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Hello everyone!

I just started a new 10 gallon tank. It's been a bit of a rocky start, but I'm starting to get things working. It's my first planted tank, and my first time fishless cycling. I upgraded from a 5 gallon tank with marbles/silk plants.

Figured I'd share everything I've learned/tried, and also go through my plan on stuff. I would love any/all advice on anything/everything.

Tank: Aqueon 10 Gal LED Aquarium Kit
https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/aqueon-10-gal-led-aquarium-kit

Filter: Marina Power Filter (up to 15 gallons)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032G8TQQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Light: NICREW BrightLED Aquarium Light, High Illumination Fish Tank Light for Freshwater Tanks (aka Nicrew Deluxe)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071LJKNWS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Substrate: Flourite from Petsmart
https://www.petsmart.com/fish/decor-gravel-and-substrate/aquarium-substrate/flourite-premium-aquarium-plant-substrate-5049883.html

Ceramic Triangular Hideaways: (just arrived today!)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZB1KUZ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1



Things I have ordered that will be coming soon:

Aqueon Aquarium AAG29020 Versa Top, 20-Inch (glass fish tank top)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002AS7ZI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Tetra SafeStart Plus To Cycle New Aquariums (Bottled Bacteria to jumpstart cycling)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DZG1BW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Aquarium Heater (50 watt heater. My current heater is supposed to be for a smaller tank, but it is keeping the tank at 78 degrees)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008AGWZCC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Chemicals/Products I plan to use in my planted tank:
Seachem Prime
Seachem Flourish (Plant Fertilizer)
Seachem Flourish Excel (Plant CO2)
Tetra Safestart

I just put my first dose of Seachem Flourish in today. Hopefully this will help revive my plants which are looking rather sad (leaves are curling/turning yellow). MY DOSE WAS .5 ml. I read conflicting reports that said 1 drop, and some that said 1ml. I decided to do .5ml to be safe and see how it goes at first. If you know what your Flourish dosage for a 10 gallon is, please tell me. ;o;

Seachem Flourish Excel will arrive between Oct 3 - Oct 5. This is because there was an issue ordering it. (Don't order from Josh's Frogs)

Everything (except for the Flourish Excel) should have arrived and be ready to go by Wednesday.
I plan to go to my LFS on Wednesday, October 3, to buy Anacharis to line the back wall, and some java moss to either put on driftwood to look like a tree, or to create a floating betta tunnel covered in java moss, or to put on the new betta hides/river rocks in the tank.

From what I've read for chemical dosage:
Flourish - 1ml
Excel - 1ml
Prime - 1ml

But I've read that you have to be careful dosing Excel and Prime together as they both take oxygen from the water and this can negatively effect your tank. If you guys have experience with this please let me know? I guess I'll wait a day or two before adding Excel when I do water changes...I don't think Flourish has this issue.

CYCLING
So, I decided to try a fishless cycle for the first time.
It has not been a good experience.
I saw several people online saying you could put crushed flakes of fish food in a tank to use as a source of ammonia and cycle your tank. I had some omega one flakes I don't really use lying around (pellets are easier for me).
A couple days into my attempt to use fish food to cycle, I moved a plant and noticed lots of small moldy pieces of food that were floating around.
Cue me doing a large water change trying to suck up all the disgusting moldy food.
If you are a cycling n00b like me, PLEASE, do not use fish food to cycle. It will get you a tank full of moldy food and tears. (I really should have seen this coming in retrospect)
I suppose it's best to go with liquid ammonia....

Since I'm buying tetra safestart, the bottle recommends that you put in the safestart and your fish at the same time.
Since everything should be ready on Wednesday ish, I plan to buy my fish on either Wednesday or Thursday and just follow the directions on the safestart and do a fish-in cycle.

I don't feel like messing with ammonia to try to fishless cycle. I just hope my fish does alright.

I will of course be doing frequent water changes and testing my water for ammonia/nitrite, etc.

