10 Gallon Natural Planted Tank, soon to be populated with Galaxy Rasbora

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jclee

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I've begun a 10 Gallon NPT. It's not yet complete, so I guess this is a build-log, to some extent. The picture's a little fuzzy because the substrate was still settling.

I'll have even more plants coming next week (special thanks to Harpua2002's awesome plant sale), and I plan to pick up a school of galaxy rasbora tomorrow.

Right now, I'm trying to decide what temp I want to keep it at, and subsequently, what other fish I might want to add. With the lid closed, the tank's about 78 degrees. With the lid up, it runs around 70 (thanks to my AC and the wonderous cooling powers of evaporation). Either temp is fine for the galaxy rasboras (AKA celestial pearl danios), and I'm trying to decide which to stick with.

I would prefer to run the tank on the cooler side, but I'm stuck trying to come up with small bottom-dwelling fish that are comfortable in cool water. I'm open to suggestions.

(Oh, and there are RCS in the tank right now, but they can move back into their original breeder tank if I have any concerns about compatibility or if I stick with cooler temps. I expect the galaxy rasboras will eat hatchling RCS and leave the adults along, which is fine with me.)

I'll post new pictures as I finish up the tank.
 

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korrupted555

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i really like the setup youve got there! looks good! as for temperature i would run it at 78, most fish seem to be more active at warmer temperatures due to their metabolism speeding up. and it would increase your choices for bottom dwelling tank mates
 

Paigee

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I'm interested to see how this goes! My LFS is all out right now, but the owner's daughter said they are hoping to get more soon... Maybe when I get back from vacation in a couple weeks they will be there!

Can't wait to see how your tank turns out!
 

FishHobbiest

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Good luck with your tank
 

yallyall1

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i've heard sterbai cories do well in cooler temperatures, but they need a 20 gallon... No other suggestions

Good luck with the tank!
 

Paigee

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Pygmy cories? I just got some yesterday, but I'm not sure what their temp requirements are. Mine are at about 80
 

swervo513

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very nice.. one of the nicest 10 gallon tanks i have seen. is all the scaping store bought or did you find your decoration?
 
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jclee

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swervo513 said:
very nice.. one of the nicest 10 gallon tanks i have seen. is all the scaping store bought or did you find your decoration?
Thank you for the compliments. I bought the organic soil and playsand at a Lowes, and the (well scrubbed) stones were from a dollar store. (The tan ones were straight-up stone, but for some reason, the black ones had an oily, waxy coating that was a pain to scrub off.) I have some wood I've cleaned up, but it's a soft wood that I'd have to glue to something heavy, and it would rot away over time, so I haven't yet made up my mind on that front.

I've finished the planting, so I hope to load an updated pic soon, but I'll need to wait until sundown to get a glare-free picture of the tank. I do wish my camera did better with tiny-moving-things, so that I could get some worthwhile pictures of these beautiful fish.

I've decided to stick with tropical temps. At the moment, there's a small school of Celestial Pearl Danios and a small school of Boraras merah. There's also one lonely little male feeder guppy (who has been isolated from the female, whom he kept knocking up).

I've decided not to get any pygmy cories because (a) they'd have to be in a school, which would really push the bioload of the tank and (b) from what I've read, they are likely to move around the lower third of the tank, which would put them into competition for space with the CPDs, which are already the most timid fish I've ever encountered. Besides, I have RCS eating leftovers, already.

I don't yet have anything that will eat algae in there, so I might pop some limpets in from another tank, and/or plan on pulling out the ol' magnetic algae scraping thingimagig. I popped a few MTS in, but I've never relied on them alone for algae-removal, so we'll see how that goes.

Pictures will follow, soon. I promise.
 

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korrupted555 said:
i really like the setup youve got there! looks good! as for temperature i would run it at 78, most fish seem to be more active at warmer temperatures due to their metabolism speeding up. and it would increase your choices for bottom dwelling tank mates

Agreed. 78 degrees is my target temp unless you intend to raise it for breeding. With their metabolisms being raised in a warmer tank it just makes more junk to clean up.
Beautiful tank tho
 

allibobs

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CPD's are indeed very timid fish, I have 5 in a tank and they went to ground I could not even see them at feeding time. I have since added 5 white cloud mountain minnows and the CPD's seems to have schooled up with them and are so much braver now and I actually get to see them.

CPD's are so hard to find in the United Kingdom I have never seen any for sale apart from the lone 5 I bought. Really nice fish though really pretty
 
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jclee

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Rallycat said:
Agreed. 78 degrees is my target temp unless you intend to raise it for breeding.
Thanks for the compliments. Actually, I suspect that CPD would need cooler temps, if anything, to stimulate breeding. I've heard that the microrasboras are harder to breed (and I suspect they'd need warmer temps). I'm not really going to any active effort to breed either species (yet).

allibobs said:
CPD's are indeed very timid fish, I have 5 in a tank and they went to ground I could not even see them at feeding time. I have since added 5 white cloud mountain minnows and the CPD's seems to have schooled up with them and are so much braver now and I actually get to see them.

