My tank (current updated configuration):

10 gallon (20 wide x 10 deep x 12 high)

two 10 watt 6500k cfl

medium sized gravel/rocks

power filter rated for 20-50 gallon tank

DIY CO2

planted with,

Anubias Barteri broad leaf

Anubias Nana

Crypt Spiralis

Crypt Wendtii, red

Java Fern

Cyperus Helferi

Dwarf sagittaria

Dwarf water lily

stocked with,

8 zebra danios

11 neon tetras

12 red cherry shrimps

10 ghost shrimps

5 cory catfish

9 otto (otocinclus) catfish

1 male betta

 

3/13/2012

First fill and setup. (The picture was taken 3/15/2012, 2 days after filling and setting up the tank)

3/16/2012

Took out the archway, added 2 Anubis nana and 5 zebra danios.

3/19/2012

there's a new leaf bud forming on the anubis attached to the lava rock that wasn't there a few days ago.

3/20/2012

new leaf on the anubis on lava rock.  1 zebra danio died (found it float against the filter intake grill, not sure if it was sucked to its death or simply died and drifted there), 1 zebra danio is missing.  can't find it anywhere in tank or filter, practically took both apart trying to find it.

3/21/2012

3 remaining danios seems to be doing fine.

3/22/2012

my plants arrived (from left to right)

moss ball, anubias barteri broad leaf, java fern, crypt spiralis, crypt wendtii (red), cyperus helferi

3/23/2012

I took out all the old looking and larger leaves from each of the plants.  the crypt spiralis I cut that back all the way to the roots (about an inch of stock and the rest roots) because I thought it was a little large and wanted to see it start from the beginning.

3/24/2012

3/25/2012

added an air stone to help agitate the water at night for the 3 fish.

3/26/2012

water seems to have cleared up a lot since first putting in the plants.

3/27/2012

some of the crypt wendtii have started to melt but surprisingly most of it is still intact.  the crypt spiralis has started to sprout stems/leaves.

3/28/2012

put in a different filter that didn't take up as much room inside of the tank.  added 3 more zebra danios for a total of 6.

3/29/2012

3/31/2012

added in 11 neon tetras and 2 Chinese algae eaters.  seems like a lot to add at once been I got them at a bargain, 8 bucks for all of them. 

04/01/2012

all the plants and fish seem to be thriving with the exception of the java fern which hasn't really changed much since being planted.  the two types of crypts seem to have been the most surprising because of what I've read about crypts in general when it comes to melting.  I would say about 5-10% of them has melted but they have largely remained intact and actually growing.

4/3/2012

I swapped out the hang on back filter and switched back to the internal in-tank filter I had before (its quieter).  I doubt the fish will mind giving up that little bit of tank space since it's probably also quieter for them as well.  Plants and fish still look good and algae seems to be under control.  Kinda of disappointed with the java fern though.  When I got them, they looked rattled and had some brown leaves.  They really haven't changed and not really improving nor getting worst, just stable.  Considering getting another batch or just getting a different plant altogether.  I'll just see how they fair for now.

The Crypt Wendtii is going great.

So is the Crypt Spiralis which is in the back right corner.  I practically planted just the roots a week and a half ago and they're shooting up leaves 6-7 inches high.

4/8/2012

I moved some plants around.  I'm not sure I like the new look but for now I'll leave it for a few days to see if the new layout grows on me.  The new layout opens up the bottom part of the tank but at the same time makes the middle tank section more busy and crowded looking.  Not 100% about the grouping of the different plants but I guess in nature you're more bound to find plants of the same kind together than randomly mixed in with other kinds.  For some odd reason, it just doesn't feel natural in the tank.  Maybe because a tank environment is so much smaller.

I've moved all the Crypt Wendtii to the right side of the tank.  I kept the Crypt Spiralis where they were in the back right corner.

All the anubias are attached at the right part of the tree ornament while the left side I used to attach the Java Fern.

4/12/2012

I did a little more rearranging and I think it's about where I'm happy with it.  I also added some Dwarf Sagittaria to the front right. 

4/13/2012

My tank is now a month old.  I trimmed some of the dwarf sag and added a DIY CO2 setup to it.  It's a 2 liter bottle for the CO2 generator and a 1 liter bottle for the gas separator/ bubble counter bottle and I'm using a glass diffuser.

4/21/2012

New fish;
10 ghost shrimps, 12 red cherry shrimps, 5 cory catfish, 3 otto (otocinclus) catfish, and 1 male betta

New plant;
2 dwarf lily bulbs

Took out the 2 Chinese algae eaters, they were getting a bit large and I noticed them being aggressive towards my other fish.

Replaced the Whisper 10i (10 gallons worth of filtration) filter with the Fluval C3 (20-50 gallon filter, which is currently set at the half way point so about 35 gallons worth of filtration for a 10 gallon tank, keeps the tank crystal clear aside from the CO2 bubbles).

Took out the air stone in the back since the new filter provides more than enough water movement for gas exchange. Relocated the CO2 diffuser from the right side to where the air stone used to be in the back.

