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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had planted tanks in the past with what I'd consider mediocre success, mostly because I didn't put enough effort into and not enough research and I've been really missing having fish and plants and I've decided to set up my old 10 gallon. I'm on a bit of a budget and still in the planning process and I'd like to get some opinions because I'm nervous it won't work out. In this tank I'd like to dirt it and heavily plant it only to have some ghost shrimp and a betta, I understand the importance of biological bacteria however with a tank this size with a small bioload do you think I could get away without using a filter? I'd use cfl bulbs as my lighting ones in the 6,500k range. Living where I do most room temperature water stays at around 75 but of course I'd still have a thermometer to make sure things don't fluctuate. I have some questions on how to cylce a tank like this too any suggestions? Do you think this could work? Thank you!
 

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I've had planted tanks in the past with what I'd consider mediocre success, mostly because I didn't put enough effort into and not enough research and I've been really missing having fish and plants and I've decided to set up my old 10 gallon. I'm on a bit of a budget and still in the planning process and I'd like to get some opinions because I'm nervous it won't work out. In this tank I'd like to dirt it and heavily plant it only to have some ghost shrimp and a betta, I understand the importance of biological bacteria however with a tank this size with a small bioload do you think I could get away without using a filter? I'd use cfl bulbs as my lighting ones in the 6,500k range. Living where I do most room temperature water stays at around 75 but of course I'd still have a thermometer to make sure things don't fluctuate. I have some questions on how to cylce a tank like this too any suggestions? Do you think this could work? Thank you!
If it's heavily planted and you do frequent water changes, you may be able to get away without a filter. Failing that, spong filters are inexpensive and work just fine in my opinion.

-Empress Akitla
 

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Even with a light bio-load and sufficient water changes, you still want water circulation. A sponge filter is a great idea providing O2, water movement, as well as bio-filtration. A sponge filter for a 10g will run you about $5 plus the cost of an air pump.
 

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If you follow Diane Walstead method of a rest period, (lights on for 4-6 hrs, off for 4 hrs, on again for 4-8 hrs) will replenish the CO2. This is documented in her book and I am doing this and it works great, that way you do not need CO2.

In her book, she states that this on off cycle is for CO2 replenishment only, some people think this is for Algae control, it is not. She states for Algae control, heavy planting and floating plants (Floating plants have unlimited CO2 available) work best for most situations.
The book is very technical, but worth a read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay, Thank you! The tank that I plan to use has some hard water stains on it would a vinegar solution and some scrubbing get rid of these or should I do something else?
 

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Vinegar usually works on calcium.
Tetra Safe Start actually works. But it typically is used in HOB type filters or canister type.
I'm fairly sure that dumping some of it next to the sponge filter while it is working will
end up with some being drawn into the filter. One of those 1ml disposable Pippettes
would work well for that. There are cheap on the E-bay. That is what I use to dose
my Excel into my 10g tank with.
 

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If you start off heavily planted, then you don't need to cycle the tank or use a mechanical filter. The plants will take care of the water parameters for you. This is a very common question. Do a quick search and you will find plenty of discussions on the same topic. I believe there was even a post from this site's front page a few konths back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you everyone! I understand that the plants will do a lot of the work but I still would feel safer also having a sponge filter or at least an air stone for some water movement.
 

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If you could, I'd go for a 20 gal high. it is not bigger in footprint than a 10 gal, and allows you a little more creativity and fish choices, without adding much cost hardware wise in the upgrade over the stuff you would use on the 10g. Hell, you could buy a breeding pair of angels to live in there.

Re: Safestart - Do not use it on the same day you start the tank, as you will be using Aquasafe or Prime or similar, when you set up the tank in all probability.

Wait at least a week or two before adding a betta, my experience is, they do not do well with the large shifts in ammonia and nitrites and are prone to fin rot and general misery in this period. They will do well with a well aerated tank to prevent the anaerobic bacteria which causes their mortal enemy, dropsy, getting a hold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, I understand that :) But I already have the ten gallon and space really isn't the issue I just want a simple setup with easy but rewarding fish. I have the API test kit that I'll be using in the weeks after I set everything up to make sure everything is running smoothly. I know that when I add the dirt its going to give of some ammonia anyway so I wont be adding any livestock for a while until everything balances out. But I'm just making sure I do as much reading as I can on dirted tanks and everything since this will be my first one.
 
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