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Old 01-14-2012, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New 10Gallon Setup

Hey guys,

I've been trying to get into this hobby but have never had the time, until these past few weeks.

Anyway, my setup is as follows:
old 10 gallon tank that was given to me
(2) 13W (60W equivalent) CFL lamps
fluorite substrate
aquaclear 20 power filter
50W heater
random rocks I found laying around the house

-some plant that i forgot the name to in the back

1/7/12 - Setup tank, started cycling by dropping few flakes of fishfood.

1/10/12 - Planted HC

1/14/12 - planted background plant, started dosing with excel.

Today was the first day I tested (kit came in late) and the readings were:
ammonia 0.25ppm
nitrites 2.0 ppm
nitrates 5.0 ppm

Somehow I ordered the wrong test kit and got the saltwater instead of the freshwater, so I'll need to get a ph testkit for freshwater. From these initial readings, I am thinking that my tank has not finished cycling.

One question that I have concerning the HC is that it hasn't quite taken hold onto the substrate. There were certain days that I came home from work only to find the HC floating around on the surface of the water. I'm wondering if the substrate I have is suitable for planting HC. How is this supposed to be planted? Also, I know it's only been a few days, but there doesn't seem to be any growth from the HC.

Future goals:
1. Add a few more plants in the back corners maybe. suggestions?
2. getting test kit to measure ph, kh, figuring out how much CO2 I will have.
3. build DIY CO2 system instead of dosing with the excel. I have most of the materials already to do this, I just havent had the time to tinker with it yet. I figure I'll go back to using the excel if my DIY fails.
4. Thinking about adding 5-6 tetras after tank has finished cycling.

Anyway, looking forward to read any comments you may have.

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Old 01-19-2012, 09:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New 10Gallon Setup

update on my tank.

went to browse at the neighborhood petco and bought some swords. I didn't realize the size that these things grow so big so they will probably outgrow my 10gal.

also starting to see a dozen little snails crawling around. I guess they must be from the substrate??
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New 10Gallon Setup

Probably got them off the plants. I recall HC being decently difficult to grow, and the Amazon swords will definitely outgrow your tank.
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New 10Gallon Setup

it looks to be in pretty good shape. Your Flourite will absolutely work well with just about any plants, and yes C02 will definitely help. (VERY short version, C02 helps plants absorb and use fertilizer, it does not directly make them grow) the snails almost certainly came from the plants, not the substrate. the tank will be finished cycling when ammonia and nitrite levels are both at zero, AND nitrAte levels are more than zero, less than ~ 40 PPM. (you can speed the process up a bit by adding a single 'sacrificial' <cheap> fish.... this one fish may or may not survive)
HC (Baby Tears) is not the easiest plant to grow nicely, but it's certainly not difficult or particularly fussy. it does however (as do many plants) need food (aka fertilizer)
you can 'dose' liquid or powdered fertilizer directly into the water column, use actual garden soil underneath your flourite (also known as 'El Natural' , or the 'Walstad method') or use a soil based substrate specifically designed for growing plants in aquariums (ADA aquasoil).
the explanations above are all very generalized and simplified: really the most important thing is to have fun and provide a nice living space for your fish and plants.
my .02 turned out to be $2.00
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New 10Gallon Setup

Thanks guys for your responses. Big Fish, I always love getting a good deal As far as your comment about using garden soil, I am assuming it's too late to do this since I've already laid down my substrate and gotten my aquarium up and running.

As far as my plants are concerned, I can tell that the swords are growing. The HC is also starting to propagate, although not as quick as I'd thought they would. I've had them planted for about 3 weeks now, and their growth seems to be a lot slower than some of the other aquariums in the community. That plant in the background seems to be healthy as well. (Can someone help me identify what it is??) There was originally a lot of algae on it, but I think my dosing excel everyday helped clear up the algae growth.

I still haven't had a chance to do the DIY CO2 system, so I've just been dosing excel daily according to the instructions.

Listening to your advice, I read up a little on fertilizers and I ended up just purchasing seachem's NPK products and flourish from big al's. Hopefully this will speed up the growth of my HC.

Also, I tested the readings again today and I got:
0 Ammonia
0.5 nitrites
0 nitrates

I find this to be a bit odd since I thought I would have a higher nitrate level. Does anyone have any ideas what's going on? I did my first water change today (about 20%). When and how much should I perform water changes when I'm first starting off?

I'm dying to just get some sort of fish in there just to get some action in my tank, but hesitant since my nitrite and nitrate levels are reading weird. But since there are already a ton of snails crawling around, would this mean that it's okay for fish to live in my tank now, too?
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New 10Gallon Setup

nvm, i was sitting there thinking of my issue when it hit me, like blinding realization, pure truth, on what had happened. i had cleaned the filter, thinking it would help clear my water since there was a cloudy film forming on the surface. i had rinsed the foam, carbon, and biomax, in short killing all beneficial bacteria. in short, i'm a dumbass

looks like i'm going to have to restart the cycling process again..sigh. lesson learned, i guess..
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: New 10Gallon Setup

Don't beat yourself up, we've all done similar things. You didn't have any fish in the tank, and you understand the problem. Lesson well learned!
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