Hello, everyone! I am here planning a 10 gallon sorority. I will be housing 8 girls and 10 ghost shrimp. I know this is overstocking, I can handle it. If it becomes an issue among the girls, I'll handle it. I would like no criticism on this, please. Now, I will be planting. This is my first time planting and would like some tips! I will be using pea gravel I purchased from my local Wal-Mart as a substrate. It is currently in my 33G hex front (that I am selling with heater, filter, leftover gravel, plastic plants, stand, ect!) that currently houses a small Red Devil and Royal Pleco (also selling, pm if interested). I will be using a 6,500k T8 Florescent bulb. The plants will be whatever I can get from my local Petsmart and Petco so nothing too difficult. As far as fertilizers and plant food go, can I use API liquid? Also, will I be able to add the shrimp immediately after the tank is filled or do I have to wait? I'll be letting the plants grow as I accumulate females (I plan on visiting Petsmart, Petco and my LPS on a weekly basis to get my females and they will live in their cups until I feel my tank is where I want it. I will do daily water changes on their cups with a baster. I want to prepare their food, if anyone knows any good recipes that are great for Bettas, please, let me know. I will have no filtration or airiation in this tank since it is just not needed. I will have a small heater (what is a good temperature for them?) and a thermometer in the tank. This is all so far, so if you have any input or suggestions, please, let me know. Thanks!
Tbh I really don't have a green thumb and have never had much luck with plants...although I haven't had the resources for them either. I won't be able to help you out much in that respect.
The shrimp should be introduced once your tank is stable, they tend to be a little sensitive to water quality. I'm not sure how successful that'll be if you're not planning to cycle your tank, as I've never kept shrimp in a non-cycled tank.
Just as a note, you should introduce the females altogether at once- although that seems like it's what you're planning to do.
Generally a good temperature for bettas is between 76-80 degrees, with something around 78 or 79 being optimal. Ghost shrimp will also do fine in that temperature range.
I don't know much about planting. I'm setting up my 8g Fluval Flora in a month, and it will be planted. All I know about plants right now is that I bury my java fern's roots in the gravel and let it there with some light... it is green, and is reproducing, so I'm happy with that for now. :)
For that many bettas and shrimp, I recommend dual sponge filters. The bioload will be a lot which is my reasoning on this. Also, the shrimp should probably be introduced after it is cycled since they are more sensitive to water changes. I have one of these single sponge filters in my 5 gallon tank and they work great: http://www.amazon.com/Hagen-A900-Sin...9278057&sr=8-3
I know what I'm getting into and if I have to do more frequent water changes, I'll do them. AqAdvisor says with 8 bettas and 10 shrimp and no filter I'm at 113% stocking and should do weekly 36% changes. It also doesn't know that I will have plants because it can't really calculate that but I'd like to plant the tank and throw a feeder goldfish or two in to cycle it and let the plants grow. I was looking into an Otto for algae removal seeing as this tank will be in sunlight from two direct points in my room but someone told me I should get a nerite snail. My local petshops don't carry anything but Mystery (Apple) Snails. Will the shrimp eat algae? Will the snail be necessary? I do like them but I've never had one live long. My fish always kill them and I'm afraid the girls will munch his/her antennae off. I can't use it to cycle the tank, either because they are so sensitive.
Rather than sacrificing goldfish to the cycle and so on.. have you thought about an NPT? There's a lot of good advice on those around here, OldFishLady had some great tanks and had kept NPTs for years.. she's very generous with her advice - lots of advice on the net too. They're great for plant growth, no need for lots of ferts, and if you prod the substrate now and then with a chopstick or something anaerobic bacteria isn't a problem. No need for extensive cycling and no dead goldfish..
You may find some plants won't do well without any water movement. Think about a filter or just some aeration.. lipid buildup on the surface can cause problems, I see it even on my sluggish-filtered planted tank a lot between water changes.
Adding a catfish or a snail (both heavy ammonia producers) to an already heavily stocked tank might be seriously be pushing it.. though you may be on top of changes, ammonia spikes can happen suddenly..
Also, it may help to do some research on plants that are efficient at consuming water nasties, some are better than others at it (java moss is good, for example, at helping keep ammonia down), and may help sustain balance in the water.
Yea. It IS a lot of girls.. but there are people who have stuffed way more girls than that into tanks, no one criticizes them because they are more experienced... Honestly I think you should be fine.. No other fish, shrimp really don't add any bioload to the tank either.