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KevinG 10-03-2007 09:43 AM

New Planted Tank - Looking for Ideas
First let me apologize for the length of this post. I have been lurking around here kind of silently for the past few months just reading a lot and doing research and now I think I have figured out enough (undoubtedly I'm wrong) to write this post and solicit comments. I have been keeping a lightly planted 10 USG tank for about a year with marginal success. What I have learned is:

1) DIY CO2 (yeast/sugar) works and is simple but still a hassle
2) Feeding for optimal fish growth combined with PH fluctuation
due to DIY CO2 inject will lead to an algae problem if you are
not religious with your H2O change regiment
3) Fish waste is not a substitute for fertilizers
4) A short bath in a weak bleach solution will remove most algae’s
but it can be hard on the plants.
5) LFS in my area sell aquarium plants but know very little about
the requirements of the plants they sell or how to properly care for them.
6) You could fill football stadiums with the volumes of information that are
available on the internet. Most of it is like anything else you read, half
way thought-out (kind of like this post) and confusing to the rookie.
7) I enjoy this hobby even though it’s successes and failures would chart
Like the EKG of someone having a myocardial infarction.

My proposal:

10 USG Tank
(2) 13 Watt 5500K Fluorecents (2.6 watts per gallon) Lights on 10-12 hrs. per day
Carib-Sea Eco-Complete Substrate
Use substrate fert tabs such as Flourish Tabs
Dose with the following liquid ferts per the manufacturer:
SeaChem Flourish
SeaChem Flourish Excel
SeaChem Flourish Iron

3 Crypt Wendtii
2 Crypt Spiralis
1 Java Fern (Center Piece on driftwood)
1 Anubias (Barteri or Nana)
2 Jungle Vallisneria
1 Java Moss (Ground Cover)

Weekly 30% water changes

Don’t have a clue... 2-3 of one species
Clean-up crew:
Loach of some sort
Shrimp 5-6

Any suggestions, corrections, ideas and/or comments would be MUCH appreciated
“Standard disclaimer – the above is merely my opinion and is not intended to be fact or a description of how anything should or should not be done.”

fish_4_all 10-03-2007 11:59 AM

You have a pretty good grasp of the potentail problems and the needs of a planted tank.


3 Crypt Wendtii
2 Crypt Spiralis
1 Java Fern (Center Piece on driftwood)
1 Anubias (Barteri or Nana)
2 Jungle Vallisneria
1 Java Moss (Ground Cover)
First, Java moss can be used as a sort of ground cover but will not make the best one. It will grow fast with that much light and could crowd out a lof of the other plants unless you do a lot of trimming. The other plants will fit in a 10 gallon but it may be alittle crowded.

As for ferts, that covers the basics but you will likely need Flourish Nitrogen and potassium for the plants to thrive. Also consider a phosphate source but only needed if you see green spot algae. Why not consider getting dry ferts? I know it seems like a lot of work but it is actually pretty easy and for about $35 you can get enough to last well over a year.

Don't use a bleech bath to kill algae, use an Excel dip. It is much safer than bleech and some of the plants will actually appreciate the bath but it will kill all the algae.

Most important, keep asking questions. There is no question too small to help get a setup that works for you. It is the best way to get enough information to make sure you can make something work for your individual tank.

tophat665 10-03-2007 03:21 PM

Jungle Vals will get WAY TOO BIG for a 10 gallon tank. There are some saggitaria species and some swords that have the same sort of look that will stay smaller.

F4A is right about Java Moss as a straight ground cover. I use it in a couple of tanks and it's a real hassle to keep looking good on the substrate. That said, you can make a good looking java moss patch that's relatively easy to care for by taking a flat or slightly round rock roughly the shape of the area you want to cover, thinly covering it with java moss (no more than one layer of moss), and then wrapping it tightly with a hairnet or fishing line. You can lay that on the substrate, and it will be covered in moss at that light level within a month. Just remember to lift it out and vacuum under it, and shake the debris out of it in your change water. To trim, take it out upside down and cut it like in a hair cut. You can also use a needlepoint grid with some rocks stitched to it instead of a larger rock. Make sure you get a dark one, though, as the edges may well show.

If you get loaches, make them Kuhlis. There's no other loach that will be comfortable in a 10. Also, if you do get kuhlis, get 5 or 6 and skip the cories (you won't have room) if you want them to get comfortable enough to come out a lot.

One other thing, you may want to add a stem plant (Rotala indica would be a good one) in the back corners to help soak up nutrients and out-compete algae. I suggest rotala because you can trim that sort of like a haircut too.

gus6464 10-03-2007 04:41 PM

your tank lots a lot like my 10g tank. It is also my first tank so I was pretty confused at first. I started out with the eco-complete and some java fern on driftwood, a crypt, and corkscrew vallisnera. I was using incandescent bulbs for a while but the vallisnera refused to stay alive so I swithed to 2-10w mini fluorescents. I have now taken out the vallisnera as it just kept on dying and have replaced it with some anacharis and alo added some java moss to help with my nitrite spikes. Now all the plants are doing great and I just added a BN Pleco and he eats the algae off everything and keeps the tank completely spotless. As I am still a beginner take my info lightly but I have not had the need for any type of fertilizer and all the plants are very healthy. The java moss is growing like crazy too but its good because we are getting a 40g towards the end of the year so we will just transfer it.

KevinG 10-03-2007 07:05 PM

This is all great info....keep it coming. I have learned alot over the past year but I still feel seriously ignorant most of the time. Love the the dry fert response. I am somewhat intimidated by the dry ferts. Should I be?
The excel dip, is there instructions for doing this on the bottle? I am assuming you mean SeaChem Excel. As for the loaches....again this is exactly the type of responses that I am looking for. BTW, I saw your picture of your loaches, cute little critters! Thanks again for the responses and keep them coming.

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