Roy's 10 Gallon Low Tech Journal

By: Seattle_Aquarist
August 19th, 2013
12:19 am

Roy's 10 Gallon Low Tech Journal

Hi All,

This is my first journal and I thought I would try and keep it simple so I am doing it on my 10 gallon low tech planted tank that I breed Apisto's in and experiment with various plants from my emersed plant bank.

It is a pretty basic 10 gallon set-up with 2X 10 watt 6500K screw-in CFL's (PAR=25), generic 50 watt heater, Aquaclear 20 HOB filter (with 2X sponges only), black plastic background, and Safe-T-Sorb #7941 substrate; no CO2.

8/4/13 Day 1
Washed the Safe-T-Sorb #7941 in a 5 gallon bucket doing about 1/2 of the total amount used per batch. Thoroughly churned and rinsed the substrate 4 or 5 times per batch and it still came out looking like chocolate milk.

Day 1 pic

8/7/13 Day 3
Added a piece of Malaysian driftwood hardscape that has a hollow cave like area that my Apisto's seem to like spawning in. Also added some plants including Limnophila aromatica 'Wavy', Pogostemon helferi (Downoi), Pogostemon erectus, Helanthium tenellum (Echinodorus tenellus/Micro Chain Sword), Barclaya longifolia, Cuphea anagalloidea, Rotala sp 'Bengladesh', and Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Bronze'. The
Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' came from one of my isolation containers; the Pogostemon helferi and Cupia anagalloidea came from my emersed plant bank; the rest were grown submersed and came from one of my other established tanks. Yes, several of the species listed above would typically be found in a 'high tech' tank with much more light and CO2 but I wanted to see what I could do with 'low tech'.

Day 3

8/9/13 Day 5
The water is starting to show signs of clearing. I added four small Corydoras habrosus; one Otocinclus affinis; and one Siamese algae eater, (Crossocheilus oblongus or syn. Crossocheilus siamensis). Also started dosing fertilizers today. I dose EI for 6 gallons on alternate days with Seachem Comprehensive. I dose Excel strength glutaraldehyde all days.

Day 5 pic

8/12/13 Day 8
The tank is staring to show definite signs of clearing. I did a 3 gallon water change today; rinsed the filter sponges in tank water, dosed dry ferts, dosed 1X Initial Dose Excel and added a little Equilibrium, MgSO4 (Epsom Salt), CaCl (calcium chloride/Dry-Z-Air), and NaHCO3 (baking soda) to bring up my dGH and dKH.

Here are some Day 8 pics

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25 comments on "Roy's 10 Gallon Low Tech Journal"

  • Phil Edwards
    August 19, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Looking good Roy. Any reason you didn't go with mineralized soil in the substrate?

  • Seattle_Aquarist
    August 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hi Phil,

    I will be doing a lot of "experimenting" with this tank seeing how well various emersed plants transition to submerged growth so I will be moving and planting various plants regularly. In addition, it has been my experience that Apistos will do a little digging when spawning and when moving their fry in the wiggler stage. For this application capped MTS just didn't seem like the best substrate choice.

    That said I have just started experimenting with using MTS (actually Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix) with a couple of isolation containers for my plant bank and the results have been positive.

    Isolation container with MGOPM

  • Michael
    August 19, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Roy, this looks interesting and will be fun to watch develop.

    By coincidence, yesterday I decided to re-work my 10 gallon grow-out tank so I can breed ocellated shell-dwellers in it. I got around the digging problem by putting the soil and all the plants in a bowl shaped piece of volcanic rock. The shellies have 2" of Safe-T-Sorb in the rest of the tank where their shells are. Fortunately they prefer to dig in bare substrate, and tend to avoid planted areas.

  • Seattle_Aquarist
    August 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Hi All,

    Still playing 'catch up' on this journal. Here are some comments and pictures from the 14th.

    8/14/13 Day 10
    The water continues to clear, new leaves showing up on the Helanthium tenellum with a nice reddish color. Two of the plants that I added from my plant bank are starting to show new growth as well. The Cuphea anagalloidea that was added as cuttings from emersed growth is showing new leaves. The Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' was in one of my isolation containers that got warm and the stems lost most of their leaves leaving behind small, green, dormant 'buds'. Now that the Rotala is in cooler water with fertilizer in the water column it seems to be responding by sending out leaves again.

    Day 10 pics

    Cuphea anagalloidea & Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' starting to show new growth

  • Seattle_Aquarist
    August 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    8/16/13 Day 12

    Here are a couple of new pictures; please note I added some Eleocharis sp (tall hairgrass) in the right rear.  The Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' continues to add new growth.

    Add Eleocharis on right rear

    New growth on Rotala continues

  • Seattle_Aquarist
    August 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Hi All,

    8/18/13 Day 14

    It has been two weeks since I started this tank and the 10 gallon continues to mature. I am definitely seeing new growth on the Cupia anagalloidea and the Rotala 'Bangladesh'. Now several of the 'buds' are starting to grow along with the one or two at the top of the stems. I am including a photo of what the stems looked like when they were more or less dormant in my warm garage isolation container and a photo showing the Rotala 'bud' locations showing the new growth.

    8/18/13 10 gallon low tech

    Rotala 'Bangladesh' mostly dormant buds

    Rotala 'Bangladesh' buds showing new growth

  • electra74
    August 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist
    Hey Roy. Your setup looks great. I was looking at these pictures with a friend and she's dying to know what these little guys down front are called.

  • Seattle_Aquarist
    August 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Hi electra74,

    Those little guys are Pogostemon helferi (sometimes known as Dowoi). They are native to the area around Thailand and seem to like water with higher mineral content.

  • electra74
    August 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Awesome! Thanks

  • Seattle_Aquarist
    August 28, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Hi All,

    8/20/13 Day 16

    It's been about two weeks since the initial set up and all the plants are doing well including the emersed grown Cuphea anagalloidea and Rotala sp 'Bengladesh'. I added a Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' in the right rear behind to Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Bronze' to help the Crypt stand out a little more.

    The only plant that is showing some signs of distress is the Pogostemon helferi (Downoi). I don't know if it is due to the extremely soft water I have here or the fact that the plants were grown emersed. If it is 'shock' from transitioning from emersed to submersed growth this is the first species I have had that has suffered. Granted the tank does not have CO2 but I checked the water parameters and I have PH = 6.4; dKH = 1.0; dGH = 7.0 so it could be the carbonate level that is causing the problem. I do see new leaves forming but the older leaves are showing signs of distress.

    10 gallon low tech at 2 weeks


    Cuphea anagalloidea and Rotala sp 'Bengladesh' continue to grow well without CO2 (note height of Eleocharis, it seems to showing signs of growth)

    The Helanthium tenellum (Echinodorus tenellus/Micro Chain Sword) is definitely showing new growth; note the reddish coloration

    The Pogostemon helferi (Downoi) have definitely lost some of their older leaves

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