CPD's are so hard to find in the United Kingdom I have never seen any for sale apart from the lone 5 I bought. Really nice fish though really pretty
Mine are becoming a little less bashful -- especially now that they've realized the microrasboras and RCS will eat all the food if they don't poke their noses out for a nibble. The owner of my LFS breeds CPDs, which is part of the reason I'm not planning to breed them. He's already got all the fry he wants, and I've not (yet) sold fish online before, so I don't know if I'm prepared to try that route.

Anyway, as promised, here are some pics of the tank, now that it's fully planted. It'll probably be a few more months before it starts growing in and I take more pictures. I really do need to get better lighting on this tank, so hopefully, the next batch of shots will better lit. (And hopefully, I'll think of a better way to hide the sponge filter by then.)

(I threw in a cute close-up of an RCS, just because he was mugging for the camera.)
 

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Akari_32

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Wow! Looks great! I love how the rocks blend in with everything, looks like you just took a bit of a river and stuck it your tank =D
 
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jclee

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I thought I'd post a follow up because I am completely addicted to this tank.

A few weeks later, and the plants are really taking root. I finally decided on a hardscape of a few rocks that are strategically placed to hide the sponge on my filter's intake. I think it's really coming along.

I can't wait to see how these plants have filled in a few months from now. I just wish my camera were better at capturing small, moving fish, so that you could really see the rasboras in there. I must admit that the CPDs are a little disappointing. It's been almost a month since I've had them, now, and except for their terrified, mad dashes out for fish flakes, I never see them. I think they're the most skittish fish I've ever owned. I thought they were making progress and becoming more comfortable, but it hasn't really gotten much better. I think Alibob's comment earlier in this thread was spot on.
 

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John Hutch

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Very nice setup you have there...Im so jealous.
 

LyndaB

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That looks amazing!!!!

I do have one question other than "can I please have your tank".... how on earth would you vac clean that substrate once you have fish in there? I just can't imagine. But man oh man, I do love that natural look.
 

allibobs

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Your Tank is fabulous! My Galaxy rasbora still school up with my mountain minnows and hang round with them in and about the plants.I love the little guys but oh boy are they skittish, I swear I actually made them jump the other night when I walked past the tank in the dark! and if they spot the dog the swim for cover.
 

youngstermatt

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That's only 10 gal. WOW, you should enter that into next months "aquarium of the month photo competition
 

MosquitoBreeder

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That looks amazing for 10 gallons.
 
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jclee

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Thanks you all! I'm trying to decide if/what to add/alter next, other than waiting for the plants to grow out, which I suppose is the main thing that I should do at this point. I really hope the dwarf hairgrass takes root well and spreads, although I've heard that it's a fairly slow grower. Anyone with anecdotes about using dwarf hairgrass as ground cover, chime on in. I had also read that, if you trim the top off, it will encourage the plant to grow out, horizontally, so I tried that on a clump or two. If that's worked (or not) for anyone else in the past, I'd love to hear about it.

LyndaB said:
how on earth would you vac clean that substrate once you have fish in there?
Densely planted tanks often do not get the kind of substrate vacuuming that plants with few or no plants, or plants that don't have extensive root systems get. Actually, this tank is modeled on Diana Walstad's method. Natural planted tanks use organic additive free soil that's capped with either sand or gravel, and under the conditions she recommends setting up, she writes that "a substrate that supports good plant growth doesn't become toxic, and it rarely (if ever) needs to be vacuumed. Plant roots keep it healthy" (Walstad 6). Again, this is not recommended for all fish tanks.

Walstad describes a delicate balance that needs to be kept, and I'd want to make sure that nothing I've written could be mis-interpreted as an excuse for poor maintenance, so I wanted to throw the explanation in there. A quick internet search for Walstad Natural Planted Tank can get you a good basic how-to guide, if you want to learn more, or you could look up a copy of her book. Honestly, I'm loving this technique enough that I'm thinking of switching over my 20 gallon planted tank to an NPT, so that I can get better growth with less tech. It's worth looking into the methods, even if you're not setting one up right away.

I've even set up some smaller NPT vases and bowls (fishless, because they're quite small), just to experiment with the NPT methods a little bit. Maybe I'll try to get some pictures of those next.
 

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I just recently planted my hair grass, maybe 3 weeks ago, and it's relatively slow... However I can see that the roots are really starting to spread now (some clumps closest to the front glass have roots that have shot out and hit the glass, so I can watch it sprout. It's pretty interesting!).

As for the trimming... I trimmed them pretty short when I first planted it, and haven't trimmed it since, so I can't really judge trimmed vs. untrimmed growth very well.

Hope that helps a little bit

Oh! And your tank looks really amazing! The word that comes to mind is rustic. In a very good way, of course!
 
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