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Subscribe10 Gallon Planted Questions
Big Fish
Posts: 312
Kudos: 339
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Registered: 06-Jul-2005
male usa

Hi I'm setting up a 10 gallon heavily planted tank for my dorm room. I don't want to use C02. But I think I will use Seachem Excel. It's pretty much my first planted tank, so I have a few questions.

I currently have pool filter sand in the tank. I think I like the look. Is that good for plants? i I could also switch out Fluorite instead of the sand since I have that as well but I don't know if I like the look of that as much. Especially stem ones like dwarf sag? I was considering putting some fertilizer tabs in it.

And as for lighting is this a good light?
Zoo Med Ocean Sun 10,000K.
Will this bulb fit in my standard hood that came with the aquarium? I was thinking about using mostly low light plants like Anubias, Crypts, and dwarf sag. Is this too bright?

Thanks for any help.
Post InfoPosted 04-Jul-2010 02:02Profile PM Edit Report 
*Ultimate Fish Guru*
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Registered: 26-Apr-2003
male australia au-victoria
I currently have pool filter sand in the tank. I think I like the look. Is that good for plants?

Sand is certainly not the best for rooted plants it has a tendency to restrict the root growth

In my 45lt I have 1-3mm 3ins deep natural river gravel and the crypts love it.
I only use Seachem liquid ferts plus the Fert Tabs.

I run a twin Aqua One 18ins lighting unit 1plant and 1daylight tube.


Near enough is not good enough, therefore good enough is not near enough, and only your best will do.
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Post InfoPosted 04-Jul-2010 02:22Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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Registered: 28-Dec-2002
male usa us-colorado
EditedEdited 04-Jul-2010 06:11
Hi Ethan,
There are a number of problems with using sand as your

If you check you will find that sand can damage or
ruin the impeller of the filter, so you will need
to pre-filter the water going up the intake of the filter.
If you pre-filter the water, they - the pre-filters,
will clog up very rapidly and require frequent cleaning
or changing.

Sand is silica, and with the right light, brown algae, that
feeds on the silica, will grow quite easily.

Substrates in a planted tank needs to be fairly deep.
It's recommended that the gravel bed be 3-4 inches deep.
In a 10 tank that is just not common sense. So a depth
of about an inch and a half to two inches is better.
Because of the small size of the tank and the small
amount of water column, it would be a good idea to
use only plants that are commonly thought of
as "foreground" plants with, perhaps, one mid-ground
plant as your focal point. The smaller plants will
be fine in the shallow sand and not easily float up out
of the sand as many other larger plants would.
The smaller the plants you use, the thinner the layer of
sand that would be necessary to keep them anchored.

Because of the very, very, small spaces between
grains, the bulk of the detritus will settle on top of the
sand and eventually can form a mat while the finest of the
detritus will clog the spaces between the grains within the
first quarter to half inch of the sand. This forms a "cap"
that will prevent any circulation within the substrate and
thus create anaerobic areas in the tank.
These anaerobic areas form toxic gasses such as Hydrogen
Sulfide that will affect the plants and the fish.
Once they form, these anaerobic areas are easily
spotted as they will be blackish areas in the white sand,
and easily spotted viewing through the sides of the tank.

Lastly, the sand can easily be stained by any iron and
the organic waste products in the tank and the sand
will loose its fresh bright coloration as it ages.
You will need to replace it with fresh sand on
occasion to maintain that "look" you like.

All that being said, many do have beautiful planted tanks
using sand as a substrate. Use common sense to keep any
sand out of the water column where it can be sucked into
the filter. Use a thin layer of substrate and in your case
use foreground plants. Use something to keep the upper
parts of the substrate disturbed such as Corrie catfish,
kulli loaches, or the MTS snail or some combination of the

Lastly the light, 10,000K on a 10 gallon tank is waay too
much light. I'd stick to something between 6,000 to 8800K
and keep the light down to 1.5 to 2 watts per gallon.

Just some thoughts...

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 04-Jul-2010 06:10Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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