Also, my aquarium light came today! The nicrew light. I wasn't very impressed. :( The box came open, and the light had fallen out of the bubble wrap, and the small white box inside was open too! D: (I bought this light from Nicrew on Amazon). When I checked to see if all the parts were there/working, one of the holes in the plastic piece on one side was cut improperly, and I had a lot of trouble fitting the metal rod into the hole.
It seems rather flimsy/easy to knock off. It is very bright though. I hope it lasts and brings my plants back to healthiness. We'll see how it goes...Because of the rave reviews and my sad plants I plan to use it and see how it goes.

I tested the parameters yesterday. Since I did the huge water change today, I'm going to wait to check everything again tomorrow.
Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
PH: 7.6

Plants in my tank:
10 ish anubias (different varieties)
2 java ferns
4 moss balls (they seem to be doing the most poorly right now...)
1 amazon sword

I'm thinking the amazon sword might die on me. I'm going to stick with my current setup and see what survives. Definitely want to get the anubias to thrive somehow though.

And, I believe the mossballs like shade? But there isn't really much shade in my tank...I'm not sure what to do with them. I like how they look farther out in the tank...Hmmm... (And thoughts/recommendations?)

Oh, as for my substrate, flourite was very messy. Also, I'm a little worried about the edges of the clay pieces. I read online that it comes with nutrients and is great for plants, but now I've found that the nutrients are gone after around 6 months, and of course it is very messy. Wish I had gone with soil/something on top.
I would have loved sand on the bottom. Would've been really pretty. But my amazon sword wouldn't have stood a chance with sand, and I probably couldn't try other plants either.

One of the "betta buddies" I bought is a small anubias nana attached to driftwood. The driftwood seems to be falling apart, so trying to decide if I should take it out or not. I tried to see if I could unattach the plant, but it's attached very well. Hmmmm.

The other "betta buddy" that's an anubias attached to a zebra striped rock is doing very well. If I buy another in the future, definitely going for a rock one.

Still have some moldy food floating around. :/ Will have to do a water change again to try and make sure it's as clean as possible before putting in safestart/fish.

Because we have our own personal well at home, we do not have any chlorine or chemical in the water. It is safe for fish as is. So, since safestart can't be used with prime, it should be fine to do the water change before using safestart, just not adding prime in.

I guess I'll do a 25%-50% water change after a week with safestart? Need to do more research. I mean, water changes are important to keep the water levels decent, but then there's the whole growing bacteria thing. Hopefully I can find the answer somewhere.

And I suppose it'll be fine using flourish and excel while using safestart...

If anyone knows that certain chemicals/products I will be using will interact badly, please let me know. ;o; All I had to use on my 5 gallon unplanted tank was prime. ^^; And I've never used safestart before.

I will be posting my parameters and progress over at least the next week I think. :eek: Fingers crossed nothing horrible happens...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
We recommend waiting two weeks before a water change. Of course, if for some reason, the levels go up to a high level again, we would recommend a change at that point, and another dose. Usually, the hobbyist has done something wrong the first time, in such cases.

Welp, it seems I won't be doing a water change for two weeks using safestart unless parameters reach toxic levels.

Now I just need to figure out if I should use flourish/excel when doing safestart...
 

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Ummm, so from looking around on different sites, it seems it is best if I do not use Flourish or Excel until after I cycle everything with safestart and my fish later this week.

But the small amount of Flourish I already added shouldn't really hurt anything.

I found this information on plantedtanks here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/100-low-tech-forum/1040033-my-tank-not-cycled-yet-but-do-i-start-dosing.html

If anyone has experience/advice or wishes to confirm/disprove of this info, I'd greatly appreciate it!
 

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A few new issues. I've never had this problem before, but it seems my filter creates practically zero water disturbance. I'd really rather not shell out even more money for a bubbler. So, maybe I can figure out a way to redirect the filter output stream. :/

The anubias are curling! I have no clue what's up. (pictures attached)

Are they curling because:

A. They have to much/to little light (The light is on for 8 hours a day, and I just switched to my new nicrew light yesterday. I thought they'd perk up, but they look like they're curling worse.)

B. The tank isn't cycled, and I had to do a large water change yesterday. (Should I go ahead and try to cycle the tank then this week with my fish in? Or should I hold off and try to get the lighting/fertilizers right for my plants).

