be a winner for good looks and low as possible maintainance.

A finnex LED would be a quick fix to the yellow lighting, go with the Fugeray if you do (the Ray2 is far to strong without Co2 injection.

A black backgound seems nicer to me that open backed on a low maintainance tank. easy and cheap with vinyl sheet from lfs.

I would go dense on the plants, but that is just my preference. Watch the ROAKs and For Sales for a "big pile of stuff" for reasonable prices, stick it all in there, let it get tall, clip in half and plant the tops back in :)

put in some easy shrimp safe fish (cories - I like the little spotted ones and the pygmies) some neons maybe for color, chili rasboras if you like the really tiny ones.

Some Amano Shrimp and ottos for the cleaning crew (fun to watch and not very expensive either)
 

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Pushing RESTART on a ten gallon is just not that much to tackle. Use what you have learned, save what you can, and then just put in the two or three hours it will take you to start over. If you save enough filter media etc. you should be able to avoid a fresh cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks! I had it in my head it would be a big deal. I'm going to get this one going again and my son will use it. Clean out the sand, upgrade some of the equipment and get it looking good again. My husband laughed when I told him I want to set up a new 29g AND keep the 10g. He knew it was going to happen before I did!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lol, its a shrimp only tank now, I just can't seem to get the darn things to breed! I love the look of the Iwagumi layouts, but I have to keep in mind where this tank will live when I put the bigger tank in the living room. My son (who is 7) likes lots of plants, guppies and bettas (he likes the colours and flowing fins). I"m strongly going to dissuade him on the betta as I'm sure that's one reason my previous stocks of shrimp haven't flourished.

So what should I do with this driftwood? I will try cleaning it and getting rid of the algae, but I am a bit worried about the tannins doing the same thing again. I love the shape and its a great size for that tank, the shrimp love hiding under it. I bought it from a LFS, so I'm disappointed its not better. I had a previous piece that was buried under moss that never had the tannin problem from the same store. Guess I just expected this one to be the same.
 

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I managed to speed up things on the wood on my 3 gallon. After soaking for a good while (you've already done that) I followed some of the instructions on the internet for microwave wood drying. Several hours worth of 3 to 5 minute heat cycles with cool down in between. Eventually the liquid being driven out of the wood stopped being brown on the paper towels.

The bigger wood in the 36 I had to soak in a bin outdoors for a month, changing the water every few days.
 
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