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Sconnie92 01-31-2013 02:43 PM

Setting up a 10 gallon dorm room tank
 
I am in the process of setting up a ten gallon tank for my college dorm room. I have a bit of fishkeeping experience from middle and high school with bettas and a 30 gallon community tank, so I'm not a complete newbie, but I'm still pretty green.

For this ten gallon, I would like to try going with live plants, something I haven't done in my previous tanks. My ten gallon tank has an incandescent hood, but I've replaced the two bulbs with CFLs. Each CFL is 10 watts, 6500 Kelvin, and 550 lumens. The plants that I am interested in growing are some variety of Vallisneria, Ludwigia Repens, dwarf Sagittaria, and floating water sprite. Is my light sufficient for these plants? And will I need to fertilize them or not? Again, I have never done live plants before, so any and all advice is welcome!

Now for the fish. My biggest concern with stocking this tank is my tap water parameters. From the research I have done, it seems that most of the small fish suitable for a ten gallon tank prefer soft, acidic water. Unfortunately, I have very hard, basic water coming out of the tap. According to my city's water quality report (http://www.cityofmadison.com/water/w...2011.final.pdf) the parameters of my tap water are as follows.

pH: 7.8 according to the report, but testing with the API Master kit shows closer to 7.5 or 7.6
Hardness (CaCO3): 336 ppm
Alkalinity (CaCO3): 307 ppm
Total Dissolved Solids: 421 ppm

I know that most livebearers will do well in this kind of water and I am considering a small group of fancy guppies (male only, not interested in 8 trillion fry in a ten gallon tank) however I have kept most of the common livebearers (molly, guppy, swordtail, platy) at some point or another in the community tank that I used to run and was hoping to do something different with this tank. For this reason, I am considering mixing the tap water with RO water from the grocery store in order to cut down the hardness of the water and, hopefully, open up a few more options for fish. Thoughts on this matter?

Finally, after reading about many different types of fish (including using the super helpful profiles on this site!), these are some of the stocking schemes I am interested in. I don't have my heart set on anything yet and would welcome any feedback or suggestions.

One male betta
Several male fancy guppies
Trio of dwarf puffers
Female betta sorority
One male honey gourami
One male dwarf gourami (if and only if I can find a local breeder with healthy stock)
Scarlet badis

Whew! I think that's it! If you made it this far, thanks for reading my short novel, hahaha! Any thoughts, advice, and feedback are all greatly appreciated!

Byron 02-01-2013 10:54 AM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. And glad to see another aquarist entering the live plant world.:-D To your questions.

Quote:

My ten gallon tank has an incandescent hood, but I've replaced the two bulbs with CFLs. Each CFL is 10 watts, 6500 Kelvin, and 550 lumens. The plants that I am interested in growing are some variety of Vallisneria, Ludwigia Repens, dwarf Sagittaria, and floating water sprite. Is my light sufficient for these plants? And will I need to fertilize them or not?
Yes, this is perfect light. I have the same on my 10g and 20g tanks, and plant growth is good. Just watch the duration; a timer is a good idea to keep it regular. And 8 to 10 hours daily is probably good.

Vallisneria should do well, given your GH (this plant needs hard minerals more than most); the best species is the common Corkscrew Vallisneria [name shaded, meaning you can click it for our profile with photos]. Dwarf Sagittaria fine, or if you can't find this the pygmy chain sword. The latter would actually be better as it remains short [see both profiles]. Ludwigia is OK, but being a stem plant it will grow fast and need weekly pruning. In a small space I prefer avoiding stem plants. The afore-mentioned plants will once settled quickly spread via runners to fill the space. And the Water Sprite floating is ideal.

To the fish and water issues.

Mixing RO (or some other form of pure water such as distilled or rainwater) is fine. The only issue here is the weekly water changes. But a 10g is a small tank, and changing about 3-4 gallons weekly with half/half is not as cumbersome as it would be for my 115g tank.:lol: This certainly opens up more fish choices.

