10 Gallon Tank Starting Up After Tragedy

  • #1
After losing all my setups to the freak snowstorm on Halloween in New England, I have finally taken steps to slowly get back into fishkeeping. You might as well call me a beginner now because of the time since I last kept fish. I have pulled out my old 10 gallon fish tank from the attic and gave it a nice wash with a vinegar and water mix. I checked out all my gear to make sure they are in order. My next step is to get my aquascape in order. My goal is to create a South American biotype. I want it to be very simple with some rock formations and driftwood. However while researching ideas, I came across designs with leaves at the bottom of the tank. How do you properly add these leaves? Is there anything I should know before I start planning around this design? I plan on adding 6-7 red phantom tetras. From experience I have learned that tetras have a relative small bio-load in a well established tank. However, this tank will be farely new. Should I only add about 3 tetras until six months old or is it okay to add 6-7 tetras before the tank fully matures? I might even try those cycling chemicals. Has anyone used these cycling chemicals before? What is your opinion on them? Also how do you create that darker lighting affect? Is there anyway I could put in a fluorescent lightbulb that would work or would I have to create a new lighting fixture? If any user has a South American setup, could you supply pictures of your setup? I really want to explore everything before I officially setup. Its easier to do all the research now, than change the setup after the tank is running.

Just some of my ideas:


  • #2
Just want to let you know it is good to see you back on the forum. On cycling a tank, have to say I always do a fish-less cycle. If you can borrow some filter media from someone it can accelerate the process. I know other members have used cycling material... I haven't and I think that while a tank cycles , it gives us a good idea of how we want to decorate it, or what kind of fish to add. if the bio-load of the fish is too small it may not cycle??? I have used shrimp suspended in the foot of a ladies pantyhose and have also borrowed lots of filter materiel/substrate from other tanks and had an almost instant cycle.
  • #3
I've got no clue on the cycling products. We don't have any here. Just wanted to say it's good to see you back TSS etc aren't really instant though. Could you buy some cycled media off someone here? I wish shops would realise the endless benefits of selling established media to people! Sure, newcomers would cringe at the manky, dirty sponges etc, going into their pristine new tanks, but knowledge is essential. Anyway. Those pictures look good. I like the first one!
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  • #4
I plan on adding 6-7 red phantom tetras. From experience I have learned that tetras have a relative small bio-load in a well established tank. However, this tank will be farely new. Should I only add about 3 tetras until six months old or is it okay to add 6-7 tetras before the tank fully matures?]

I most likely worded that terribly. 6-7 tetras, especially red phantom tetras can be a lot for a new 10 gallon tank. I am aware that tetras have a small bio-load in a well established tank, but even after a cycle, it takes months for a tank to become completely stable and established. I was wondering if a large quantity of tetras, though slowly added, would cause the tank to become overstocked because the tank is still not completely established. I might just be over thinking this.
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  • #5

Over the weekend I went to Petco and took a look around. They didn't have the red phantom tetras in stock and won't have them in stock for a while. However I did get to look at other tetra species. I'm still not sure what I want. I liked the looks of the bloodfin tetras, but I haven't actually looked into them that much. I am open to suggestions for a tetra specie to stock my tank. I'm looking for a more natural-ish color. I don't want neon tetra looking fish.

I did pick up a 4" Echinodorus amazonicus (amazon sword). I took it out of the package and wasn't in the best shape. Hopefully the plant will grow back, but for 5 dollars for 3, I am not too concerned.

I found a nice stump driftwood from the river next door. I pressured washed it and then boiled it. In my opinion it turned out great after I carved it up to fit in my tank.

I also made my oak leaf tonic. I will add to the water once I get my lighting the way I want it.

My next project is to convert my fluorescent light hood to a LED lgihts. However it is not on the top of my list of things to do.

Pictures of my progress:
The bag of red stones is from a friend's betta tank so I do not know if it will help cycle as much.
Still cloudy from the sand as well. It should go away in a week or two.

fish tank.jpg
fish tank side view.jpg
oak leaf tonic.jpg
  • #6
Ooo nice driftwood! Looks like it's coming along nicely. Off topic but I <3 Arizona Sweet Tea. xD
  • #7
That driftwood looks really great!

What's the oak leaf tonic for?

Our power was out after that snowstorm for almost a week! Thankfully I didn't have any fish at the time, but I can imagine how upset you were and why it took so long for you to work your way back. Here's to nothing but good luck for you now!
  • #8
Wow that looks nice, very nice. Must say that seeing all these nice tanks makes me want to get another
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  • #9
What's the oak leaf tonic for?

It's used to create that murky amazon water affect.

I didn't want screw up the wood with powertools so it took hours of man power to get it the way it is now. Wet wood is extremely difficult to cut with a hand saw.

The driftwood displaced a large amount of water so I'm going to start off with less fish and add more later if possible.
  • #10
Did you get the red stones to help cycle? If so, I'm not sure if you are already doing this or not but you need an ammo is source for the bacteria to eat, do they don't starve.
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  • #11
I'm "feeding" the tank. It's been a long time since I had to cycle a tank. I'm used to just taking an old fliter from another tank setup to start a new tank. I can't do that though if all my setups been wiped out.
  • #12
It's used to create that murky amazon water affect.

Oh! That's neat. I didn't realize that was water tinting, I thought it might be just a background.

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