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Thread: Starting over. Need advice.

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    SCAPE Member Just Planted Shoulan's Avatar
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    Question Starting over. Need advice.

    Been forever since I've posted on here, but long story short:

    - Saw some GloFish at the PetExpo a few years back, decided I wanted to get a fish tank.
    - Got a 29G, and then accidentally fell in love with planted tanks. (Oops.)
    - Bought some plants at a LFS. Oh look a tiny snail, that's cute! (Ha ha ha...)
    - Went on vacation for 2 weeks, old roommate misunderstood the feeding directions. Now I have tons of algae AND snails!
    - Tried to save my tank with assassin snails and amano shrimps. Didn't really help.
    - Lost interest for a bit after I realized the kind of planted tank that I like (especially in a 29G) will require more $$$ than I can afford at this point.

    But, since I'm moving in a year or so for school, I figured now is as good of a time as any to downsize and start over. Hoping to get some advice on what I can realistically expect so I don't throw even more money away.

    This is what I have so far:

    Tank:
    - 10G (20"x10"x12")
    - HOB filter
    - Probably a dark-colored substrate (feel free to suggest)

    Light options:
    - Use the current Satellite+ that I have right now. (But it's a 24" so it'll be longer than the tank.)
    - Buy a new LED light. Considering Stingray/Planted+, or cheaper ones on Amazon. (Anyone have experience with NICREW, Pawfly, or BeamsWork lights?)
    - Standard T-8 tube. Have a hood that fits the tank already, so there's always that. But I'm guessing I can't grow much with that.

    CO2:
    - Have a DIY set up, the kind with the bubble ladder.
    - Willing to supplement with Excel.

    Water:
    - North OC tap water for now, so it's pretty hard. I do have a thing of acid buffer, but the fish I had adapted fine so I didn't really use it.

    Fauna:
    - A handful of amano shrimps and one lone GloFish danio left. :<
    - Might re-home them and get a betta (or divide tank and get two) instead.

    Flora:
    - Would really like something that carpets, but I'm not sure how doable that is without pressurized CO2. Slow growth is fine. Willing to try DSM.
    - Only other plant I really like/want is hygro sunset, which I had some and accidentally killed.
    - I really like nature style and iwagumi, but 10G is a bit small for schooling fish and I'm not sure if the scaling would be weird with a betta.
    - I have some flame moss and amazon swords (I think? Or might be crypt lutea?) that I might try to rescue, but they're all pretty snail/algae infested.
    - Open to suggestions for anything else.

    Please let me know what you guys think. I'm living the poor student life right now, and probably gonna dip into my savings for most of this, so cheaper options are preferred. I can always upgrade later.

    Also if anyone is interested in a 29G tank, or some used substrate with a ton of pond snails, let me know. Once I set up the new tank, I'll be getting rid of the old one.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    Welcome back, You really need to make a decision on what it is you want to do. If you want a carpet then you'll have to build your tank around supporting a planted carpet which to be honest sounds like a bad idea. There will be a steep learning curve, not to mention budget and what about your schedule? Do you really want to dose every day, absolutely have to do a 50% water change at least 1 time a week, trim and net every 1-2 weeks, not to mention battle all the algae that comes along with high tech once life starts setting in.

    I suggest going with some simple stem plants, ferns, buce, anubias,moss, etc. and doing a jungle or nature style. Buy some stones or wood or both and throw it in the tank, Move plants around according to how you see them growing. Example this big tall fast growing one should go in the back, this short bushy one should go closer to the front. It sounds like this is what you wanted to do... medium tech, dose pps once a week, 25% water changes once a week, Trimming when you get the time, Less likely hood of "serious" Algae issues, just your run of the mill nuisance algae that can be controlled with minimal effort.

    Nicrew is a nice low/med/high light depending on which model. pawfly are okay only come in one size, beamswork are great fixtures and come in several models as well for low/med/high light. Find a fixture you like looks of and fits your budget. There are several things to google for. A good start would be your tank size + planted tank/aquarium. Another great combo would be your tank size/model + style of aquascape your planning. *click on images to look through* Find one that you like and click the pic and it should take you to the location which will likely be a forum or blog. You should be able to see what light they used as well as additional info like plants used, equipment list, care needs, issues they may have had.

    If you want to buy pressurized, then buy pressurized, it will be difficult to regret better plant growth and less algae as well as greater room for error. If you do low/med tech nature style it isn't truly needed as long as you have a good planned out routine.

    Yep OC water sucks...

    DSM would result in nice emergent grow that dies once you put water into the tank. Unless you go High tech and baby the heck out of it through the transitional phase which requires ferts, heavy initial water changes and equipment(co2, light) not to mention high tech really needs to be done in r/o unless your tap is slightly acidic and has low tds and is relatively soft.

    Anyway like said in the opening you really need to make a decision on what it is you want to do before people will be able to give you real solid advice. We don't know what you want, but we can help you get there once you decide. Good luck sir.

  3. #3
    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    You can sometimes carpet with a walstad method. Takes a patient dsm like approach. I've personally never done it, but google so be your friend

    "walstad [carpet species] tutorial"

    Your biggest investment will be your light, and it will take a loooooong time to thicken up.
    Last edited by Nick Shades; 08-07-2018 at 07:26 AM. Reason: **spelled walstad wrong.

  4. #4
    SCAPE Member Just Planted Shoulan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    Welcome back, You really need to make a decision on what it is you want to do. If you want a carpet then you'll have to build your tank around supporting a planted carpet which to be honest sounds like a bad idea. There will be a steep learning curve, not to mention budget and what about your schedule? Do you really want to dose every day, absolutely have to do a 50% water change at least 1 time a week, trim and net every 1-2 weeks, not to mention battle all the algae that comes along with high tech once life starts setting in.