Endlers Livebearer is a good choice if you decide to stay with the harder water alone. Males only (to prevent hundreds of fry).

I would avoid any gourami; a 10g is not much space, so you are limited to a single fish [males are territorial, and in small spaces can harass females to death].

Scarlet Badis is a beauty but live food is almost mandatory; they can be weaned onto frozen foods like daphnia and bloodworms, but this is not always the case aqnd does limit their options. Something similar for the bright red colour would be the "dwarf" species of rasbora in the Boraras genus; we have the Dwarf Rasbora and Mosquito Rasbora in the profiles with photos. These if you go with softer water of course. Another fish is the Celestial Pearl Danio; mixing the water would suit this fish fine.

Byron.

Sconnie92 02-01-2013 06:06 PM

Thanks for the feedback Byron! I think that I will definitely go with the mix of tap/RO water then, as I love the look of both the dwarf rasboras and Celestial Pearl Danios! The grocery store I would buy the RO water from even sells it in 2.5 gallon jugs, so 50% weekly water changes with a 50/50 mix shouldn't be too much trouble at all. With regards to the gourami, is it possible to keep just one male of the small species in a ten gallon tank? I don't really have any interest in a pair, as I have zero interest in breeding fish. I had hoped to have one sort of "centerpiece" fish and then some small schooling fish. Would a small gourami or any other small fish work for this purpose?

squishylittlefishies 02-01-2013 07:54 PM

I'd go for 5 dwarf puffers and some otos. There should not be too much fighting among the dps as long as you have plants for them to play/hide in. They are the cutest most intelligent-looking fish EVER! Otocinclus catfish are super cute and have fun personalities. They will keep the algae from soffocating your plants.

Byron 02-02-2013 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sconnie92 (Post 1415453)
Thanks for the feedback Byron! I think that I will definitely go with the mix of tap/RO water then, as I love the look of both the dwarf rasboras and Celestial Pearl Danios! The grocery store I would buy the RO water from even sells it in 2.5 gallon jugs, so 50% weekly water changes with a 50/50 mix shouldn't be too much trouble at all. With regards to the gourami, is it possible to keep just one male of the small species in a ten gallon tank? I don't really have any interest in a pair, as I have zero interest in breeding fish. I had hoped to have one sort of "centerpiece" fish and then some small schooling fish. Would a small gourami or any other small fish work for this purpose?

I wouldn't. I understand the concept of "centrepiece fish" but in small tanks I find this never really works. I have a fish room with 7 tanks ranging from a 10g up to 115g. I can't picture anything but very small fish in a 10g. But with such dwarf species, you can have a lot and this provides interest. You just have to choose them carefully.

As just one example, with soft water (the mix) you could consider: 9 dwarf rasbora, 3 pygmy sparkling gourami, 1 whiptail catfish, 9 pygmy cory or 4-5 of a "normal" species.

Byron.

Sconnie92 02-02-2013 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 1416269)

As just one example, with soft water (the mix) you could consider: 9 dwarf rasbora, 3 pygmy sparkling gourami, 1 whiptail catfish, 9 pygmy cory or 4-5 of a "normal" species.

So with those dwarf species you listed, could those all go together or on their own in a ten gallon (i.e. 9 dwarf rasbora or 9 pygmy cories, etc.)?

Byron 02-02-2013 02:48 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sconnie92 (Post 1416308)
So with those dwarf species you listed, could those all go together or on their own in a ten gallon (i.e. 9 dwarf rasbora or 9 pygmy cories, etc.)?

