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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

First, I would like to start off with introducing myself. Some of you may have seen me around the forums a few times and may have even answered a few of my questions. I am a college student who has always loved fish and aquariums. I could spend hours at the aquarium in our local zoo (and believe me I did). This led me to my purchase of a 10 gallon aquarium when I was about 12 years old. I didn't have a clue what I was doing at the time; I only knew that I wanted to keep all of the "cool" fish in my tank. I had everything from tetras to Koi fish in the 10 gallon aquarium. Like I said, I didn't know what I was doing or what the fish were. These fish were recommended to me by the Petsmart employees! The tank always smelled and the fish never lived long, so after about a year and a hundred fish later, the tank was packed up. I just couldn't take it anymore and neither could my parents. Now, six years later, I finally convinced my parents to give me another shot at it. I know that bigger tanks are easier to maintain and you should always buy the biggest tank you can afford. After staring at the huge 90g+ tanks and dreaming of owning one, I bought my self a little 20 gallon starter kit (I know it isn't much, but it is the biggest I can afford. I am a college student remember?). Everything I do with this tank is going to be at the lowest cost possible. My plan for this tank is a low tech/natural planted with some neon tetra and a gourami. I have been doing hours of research on this type of tank so I will know exactly what I am doing (I will still have questions later on though). To get myself started, I painted the back of the tank black. This is the best looking and cheapest background IMO. I also bought two bags of play sand for the substrate. This weekend, I took on the challenge of building my own stand. The pre-made stands were just to expensive. The stand came out nicely to my suprise and I will be finishing it up tomorrow. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I cannot wait to get to know everyone and share my little adventure with you. I will be posting pictures and keeping everyone updated on my tank in this thread.
 

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Hi and welcome, I'm pretty new here also. Your tank sounds great I just set up a 10g planted that I'm doing low tech. I do want to throw out there if you bought the big bags of play sand one will be plenty.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Here are a few pictures of my unfinished stand. I will be adding the paneling around it and painting it black tomorrow. I will be building a canopy aswell.
 

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I see it now, that's a nice stand it looks great so far. I wish I would have painted the back of my 10g black but it's has fish in it now.
 

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Coming along great, nice work on the stand. By the way, you might find some useful info on a natural planted tank in the series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" stickied at the head of the Aquarium Plant section of the forum. And questions are always welcomed.

k19smith, an inexpensive background can be made with black construction paper that you can buy a sheet of at an art or hobby store. Very cheap, I have this on several tanks.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
After a very long day of working on my stand, it is finished!! It came out really nice and everything fit together (for the most part. had a few minor tweaks to make). I put the sand substrate in, a couple rocks from my yard (i did the vinegar test and boiled them), and a few fake plants (temporary). The heater is up and running along with the filter. You guys weren't kidding when you said the HOB filters make a crazy current in the tank! I was schocked to say the least, so I put a difuser in front of it and it doesn't seem to be making a difference. I will be making the switch to a sponge filter soon. After finishing the stand I went and got a few of the basic things including: API master test kit, water conditioner, flourish comprehensive, and a siphon. My next project will be building a DIY light for the tank, so I can grow plants. Here are a few pictures for you enjoyment :-D
 

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look sick especially the homemade stand excellent work!

and what type of light is that i looks pretty kool
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks brokenrules, It is the light that came with the marineland aquarium kit. It is an LED light bar with white and blue LED lights. The white lights cannot grow plants so I permently set it to the blue moon lights and plugged them into a timer. I got rid of the hood that the light bar goes into, and got a glass top. Now the lights are mounted higher up in my canopy which really reduced their brightness (they were to bright for my liking when they were set in the hood).
 

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it looks sick
cant wait to see it stocked
what do i think ur goin with?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Brokenrules: My plans for stocking as far as fish go is: a gourami, 6-7 neon tetra (maybe more depending on what others say), and some MTS. For plants, this is going to be a low light natural tank so anything that fits those conditions. I haven't really picked any specific plants. That's all I know is that I want in to be heavily planted. I love the look of the angels in your tank! What kind are they?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Coming along great, nice work on the stand. By the way, you might find some useful info on a natural planted tank in the series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" stickied at the head of the Aquarium Plant section of the forum. And questions are always welcomed.

k19smith, an inexpensive background can be made with black construction paper that you can buy a sheet of at an art or hobby store. Very cheap, I have this on several tanks.

Byron.
Thanks Byron, I have read through your aticles 2 or 3 times already :lol:. Whenever I get bored in between class at school, I research anything about aquariums to learn as much as I can. I don't want to make the same mistake that I did the last time.
 

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thanks a lot i have no clue what type of angels mine are i got my tank for free on craigslist stocked i am in the process of separating the barbs from the angels
i should be getting 5 tanks for free tomorrow on cl again
craigslist is my favorite thing in the world:-D
i am new to the hobby this is my first tank but i think they just like generic golden angels
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just put my order in with Dr. Foster and Smith. I got the Oxygen Plus Bio-Filter 5 sponge filter, Whisper Air Pump 20, Air Check Valve, 8ft of tubing, thermometer, and a med/large piece of malaysian driftwood. The petsmart in my area doesn't sell sponge filters so now I have to wait. It should be here within the next 7 business days. This should be everything I need (aside from the light which I will be building this weekend) before I can add the plants and fish. I think it will be a while before I get those though, so I can let my wallet recover :-?

P.S. I have a Marineland Bio-wheel Filter 150 and a Marineland Hood up for sale right now if anyone is interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I sealed and painted the inside of my canopy white today. I also built my DIY lighting. I used 2 13watt CFL daylight bulbs. It came out really nice and seems to light up the tank very evenly (no dark spots). Each bulb puts out 13 watts, 825 lumens, and 6500K. Thats a total of 1.3 watts per gallon and 1650 lumens over the tank. I went with the 13 watt bulbs instead of the 10 because I figured since I am using a gutter instead of an actual reflector, only about 10 watts would actually make it into the tank. If I were to get the 10 watt bulbs then I would have less than 1wpg. I just noticed my canopy is warping from the paint:-(. Oh well, I will just make a new one sometime. Anyway, here are some pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Also, my sponge filter and driftwood should be on my doorstep tomorrow. After I get those put into the tank, it will be ready for plants and fish. :p
 

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exciting stuff! I'm also setting up a 20g and trying to decide what new decor to get.

I'm transferring from a 10g though so I'm luckily using a lot of old supplies
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My driftwood and sponge filter came in today!! :p I must say that I love the sponge filter already. It is really quiet (using the whisper 20 air pump) and makes almost no current. I am also pretty happy with the peice of driftwood. Afer all it was only $10. My tank is now ready for plants. I just put in my order with sweet aquatics. I ordered 7 corkscrew val, 5 water wisteria, 11 dwarf sagittaria, 4oz of java moss, 1 amazon sword, and some amazon frogbit. They should be here in 2-3 days.
 

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If I may be permitted to make a suggestion, use the wood to hide the sponge filter. Just move either. The wood can remain out from the back, sort of mid-tank, so there will be plenty of water circulation around it to the filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If I may be permitted to make a suggestion, use the wood to hide the sponge filter. Just move either. The wood can remain out from the back, sort of mid-tank, so there will be plenty of water circulation around it to the filter.
should I use the wood or some plants? I was going to plant some corkscrew val along the back of the tank and cover up the filter.
 
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