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Hi everyone,

My established 10 gallon is looking really scrappy at the moment, so I figure I might as well change it over to NPT sooner rather than later. Aiming to tackle it this weekend.

I would appreciate any comments on my plans.

The tank
10 gallons, it's a Jebo kit tank with a trickle filter in the hood. It's tall for a 10g, there's a photo of this kind of tank here:
http://www.aquariumsuppliesaustralia.com.au/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=2615

It has 2 8W T5 bulbs, one of which I have recently replaced. It doesn't get any sunlight or much daylight at all where I have it located, though once I can remove the filter part of the hood, it will get more light in the top, or I could possibly put more lights into the hood in place of the filter. I could move it to a place where it will get more light, but not sure if I want to. Do you think I will manage with only 16W over a 10 gallon tank?

The stock
Currently 4 white clouds, 8 cardinal tetras, 2 cory julii, 2 cory panda, and some algae shrimp (caridina sp.)
Plants are about 5 different kinds of hygro, mostly small, a bit of elodea densa that isn't growing too well, a small sword "orientalis" (not sure of the species - it's reddish in its leaves, and has grown a bit but not much in the 10 months the tank has been set up), a small crypt, java moss, a native milfoil species.

The plan

  1. Go to the shops, buy potting mix and more plants (probably more hygro, as that grows well in my tanks).
  2. Remove 1/2 of the water into 5 gallon temporary tank, catch fish and put them into this tank, with filter filled with zeolite.
  3. Remove 1/3 of the water into a bucket. Remove plants, put them in this bucket.
  4. Remove the rest of the water, down to the gravel.
  5. Remove gravel, leaving mulm.
  6. Add soil. It will mix in with the mulm and remaining water. Hopefully it will not make too much of a massive mess of sludge! :)
  7. Add layer of crushed eggshells. My water is quite soft, though I don't want to harden it that much, because the fish are soft water fish.
  8. Add layer of new gravel. I don't want to keep the old gravel because its too big. I want something finer.
  9. Plant old and new plants.
  10. Add water gradually.
  11. Turn on filter. Rinse sponges repeatedly if they get clogged. Wait until murk clears and test for ammonia and nitrite.
  12. If no ammonia or nitrite after how long? Say an hour? Return fish to tank. If there is ammonia, fish will need to stay in the temporary tank with loads of zeolite, until the ammonia and nitrite in the 10 gallon are zero.
  13. Watch tank closely for a week. Plants will start to settle in. Ammonia should stay zero. If no ammonia or nitrite after a week, remove 1/4 of the biological filter media from the filter.
  14. Repeat this for 3 weeks. When filter is empty of media, replace it with a small powerhead, or just leave the tank without.

Can you see any obvious problems with my plan?

Do you think the tank will work with that low amount of light?

Do you think that the fish and shrimp will be safe if I put them into the tank at once, assuming that the ammonia and nitrite are zero?
 

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That bioload may be a bit large for a young 10g NPT. I'd add the fish/shrimp in intervals instead of all at once just to be safe, especially if your tank goes through a small recycling phase after the switch to NPT.

But again, it largely depends on how densely-planted the tank is and what types of plants you have. Your fast-growers like hygro and the sword will help you a lot in establishing the tank as quickly as possible while staving off algae. You may want to consider getting more fast-growing rooted plants or fast-growing floaters because you mentioned the elodea is not growing too well (which may change once the tank's been changed to an NPT) and crypts aren't really considered fast-growers. Maybe some rotala and hornwort (which you could easily take out later).

Everything else seems ok. I tend to mix my crushed eggshells in w/ the soil instead of layering it on top, tho I don't know if it matters one way or another.
 
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