10 gallon planted tank

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! I have been meaning to set up a 10 gallon for my persian killifishes ever since their 5 gallon started leaking a few weeks ago, and I finally got around to it today :) Here is the tank right now, mere minutes after I set it up;

Planted tank 6 26 2021 (setup date).jpeg
Here are the current specs;
Heater; None
Substrate; About 3 inches pool filter sand
Water; Quite hard (I believe about 12 degrees GH and KH? I forget the exact figure. Much harder than my tap because I add salts to keep the killies happy)
Light; None until I add live plants in August. When I add them, I will use two R20 bulbs with 350 lumens each for 6 hours a day.
Fertilizers; Again, none currently. When I add plants in August, I will use Thrive C and Flourish excel.
Filter; A homemade box filter. May replace it with something bigger and/or more powerful.
Occupants; Two male persian killifishes (one of which is getting old) and a bunch of trumpet snails. The 'plants' currently in the tank are fake and will be removed when real ones are added in August.

Thanks for looking :) Don't hesitate to give me any suggestions to make this tank more successful.
 

ChrissFishes01

Are you going for a deep sand bed, or do you just prefer extra deep substrates for planting?

Man, I gotta try some of the killies. My water comes out of the tap around 17 dGH and 14 dKH. I think a lot of them would do fairly well.
 

Cawafuoshi

What are the benefits of such deep substrate?
 

Joshaeus

Are you going for a deep sand bed, or do you just prefer extra deep substrates for planting?

Man, I gotta try some of the killies. My water comes out of the tap around 17 dGH and 14 dKH. I think a lot of them would do fairly well.
What are the benefits of such deep substrate?
The deep substrate was for the plants. I was under the impression that the extra substrate would encourage larger (and thus more vigorous) plants, similarly to how larger pots encourage larger terrestrial plants when all other things are equal, but I could always be wrong.

Most killifishes prefer considerably softer water, but persian killifishes - and most other members of the pupfish family, for that matter - prefer hard water. Some of them are even marine fishes.
 

ChrissFishes01

The deep substrate was for the plants. I was under the impression that the extra substrate would encourage larger (and thus more vigorous) plants, similarly to how larger pots encourage larger terrestrial plants when all other things are equal, but I could always be wrong.

Most killifishes prefer considerably softer water, but persian killifishes - and most other members of the pupfish family, for that matter - prefer hard water. Some of them are even marine fishes.
Interesting theory - I think that for the largest species (Amazon Swords, Giant Val, etc...) you could be right. But I've also found that most of the plants I keep (Crypts, Rhizome Plants, Jungle Val, Stem plants, etc...) typically don't have massive root systems. I'll be interested to see what you find, though!

And yeah, I was more referring to the harder water and brackish/marine killies. I'd love to give Golden Wonders a try, Sheepshead Minnows, Mummichogs, and some of other "ugly" US natives. I find them to be unbelievably cool.
 

Joshaeus

Hi again everyone! Not a huge update...I decided to replace the air powered filter with a 90 GPH internal power filter (I believe Topfin brand?) and added about a gallon of additional water to the tank. I did not take a picture of the tank but will do so on Sunday when I do the next water change.
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! Just a small picture update;

Planted tank 7 3 2021.jpeg
Aside from the aforementioned power filter, not much to report...I did a water change earlier today. I also did a nitrate test on the old water and found a nitrate level of about 0ppm...clearly this tank is as lightly stocked as it looks...
 

Cawafuoshi

Hi again everyone! Not a huge update...I decided to replace the air powered filter with a 90 GPH internal power filter (I believe Topfin brand?) and added about a gallon of additional water to the tank. I did not take a picture of the tank but will do so on Sunday when I do the next water change.

Depending on which model of filter you opted for, I actually like the Top Fin branded filters. They are super silent, sturdy, and in my case, long lasting. I had one for more than three years without problems.
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! The tank hasn't really changed visually yet, so I am not posting a picture...I am planning to add actual plants to this tank early in August. Nitrates were still 0 ppm as of yesterday (I did the 40% water change earlier this morning, so that's as high as the nitrates are going currently...I credit the snails for that).

On a side note...I am not sure what I am going to stock in this tank after my two remaining persian killifishes (one of which is visibly geriatric) pass away. Do I want another spawning project (more persian killifishes even?); a wet pet; something I cannot currently think of?
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! I am down to just one persian killifish currently. My tank has not changed much - still fake plants, nitrates are still zero, the trumpet snails are still doing a good job cleaning up (I did add a heater set to 77 fahrenheit, though) - but I think I am ready to add plants and came up with a simple schematic of what I am thinking of doing;

Tank schematic jpeg.jpg
Forgive the crude drawing...do these look like good ideas for my tank?
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! I have revised my plant stocking concept slightly...how does this sound?

