Monday, March 30, 2009

My 10 gallon planted tank plan.

I’m starting slowly to get stuff for my tank. It will be some weeks until I get everything I need, the hobby is expensive and I want to get the best possible equipment so that I can have a successful planted tank. I quit smoking and all the money I’m saving from not buying smokes is going toward my tank. I also did a lot of reading and researching, I seriously spend like 5 hours a day on internet researching everything I need to know about water chemistry, plant care, CO2 systems, substrates, fish and everything else that there is to know. I want to be prepared for anything. I also joined couple of planted tank communities and I been posting tons of questions on forums. I am so glad that there are people who are willing to guide me and help me in my learning process and don’t mind my stupid questions. I have books on planted tanks but there is only so much you can learn from them, I think it’s better to talk to people who have experience in that subject. Sometimes I feel like a kid who is always asking why and full of stupid questions. Maybe one day I will be able to give some advice to people who want to start this amazing hobby.
So here is my plan for my tank, I drew a little diagram of my tank and what goes were. I know I’m a nerd but I want to be prepared. The plan is surely to change once I start planting and setting up my tank, but I think is a good idea to have something like this so that I try to stick to original plan. I tried to pick plants that are more suitable with each other that grow in the same water conditions as well as fish that I picked to stock my tank with.

My plan:

1. Driftwood
2. Ludwigia Repens
3. Java Moss (or some other moss it will be decided later. Will be attached to driftwood and rock)

4. Anubias Barteri 'Nana' (attached to driftwood)

5. Java Fern

6. Glossostigma Elatinoides (will make a lucious carpet for my shrimp to play in)

7. Cryptocoryne Willisii

8. Rocks
9. Substrate
10. Filter
11. CO2 Diffuser (I will be making a DIY at first and later I will get some sort of CO2 system, still doing some research)
12. Heater
13. Sand Trail (will be the last step)
My fish list:
I’m planning to have a small school of Neon Tetras around 5 or 7 of them.
A Dwarf Gourami, I decided to go with 1 to begin with and we’ll see if I’ll want to add another.
Cherry shrimp 5 or 7 in total, they will be the last addition since they do need more established tank.
So this is my plan and as I said before some things might change, but I’m very happy with my fish and invertebrate selection so they will stay the same.
So far I have a filter, thermometer and heater. I ordered my lights this Friday and a glass top and they already been shipped and I can't wait to get them. My light will be 20” 1x28w Coralife Aqualight PC Hood w/ 1x28w 50/50 lamp. I will be getting a 10,000k or 6700k light bulb since it is way better for my plants. By my calculations I will have 2.8w/g which is by my research is very good to start with, but if I want I can get a higher watts bulb. Next step will be getting substrate and that were I can not make my decision. There is so many options and right now I am torn between Flourite black or MS (Mineralized Top Soil Substrate). I wanted to get some Amazonia II which is very helpful to stabilize PH and overall balance of the tank right of the bat not to mention superior plant growth, so it is a big plus because my tap waters PH is very high. But reading other peoples experiences with it I wasn’t too happy, a lot of people are getting a dust problem from Amazonia II that won’t go away after 4 months, maybe that problem was fixed but for the money they asking for a bag + shipping I don’t want to take a chance. I could go with fluorite black which is good and cheap but then I will need to do a lot of dosing with fertilizers and I still not too familiar with what exactly I need to dose and how much. MS is one of DIY methods and I found someone who will make it and all I got to do is follow step by step directions. MS will provide my tank with all of the nutrients my plants will need without harming the fish. The only thing that I would have to dose at some point would be potassium, it is usually the first thing to deplete. Some people had been doing this method for 20 years with a great success and I been told that you can go like this for around 7 years without dosing anything but some potassium. Of course if I will decide to get MS it will be a little more expensive than fluorite, maybe like $10-15 more + I will need to get something to put on top of it, but when I think of it I will be saving money because I won’t need to buy any fertilizers for a while and it will be easier for a newbie like me. Anyway I got like 2 weeks to think it over I will write on what I decided to get when the time comes for me to order. And I have great people to discuss it with on one of my forums. For CO2 I will be going a cheap way in the beginning by making my own DIY system, details on that later.
So the things I’ve learned so far are:
For plants to be successful you need good light, some kind of CO2 system and a good planting medium which will provide good nutrition source. There are a lot of things that might go wrong and I am prepared for it also having people with experience helps a lot.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What inspired me to start a planted tank of my own.

Since I was a little girl I always loved aquariums, and had some when I was growing up. I can sit for hours in front of the fish tank and watch fish swim around. There is something about aquariums that is so calming, and always puts me into a good mood no matter how bad my day was. I always watch any show that is about marine life, in fact I almost went to school to become a marine biologist and if I had the money now I would go in a heart beat. When I finally moved out of my moms house I got my self a fish tank with some goldfish, one of my goldfish ended up living for like 8 years, then I had some tropical fish, and a small tank with a betta on top of other pets in my house at the time. I also inspired my best friend to get a tank too and now she’s got 2 of them. My tanks were never anything special, some fake plants and some decorations, but I always spent hours in front of them watching my fish. When I got engaged and moved to Chicago to live with my husband he got me a 10g tank for my birthday in which I had a goldfish. I knew that it’s not nearly enough for a goldfish but they are one of my favorite fish, and I was hoping that my husband will agree to let me move it into out 55g that’s is empty, for now. Well he never did, so I finally decided that it’s not fair for the goldfish to be in a tank that is 10g so I found a home for it were its much happier. Now I needed to figure out what I want to keep in my 10g, so I was looking around on internet to see what fish I would like to have when I came across a website with pictures of an aquascaping contest, I was blown away by the beauty of those tanks. I seen some people have live plants in their tanks before but never anything like what I saw on that website. The tanks that I saw were like little landscapes taken from nature, actually when I saw some pictures I though I was looking at a photograph of a country landscape, the only thing that gave it away was some fish floating on the background and at first I thought it was some weird birds LOL. When I seen those pieces of art I knew right then and there that I want to turn my 10g into a planted tank and hopefully make an aquascape master piece. The picture in this post are the ones that inspired me to start a planted tank of my own.