    I suggest going with some simple stem plants, ferns, buce, anubias,moss, etc. and doing a jungle or nature style. Buy some stones or wood or both and throw it in the tank, Move plants around according to how you see them growing. Example this big tall fast growing one should go in the back, this short bushy one should go closer to the front. It sounds like this is what you wanted to do... medium tech, dose pps once a week, 25% water changes once a week, Trimming when you get the time, Less likely hood of "serious" Algae issues, just your run of the mill nuisance algae that can be controlled with minimal effort.

    Nicrew is a nice low/med/high light depending on which model. pawfly are okay only come in one size, beamswork are great fixtures and come in several models as well for low/med/high light. Find a fixture you like looks of and fits your budget. There are several things to google for. A good start would be your tank size + planted tank/aquarium. Another great combo would be your tank size/model + style of aquascape your planning. *click on images to look through* Find one that you like and click the pic and it should take you to the location which will likely be a forum or blog. You should be able to see what light they used as well as additional info like plants used, equipment list, care needs, issues they may have had.

    If you want to buy pressurized, then buy pressurized, it will be difficult to regret better plant growth and less algae as well as greater room for error. If you do low/med tech nature style it isn't truly needed as long as you have a good planned out routine.

    Yep OC water sucks...

    DSM would result in nice emergent grow that dies once you put water into the tank. Unless you go High tech and baby the heck out of it through the transitional phase which requires ferts, heavy initial water changes and equipment(co2, light) not to mention high tech really needs to be done in r/o unless your tap is slightly acidic and has low tds and is relatively soft.

    Anyway like said in the opening you really need to make a decision on what it is you want to do before people will be able to give you real solid advice. We don't know what you want, but we can help you get there once you decide. Good luck sir.
    Thank you for your comments. You definitely brought up some good points that I hadn't considered. I probably won't have the time to do all the maintenance for the kind of carpet that I really want, so I'll have to leave the high tech and DSM for another time. I plan to invest in an RO/DI system once I have a more permanent living situation.

    I have tried to look for examples of tanks that I like, but it seems most people either do high or low tech, not as many do medium tech, or use any of the lights that I mentioned (except the Finnex ones of course). I think the main thing I'm trying to figure out, besides what plants to get, is whether I should use the satellite+ I have instead of spending more money on a new light. According to their site, the plus gets 36 PAR at 12" and 85 at 8", so with a 10G, I'm assuming it'll be somewhere around 60?

    I did a little more research today into some possible carpet-y plants that people have said they were able to grow low tech. I'm looking at monte carlo, dwarf four leaf clover, hydrocotyle japan, or mini hairgrass. Maybe micro sword. Are any of those easier than the others to "carpet" if I'm doing medium light + DIY CO2/Excel? I don't mind if it's slow as long as it will spread eventually. For the other plants, I'll probably make the drive over to CK or Tong's and look for some wood and stones that I like first, and then go from there. But I definitely like the covered foreground look.

  5. #5
    SCAPE Member Just Planted Shoulan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Shades View Post
    You can sometimes carpet with a walstad method. Takes a patient dsm like approach. I've personally never done it, but google so be your friend

    "walatsd [carpet species] tutorial"

    Your biggest investment will be your light, and it will take a loooooong time to thicken up.
    Thanks for your suggestion. I hadn't considered that, but I'll look into it! I don't mind slow growth, as long as it looks good in the end.

  6. #6
    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    In order to set up a no co2 carpet you'll need to read a fair bit or have experience in most cases, since we aren't talking dwarf sag here. You want iwagumi, that's not "any carpet plant" that is the use of specific sp's HC, MC, DHG Belem, UG. Seiyru stones and dwarf sag in a 10G just isn't iwagumi no matter how hard you try it just won't achieve the look.

    The problem with no co2 carpet is plants will fill out yes it will take time, but you eventually get to a point when the density out competes itself and the whole thing collapses. This is the reason why walstad is such a balancing act. You're really trying to make suitable choices to fit the method rather than bending the method to fit your needs.

    Any of the carpet plants you mentioned will do fine no co2. The problem is what I just mentioned once you reach a certain density which of course is the ultimate goal you'll start running into deficiency, die back, ammonia spike, algae spike right back to the same predicament you were in all those years back which caused you to leave the hobby the first time.

    My suggestion rather than repeat the cycle due to bad advice i.e. Telling you your light is sufficient when we don't know what it is you're actually going to do with it.

    You really need to decide what you want, take all things into account, plan your actions and proceed.
    Last edited by Zenzu; 08-07-2018 at 06:40 AM. Reason: clarification and 5am edits

  7. #7
    SCAPE Member Just Planted Shoulan's Avatar
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    Sorry if I was unclear. I mentioned iwagumi as a style that I like, but at this point I don't think I'll be trying it. I do like nature style as well, so I think I'll be going with that instead. Since I haven't gone to buy any hardscape yet, I don't have an idea of exactly what I want it to look like, only that I'd like to have the "ground" covered, without having to buy like 20 pots of foreground plants from the start.

    At this point I'm leaning towards monte carlo, dwarf four leaf clover, or mini hairgrass. Possibly monte carlo + dwarf four leaf clover? Not sure if having two different kinds of foreground plants would look weird. If I do the hairgrass then it'll be just that. I plan to use DIY CO2 (+ Excel if needed). If my current light will be enough, then I'll just keep it, but if not then I'll invest in a new light.

    Will the collapsing problem that you mentioned happen if I do DIY CO2/Excel? I do think the algae problem that I had was mainly due to my old roommate overfeeding. By a lot. I didn't have problems with algae before that but I haven't been able to rescue it since then. Now I use an auto feeder. So hopefully that sort of thing won't happen again.

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