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Discussion Starter #1
My first aquarium was, how shall I say cobbled together. No thought went into the fish, their natural habitat, what makes a tank fish friendly. I had no choice with my first tank as my sister gave it to my son for his first birthday with two goldfish, which have since went back to my local fish shop. The tank itself is to small only 2g with a lovely blue and green gravel.

My son loved his fish , so our only real option was to get some small fish (tetras and otocinclus) as a starter tropical tank (don't worry I know it's to small but fish are just 0,5" at the minute) whole we sourced a larger tank.

I now have a 10g tank and stand, a fluval U2 filter. I will be getting a new heater and if things go well I'll be setting this new tank up before Xmas if not just after.

What I now need to do is consider what makes a good habitat for my tetras, otocinclus and possibly a couple of dwarf gourami's. I have some plants to move over but I'd like some stones, slates or even wood in my tank.

How do I acclimatise stones, slate or wood? Have people put other things in there tank to create habitat for fishesh?

Plants aren't to bad, but how do you go about
 

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Welcome to the forum!

It doesn't seem as if you finished your post, but I'll go ahead and address what you've asked so far. :)

Very happy that you returned those goldfish, that was the absolute best decision and very commendable.

Now, what exact species of tetra do you have (or, if you don't know the name, can you post a pic/description), and how many (same for the otos,)?

A ten gallon (while a GIANT step up from a 2 gallon, YAY!) is also rather small, so we may run into some issues with stocking. Is there a possibility of upgrading before you set it up? Larger tanks offer more stocking options, and are actually easier to maintain and keep stable.

Also, is the 2 gallon tank cycled? If it isn't and if the fish are new to the tank, we'll have to work through that.

There is no real acclimating of stones/wood, though some people do pre-soak driftwood to remove tannins, and some people like to scrub their rocks down with hot water (not boiling though, just really warm). And then they can be plopped in the tank. Are you going for a natural look with this tank?

Personally, when going natural (my favorite style of tank) I use somewhat dim lighting, lots of floating plants, and several different sizes of plants all over the tank. I also use (aquarium safe) twigs to create the look of fallen branches. I think a dark sand substrate is the most natural looking. I also use oak leaves all over the substrate in my aquarium.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for reply jentralala. Unfortunately a 10g is all I can manage to fit within the house at the moment. As for cycling of my 2g it has completed cycling I added fish a few at a time, the fish seem really settled, they're using the full height and width of the tank, there is a picture on my profile. I have 6 neon and 6 lemon tetras and 3 otocinclus, I used aquaadvisor and when these mature they will not be overstocked in the new tank.

I am trying to go for a tank that gives the fish a feeling of safety but creating optimum viewing for my family while still being as close to a natural setting. I.e no plastic nemo toys or shipwrecks.

What are aquarium safe twigs?

I also hear sand is not the best to keep clean, so would a dark small gravel work well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As for the incompletion of my original post, I'm at work and had to go out in a hurry, part of my job role so clicked submit by mistake.

It was meant to say how do you go about planning the interior, ie where does the heater go in relation to the filter? Do you have the plants a cross the whole tank or do you have them on one side and maybe twigs and stones on the other?

I don't want to chuck things into this tank like I have had to in my 2g tank, I'd like it to look good but most importantly make the fish feel safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks henningc aqua advisor says I should have more than enough space for two dwarf gourami or rams. I don't like the idea of putting one of a species in a tank, we all need friends and lovers.
 

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2 DGs in a 10 gallon is just asking for problems.
 
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Why does everyone say no to 2 DG? I thought they were supposed to be friendly fish and grow no bigger than 2" which is only .5" than the tetras
 

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Try to upgrade to a29 gallon tank. It doesn't take up that much more space than a 10 and it will be a good size for the fish that you want
 

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I actually find sand is much easier to clean than gravel, as poo/detritus/uneaten food settles between the grooves in gravel, while it just sits on top of sand until you can vacuum it up. It takes a bit of time to get used to cleaning it, but it's a breeze compared to having to vacuum every inch of gravel substrate to get all the crap out, in my opinion at least.

I also find plants do better in sand (not to say that people don't have gorgeous planted tanks with gravel substrate), just that in my personal experience I've had better luck with sand.

Aquarium safe twigs are fallen dry dead twigs that I collect from a hard wood tree in my yard and soak, then place in the tank. I say aquarium safe because I don't want anyone to get the idea to go break sticks off a random tree and plop them in a tank, that's just asking for trouble! :)

You can google pictures of "natural planted tank" or even look at underwater images of rivers, lakes, and streams. This youtube video is one of my favorites, showing the natural habitat of some common aquarium species.

You can arrange it any way you'd like, but for best viewing I always place taller plants (amazon swords, stem plants) in the back, and shorter plants (small species of crypts, dwarf sag, etc) in the front.

