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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks!
Getting all my supplies and orders ready to go for my new 10 gallon betta/community fish tank.

I am thinking about this for my stock list....any advice or issues please let me know.
1 Male Betta (adding him last after all plants and other inhabitants are settled in)
5 cory catfish or 2/3 kuhli loaches, can't decide on a good bottom dweller fish that would be ok
2 nerite snails
handful of neocardinia or cherry shrimp

This will be a fully planted fish tank with CaribSea Eco-Complete Plant Substrate.

I am planning on setting up and planting the tank next week and then letting it cycle completely first. I may add the snails and shrimp to help feed ammonia to the tank right away, but not sure yet (advice?).

My supplies questions are around the water test kit, filter and food.
1. Is the API Freshwater Master Tet Kit a good one?
2. Thinking about getting this light on Amazon, Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light with Aluminum Alloy Shell Extendable Brackets, White Blue Red LEDs, External Controller, for Freshwater Fish Tank - sorry I can't post links as this is my first post.
3. As far as filters for a standard 10 gallon...I have read so many differing opinions on this. Some say I don't need one at all with a fully planted tank and regular water changes, some say I do, but it needs to be slow flowing...I just don't know. Help I'm lost here!
4. Also, what food do you all recommend to keep all the fish happy? I was planning on some Betta Pellets and blood worms, but I want to make sure all the fish get what they need.

I am open to any and all suggestions here. I have had a few tanks in my life, but never had a live planted tank or a betta. I want to make sure that what I am planning will provide a safe and healthy habitat for my fish and inverts!

Thanks a lot for your help!!
 

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Hello and welcome to the forums.
I'll leave the stocking guide to someone else, AqAdvisor is down for me so I can't share, although I suspect the tank may be overstocked as planned.
We have guides that can help with cycling your tank. You can do a fish in or a fishless cycle, either way you're probably looking at 3 - 4 weeks. Have a quick read : CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial

If you want the shrimp to survive, you need to let the tank mature, otherwise there is insufficient food for them and they will die.
To answer some of the questions:
1. Is the API Freshwater Master Tet Kit a good one? - Yes
2. Thinking about getting this light on Amazon, Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light with Aluminum Alloy Shell Extendable Brackets, White Blue Red LEDs, External Controller, for Freshwater Fish Tank - sorry I can't post links as this is my first post. - You will need to give us a list of plants that you are planning. That light seems to be on the lower end for plant requirements (then again, I spend way too much on lights).
3. As far as filters for a standard 10 gallon...I have read so many differing opinions on this. Some say I don't need one at all with a fully planted tank and regular water changes, some say I do, but it needs to be slow flowing...I just don't know. Help I'm lost here! - You should have a filter. I like the ATI Hydro sponge filter but you will also need an air pump for it to work. I also have an AquaClear 20 HOB filter, haven't used that as much as the sponge filter.
4. Also, what food do you all recommend to keep all the fish happy? I was planning on some Betta Pellets and blood worms, but I want to make sure all the fish get what they need. For the Betta, we recommend New Life Spectrum, Omega One or NorthFin, the betta or small fish formula for these. Supplement these with frozen foods. I would let someone else chime in as to the food for any additional fauna. I know it is recommended for the nerites that you leave a smaller container with a rock in submerged in water in the sun to grow algae to feed them.

My recommendation, don't start big with the fauna. Build out the tank, figure out if you're doing fish in or fish less cycle, then add the inhabitants one at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the reply Veloran. Very much appreciated.

Here are the lists of plants I have chosen (but not ordered just yet):
Red Melon Sword
Red Rubin Sword
Water Sprite
Pearlweed
Ludwigia Dark Red
Tropica Bucephalandra "Green Wavy"
Anubias Hastifolia
Monte Carlo
Anubias Nana Petite
Hornwort
Dwarf Hairgrass
Duckweed

I tried to stick with all low to medium light plants as I know the light isn't the best on the market. I will have a piece of driftwood in the tank as well to attach some of these plants to.

