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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok so I have this one 10 G tank and now that i've researched so...so many things I have decided that it really needs a make over. :-D

I'm currently treating this tank for some parasite that i'm not sure what it is but resulted in my upside down catfish getting a white spot on his eye, and only on is eye. So the temperature is raised to 28C/82F. And I added some aquarium salt in there too.

A little about the tank it has;
a 10 Gallon heater (50 W)
a AquaClear Filter (for 5-20 US Gallon Aquariums)
a thermometor
a 3 gallon filter (temporary, needed more oxygen in the water since the temp. got higher and salt was added)

It used to have a Elite Stingray 10, but I didn't like it, took too much space, and didn't provide any surface agitation. I changed it today.

This tank has been up for a few months but I had to clean everything out and empty/refill the whole tank for an ammonia problem that went really bad (oh dear pinky :cry:).
So the reset up date would be November 17th. So it's pretty well cycled, the last test I did I got the following reading (Keep in mind it's a drop test and the numbers i'm listing are the ones on the back of the card that you compare the color too.)

This test was done yesterday.
Ammonia- 0.9
pH- 8.2
Nitirte- 0.2
Nitrate- 5

So here's a few pictures of this 10 G tank:





So the idea I have in mind would be to add a black background.
Then get some beige sand for the bottom. Get and airpump with an airstone stick . Get some driftwood and some rocks and get some live plants growing in there.

SO out of all of that I got the black background up tonight, I purchased the airstone and pump. Got all the sand I'll need and went to the lake to grab some driftwood. I am currently boilling it and it's been 7hrs I was thinking of getting all the color out of it. Question: Does it matter how long you keep it boiling regarding the time it needs to soak to be able to sink? And what about the brown water, the longer I keep it boilling the less I will have while it soaks/in my tank???

What I don't have is some nice rocks, and some live plants (I need to do more research on them, and get the supplies I'll need to keep them in the tank.) but the plants are going to be a little while. Have to settle for fake ones for now. :-?

I was planning on when the whole tank is finish getting 2 Dwarf frogs in there and putting my newly aquired Beta in there, when he's done is quarantine of course.

Any advice/comments/answer to my question is welcomed and greatly appreciated.

If I think of anything else I'll post as I go. And of course pictures as I go though all the steps of the make over!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh forgot to mention, kinda obvious but... I want to get rit of the gravel, status, and in the end the fake plants too.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I didn't want to put the sand in there right away because it would mean removing the gravel and the filter is brand new and I wanted to give the bacteria I have in there some time to get inside the filter. Question: How long do you guys think I sound wait before removing the gravel and putting the sand in there?
 

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I would give it a couple of weeks at least. A month would be better. When you do switch the gravel out, do it a little at a time. Just get a piece of flexible plastic of some kind that's as long as your tank is wide and shove it down into the gravel to cut off, say, a third of it from the rest. Swap this out with sand, wait a week, then add another divider and swap out the next third with sand, then another week and do the last. That'll have less impact on your bacteria colonies than if you replaced all of the gravel at once.

Also: are planning on keeping the upside down cat with the betta and frogs? It might work - I'm just curious. Upside down catfish also like to be in groups, so adding two more would be another option (even more would be even better, but at 4" a piece more than three of them is going to be a lot of fish in a 10g).

For rocks, check out a landscaping center for pieces of loose slate or shale. You can stack it up to make some nice caves, plus it's a *lot* cheaper than buying rock from a LFS.

The longer you boil the wood, the more tannins you'll get out of it before you add it to the tank. However, boiling alone isn't going to be enough to waterlog the wood. If it isn't dense enough or isn't already waterlogged, you're going to need to weigh it down with something and hold it underwater for a long time, possibly months, before it will sink on its own.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok cool thanks for the sand advice. And about the sand I'm not sure if I have the right one, I got it at the Pet store by my house (Petland). I took some pictures of the bag and I was hoping you guys could tell me if I have the right one so my pH won't be greatly affected.







As for the upside down catfish, ya that's what I was planning to do, I've kept him with a beta before without any problems. The frogs shouldn't bother the fishes and the fishes won't bother them. I'm talking about aquatic dwarf frogs by the way.

Cool thanks for the rock advice!!! I'll make sure to check them out if I can't find anything interesting around my house. :)
 

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Hmm I'm not sure if that sand is safe. Does it say what it's made from? If it's just regular old silica sand you'll be fine, but if it's aragonite sand or something similar it will make your water very hard and raise your pH dramatically. This is desired in saltwater tanks and in African rift lake tanks, but your fish wouldn't do well in these conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No it doesn't say. I'll put some water in a bowl, test the pH and then add some sand, then test the pH again. How long should I wait to test the pH with the sand?
 

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Ok, in the future though I recommend going to the hardware store and buying play sand. I bought the sand for my aquarium there and got it for $4 for a 50lb bag.
 

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Just wanted to add...You show some ammonia and nitrites so your tank is not cycled yet. Make sure your tank is fully cycled before adding the dwarf frogs as they are very sensitive to ammonia/nitrites.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow, that is some cheap sand I wish I had known that before buying the one I got :(

Thanks for the frog advice Jeaninel, ya that's what I was planning on doing I had the bad experience of adding an albino clawed frog in a tank that wasn't cyled/didn't have a filter/or a heater. Really stupid when I think back on it now. So the frogs are the last to go in there :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
New pictures

Ok so I waited for the 2 weeks after installing the new filter in the tank to remove the gravel and add the sand. But before that I removed some of the items that I didn't want in there (the red fake plants and the ship statue). Here are some pictures of the tank's second set up.




As you can see the new beta is doing very well, he past his 2 weeks in quarantine and has now joined the upside down catfish. I took your guy's suggestion and got a second upside down catfish to keep the first one company. The second one is currently in quarantine and has one week left before joining is buddy. :-D More pictures in the next post.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In the process of adding some sand.

So after the 2 weeks was up I decided to remove all of the gravel and add the sand since I didn't have the barrier and it seems like too much trouble since if my tank does cycle again, it's going to take around 3 weeks the same amount of time it would to change the gravel into sand if I did it in 3 portions 1 each week. So here's a picture of my tank without the gravel.



And here's a picture of what the tank looks like after I added the sand in. It's a little blury since that picture was taken right after the sand was put in.



What I find weird is that my upside down catfish seems to prefer the castle over the piece of driftwood I put in there, any suggestions on why that is? I can't wait to find some nice rocks to place in there and for that other piece of driftwood to get water weight. Right now we have so much snow in my area I don't have a chance at finding any rocks at all. :-(
 

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Discussion Starter #15
After the sand has settled

Ok so last post with pictures for now. In these pictures you can see that the sand has settled and that there's a new addition to the tank... yes an airpump with an airstone. It's in the back of the tank. I like the airflow controller, it's a lot nicer than some other cheap ones at the pet shop. The air stone is going to be a must if I want to keep life plants in there. All that is left to get for this tank is, some nice rocks, waiting on the driftwood pieces, CO2, a hood for the tank with some light, and life plants. All which I'm very excited about! :-D

So here's the pictures of the tank with the sand settled down.



 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm not sure, I haven't gotten around to that part of my research. Any suggestions on some I should look into?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I don't have any yet. My tank didn't come with a hood so I'm planning on getting a hood first that can hold on to the ligh bulbs and do some research on the types of plants I could and should get, then get the lighting for it.
 
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