Yes. That particular option was meant as en entity. I had my 10g running with 9 pygmy cory, 9 dwarf rasbora, 1 dwarf puffer [this was a by-catch with the corys so I left it with them]. No filter, no light, just a heater; it was right in front of a west-facing window. IT was an experiment, my first sand substrate, and I tried the no-filter/no-light too. It worked for months, but without an overhead light the plants grow to the back of the tank, plus it was next to impossible to really see the fish and aquascape. So I got a light and moved the tank away from the window. I also got a sponge filter because while the fish were fine and the plants grew well, the water was just never quite crystal clear. Photos below show the tank as it was at the window (Aug 17, 2010), moved (July 31, 2011), and then what it was 6 months after that (Jan 2012). Plants changed a bit, I used this tank for plant "spares" and adventitious plants from the other tanks. As I mentioned previously, this tank has the same light as you have, so you can see the plant growth response, and basically no algae [was some in front of the window, but not with the light].

Sconnie92 02-04-2013 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 1416424)
Yes. That particular option was meant as en entity. I had my 10g running with 9 pygmy cory, 9 dwarf rasbora, 1 dwarf puffer [this was a by-catch with the corys so I left it with them].

Ok, just double checking! I see what you mean by having a lot more of tiny fish and I think you've convinced me to go this route over a few of the "normal" sized fish. I looked up some images of the Whiptail Catfish and I had never considered them before, but they look so unique, I think I'm going to try to find one for my tank! I also really like the look of the Mosquito Rasbora, so I think I will try to include a small school of them as well.

I would LOVE to have some species of the dwarf cory in my tank. I had regular cories in the 30 gallon community and I am absolutely in love with their personalities and behavior. However, I want to make sure I have an appropriate substrate for any bottom dwellers. It is a gravel, but it's a fine gravel. The average grain size is 1-2mm and when I take a pinch and rub it between my fingers, it doesn't irritate them or feel abrasive at all. Would this be a suitable substrate for bottom dwellers? I know the barbels of the corys are sensitive and I'd rather play it safe than sorry with them.

And that's a great looking ten gallon Byron! So much green from the plants! Do you fertilize your tank? And thanks again for all the feedback!

Byron 02-04-2013 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sconnie92 (Post 1418859)
Ok, just double checking! I see what you mean by having a lot more of tiny fish and I think you've convinced me to go this route over a few of the "normal" sized fish. I looked up some images of the Whiptail Catfish and I had never considered them before, but they look so unique, I think I'm going to try to find one for my tank! I also really like the look of the Mosquito Rasbora, so I think I will try to include a small school of them as well.

I would LOVE to have some species of the dwarf cory in my tank. I had regular cories in the 30 gallon community and I am absolutely in love with their personalities and behavior. However, I want to make sure I have an appropriate substrate for any bottom dwellers. It is a gravel, but it's a fine gravel. The average grain size is 1-2mm and when I take a pinch and rub it between my fingers, it doesn't irritate them or feel abrasive at all. Would this be a suitable substrate for bottom dwellers? I know the barbels of the corys are sensitive and I'd rather play it safe than sorry with them.

And that's a great looking ten gallon Byron! So much green from the plants! Do you fertilize your tank? And thanks again for all the feedback!

I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement in all my tanks, twice weekly. The 10g gets nothing else. Check the photos of my larger tanks, under "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left.

On the substrate, if you intend any of the "pygmy" species of cory, definitely sand only. The larger can manage over fine gravel [I had this for 15+ years] but the pygmy just don't do well. I now have sand in 6 of 7 tanks, and I have noticed improved cory response. A bag of play sand is a few dollars, or for a 10g you could go to a proper aquarium sand. They are much more expensive, but with a small tank that may not be much of an issue. Up to you.

Byron.

Sconnie92 02-04-2013 08:03 PM

Well, after googling some images and videos of the dwarf cory cat species, I decided that they are just too darn cute to pass up, so I guess I'll be switching over to sand substrate. I think I'd like to spring for the aquarium sand, simply because the smallest bags of play sand I could find were 50 pounds and I don't want to have half a bag of sand just sitting in my room for the semester. Any recommendations or advice for what I should look for in the sand department?


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