Planted Aquarium- Stuck And Need Advice

GettinTanked

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I know lighting a 10 gallon seems like no big deal, but I've made a few mistakes so far already, despite hours of research, so I really want some feedback from seasoned aquariests before making more moves. Really appreciate any input!

So, here's where I'm at.
Purchased the 10 gallon Top Fin Starter Kit. The lights are cheapo LEDs. Looking to get at least enough light for low to moderate light plants. Ideally moderate.
Current plants: 1 anubias, 2 amazon swords, 1 java fern. A little cryptocoryne parva and dwarf hairgrass.
Planned plants: Hornwort, maybe a melon sword.
So I'm going for easy plants, but still think I probably need to upgrade the light. All of the current plants have been in the tank 1-2 weeks and aren't looking too hot, but I'm hoping they bounce back once settled. I've been giving them a couple mL of Flourish Seachem 2x week and most of the plants have a root tab underneath them because I went with a nonnutritive substrate (mistake #1).
I'm hoping not to have to do anything with CO2. I want to keep things as low tech and easy as possible.
Haven't seen any algae so far.

Another factor to consider is that my tank MUST have a top, as I have a cat.

More background info that may or may not be relevant:
Currently cycling with 3 male endler's livebearers, although my tests never turn up any nitrites and nitrate levels are safe, so maybe I'm done? Still, giving the tank some time before adding anyone else. (If anyone has thoughts on some good tankmates for what-will-be 8ish endlers in a 10 gal, I'd love to hear it! The best option seems like the tiniest corys but my substrate is a largish gravel and I read they need softer.)
I live in an area with pretty hard water (Hey LA!) and pH from the tap is about 9. Planning to do my water changes with aged tap water (should I still condition?), alternating with distilled as needed to keep the pH under 8.
Again, def appreciate any feedback, especially lighting recommendations. The photo attached is my tank today.
-Sarah
 

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Gundy1024

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Well algae will happen to a new tank so don't be to upset when it comes, you just have to work through it till the tank matures. As for lighting you can look into some light bars and attach them to the under side of your hood. This is what I did for my shrimp tank. It had really cheap lights that came with the kit as well.
 
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GettinTanked

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Gundy1024 said:
Well algae will happen to a new tank so don't be to upset when it comes, you just have to work through it till the tank matures. As for lighting you can look into some light bars and attach them to the under side of your hood. This is what I did for my shrimp tank. It had really cheap lights that came with the kit as well.
Thanks!
I have some concerns about attaching lights to the plastic top. It's smooth, and also curved. Which is why I was thinking a full hood replacement might be in order, but the ones I've seen all have mixed reviews. What did you use to attach lights to your lid?
 

KimAnnKitz

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I've been keeping planted tanks for 4 years and am still struggling with lighting! In fact I posted a question about lights that isn't getting many responses. I have the exact issue of hood lights not being strong enough. My tank is a Fluval Vista 16 gallon.

Looking at your tank I can tell you that once those plants grow in that tank will be full! My last 16 gallon got outta control when all my plants grew up! I found myself constantly cutting plants back. I had a "dwarf" Amazon sword that took up almost half the tank. It really was too big, but it was gorgeous. I had Cryptocorne, Ludwigia, Rotella, jungle Val, bacopa, dwarf hairgrass, and maybe more. I ended up removing some of the plants due to overcrowding. The fish fry loved it. Just wanted to let you know that you may already have plenty of plants. I also ended up with a huge hair algae issue due to over lighting. Looking for a good small tank LED planted light too. I'm going to follow this hoping that someone gives you a good answer!
 

Gundy1024

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KimAnnKitz said:
I've been keeping planted tanks for 4 years and am still struggling with lighting! In fact I posted a question about lights that isn't getting many responses. I have the exact issue of hood lights not being strong enough. My tank is a Fluval Vista 16 gallon.

Looking at your tank I can tell you that once those plants grow in that tank will be full! My last 16 gallon got outta control when all my plants grew up! I found myself constantly cutting plants back. I had a "dwarf" Amazon sword that took up almost half the tank. It really was too big, but it was gorgeous. I had Cryptocorne, Ludwigia, Rotella, jungle Val, bacopa, dwarf hairgrass, and maybe more. I ended up removing some of the plants due to overcrowding. The fish fry loved it. Just wanted to let you know that you may already have plenty of plants. I also ended up with a huge hair algae issue due to over lighting. Looking for a good small tank LED planted light too. I'm going to follow this hoping that someone gives you a good answer!
My planted tanks have easy plants I them and I have to kill them almost every week. But I do love how well they grow and make the tank look now. But I am using a Finnex 24/7 on a 60 Gallon. As for the smaller tanks, you may be able to get a folding glass cover and then buy a nicer over the tank light setup. Maybe?
 

KimAnnKitz

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Gundy1024 said:
My planted tanks have easy plants I them and I have to kill them almost every week. But I do love how well they grow and make the tank look now. But I am using a Finnex 24/7 on a 60 Gallon. As for the smaller tanks, you may be able to get a folding glass cover and then buy a nicer over the tank light setup. Maybe?
The Vista tank has a slight bow front and I can not find any type of lid to fit it anywhere! My dad and I are going to build an acrylic lid -- or try to -- and the parts are on the way. I have a 24" Finnex Planted light on the tank right now, but that's the light that was on my old 16 gallon tank that grew a ton of algae. Currently lighting 8 hours a day. Already seeing some black beard or hair algae on a few leaves. I need proper lighting before we go down the algae road again! This light has been on the Tank about a month. The tank has been up and running since March 4 and I had a brown diatome outbreak that some nerite snails and cleaning are taking care of.
 
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GettinTanked

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KimAnnKitz said:
I've been keeping planted tanks for 4 years and am still struggling with lighting! In fact I posted a question about lights that isn't getting many responses. I have the exact issue of hood lights not being strong enough. My tank is a Fluval Vista 16 gallon.

Looking at your tank I can tell you that once those plants grow in that tank will be full! My last 16 gallon got outta control when all my plants grew up! I found myself constantly cutting plants back. I had a "dwarf" Amazon sword that took up almost half the tank. It really was too big, but it was gorgeous. I had Cryptocorne, Ludwigia, Rotella, jungle Val, bacopa, dwarf hairgrass, and maybe more. I ended up removing some of the plants due to overcrowding. The fish fry loved it. Just wanted to let you know that you may already have plenty of plants. I also ended up with a huge hair algae issue due to over lighting. Looking for a good small tank LED planted light too. I'm going to follow this hoping that someone gives you a good answer!
Under a suggestion from the interwebs, I opted to buy a variety of "easy" plants and see what stuck and what died. So I'm not expecting to hang on to all of these plants. At the same time, I don't mind having a heavily planted tank, as I'll have plenty of room with just my endlers in it.
Good luck!
 

KimAnnKitz

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GettinTanked said:
Under a suggestion from the interwebs, I opted to buy a variety of "easy" plants and see what stuck and what died. So I'm not expecting to hang on to all of these plants. At the same time, I don't mind having a heavily planted tank, as I'll have plenty of room with just my endlers in it.
Good luck!
I thought the same thing when I planted all those plants in my tank...but they all lived! That old tank of mine was gorgeous full of plants...until hair algae took over... Good luck to you too, sorry if that sounded like a lecture. It wasn't meant to be.
 
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