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Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:54 am
by jOLLYfISHER
Hey guys. This is my first 10gal and have nothing set up yet just ideas upon ideas. I have another post set up in the general freshwater for this tank but i have a plant question/idea. I keep reading that plants will helpwith cycleing, maintinance,algea, and everything else but can get to be a problem too. I dont want to many and any i get will have to be low light and low tech since my room is in the garage and is pitch black with the lights off, I'm not home enough for a light needy plants and dont have the money for a big light system. I was wonderin if i got 1 or 2 would be enough to help out and not become extra maintance? What kind of plants would be best? Also if i wanted to add plastic plants to fill it out would that work?

I dont know if the tank setup would be important but here is the latest idea.
10 Gal tank+hood w/lights(not sure of the wattage at the moment)
Green and black gravel(not sure what brand got from friend)
Aquaclear 20 gal filter
not sure of what type of heater or airpump yet
1 Dwarf Gourami
1 Cory Cat
2-3-4 Guppys
I'm not sure of what the pH would be since nothing is set up but hoping to get between 7-7.5.

Thanks everyone for your advice

Re: Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:46 am
by kb46
Hi Jollyfisher,

Plants are great to have in your aquarium. As you are saying the tank is in a naturally dark place you will need your light on a timer to ensure your plants get light regularly. A timer also helps with algae control as you will never forget to turn them off.

It is perfectly fine to have a mix of plastic and live plants. You can start with plastic and slowly replace them as time goes on and you collect more live ones.

Great plants for your setup would be anubias, java fern, bolbitus fern and java moss. All of these have very low light requirements which means they can be grown with 0.5-1 watt of lighting per gallon. The light you have will probably be fine for these plants regardless of its wattage. They also don't need any nutrient from your substrate (tank gravel) so the gravel you have now is good. In fact, all of these plants should be attached to wood or rocks as they can rot if parts of them are buried in the gravel out of the light.

The downside is that these plants grow very slowly and so don't require a lot of nutrients - this means they won't really help with cycling a tank unless you absolutely stuff the tank with them.

I think it is probably a good idea to start with plastic plants. This ensures you get into good tank maintenance habits right from the start. You can always add plants down the track. Because your room is dark I would still suggest using a timer with your lights so the fish get some sense of "day" but limit it to 5-6 hours per day and this will help prevent algae. You will always need to scrape your tank glass and scrub your decor from time to time to get rid of brown algae, I don't think any tank can be completely algae-free.

Finally, I would suggest dropping the single cory from your list. Solo cories tend to be very shy and spend all their time hiding. They really need company of their own kind. Alternately, keep the dwarf gourami as your upper region fish and get a group of 5 smaller growing cories (ie. ditch the guppies). Cories in a group are full of life and personality. Gourami's also tend to have strong personality. This combination in a 10G would be great to watch and fun to keep.

Kylie

Re: Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:47 pm
by freshfish
If you can verify what kind of light is in the hood you have, this might increase your plant options.

If you've got a single tube that runs the whole length of the hood, then you most likely have a 15 or 18 watt T8 flourescent bulb. You can actually grow a lot more plants under that bulb than if you have 2 screw-in incandescent bulbs (which actually are very inefficient and waste more of their wattage on putting out heat than usable light).

Just for an example of a fairly heavily-planted tank, this is the 10gal I've currently got running under just a 15watt T8 flourescent bulb. In this tank are mostly assorted Cryptocornes (in the back on either side of the tank), Christmass moss (on the bottom covering some of the rocks), microsword (can't see it too well in this pic b/c the stem plants need a good trim, it's in the center of the tank), and Sunset hygro (that's the stem plant with the pink tops in the center of the tank).

Image

The only livestock I have in this tank are Red Cherry shrimp and assorted snails.
Image

Re: Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:56 pm
by jOLLYfISHER
I have the two bulb one i beleive. Thanks for the pics of that tank freshfish.Seeing plants like those are the reason i like live plants. Plastic ones Look nice but can never achieve the way a live plant looks when its just right. If i have the two light system would that work with the anubias, java fern, bolbitus fern and java moss? I will probably start with plastic plants and put the live ones in after a few months so i can get some practice at maitance so there is no hurry just curious.

Re: Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:44 pm
by kb46
By the two-bulb system, I'm guessing you mean screw-in or baton-fix bulbs? If so, you can replace incandescents with the energy-saving bulbs. Try to get 6500K ones if you can or look for "cool daylight".
jOLLYfISHER wrote:If i have the two light system would that work with the anubias, java fern, bolbitus fern and java moss?

Absolutely fine. Actually you would probably be able to grow most of the plants that are in Laura's tank as well. Many Cryptocorynes do fine in really low light, as can hygrophilia, although it can get very leggy (long gaps along the stem between the leaves). Your gravel may become an issue with these plants, while the ones I listed don't need gravel. WIth sharp gravel you can have problems with stems rotting off at the base. Is your gravel sharp or rounded and how big are the pieces/grains?

I guess what I want to point out is that you can have a beautiful planted tank using the barest of equipment and knowledge. There is no need to learn everything before you start or spend a bundle. I find the journey is always a lot more fun if you start with something and build on it. As time goes on and you want to try more, then you can swap out substrate, upgrade your lights, experiment with dosing ferts and carbon, etc.

Kylie

Re: Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:12 pm
by freshfish
Yeah, I'd look for some screw-in flourescent bulbs to replace the incandescent, and then your lighting will support plants. With your current incandescents, you MIGHT be able to keep a fern or a little moss alive- but it definitely won't grow, even if it manages to survive.

Only thing is- depending on the wattage of your fixture sockets, you might then be in the lighting range where you need to add CO2 to the tank... what wattage bulb does your fixture say to use?

Re: Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:41 pm
by jOLLYfISHER
There Incandesent, I think only like 25Watt

Re: Plant in my 10gal

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:15 am
by freshfish
If you replace both of those bulbs with flourescent bulbs, you'll have so much lighting on this tank that you'll need to add CO2 as well...

It might be cheaper and easier in the long run just to get a new hood with a flourescent strip light, unless you want to get into CO2 (IMO a 10gal tank would be the perfect size to learn how to put together a planted tank with CO2... but that's quite a bit more involved than you may want to get at this point?)

Another option would be to dose Seachem's Excel for the plants- Excel is another carbon source and sometimes can be used instead of CO2.