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I wanted to set up a "small" 10g tank, but wandered into a fish store that looked like a flea market, and ended up buying a 29g high tank(used), a Fluval 305 canister filter(used), and an eight watt UV light. Unbeknownst to me, that was just the start!:roll:

I thought about my last aquarium attempt, a 55g that I tried to grow plants in - no way, and as I found out recently, the undergravel filter was probably a bad idea. I wondered, why not dirt? It's "natural" as far as the plants go; likewise for the fish. Found D. Walstad book on Amazon, got the Kindle version and started reading. "Piece of cake," I thought. So off to Lowe's for some "soil." Only, "organic" has a lot of meanings, and I skipped anything with artificial fertilizer. Bought some "organic" which contained (oh boy) manure and bat guano. Didn't know about "demineralizing," so dumped an inch in the bottom of the tank, and added water to cover. Smell? You bet. Covered it with gravel, about 1"+ or so. Still smell? You betcha!.

Water so dark I couldn't see the back of the tank. Tannins from wood making the water like very strong tea (and yes I soaked it, but still...). Nasty, nasty smell! (ugh, bat guano? What was I thinking? LOL). Ammonia levels about 4-6 ppm. Filter seemingly not doing very much. Planted some plants, but in that "dark hole?" Best of luck. Baby tears seeming to hold (but not too well), some red plants that surprisingly didn't fade out, the rest turned to mush, at least above the substrate.

Used Puigen to see if it would clean up the tannins; overnight. Filter apparently working better than I thought. But, water still murky, so an almost complete water change done one evening, then another 1/2 changed the next day. Water clear, and staying clear. Ammonia pretty low, poking the bottom to release bubbles of anaerobic bacteria byproducts (as per another thread on this site; should clear up once the plants get rooted properly). Took a chance and bought two neon tetras to see if the numbers meant the water was safe for life. They did wonderful! So, I added six more, and some deep-rooting plants (again, per the info in two threads here), and everybody seems happy. I also ordered a water-changer kit so I'm not hustling milk jugs full of water from the kitchen to my office. May need to change water regularly until the "soil" gets stabilized. Smell, speaking of soil, pretty tolerable-to-barely noticeable now.

Probably too soon for fish, but they seem to like it, so maybe not. Wish I had found this site before setting up the tank, but now, I could write a book on what not to do!

Cheers!
 

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Just finished reading this and first off, welcome. I joined not too long ago and thrilled that I did. So much stuff to read about and learn. I am interested in seeing how much further this adventure goes. Looking forward to pics and more interesting reports.
 

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well hello there and welcome.
i hope you'll be happy here with us,and plenty of threads to
keep you going :-D
 
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