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New 10 gallon low tech planted tank

2325 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  evanlundberg4
Hey guys this is my first time setting up a planted freshwater tank. Basically I'm looking for some info on a basic setup and eBay I'll need to shoot for for water parameters.
What I have now is a 10 gallon tank, a heater, hood and a t8 fluorescent light. The light isn't super high output but I did keep a few low light corals under it in my saltwater set up so I would think it's enough for some pants. If not I would probably modify it as I have experience building my own for my reef tanks. In addition to these things I have I'll be picking up a small hang on back power filter. Other than that I'm not sure what else I could possibly need for equipment so suggestions are welcome.
As for substrate, plants and driftwood etc. I really have no idea and I was hoping you guys could give me some suggestions. I was thinking a dark substrate and possibly wisteria for starters but that's all I really know.
Fish will probably be some type of tetra, cardinal or the like and then then whatever you guys could suggest for a clean up crew.
Thanks ahead for your help. If I've missed anything important please let me know. I am going for low tech and easy keeping here. I'm coming here first for advice because while my lfs is for the most part good they still are out to make money. I'd like to at least have a good idea what I'm doing before going there. Again thanks!
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I'll wait for the water parameters (GH and pH) of your tap water before suggesting fish. A 10g is small space, and cardinals can work because they are so inactive, though I wouldn't. The true "nano" type fish would be better. But parameters need to be known.

As for the light, if this was for corals you will need a new tube, one with around 6500K. The Life-Glo or the ZooMed UltraSun are the best; make sure it is T8, they make T5 now too but those won't fit.

For filter, I would not do HOB on so small a tank. A sponge filter connected to an air pump is ideal. Takes up little space, circulates the water and keeps it clear for the plants.

For substrate, I would suggest sand, and play sand works fine. This will allow you to have small substrate fish like corys. Plants grow well in sand. I would avoid stem plants like Wisteria because they are so fast growing you will be continually thinning them out, and in smaller tanks it is better to a more stable aquascape. Pygmy chain sword, crypts; floating plants.

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Alright I'll pick up a test kit this week and test the tap water and get back to you on that.
The AQPI Master Combo is a good kit (the liquid, not test strips). It has ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. For the GH, contact your water folks, they likely have a website; this will not change so once we know what it is coming out of the tap, you're set on that.

As for the filter they don't have sponge filters at my lfs, only small hang on banks, so I'll have to get that online then. I have an air pump though so that will work fine. Could you suggest a good brand or place to order from?
I'm in Canada, so not sure who in the US is reliable. But I have used Big Al's in Canada and they are in the US, and I believe Fosters&Smith is good. Check around, prices can vary, though sponge filters are not expensive. In my 10g I use a Hagen Elite single sponge (photo below).

I'll see what they have for bulbs at the lfs. It's just a cheap one I got with my aqueon aquarium kit.
Those two I mentioned are good. I'll mention this because stores often try to sell people this or that tube because it is best for plants or whatever, but not so.

Is that the play sand from like Lowe's or Home Deeps?
Yes. I use Quikrete Play Sand, they carry it.

One thing I was wondering about was cycling. I've read that if you fill up with plants from the get go that you don't have to cycle?
Correct. Plant well, including floating plants, and the first few fish can go in with no issues.
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