As far as the filter, my past experience with air pumps was not great. They are pretty loud. This tank is going to be placed in the living room, right next to my couch and I really don't want to have to hear that pump running all the time. I guess I should look more at a HOB filter style or one similar that mounts inside of the tank.

I'm trying to keep my costs down on this tank as much as possible and most of the budget is already eaten up by the plants at this point.

I have a clear glass hood. Still need my heater, but have a variable temperature control picked out with a heater cover to protect the plants.

EDIT: missed a couple of plants
 

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So, you really do plan to drop a lot on the plants.
The first thing I would say is to really think hard about the duckweed. Once you have duckweed, you will forever have duckweed, some people love it, for some it's a plague moreso if you have a HOB filter.
For the plants my general principle is that if it has red, it had optimal requirements that are beyond what it is sold as. There's a difference between a plant showing off it's full beauty as opposed to just hanging on. Some of the plants on your list survive without but would really benefit from CO2 injection. You will also need water column fertilizers and root tabs. As for the lighting, I'm not sure the Hygger will be able to handle the requirements, I'm not familiar with it, but from the reviews it seems to be on the lower end and the plants you have picked out are more in the Finnex Planted+ range (though you may be able to get away with a Finnex Stingray).

I say, pick a few stems, some broad leaf plants, a floater and a carpet plant if you want, but don't go crazy, you'll wind up wasting money and hating your tank.
Keep the Anubias, the Hornwort, Water Sprite, Dwarf Hairgrass, the Bucephalandra and the Duckweed if you really, really want. You could get an Amazon Sword, Java Fern, Cabomba or Anacharis to fill out the rest. You will still need to supplement fertilizers. I wouldn't try the "Reds", Pearlweed or Monte Carlo without the ability for high light and possible CO2.
Once you get a handle on your tank (and the inevitable algae) you can start adding more to your comfort level.

As for the filter, it's your choice. After 2 years of having my 10g in my bedroom, I usually wind up sleeping on the couch these days because that pump running puts me to sleep. You can definitely get an internal filter, it's quieter. I have 2 of them running but I only use them to move water (can't get a powerhead that doesn't cause a tornado in a 10g), not so much for the filtration.

Do you have a heater picked out, many around here run Hydor Theo, Eheim Jager or Cobalt Neo heaters, all of these are temperature adjustible. You don't necessarily need a heater cover if you haven't purchased one already.

Take it slow, don't try to add too much at once, you'll get frustrated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As far as plants, everything I have been reading says to go heavy on plants to start and it will help the cycling process and be far better for the fish in the long run and ultimately help the tank achieve balance "easier".

I was really inspired to start a low tech, No CO2, No ferts, No Filter setup (Walstad Method tank) like this
. I've read so much about it and watched a lot of videos and then got scared, because of the soil substrate horror stories I've read about. Hence the reason for using the Caribsea substate now. But I thought besides the substrate I would be able to continue trying out this style. The more I research the more money I spend. I have to sit down and re-plan from scratch I think. Not sure if I can even do this next week with all the additional equipment I wasn't planning for.

At this point, I am just getting frustrated even planning this out (isn't this supposed to be the fun part?). There is sooo much information online and it all says something different. I wish I would have found this forum weeks ago...
 

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TBH, I still recommend start small, get experience and then move on. There are some experienced people on here that would pull their hair out trying this tank ... I'm looking at you @Rainbo.
I have a couple of tanks using Eco-Complete and it will not give you these results. It is an inert substrate with a high CEC which just means that you'll still need ferts.
Back it down a little, start with some low light plants, simple substrate and filter then figure out if you're up for more of a challenge. Understand the plant requirement, the nutrient / light balance and the resulting algae before moving on. Aquarium tanks are essentially a balancing act, one item out of whack can send others spiraling out of control (I'm being a little hyperbolic but it feels like that sometimes).
You can do heavy plants to do biological filtration but the plants have to be healthy or it will all crash.
And yes, planning it out is supposed to be fun.