-Najas gaudalupensis (guppy grass) occupying the entire left side of the background, part of the right side, and the very edges of the foreground
-Dwarf tiger lotus, occupying the foreground a few inches away from the left edge
-Dwarf saggitaria, occupying the right 2/3rds of the foreground
-Ludwigia (rubin?), occupying a section of the background that starts about 2/3rds of the way from the left side of the tank and which ends shortly before the right edge.

I was thinking that the abundance of a strictly submerged plant (the guppy grass) that does not need to convert from an emersed form would make the tank less likely to succumb to algae issues. Thanks :)
 

SouthAmericanCichlids

I think JLAquatics could do a rough drawing for you of it.
 

Brilliance

Hi everyone! I have revised my plant stocking concept slightly...how does this sound?

-Najas gaudalupensis (guppy grass) occupying the entire left side of the background, part of the right side, and the very edges of the foreground
-Dwarf tiger lotus, occupying the foreground a few inches away from the left edge
-Dwarf saggitaria, occupying the right 2/3rds of the foreground
-Ludwigia (rubin?), occupying a section of the background that starts about 2/3rds of the way from the left side of the tank and which ends shortly before the right edge.

I was thinking that the abundance of a strictly submerged plant (the guppy grass) that does not need to convert from an emersed form would make the tank less likely to succumb to algae issues. Thanks :)
Good luck getting guppy grass to grow where you want it lol
 

PSYMON117

A quick tip I've picked u from our brothers and sisters here. As far as looks go, instead of having it look like just a block of sand, if you were to slope your substrate from front to back you will get a more natural look and it will add some depth to your tank making it appear bigger. Looking forward to seeing how it all comes out. (•‿•)
 

Joshaeus

A quick tip I've picked u from our brothers and sisters here. As far as looks go, instead of having it look like just a block of sand, if you were to slope your substrate from front to back you will get a more natural look and it will add some depth to your tank making it appear bigger. Looking forward to seeing how it all comes out. (•‿•)
Noted! Sloped the sand a few days ago...I'll take a picture of the tank tomorrow after the water change.

Speaking of which...that will likely be the last plantless picture of this tank. I just made an order of plants that will include the following;
-Echinodorus 'miracle' (front right)
-Dwarf sagittaria (front, right 2/3rds of tank)
-Vallisneria asiatica (back left, 2/3rds of tank)
-Tiger lotus (front, about 1/3rd from left)
-Ludwigia 'rubin' (back, about 2/3rds from left)

I also tested the bulbs I had purchased for the tank...they were flickering, so I scrapped them and purchased two 300 lumen R16 bulbs instead (which looked quite bright, but I have no clue what their PAR is). They will be running 6 hours a day at first, and if the tank is doing reasonably well I will slowly increase the photoperiod. The tank will be dosed with Thrive C on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and Flourish Excel every day; to minimize stress on the vals, I will start the Excel at a half dose and increase to a full dose after about 2 weeks (I already created a diluted mixture of 4 parts distilled water to 1 part Excel to make that dose easier to administer...it is being housed in a 50 ml prime bottle that I emptied into a 500ml bottle of prime and then rinsed out before adding the Excel and water). The tank will receive a 16 liter water change on Sunday, with the filter media (several filter sponge pieces) being squeezed in the old water once a month; the tank's lights will be kept off on water change day to avoid any CO2 fluctuations from the new water.
 

Joshaeus

As of yesterday, the tank is planted! Here is a shot from this morning;

Planted tank 8 12 2021.jpeg
Lots of contortion val on the left, dwarf sag in the front two thirds of the tank, a tiger lotus, echinodorus miracle, and ludwigia 'rubin'. Aquarium Plants Factory sent me generous portions of everything and, except for the Ludwigia (which is notorious for shipping poorly), all the plants arrived in good shape. Here's to me keeping the tank looking this good long term! ;) Should I increase the water changes for the time being? I spent a few minutes this morning removing damaged foilage from the plants.

