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Soliciting Help/Advice on 1st Real Aquascape Tank

1119 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ingg
I've kept fish only tanks on and off for years, but never put much planning into it. I recently got into plants and discovered Takashi Amano. I wanted badly to try something in that style and set up a 10 gal hoping to do it at a low cost. Feel free to offer any criticism, insight, advice, etc.

Here's a bad pic and the glass needs cleaned. In real life, the cheap CO2 bio reactor and intake are much less visible against the black bg than they are in this photo.

Lighting - Cheap incandescent hood with two screw in fluorescent bulbs 6500K. 23 Watts each.

Substrate - Clay and sand from the soil outside, sterilized it and put black sand blasting grit on top. Added Seachem root tabs.

Plants so far - Dwarf baby tears and dwarf hairgrass, need suggestions on small broad leaf plant.

Cheap Hagen bio CO2 kit, I also have some Flourish Excel, do I need it?

PH - 7.0, some sphagnum moss in the filter to lower ph
GH - Off the charts, peaks the test strip I have.
KH - 120 ppm mg/L

Currently have the bio wheel for the filter buried in my wet/dry filter on a larger tank and placed some bacteria covered filter material into this filter from the other tank too.

Plan on adding Harlequin Rasboras and some shrimp. How many? And do you think I can get away with adding fish right away with the bacteria covered bio wheel? How many?

Advice, answers & suggestions much appreciated.
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I forgot to mention that I've lined the hood with aluminum foil. Reflects more light, but might be raising the temperature too high (trapping too much heat). Gotta figure out a balance.
I like your rockscape layout. As far as the plants go, they are not what I would suggest for starting out a new tank, but let's see how they go. Typically you want real fast growing stem plants at the start, you don't want to start out with the final version of what you want it to develop into, because it rarely does.

I am not sure how the lighting system will work, spiral flourescents tend to be inefficient for our needs. Ostensibly you have 46W total lighting which would necessitate CO2 and ferts. Have you considered getting an ahs retrofit of a 2x13W or a 36W set up from them? Al foil reflectors tend to scatter more light than they're worth - you get bouncing every which way.
bert's right, you have relatively slow/moderate growing plants in there now, and with the amount of light you have, algae will be an issue.

otherwise... the layout and concept are good.
I do have CO2 and ferts, I probably can't afford the compact fluorescent retrofit for a while....should I tone down the light or just see how it goes or add some faster growing plants or...? I've added some faster growing plants from my other tank, HYDROCOTYLE SIBTHORPIOIDES, I think.

Is retrofitting significantly cheaper than getting a new fixture at this size? This is a really cheap hood, I could probably build a better one.
I would definitely add some fast growing stems in there to start out.

As far as photoperiod with your lighting, I would start with 8 hours and see how things go. Adjust accordingly afterwards. I don't know what's cheaper (retrofitting, diy, etc) lightwise, you'll have to compare that one yourself depending on your abilities and time to work on things.
small round leaf plant - small form lobelia.
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