Tank, substrate, low light plants, light, ferts, heater and filter. We can talk crazier scenarios once you have a neat little tank and a happy little fish under your belt.
 

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As far as plants, everything I have been reading says to go heavy on plants to start and it will help the cycling process and be far better for the fish in the long run and ultimately help the tank achieve balance "easier".

I was really inspired to start a low tech, No CO2, No ferts, No Filter setup (Walstad Method tank) like this
. I've read so much about it and watched a lot of videos and then got scared, because of the soil substrate horror stories I've read about. Hence the reason for using the Caribsea substate now. But I thought besides the substrate I would be able to continue trying out this style. The more I research the more money I spend. I have to sit down and re-plan from scratch I think. Not sure if I can even do this next week with all the additional equipment I wasn't planning for.

At this point, I am just getting frustrated even planning this out (isn't this supposed to be the fun part?). There is sooo much information online and it all says something different. I wish I would have found this forum weeks ago...

The Eco-Complete is only going to be good for around 3 months then you'll need to start feeding your plants with root tabs. How long it last just depends on how heavily the plants feed. Swords tend to be heavy feeders, as are crypts. Along with that you'll need a liquid fertilizer for your water column feeders.

That video is a pretty simplified version of a dirted or Natural Planted Tank, and did not really go into any type of explanation on why things are done. The first time I tried one I did just about everything wrong and had a HUGE mess on my hands. I didn't get the wood and perlite out of the soil and had stuff floating in my tank. Not getting the wood out also meant that I had constant gas bubbles under my substrate, and for added fun I did not have a deep enough cap so the cap and soil easily mixed. That's just part of it, I'll spare you the rest unless you want to hear it. Around 3 weeks ago I set up another NPT tank and this time the results are a lot better, although I do have tinted water from the soil and my drift wood that does not bother me. This time I learned from my mistakes and followed the instructions on how to set one up! Here's the forums sticky thread on how to do on, follow the instructions found there and you should have pretty good success. How to: Natural Planted tank

I suggest, really suggest, that you wait to try the NPT and learn what plants do well with your water chemistry. You need a balance of plants in a NPT or you will have algae growth from the abundance of nutrients and lights. Also start slow with the plants and don't go overboard. You don't want to buy 8 different plants and lose 1/2 of them leaving you with an empty pocket book and bear tanks. Start with the easy ones and then branch out into the ones that require a bit more care.

The 10 gal that I just turned into an NPT was fully planted before I switched it over, I knew the plants would do O.K. with the conditions and I was just giving them a better home. I was right they all survived the transition and are thriving. I got 3 new plants in, and out of the 3, 1 seems to have died off completely and did so within a week, 1 melted a bit but might survive, and 1 seems to be doing fine. Remember, all the old plants are thriving. You don't want that type of die off on a large scale, just losing the 1 plant was frustrating enough since those plants cost $10 each.

Wait till your tank is established a little before getting nerites, they only tend to eat algae and may starve to death in a newly set up tank. Also be careful about the size of them, the larger ones tend to make quiet a bit of mess, and I ended up having to move my tiger nerite to my 20 gal tank because I was having to clean up his mess every other day in the 10 gal. Horned nerites tend to be smaller and make less mess.

I run a Aqua Clear HOB filter in my 10 gal. I may get rid of it when my tank is more mature and just go with a bubbler for air movement to help my heater evenly heat the tank.
 

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Hi

This is just my opinion, forget all the fancy stuff like Carib Sea Eco Complete ( This realy isnt suited to bottom dwellers like corys and loaches ). Im a fan of keeping it simple.