Revised my CO2 setup to fix a leaking problem; I'm on the third revision. The first version I used epoxy glue for the bond between the gas tube and bottle caps, it lasted a couple days but ultimately leaked from too much pressure. The second version I used silicon glue, it lasted about 6 hours but failed as well from the pressure. The third and current version I went a mechanical route and so far it's doing well; over 2 days and no sign of leakage. I drilled the hole for the tube slightly smaller than the tube itself, cut the tube end to a point, and forced the tube through with pliers. With the mechanical setup, the pressure from the CO2 gas is what keeps the seal airtight. The more pressure, the more airtight it becomes. The main reason I was having pressure/leak problems was because of the glass diffuser I was using. It requires a higher pressure (like in a pressurized system) to actually work and my first two attempts couldn't cope with that higher pressure. My current C02 recipe gives me about a bubble a second. It's the first time I've tried DIY CO2 so I won't know how long it last until it runs down.

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I liked the Champs de Elysee. lol. Your plants are gonna need food. Try Seachem flourish. Fish will add ferts (fish poo) and Co2. Yeah, a 20 gal. would have been better. The bigger the tank the easier it is to maintain. Enjoy the hobby. That's what we're here for.

Light spectrum is good. Are you providing 20 lumens per square inch of surface area? Better yet, if your plants get some sunlight they'll love you.

I liked the arch too but it was just taking up too much space for the tank size. The fake tree branch won out in the end since it was something I could attach plants to.

I'm giving them 1 ml of Seachem flourish a week. just started dosing earlier today when it arrived from amazon.

didn't really measure the light for the tank, I've got two 10 watt cfls and to me it looks like there's plenty of light. I run them 12 hrs/day. there's ambient light from the windows but nothing direct.

I'm going for something simple with my tank, if it gets too complicated, i'll end up just giving up on it. so far I'm doing weekly 2gallon (20%) water changes and the fish gets fed twice a day and the plants will get a 1ml dose of flourish after the water change. I don't test the water. the only "test" I do with the water is to just smell it (from the open food door at the top) before I feed the fish. so far I haven't smelt anything that would give me cause for concern. unless there's a major die off or an odor develops, probably won't be doing anything different. the one thing I learnt from Dustin was to try to keep it simple.

According to my calculations you don't have enough light, but I'm picturing 2 10-watt cfls over a 10 gallon tank and it kind of seems like enough light to me. So I'm a little confused about what to tell you on that subject. No doubt your plants will let you know.

Sounds like you've taken the sensible approach and have everything under control. Keep it up and it'll be almost impossible to screw things up.

I would substitute a real branch for the fake one. It looks more natural plants actually feed off of it.  

The weird thing is I actually think my tank is getting too much light, that and/or too much nutrient since even with all the plants I have in there, there's algae (green and brown) growing in the tank.  That must mean there's enough left over nutrient (and light) in there to feed the algae.

all the plants are alive and well but the suprise seems to be the Crypt Spiralis and Crypt Wendtii.  they're not only surviving but they're thriving.  the water/nutrient and light conditions in my tank seems to be good for them (and algae).  the other plants are just alive, not really growing all that much.  probably a good thing though since I really don't want the plants to outgrow the tank too fast, which is why I decided not to dirt it.  

probably will do driftwood for my next tank, already thinking about it.  50 gallon, medium planted tank with 4-5 fancy goldfish.  actually started this tank because I wanted goldfish but decided against it when I read about their requirements.

If you wanna get rid of the algae add floating plants. Water cabbage is best but duckweed will suffice. Floating plants get their Co2 from the atmosphere. (Air holds much more Co2 than water) Therefore they outcompete algae by simply hogging the nutrients. 

Interesting about the Crypts.... they're low-light plants. I still think you'll eventually wanna substitute 10 watt cfls for 17 or 23 watt cfls in the future but who knows?

Your 50 gallon will be a medium planted tank? There's no such thing as too many plants!!  (Never met a fish that didn't love plants Lee.)  But seriously, I like what you're doin'. Keep it up.

Choosing the fish is the fun part. Glad you're not doing goldfish. They're not tropical and really belong outside.

The algae isn't bad yet, I'll wait to see if they're under control or if I need to take  action.  they're not visible unless the light catches them right or you're examining the tank very closely.

pretty much all the plants I put in my tank were rated for low to moderate lighting.


don't get me wrong, the larger tank will have a lot more plants than the 10gallon, they're just be more open space for fish to swim around too.  it just won't look like a jungle the way my 10 gallon does.  I understand the value of having the tank well planted.  I would consider the 10 gallon heavily planted but the fish in there are pretty small so swimming around isn't an issue for any of them.  I would never consider keeping goldfish in a 10gallon.  way too small for even the fancy variety.  The 50 gallon though, will house a few fancy goldfish.  it's still a little small for the common or comets but I think a few fancies will be happy.  

Yeah, the fish need room to swim. Bettas are the exception. 

By the way, algae is good for fish but unsightly. I keep the sides of my aquarium covered with algae. Its actually kind of attractive. This is my compromise. I have to scrape the front viewing pane with a flat razor once a month.

Your fancies will be fine in a 50 - and you won't need a heater.

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