C. I haven't been feeding them fertilizers/CO2. (I added another .5ml of Flourish this morning. There has now been added 1 ml in total to the tank. Excel (CO2) will not be arriving until later in the week). Perhaps they are lacking some chemicals/compound?


If it's A. perhaps I should switch back to my hood light that came with the aquarium kit? To much light? Or should I leave the light on longer....
If it's B. I should go ahead and get the fish on Wednesday and try to cycle the tank with safestart.
If it's C. Not much I can do? Just keep adding Flourish every week and possibly add the CO2 (Excel) when it arrives.

None of the anubias are buried! They are all tied to driftwood/rocks. Same with the java fern.

Another problem I've discovered. Excel often causes Anacharis to melt. I was planning to buy anarcharis to fill in the back of my tank on Tuesday/Wednesday. I read that if you give them a really small dose, perhaps half, of the CO2, they may survive alright. So that might complicate things.

I feel bad my "easy to grow" anubias are all doing not so good. ;o; Boo.
 

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Updates:
Tetra safestart arrived yesterday. The delivery guy left it in our mailbox. I hope it's okay after sitting out in the heat in the mail box...

I've decided to do a water change today, try anacharis and java moss which I will buy tomorrow.

So, I may be going on a short two day trip. So contemplating putting off getting my fish and using the safestart until this weekend.

The leaves of my anubias still look bad. :(
 

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Thank you lammruss! :)

----------------------
Another quick update! My new glass lid arrived and both pieces of glass are broken. Bought this one below:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002AS7ZI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Actually, someone recommended it to me from bettafish.com. I should've checked the reviews more carefully. Seems about half of these things arrive broken.

So, returning it and getting a refund. I think I'll go to the petstore and see if their glass lids will work. Will probably call ahead of time to make sure they have them in. I can make sure theirs isn't broken before I leave the store parking lot. :/

My heater still hasn't arrived but it should today!

If anyone has any advice about my plants, please let me know.
 

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I cycled a tank with that and had no luck at all...so someone recommended Stability from Seachem and it done really well for me just incase you have any problems with the Tetra Safestart. ..something that has helped me is I use more than what's needed filtration in all my tanks I use sponge filters in with HOB filters and when a problem arises I have an already cycled filter for quarantine tanks or new editions..just a little something I picked up along the way..they're very inexpensive on ebay just a few bucks and most are free shipping
and so easy to use and so worth it if you ever need to cycle a tank quick. But I must say your aquarium is gorgeous!!! Great job!!!
 

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I know very little to nothing about setting up and maintaing a balanced planted tank. Everything I've read, heard, or watched do not seem to work for me . . . . I can't figure out how to prevent algae growth, namely hair algae.

However for the past (almost) 2 years, I've been learning or trying to understand plants, amongst which anubias. IME most plants need adjusting to new light intensity. Some may melt if suddenly given too much or too little light. My anubias is the most tolerant towards drastic changes (both extreme high and extreme low), unlike bucephalandra (buce) which tend to melt (buce prefers high light during adaptation period. But highlight = algae bloom thus is a problem for me).

I stopped using ferts and I don't use any chemicals or CO2, plus I don't deliberately cycle my tanks. All I do is do water changes, as advised by local hobbyists.

My result: anubias survive. With good lighting, they may grow one leaf per 2 weeks or so.but with poor lighting growth is much slower. Lack of plant nourishment caused all (I should have 4 types of anubias) to grow small leaves. Even the large leaf type now looks like nana. Lack of light will avoid pattern (one type should have white pattern). BUT lack of light should not kill them. I've tested some in total blackout, they still survive, though in poor shape (but I don't understand why they die if placed in dim lighted room). Then expose them to direct sunlight, they still survive.

What mainly killed my anubias is too much algae, and hidrogen peroxide (still testing dose limitations). So I'm guessing, there must be something in the water that they are not used to. Though it may influence the water cycle, I would do a massive water change - personally, I'd rather postpone my cycle than lose my plants. . . Just my unprofessional opinion.
 
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