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Sharing my 10 gallon low tech planted tank


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I've gotten tons of help and advice on here in starting up my 55 gallon reef tank. I appreciate. I thought now I'd share one of my freshwater planted tanks. This thing is literally zero maintenance. I change like 20% of the water maybe once a month if I feel so inclined. I used locally dug mineralized topsoil under black gravel.

Here are the specs...

10 gallon

30 watts cfl spiral bulbs 6500k

Ludwigia repens

Hygrophilia polysperma

Hygrophilia corymbosa

Hygrophilia difformis

Crypt. wendtii


Black bar endlers (a bunch)

2 otos

a ton of breeding ghost shrimp

probably a thousand malaysian trumpet snails

This tank has reached an awesome level of homeostasis. The water changes are mainly just to replenish minerals (so I convince myself anyway). Nitrates stay at around 15-20 ppm constantly. I have to trim back things from the surface about every two weeks. I need a quarantine tank for my reef, so I've considered breaking this one down and consolidating it into my 75 gallon planted tank, but it is just so healthy I can't bring myself to dismantle it. Enjoy.


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I have always liked planted tanks. Very nice. To a certain degree, the 10G lagoon tank giveaways in April were set up somewhat similiar to your planted tank. On my 135G lagoon, I had originaally planned on digging up some marsh mud at the coast. I instead opted for a freswater substrate put out by Seachem, which is high in iron.


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Thanks everyone. The lagoon tanks are cool. One day when I have lots of money I'll have a massive reef display and a lagoon display as a refugium.

As for the dirt, a lot of people use miracle grow organic potting mix. I used dirt from my yard. It's mostly clay and fine sand. I mineralized any organic matter by rinsing and drying it one a week for a couple months. Had the texture of confectioners sugar. It's high in iron. Used about an inch, mixing in calcium and magnesium carbonate, potassium chloride (salt substitute) and more red clay. I capped that with 2" of inert black cheap gravel and used some seachem root tabs to get it started. Fish safe and the plants grow like crazy. Almost zero algae. I get a little green spot from the super low phosphates, but scrape that once a month or so. Laborious startup but it worked out awesome. No maintenance now

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Oh i personally don't, but tons of people do. You have to cap it with something. There will usually be a brief ammonia spike so it is advised to have a mature filter ready and do all that before adding any fish, give it a couple weeks, but yeah, pretty common amongst the planted tank community ha ha. Miracle grow gets exhausted within a year or so though, wheras mineralized topsoil with fertilizer added like I did can last years before you need to supplement

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