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Old 02-10-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
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Want to start a planted tank but don't know how!

I want to convert my ten gallon aquarium into a planted tank but really have no Idea about how to go about doing this. It's probably gooing to be a long post so just stick with me.

Stock

For fish I was going to do a Betta ( Just bought him, one of the coolest fish I own), An Otto which I already have, maybe a netrite snail, and red cherry shrimp. Are all these species compatible, if so how many shrimp could I get? I was thinking about ten and leave them to their own devices as far as breeding is concerned. I haven't kept shrimp before so Any advice is apprciated.

as far as plants go I was thinking cambodia and baby tears as a background plant. For the foreground I would like a species that will spread to carpet most of the tank so Ideas are needed

Lighting

these are the lights I am looking at
Amazon.com: Marineland ML Double Bright LED Light, 18-Inch, 24-Inch: Pet Supplies
will they be bright enough for the species I mentioned?

Substrate

I want to use eco-complete (Black) since I have heard it is better for beginners than flourite. Will one 20lb bag be enough for a 10 gal. tank/
Co2

This is probably the part where I need the most advice. This is the Unit I want to get
Amazon.com: Hagen Nutrafin CO2 Natural Plant System with CO2 Activator and Stabilizer: Pet Supplies
Which of the following ould I need with this? A bubble counter, diffuser, and check valve. ( I don't want to use the diffuser that comes with it since many people say that it killed their fish) This is the diffuser I was looking at. Amazon.com: Fluval Ceramic 88g-CO2 Diffuser - 3.1 Ounces: Pet Supplies
Also, is it Ok to let this run overnight or could that kill the fish? If not how can I controll it other than a timer? Also, would I need an indicator like this one? Amazon.com: Fluval CO2 Indicator Kit: Pet Supplies.


Lastly on a side note would I need tablet fertilizers or would the eco-complete take care of that? For those of you who took the time to read through this thread thank you for your help. I really have no experience with this so any advice is appreciated!
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:31 PM   #2
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Knew I'd Forget something!
I've heard that Co2 will lower PH, how much can I expect it to go down? ( It's usually around 8.4) And will plants lower your water hardness?
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:45 PM   #3
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Might look into Glossostigma for a carpet plant for a ten gallon. Also check out how to make a java moss carpet.

Plants will not affect your pH. I'm not familiar enough with CO2 to answer about how it affects your pH, but I do know that the harder your water is, the less it can be messed with.

20 lbs of eco complete will give you about 2 inches of substrate, so it'll probably work just fine. I would use root tabs (actually, I do use root tabs ).

I don't think the light you mentioned will work. The reviews I've seen on that light with tank plants is that it barely works for low light plants, and baby tears are not low light. LED's really haven't reached popularity for a planted tank aside from using them for moonlight strips. Florescents are really the favored way to go, be it strip lights or compacts.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:51 PM   #4
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I have pressurized co2 and my ph is stable around 6.4 it used to be at 7.6. It will make it go down slightly but not too bad.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:23 PM   #5
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Do you recommend any specific brands/models as far as lights go? I'm on a fairly limited budget.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:24 PM   #6
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I have a current nova extreme 2 bulb t5ho I paid 80 for it. Best lights ever
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:45 PM   #7
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I've just started a planted aquarium about a month ago. So far I'm using hair grass for a carpet and a few different size sword plants.

I used a DIY co2 and the fish started acting like they couldn't breathe and so I stopped. The plants are still growing like crazy though. I just started using API leaf zone fertilizer, and it worked magic for the sword plants.

As far as the fish the only concern would be the Betta. I have read a lot saying they can be with others and a lot that says they can't. I guess it depends on the Betta. Please let me know how the Betta does if it works for you.

Hope this helps,
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxkolbe View Post
Do you recommend any specific brands/models as far as lights go? I'm on a fairly limited budget.
Home Depot. Seriously. Or walmart. Take a look around Home Depot's website if you have one locally (or look around your local home improvement store). The strip shop lights work pretty well, and something around 24 to 34 watts would give you high light in a ten gallon, I think. Just get some floating plants so your betta can get away from the light. I used Home Depot for my 55 gallon, and Walmart for the light on my ten.

