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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm redoing my 10 gallon tank and would appreciate some suggestions. I'm building the sides of the substrate up to create hills. Can you have too much substrate? Secondly, I've always had a HOB and a sponge filter. Is that over kill? Could it put the water out of balance for the plants? Trying to work this out before introducing a betta to the tank. Thanks for any suggestions.
 

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Hi! I can't help too much regarding the filtering since I don't have a sponge filter (although for the plants I doubt they care about filtering unless they're super difficult to grow in the first place, if by chance that's the type of plant you have) - it's the betta him/herself that is most sensitive and vulnerable to water parameters, and too much/fast outflow from the HOB, etc. You can easily determine if things are working, or not, by watching him/her as to whether s/he is getting blown about too much from the outflow, and also regularly testing the water and by doing regular water changes per the recommended schedule of that size tank.

However, I guess I'm wondering if the hills will be difficult to get thoroughly clean, plus if you clean them properly I'm thinking they may disitintegrate during vacuuming. What kind of substrate is it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My betta died so I only have two nerite snails. It was a planted tank, but other than two anubias everything melted. My PH was always 8+ so I switched from Eco Complete (sharp) to fluval stratum. I did lay a layer of rhyzomat under the stratum to anchor the plants, plus I like coco fiber in my gardening. I won't be getting another betta until I get some plant growth in there. I have the plants ready to go in but don't want to do it until I make sure my stratum isn't too high. I used two bags for my 10 gallon but have the rhyzomat under it. Since I haven't planted anything as of this moment, i could rearrange. Once I put the plants in I don't want to disturb it.
I have the old filters and two mesh bags filled with the old gravel sitting on top of the stratum for now.
My last betta didn't mind the filtration. I have them on opposite sides and baffled to keep flow down. Thanks for any suggestions as I have the plants ready to go in today.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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What plants do you have? Most plants need current to grow well and a few that don't. It all depends on how they grow naturally. If you put a plant that grows in high flow streams in a tank with minimal flow the health of the plant will suffer.

Two filters is not overkill. I always run two filters in anything over five gallons. This prevents "dead" spaces. Place the heater under the HOB so heat is distributed. Or, you could put the heater over the sponge filter.

If substrate is over 2" there's always the possibility of anaerobic bacteria. That's why people use Malaysian Trumpet Snails....to keep the soil aerated. Some who have deeper substrate use chopsticks and poke around in the substrate when they do water changes or at least every few weeks.

How long do you keep your lights on? Other than disease, the one sure way to kill Anubias is too much light. They do best when grown in shade.

I've always read that the nitrifying bacteria need water movement to stay alive. If the filter media you kept has not been kept in a running filter I strongly urge you to use the SeaChem Stability. Day 1 a double dose and single on Day 2-8. Shake the bottle well and then shake some more.

As an aside, the only time filter output is too strong is if it pushes fish all over the tank and there's no place for them to rest or eat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No fish being bounced around. The tank: I could easily poke with a chopstick on water change day. I probably will take a bit of stratum out. Right now I have a slope in the center and hills on the sides. I want to put micro grass between the two sides. My anubias seem to live in the tank, attached to agate and put in the corners where light is lower. As far as the plants I just bought: If they said; low tech, easy, I put them on my list. When one of the articles said; it could grow in a toilet, I thought; that's for me. Thanks so much for the suggestions. FYI: My nerites always work the glass/wood. I have never seen them on the substrate. They have been working the wood/glass and substrate today. Really fun to watch. I had the HOB filter off for about 10 hours, so I'll pick up the stability. The sponge filter was never off.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Check your pH and water hardness to make sure plants are compatible. I discovered there are several "Beginner/Easy" plants I absolutely cannot grow; especially stem plants....and some danged lovely ones, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Will do. Most of the ones I chose could grow if my ph was a bit lower. The stratum should lower mine some, plus I'm only using water which has sat a week for water changes. That water was 7.6 instead of 8+. Going to keep an eye on the tank also. Not sure if it's going to recycle but really want to watch the parameters since the stratum/plant changes. Ironically, my 3 gallon tank has mostly mopani in it and buce's attached. One nerite, who is like the invisible man, wouldn't know he was there except for once in 3 weeks. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just checked my KH/GH. My KH is 5 and GH is 9. Will that lower after my tank stabilizes some? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Quick update, took out the snails, rhyzomat (except under certain plants) and half the stratum. Put the plants in. Couldn't find Seachem stability locally so I put in Tetra SafeStart Plus in. Will give it some time to stabilize and see how it does. May not be the right idea, but I took the snails out because they were acting in ways I've never seen them do in my old tank, nor their small tanks. I'm just going to give the tank time to become more stabilized with the plants.
 
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