Most people set up their hardscape (sticks, driftwood, stones) first, and then plant around it, so the hardscape looks like a part of the scene. It takes some fiddling for people to find what they like best, and you may decide a few months later you don't like it anymore and decide to re-arrange, which is totally okay! I've re-scaped my tanks hundreds of times.

Aqadvisor is...tricky. While it's a good tool to use when trying to stock a tank, it's just that, a tool. It can't be relied on to do all of the work, a lot of that comes down to the responsibility of the owner. The neons and the lemon tetras are both mid-schooling fish, so they're going to take up all the space in the middle section of your tank. They're not a bad choice for a ten gallon, but I'd say with just the 12 of them you're at your limit with stocking, not to mention the 3 otos.

The reason dwarf gourami aren't advised in pairs or groups in small tanks is because they aren't really peaceful at all, they're actually rather aggressive and territorial and if put in a small space will almost always endlessly fight. Gourami are a tricky species, the same with Rams. They really, really need a lot of space (looking at 29 gallons bare minimum) to be able to be housed as anything more than singly.

I wouldn't recommend either of those species for your ten gallon, though, because you're really at your limit.

Most fish feel safe when having places to hide, ie behind large plant leaves, stones, pieces of driftwood. And since most aquarium fish are forest dwelling fish, they take comfort under dim lighting and a covering of floating plants.
 

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I find in a smaller aquarium slate or any rock work to be pretty hard to make pleasing to the eye. I think with a sand substrate, a piece of driftwood in the middle small, plants left or right of center behind the wood and taller plants along most of the back and maybe a small plant or two in front leaving plenty of open space for swimming/veiwing in the middle to be a nice 10-20g setup.
as for the DGs, I did a quick google to see what anyone who is looking them up online might see first.. and wow the internets first hits are wildly wrong. They are only peaceful when given a large enough area to establish as "theirs". In my observation thats 1 square foot where it will definitely not tolerate another DG in that area and hardly tolerate other fish in that spot unless it's a sedentary calm fish. I have 3 DGs in a 75g with MUCH larger and mildly aggressive fish and the DGs seem in no way shy. They have each established very defined "homes". They are fine in there and no issues but learning their personality 1st hand I would never put more then one in even 30 gallons.. same for rams. Not all fish want friends.. usually only schooling fish care about that. Some fish HATE "friends" lol
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've been trying to gather information about the collection of stones and sticks, people are advising collecting them from near a body of water i.e. River, lake or shore line. If I was to collect driftwood from the shore line would this cause a problem in it being impregnated with salt? And how would this affect the tank chemistry?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks agent13.

I was wondering why I was getting such a bad review from members when suggesting I get 2 DG. I had tried to do my homework and when I read up it Said not aggressive and didn't grow to big.

I'm glad I joined this forum I would of hated to get them home and they destroy my already established fish.
 

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Jen hit the subject dead on. You couldn't gat any better advice. Although the inch per gallon rule is not in use any more it is a place to start. You must take into account the character of the fish, the waste production levels and the size of the fish to enable the fish to have a decent swimming environment.
 
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I made a big mistake my tank is 65ltr which equates to around 17.5 gUS not 10g as stated earlier. I can be excused for this mistake as I'm ginger lol.
 

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I made a big mistake my tank is 65ltr which equates to around 17.5 gUS not 10g as stated earlier. I can be excused for this mistake as I'm ginger lol.
I think you could try one ram and one DG in there. It's borderline, but if that's what you have your heart set on then try it.

Personally, I think you should make it a nano community tank, with one of them as your centerpiece fish. I think you'll find that a much more pleasing tank to watch.
 
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I made a big mistake my tank is 65ltr which equates to around 17.5 gUS not 10g as stated earlier. I can be excused for this mistake as I'm ginger lol.
I thought that excuse was saved for us blondes!;-)
Well that does make a difference from stocking a 10 gallon to 17. On that note I agree with Jaysee. you can fit a centerpiece fish in there just fine. I'd do the a ram(Just because I love mine) but either way I'm it sure would work the same.

And yes, on the google I did I was a bit shocked.. So easy I can see how people would make a mistake. Even Wiki worded things confusingly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Personally, I think you should make it a nano community tank, with one of them as your centerpiece fish. I think you'll find that a much more pleasing tank to watch.
What is a nano tank?

A centrepiece fish is what I was wanting, but didn't want to stress the fish by being a loner.

Did see a electric blue ram but from what I read it doesn't seem a beginners fish
 

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Nano community is a collection of really small fish, like embers tetras and dwarf Corys.

Not all fish need "friends". Dwarf gourami is a perfect example of this.

GBRs aren't exactly beginner fish, you are right. They aren't difficult to keep though - they just don't tolerate mistakes well. Once your tank has been running smoothly for 6 months or so, I'd say you're ready.
 
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