Dander, yeah, it really does depend on the betta's personality. So far I've found a higher percentage of bettas that do great to ok with tank mates than that won't...so far as I can tell, if they're flaring constantly in the cup at the store, you have a much higher possibility it's going to be a cranky betta.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:48 AM   #9
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Well I had a black Mollie in the tank when I introduced him and the Mollie wouldn't stop chasing him. I put the Mollie in a different tank. This leads me to believe he will be Ok with shrimp since he is with an upside-down catfish and an Otto and doesn't bother them.

Will the home depot bulbs be compatible with the fixture that came with the tank? And would I need more than one?

So here's some of the questions I still need answered
How many shrimp can I get?
Is it oK to run the Co2 at night

And a new question, there's usually a ton of duckweed in this lake by our house, is it Ok to use it, and how do keep a floating plant confined to one area?

You've all been a great help so far, thanks!
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Maxkolbe
Well I had a black Mollie in the tank when I introduced him and the Mollie wouldn't stop chasing him. I put the Mollie in a different tank. This leads me to believe he will be Ok with shrimp since he is with an upside-down catfish and an Otto and doesn't bother them.

Will the home depot bulbs be compatible with the fixture that came with the tank? And would I need more than one?

So here's some of the questions I still need answered
How many shrimp can I get?
Is it oK to run the Co2 at night

And a new question, there's usually a ton of duckweed in this lake by our house, is it Ok to use it, and how do keep a floating plant confined to one area?

You've all been a great help so far, thanks!
That depends... If your tank came with a hood like mine that used two small bulbs, mostly likely not... If your tank uses the long strip lights, I couldn't imagine them not, I know the one here does. I use 15 watts (got it from home depot )in my 10 gallon and everything is growing wonderfully.

For shrimp I'd say around 20.

I don't know about the co2 thing...

Lake water in general has a ton of its own bacteria and algae, so I would be wary of it. But I can't say that I know for sure if it's actually bad
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:00 PM   #11
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Cool--definitely sounds like the betta will be fine.

If your aquarium hood came with two screw in skinny bulbs, I found replacements at home depot, but they were the same bulbs. Two 15w screw in florescents. If you look at mini CFL bulbs, you may be able to replace them with stronger lights, though--a lot of people have done that.

If it's a strip, it's possible but not likely--those florescents usually have a specific wattage depending on size and whether they're T8 or T5, and you can't put a T5 in a T8 fixture, unfortunately.

However, what you can do is what a lot of planted tank folks have done--put a glass top on (or don't--it depends on whether you're worried about fish jumping out or things getting in) then getting one of those flexible neck lamps and getting a compact florescent bulb for it of the wattage you want.

On the duckweed, go for it. I have a stock pond with duckweed that I'm about to put some in my tank. What I'm going to do is rinse it off really well in tap water, give it a dip in a 1 to 19 bleach to water solution (you can also use potassium permngranate) rinse it in dechlorinated water, and drop it in. You can also quarantine for a week or two. Just keep on top of it--it grows fast, so when you're getting too much, just take a handful and toss it. Don't put it back in the pond--aquariums have their own bacteria that is different than those in the natural water ways. Keeping it contained will depend on surface agitation--my hornwort stays in one area because the way the water swirls doesn't allow it to really move anywhere. In a betta tank, that's not a bad thing.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:54 PM   #12
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Bleach will kill plants. At least it did mine. But I had a higher concentration. It turned them into white mush in less than an hour.
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Old 02-11-2012, 03:47 PM   #13
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Low dose quick dip shouldn't hurt the hardier plants other than some melting....but yeah, the risk is why most folks prefer the potassium stuff.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaylNeko
Cool--definitely sounds like the betta will be fine.

If your aquarium hood came with two screw in skinny bulbs, I found replacements at home depot, but they were the same bulbs. Two 15w screw in florescents. If you look at mini CFL bulbs, you may be able to replace them with stronger lights, though--a lot of people have done that.

If it's a strip, it's possible but not likely--those florescents usually have a specific wattage depending on size and whether they're T8 or T5, and you can't put a T5 in a T8 fixture, unfortunately.

