1st timer needs help with 10g planted tank!
I currently have a 10g mirrored back tank that had a leak so had to remove all inhabitants to new tanks. Now, I have repaired the tank fully, it has been holding water with no issue for quite some time (1.5 months). I decided that I really want to try my hand at a planted tank and see how I can do. If I need to, and I plan to do for a while anyway, I will keep it just plants and add no fish. I definitely won't add any until everything is good, and I will decide what fish I want, for plants I have (if the combination will be healthy for a fish that is!).
I know that I really desire in the long run...and it is definitely a LONG run, a german blue ram. I realize how much they are sensitive to parameters, which is why I plan to try to keep the tank for nearly a year probably before I THINK about adding him/her.
I am currently sinking a piece of driftwood that I have found out at my local creek. Took about 3 weeks of carving/slicing/de-barking until I got it to fit/be rid of all outer possible issues. I have boiled it for about 10 hours total, in about 2 hour intervals. This doesn't seem to be working much...I have soaked it as well, once I was done with the boiling (NOTHING could be alive after that much) I soaked it. Total hours soaked now is approximately 1000...42 days (in the tub so drained during showers/baths. It still isn't quite waterlogged yet (it floats a LOT slower that it did before, so I know it is getting there), but I am getting antsy at this point! I have decided that I am going to go and buy some slate and tie it down to it with high grade fishing line.
What kind of filter should I get? I heard that I can make my current UG filter work if I have no rooted plants in substrate, is that right?I am panning to use "Eco Complete,Pplanted Black Aquarium Substrate" that I can buy at my local Petco....I LOVE the black!I want 3 kinds of plants currently....Anubias (which I want anchored to the driftwood), java fern (which I would anchor to both driftwood and the slate), and hornwort (trimmed every day/as needed). Problem is my lighting...I have, and would like to keep the Zoo-Med 50/50 10W fluorescent bulbs (2 of them).
I have been told that unless overloading with plants, this will not work. But I want to make sure my lights get proper lighting. The tank is in the windowsill but is normalized to a temperature of 76-80 constantly.
How should I start everything in the actually growing tank because at this point it is raw?
There are front and top pictures of the wood that I am going to add, the lighter is only for size comparison :-) The wood will actually be upside down from how it is in the first picture, making it sort of cave, and from what I figure...in the middle /off to one side.
I'll comment on the specifics raised, but first would like to point you to a general background article (actually a series of 4) at the head of this section, entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium." A read of these may help to tie it all together.
Wood: an easy way to submerge it is with a rock or two. Eventually when the wood is waterlogged, the rock(s) can be removed. Or if they are aesthetically placed, keep them as part of the design. Flat rocks work best for this. Be careful they are not calcareous or they may increase hardness and pH. No mention was made of present tap water parameters, and if Blue Ram is the intended fish, it should be kept in parameters identical to those in which it was raised. If wild-caught, then very soft and acidic, but if tank raised, whatever.
Plants: With rams I would strongly suggest more "adventurous" plants. Sword plants (Echinodorus species) and the pygmy chain sword are ideally suited and not difficult. With Eco-complete (which frankly will be wasted without substrate plants) they will thrive. There are some species suitable for a 10g tank included in our plant profiles [second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page; when names are shaded you can click on them to see that profile].
Light. Are these screw-in bulbs? If yes, they are fine. That is not too much light. I have two 10w compact fluorescent bulbs over my 10g and 20g tanks and the plants are thriving. I don't know those particular bulbs, perhaps you could give me some specs such as kelvin and spectrum? As for the window, make sure there is a blind or shade, or cut a piece of thick paper like black construction paper [which makes a superb background anyway] to ensure no light from the window enters the tank. Tank overhead light is controllable, window light is not, and algae can become rampant. There is also the temperature issue with direct sun you want to avoid regardless; even in winter that can impact a small tank.
Filter: I would not use an UG filter. A simple sponge filter will be adequate. I use sponge filters in my under-50g tanks and with plants and the forest fish like rams (which do not appreciate currents) they are ideal. An UG filter has issues I'll leave for the present.
Hope this helps a bit.
It's not too much light, but it does produce too much actinic light. (50/50 are for coral tanks)
I would find some 6500k or full spectrum bulbs. (wal-mart carries them)
Not sure what difference it would make to have 1 plant or 50...
As for the setup, I would go with some small tetra species, a CPO, and your ram later... They will give you something to do while you wait on the ram. Something like the Ember tetra would be nice, and once your tank is planted, you can add 1-2 at a time without a need for cycling.
The CPO will love the driftwood.
Byrons' plant reccomendations are good, but I'd like to add crypt wendtii 'red' to the list as well.
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