New 10 gal tank - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 09:05 PM
jentralala's Avatar
Welcome to the forum!!!

Test kits are a GREAT investment! One of the best and most commonly used by members here is the API Liquid Master test kit (Here's a link to it on Amazon:

As you can see, it is $20, but it will last YEARS, and is, in my opinion, invaluable. It allows you to test your water whenever you need to, at any time of the day, without having to get in your car and drive somewhere. This is especially important when you're cycling a tank, as you'll need to test the water daily, sometimes even several times daily! It's alos relatively easy to use, I can test my water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in less than 5 minutes. Much quicker than driving to a store!

The next step would be to find out the Ph, Kh, and Gh of your source water. If you're on city water, you can usually find this on your water suppliers website. If you're on tap or can't find it, API does sell a test kit for gh and kh.. (Here's a link! The Master Test Kit already has a ph test in it, yay! :D

The numbers from that will determine just how 'soft' or 'hard' your water is, which plays a role in fish selecting (once your tank is cycled, of course!)

Now, you mentioned you bought live plants? AWESOME! I LOVE plants, probably almost (if not more, truthfully) as much as I love fish. What kind of light do you have on your tank? What kind of plants? (Some plants need fertilizers and root tabs, but don't worry! They're cheap, and we can guide you in the right direction of good brands to choose from)

What kind of substrate do you have? Sand, gravel?

As for cycling, I'll leave that for another member to explain, I'm not the best at explaining it unfortunately!

My first experiences in fish keeping weren't the best and I made a LOT of mistakes (most of us here have, don't worry! It's how a lot of us found this forum, and grew to be passionate, responsible hobbyists from it!).

I will let you know now though, in terms of fish-keeping, a 10 gallon is quite small. It's even considered to be a nano tank! This is because fish can get either large, active, or need large schools, or all of the those combined, and need a larger tank to thrive. With a ten gallon, you're going to be looking at very small fish that stay small (pet stores usually sell very young fish which is incredibly misleading as to what size of a tank they're gonna need.) Many people just keep either a betta fish or a shrimp colony (or the two combined) in a ten gallon. Now, that said, it IS possible to have other fish in a ten gallon, but they usually aren't the type of fish most readily available (though this does depends on your local pet shop!)

Phew, sorry for such a long post!! Can't wait to hear back from you :D And again, welcome to the forum!
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post #12 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 09:11 PM
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With a ten gallon, it's going to be pretty difficult to do a tank with two schools and a center piece fish. There are a lot of fish suitable for a ten gallon, but a lot that aren't. Before I can recommend fish, I'd be a lot more comfortable if we had numbers on the soft/hard parameters of your water. I could suggest a whole stock plan, but if your water isn't suitable for them that kind of gets us nowhere, you see? Choosing fish that thrive in the type of water you have is gonna give you the best shot at a balanced, healthy tank.

The best time to add fish would be after returning the rainbow shark and cycling the tank! ^-^ That can be quite a long time down the road (a few weeks), so it gives you a LOT of time to plan out your tank, re-arrange, order any more equipment, gives your plants a chance to establish themselves and grow...etc. I know it sounds like a lot of time to wait, but it's all for the best!

Also, do you think you could post a picture of your tank?! :D I LOVE seeing new tanks and watching them progress and change and grow.
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post #13 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 09:13 PM
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I don't know what kind of test kits the store has or recommends but the liquid test kits from API (API Master test kits is the name.) are about the best you can buy for home use. If they have the strips then you might want to consider get a kit on the internet as the strips are not accurate due to them pulling moisture from the air.

You want to add fish after the cycle is complete but you said you have lots of live plants? That can change things a bit. Live plants will consume ammonia as it is a food source for them. With enough of them you won't see a true cycle process. Do you know what plants you have in the tank?

As for what fish to stock well I am never good at suggesting that soo will that to others but knowing what your water hardness and PH numbers are will help them out for suggestions. If you don't know these numbers you should be able to either call your water company and they can tell ya or if they have a website usually they will have those numbers posted under a water quality chart.

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post #14 of 15 Old 10-20-2013, 11:01 PM
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Ack, reading back I got a bit messed up. I thought you were looking for two schools, one middle and one bottom! Is there a reason you're looking for a bottom feeder? If it's for food clean up you don't need one if you feed properly (small amounts). When your tank is nice and settled (cycled, plus let it age for awhile to get nice and 'mature' as we call it) you could look into adding shrimp to the tank for some added color and activity. I actually have a ten gallon that just has shrimp and snails!

Oh, also, just a bit of advice. After your tank has cycled, it's good practice to do a water change every week, at around 30% to 50% of the tanks volume. Just a bit of information I thought might save you a headache down the road!
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post #15 of 15 Old 10-21-2013, 04:34 AM
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You've gotten good advice from some of the more experienced keepers on the forum. Sorry that test kit just went up in price at Amazon. But, if you add a thermometer and heater and/or bottle of Prime, you'll get free shipping. Both Petco and Petsmart use strips to test water. They can't train these kids to safely and accurately use a liquid test kit. (Harrumph).

Having Safestart opens another option when it comes to cycling your tank. As you'll read, cycling is growing colonies of bacteria that eat toxic ammonia. They either fall out of the sky into your tank (literally) or they come in a bottle. Guess which one is fastest. But either way you have to feed them ammonia in order for them to grow.

---- The classic method is to put fish in the tank and let them produce the ammonia. Many millions of fish have died starting a cycle when the ammonia got too high. This is called fish-in cycling and it's what Safestart was designed to work with.
---- Or you can feed the bacteria "pure" ammonia, that does NOT foam when shaken. This is called a fishless cycle and Safestart will make it go faster. (The most time-consuming part of cycling is waiting for the bacteria to fall into your tank.)

You have further complicated the issue by planting your tank. Actually, this is the best thing you could have done and the one I recommend most highly. Plants eat ammonia faster than bacteria. So it is safer for the livestock to have live growing plants.

By now you should be thoroughly confused and overwhelmed with too much information. So...
Get us a picture and/or description of your plants. Find out your water hardness, especially KH.
And we'll get you stocked and cycled, painlessly and as easily as feasible.
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Last edited by Hallyx; 10-21-2013 at 04:41 AM.
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