Here's what I would get.
10 gallon tank. ( 2 foot 15 gallon if you can )
Hang on back filter.
Heater.
Black Fine gravel ( about 2mm smooth round)
A T 8 fluro light ( sunlight )
A bottle of Seachem flourish comprehensive
Seachem root tabs



With that you can grow most plants.
This is my 15 gallon, I use 1 mil Seachem flourish once a week and there is a root tab next to each bunch of plants.

Set the player to HD.

NO CO2 or EI ferts needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the help and advice everyone. I have turned it down a notch and ordered the additional supplies.

So I have the old 10 gallon cleaned out and it's been holding water for about a day and a half.

I have the eco complete substrate, driftwood, lid, thermometer and Seachem Prime.
1016426


I went with the Eheim Jager 50W heater and the Aquclear 20 HOB filter. Also, I updated my light. I couldn't get name brand, but doing more research, I found this one - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C84SLRO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It's 11W, 7000K, 640lm. It should be fine for what I need, at least to get started with.
I have downgraded my list of plants and intend to get ferts for the plants and root tabs after a couple of months.

Now, here's my question...is there any point in me doing anything with the water at this point? I won't have my water test kit until Tues/Weds next week along with the filter, light and heater. I didn't order my plants yet either as I wanted to make sure I had all my equipment here (light at least) before the plants arrived.

Can I do anything to start the cycling process with only tank, substrate, prime right now? Or should I just sit back and wait until I get the test kit, filter and plants?

Thanks!
 

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Thanks for the help and advice everyone. I have turned it down a notch and ordered the additional supplies.

So I have the old 10 gallon cleaned out and it's been holding water for about a day and a half.

I have the eco complete substrate, driftwood, lid, thermometer and Seachem Prime.
View attachment 1016426

I went with the Eheim Jager 50W heater and the Aquclear 20 HOB filter. Also, I updated my light. I couldn't get name brand, but doing more research, I found this one - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C84SLRO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It's 11W, 7000K, 640lm. It should be fine for what I need, at least to get started with.
I have downgraded my list of plants and intend to get ferts for the plants and root tabs after a couple of months.

Now, here's my question...is there any point in me doing anything with the water at this point? I won't have my water test kit until Tues/Weds next week along with the filter, light and heater. I didn't order my plants yet either as I wanted to make sure I had all my equipment here (light at least) before the plants arrived.

Can I do anything to start the cycling process with only tank, substrate, prime right now? Or should I just sit back and wait until I get the test kit, filter and plants?

Thanks!
That should be fine to get started.

Check the drift wood for any sharp, or rough patches, and sand them down so that your betta cannot snag his fins on them. I know from experience that the little monsters will find the one place that you think should be alright, but aren't positive about, and rip their fins on it. Also boil the drift wood for an hour, throw out the water, then boil the drift wood again. Do that a few times, then soak it in a bucket of water. Doing that will kill anything that might be lurking in the driftwood, and removed a lot of the tannins that will stain your water. If you like the look of a black water tank, then only boil the driftwood for an hour or so.

Since you do not have your filter and heater I'd wait to start the cycling process. The filter is where most of the beneficial bacteria like to hang out, and they reproduce fastest in warm water. Yes you can cycle a tank without both of them, been there and done that, BUT it takes a long time to accomplish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok. I planned on boiling the drift wood over the weekend for 2-3 hours total in one hour increments, already so glad to see I was on track there. Should I go ahead and throw in the substrate and water now or just wait? I want to keep moving forward on anything that I can, so I can get started right away once I have the plants, light and filter.
It was so much cheaper ordering everything online from Chewy and Amazon, so unfortunately I'll have to wait until then to get started, but better to be safe than sorry.
 

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Feel free to set the tanks up as much as you possibly can. It won't hurt anything to do so. Since you are using Eco-Complete make sure to keep the tank dark, until you get the plants in, so that you don't end up with algae.

I order 99% of my fish stuff from those two places. My local pet stores are extremely limited in what they offer for aquariums, and on top of that they are over priced, so I order on line and get exactly what I want for a decent price.
 
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