Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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brianm1987 12-02-2011 03:25 PM

Substrate Question
So, tonight im going to the lfs to start buying things for my 10 gallon planted tank. My first question is about substrate. I really like the look of sand and would like to use it. I've read though that it can create issues with compacting etc. What is the best type of sand to use and how should one go about putting it in the aquarium, layer it with something else, screening, etc?. Second, i already have a HOB tetra whisper filter, can I use this type of filter or will it create too much surface turbulence for the plants? Or do you guys think another type of filter would be best? Third, i have a single flourescent tube hood already. Would this work ok if I purchase one of those daylight (6500 K) bulbs from the hardware store? And lastly, do I need to plant nutrients (liquid) or root tabs right away? I plan on starting to set up the tank tonight. Plants will probably not go in until next weekend, unless someone recommends sooner than that. Thanks everyone.

kangy 12-02-2011 04:15 PM

I'll try to answer the best I can for you, most of these questions are exactly the ones I just asked and got answered :-D

Substrate: From what I've seen the majority of experienced and heavily planted tanks on the forum are basically using sand. I had sand and did a 50/50 mix with FloraMax (mostly because I wanted the little darker and to change up the look, sand got boring to me) I used PFS (Pool Filter Sand) just make sure you clean it very well. There are a few posts (One I just posted in with how exactly I changed to sand) I'll try to find it and post it for you.

Filter: I am using an HOB right now, the general suggestion you are going to get is a sponge filter for planted tanks, especially on your smaller 10 gallon. I just ordered one to replace my BioWheel. The surface agitation and movement are significant on my setup but the filter is greatly oversized. The less surface movement and current the better with plants. I'm sure Byron or someone else will step in with the technicalities of it. But to answer your question you can use the HOB and it most likely will be just fine

Lighting: You're lucky, mine and most 10g that I've seen so far have the dual screw in fixtures. Any bulb between 5500-6700 daylight is the most recommended. The experienced guys recommend the daylight over the plant specialty bulbs. Personally I'm using an Aquen 8000k daylight light since they didn't have the 6500 daylight in my size at the time and I was impatient. Most important is look at the spectrum you want peaks in red and blue. I didn't see it on your list but get a timer. They should only run around 10-15 bucks for the basic single plug ones.

Fertilizer: that is going to be dependant on your plants, water, etc. I use Flourish Comp once or twice a week and root tabs near the heavy root feeders (swords). My tapwater is pretty hard and has most other essentials, as well as the FloraMax, every setup is different though.

kangy 12-02-2011 04:26 PM

Regarding your setup. If you are going heavily planted you will be good to go from the start. The plants will use up any Ammonia/Nitrite keeping the fishies safe. I'd still let it run for a day or two to clean up the water a bit before putting in plants. But once you start planting you can add fish right away. Just don't go buck wild and overstock it. Sorry, my explanations and answers will be a little more 'simple' than what you will get from some of the experts here :)

Basically though, if you are setting up the tank tomorrow, you should be good to grab some plants and a few fishies on Sunday.

Calmwaters 12-02-2011 04:43 PM

Gravel-Actually you can do sand or small gravel with plants I do small gravel in all my tanks and my plants do great with it. You could also do Eco-Complete or Flourite which is good for plants I did have one tank that had Eco-Complete in it and the plants in it did well but I can't say that it made much if any difference in the plant growth compared to regular gravel which was cheaper.
Filter- For a 10 gallon I would do a sponge filter as that would be plenty for a small tank.
Lighting-I would get a 6500 daylight bulb at Lowes, Home Depot, or Walmart it will be cheaper and they work great its what I have on all my planted tanks.
Ferts-I would do the liquid and root tabs right off as well.
As far as plants I would go with Java Fern, Java Moss, Anubias, Anacharis, small sword plants like Kliener Prinz, and Cryptocoryne plants. Have fun shopping and be sure to post some pictures when your done with it. ; )

brianm1987 12-03-2011 10:27 AM

Well I got my tank up and running last night after getting back from the lfs. I got some really nice caribsea naturals black sand (freshwater safe) for substrate. I also got a nice piece of driftwood and some small river rocks. I purchased some Seachem flourish and root tabs as well. Also purchased a 6500K GE Daylight bulb for my fixture. The tank is up and running, water is nice and clear and temp is at 76 degrees. Just got back from my lfs this morning, and i purchased some plants to start with. I bought a nice clump of about four smaller Cryptocoryne wendtii "Green", about a 6 inch Echinodorus bleheri (amazon sword), and two 5-6 inch Anubias nana. Do you guys think these are ok plants for a beginner to start with? Any advice on planting/maintaining any of them? I know the anubias must be attached to driftwood or rocks.

redchigh 12-03-2011 10:41 AM

Sounds good- That Blehirae will outgrow your tank, but it's ok. Just put it in a back corner. (or move it later)
You got some pretty easy plants, but they're not real fast growers... You'll still want to stock slowly. (Add a fish or two and wait 3-4 weeks before adding 1 or 2 more, etc.)

A floating plant like duckweed will help prevent a cycle... Know anyone that can give you some duckweed?

brianm1987 12-03-2011 11:34 AM

No, unfortunately I don't know anyone that could give/sell me some duckweed. The selection of live plants around here is limited. I wasn't planning on adding any fish into the tank until next weekend.

redchigh 12-03-2011 11:43 AM

On the classifieds section I'm sure someone could give you some for shipping.

Byron 12-03-2011 02:42 PM

Duckweed is useful, I have it everywhere:lol:, but for floating plants that can do something more I would suggest Water Sprite [Click the shaded name, it will pop up the profile with photo]. Or a stem plant left floating, and here Brazilian Pennywort is ideal. The benefits of these is they are easier to control, and they look much nicer with interesting surface leaves and lovely dangling roots that not only complete the look but are much appreciated by many fish.

You don't mention fish species which has something to do with the filter (flow especially), but in a 10g it will likely be small slow fish not requiring currents, so I would definitely recommend a small sponge filter. Hydro make a good one, and there is the Hagen Elite single sponge (the dual is too much in a 10g). These connect to a small air pump.


brianm1987 12-03-2011 04:19 PM

So my tank is completed. All of my plants are in as well as the decorations. I must say I think it looks great compared to the plastic plant counterparts. I can't believe what a difference it makes. Hopefully my plants do well, we will see. I'm going to upload a photo of my tank this evening. Ill see what you guys think. Thanks everyone for all the help.

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