However, what you can do is what a lot of planted tank folks have done--put a glass top on (or don't--it depends on whether you're worried about fish jumping out or things getting in) then getting one of those flexible neck lamps and getting a compact florescent bulb for it of the wattage you want.
So you'd just use a gooseneck lamp? I was wondering if you can even do an open top tank with bettas? Would lowering the water 1-2 inches be enough to keep them from jumping out. I like the idea of letting plants grow out of the tank so could I still use the gooseneck lamp if it was say, 12 inches above the surface so I could try to grow a plant like amazon swords above the water?
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:17 PM   #15
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You can partially cover it, or use floating plants--folks have had good luck with that preventing fish from jumping out. If you cover most of it and leave just enough free to let some plants grow out in a corner, you'd much reduce the risk of the betta jumping, especially if you have floating plants in the same area. I'm not sure amazon swords would grow out the way you think it would--most aquatic plants won't stand up on their own outside of water. But you could put some lucky bamboo in there, maybe submerge the roots of some devil's ivy/golden pothos and let it hang over the edge of the tank. I'm doing that and it looks pretty neat.

Looking for an inexpensive solution to a high light ten gallon, yes, that's exactly what I would do. Either a clip on or a tabletop gooseneck. Easy and cheap, and works like a charm.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:12 PM   #16
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I checked both pet stores near me and neither one carries eco-complete except on their website. (don't even want to think about what the shipping would be). However petsmart does carry fluorite. Is florite just as good or better than Eco complete and if I did get it how would I go about switching out the gravel for florite?
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:19 AM   #17
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It's as good--some people prefer one or the other, but as far as I can tell there's not much difference in performance. Someone else may weigh in on how they changed--I know there are folks who have done it without removing fish. I did it the harder way and put all my fish in a bucket, emptied the water, cleared out the substrate, put the new stuff in, planted and rearranged decor, refilled with water, and put the fish back in. Gave me a chance to see how many shrimp I had left *lol*
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:25 AM   #18
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I had my Betta in a rimless 10g. You can see pics on my profile.

The CO2 system you linked is similar to a DIY set up and AFAIK they do usually run 24/7. Not an easy way to regulate them.

I'm told they don't put out huge amounts so it shouldn't kill your fish. (?) I don't think you need to invest in any extras for that system. A drop checker isn't that accurate and prob won't register for your system.

The plastic "ladder" is the bubble counter/diffuser. If you want a different bubble counter you can buy one, but since this is not a regulated system you can't adjust anything anyway.

Look at paintball setups if you really want to get into CO2. Or DIY it.

Some of my club members just stick a piece of bamboo chopstick into the end of the CO2 tubing. It acts as a diffuser.

Shrimp are more sensitive. The Hagen system should be ok, but keep an eye on livestock. Your Betta may eat every shrimp you put in there. They usually do NOT work as tankmates. You can try, but have a bowl with some Java Moss to house rescued Shrimp if needed.


I've never tried Dwarf Baby Tears. I've never used CO2. I'm just telling you what my club members have told me.

I like Flourite , but mostly use sand with root caps.

I'm low light/ low tech. But still grow plants !!!
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:21 AM   #19
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Sorry it took a while to reply.

If I did the gooseneck lamp lighting would a 40 watt bulb be bright enough? I've been watching the betta and he seems fairly peaceful so I don't think he'll bother shrimp.

I have heard that fluorite clouds water really easily, how would I switch my substrate without this happening, and how many 7Kg bags would I need?

Thanks for all the help so far!
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Old 02-14-2012, 09:51 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Maxkolbe
Sorry it took a while to reply.

If I did the gooseneck lamp lighting would a 40 watt bulb be bright enough? I've been watching the betta and he seems fairly peaceful so I don't think he'll bother shrimp.

I have heard that fluorite clouds water really easily, how would I switch my substrate without this happening, and how many 7Kg bags would I need?

Thanks for all the help so far!
A 40w of what kind of bulb ? Plants need usually between 5000-10000K. I try to aim for 5,500-6,500K. The 10,000K is too harsh to my liking, but it still works.

I believe 40watts is too much with a Hagen or DIY CO2 set up. I would try 20w and maybe you could add a second 20w for a midday burst for 2 hours. My lights are on timers 4hrs on/4 off/4 on. That way I get to enjoy my tanks after I get home. If I get Algae in a new tank I reduce to 4-6 hrs total in a day.

Again hopefully someone who grows Baby Tears or has a Nano High light set up can advise you better. I'm just telling you what I would try if it was my tank.
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