Side note...dosed 1ml Thrive C last night and .5ml flourish excel this morning.
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! Just an annoying anecdote...I found my filter not working this morning during the water change, so I tried a second filter and also found it not working. I threw out both filters and got an aqueon 60GPH internal filter...only to find it also not working. I was quite frustrated, but then I discovered the cause...I flipped a light switch and turned the outlet off :( I fixed that problem and now the filter ( and everything else on that power strip) are working again, but I'm feeling embarrassed...

As for the plants, the vals, echinodorus 'miracle', the tiger lotus, and the dwarf sagittaria are doing well (the former two are unambiguously growing...the latter I am having a harder time telling). The Ludwigia 'rubin', however, are a mixed bag; several stems melted, many leaves were shed, and only a few are showing new growth.
 

PSYMON117

Glad it wasn't something worse and everything worked out.
 

Joshaeus

Glad it wasn't something worse and everything worked out.
Agreed...thanks :)

On closer inspection this morning, it appears that most of the plants - including many of the Ludwigia stems - are showing new growth. The new growth on the Ludwigia is only barely visible, however...the growth on everything else is relatively conspicuous. I've been having issues keeping the Echinodorus 'miracle' and the tiger lotus from floating...I separated the latter from its bulb this morning and planted it with the base of a couple leaves covered in sand to try to keep it in place. (There was a second, much smaller tiger lotus attached to the bulb...I planted it and the bulb a couple inches away from the main plant).
 

PSYMON117

Have you considered maybe using plant weights until it's rooted?
 

Joshaeus

Have you considered maybe using plant weights until it's rooted?
Not a bad idea...I may pick up some glass pebbles for that purpose.
 

PSYMON117

Not a bad idea...I may pick up some glass pebbles for that purpose.
I ran into the same issues. So I started keeping the plant weights from any new plants I bought. They have definitely come in handy. (•‿•)
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! Time for another photo update;

Planted tank 8 19 2021.jpeg
Most of the plants are growing slowly but surely, but the contortion vals are absolutely in love with this tank - they are shooting out a lot of new leaves and even runners. Here is a close up of the 'val patch' (the offsets may be a little tricky to see unless you click on the picture);

Vallisneria 8 19 2021.jpeg
No sign of algae yet...let's hope it stays that way. The tank is receiving 40% water changes every Sunday (the tank lights are also shut off Sunday to minimize any CO2 swings from the water change); receives 1 ml Thrive C on Sunday (after the water change), Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and is currently receiving .5 ml Flourish excel every day except Sunday (I am going to increase that to 1 ml next Friday...the smaller dose was to allow the vals to adjust to the excel).
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! Time for a photo update;

Planted tank 8 26 2021.jpeg
The vals and most of the other plants are still doing great, but I think I have lost about half of the Ludwigia 'rubin' stems I started with to melting. I placed a PVC elbow over one of the water lily stems to hold it in place, but the crown is floating above the sand it is supposed to be rooting in, so I will likely need to find another solution. The small water lily died, but the bulb has since started producing a third water lily that is just visible in front of the PVC elbow. The dwarf sagittaria is growing new, submersed leaves (and slowly dispensing with the emersed leaves) but shows no signs of sending out runners. No signs of algae yet :)

Finally, I increased the flourish excel dose to 1 ml a day today (the recommended dose)...let's see how that goes.
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! I meant to post a picture update yesterday...better late than never, I guess!
Planted tank 9 2 2021.jpegIf this looks off, it is because my enter key is not working on fishlore (and ONLY not working on fishlore! o_O It's working fine everywhere else). The vals are growing rapidly and show no signs of melting from the excel (if anything, I feel like their growth accelerated after I upped the dose...I could just be seeing things, though); everything else is growing at a more moderate pace. I tied a stem of the water lily to the PVC elbow and buried the elbow in the sand in an attempt to get it to root; it's not done any more floating, but the crown is still not in the substrate...argh. At least it is still growing, so clearly it is not particularly stressed by this situation. The smaller lily plant is growing quickly and already has several small leaves. (Important side note...STILL no algae! Very excited about that fact...clearly, thoroughly maturing the tank before adding plants was a smart move).
 

Joshaeus

Hi everyone! I've not been feeling great the past few weeks, so while I have kept up with caring for my tanks I have not managed to post about them for a while. Here is an overdue picture of my planted tank;

Planted tank 9 21 2021.jpeg
Today I moved the water lilies to the back right of the tank to give them more light and to prevent them from getting shaded out by the vals (what will go in their place is TBD); a few days earlier I had trashed the Ludwigia 'rubin', which were not really growing. The plants are still algae free, but some green spot algae is becoming visible on the front glass...is that unavoidable in low tech tanks?
 

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