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Re: Very Small Tank questions (10 litres)

Jon Hammond wrote:

>I have a few questions about a small tank.  The tank is actually my
>girlfriend's and it holds 10 litres (very small).  At the moment it has a 9
>watt compact flourscent (home depot type.. but rated 5000K so should be ok
>for plants), undergravel filter, course gravel and 2 platties, a swordtail
>and 2 danios.  In summer its a constant temperature of about 25 degrees.  I
>want to set it up as a little planted tank but have a few questions.

IMO a large fish load for this size tank.  Keep up on water changes.

I have a tank this size but I found a bulb that is 20 watts (I think) at
around 5000K, equivalent to 75 watt incandescent.

>1.  Do any of you have a suggestion of how to keep the tank warm in winter
>when the temp drops to around 16-17 degrees in the tank.  Its kinda costly
>to buy a heater that small and it looks ugly to.

I don't heat mine.  I live in Minnesota and we allow the house temperature
to fall to 16-17C during the day when we are at work.  I have an Otocinclus
and a baby American-Flag Fish in there that don't have a problem with it.

>2.  Should I pull down the undergravel filter and put in a fine substrate
>with some enrichment and have no filter at all.

Kind of up to you, but to me an undergravel filter takes up precious space
in a tank this small.  I have Substrate Gold laterite under 2-3mm gravel,
only about 3-4cm deep.  I have a small internal Penn Plax (I think) air
driven _filter_ if you can call it that.  It's just a plastic perforated
cartridge.  Air gets injected at the bottom and exits at the top.  I set it
so the top is above the water line to minimize surface turbulence.  I have
run the tank without it too, but it does seem to create just enough
circulation to prevent surface scum from accumulating.  With Platies you
wouldn't have this issue.

>3.  Should I add DIY c02

I have played with this but no longer _deal_ with it.  By that I mean you
have to be careful.  I submerged a _bell_ at the rear corner, just under my
_filter_ and ran a piece of airline tubing down to it which allowed me to
occasionally fill it manually.  I used a small CO2 device normally intended
to fill bicycle tires.  The trigger on this device was generally either full
on or full off so I would blast some CO2 into a plastic bag through a
drinking straw first, then slowly squeeze that into the airline tubing using
the straw.  I tried direct injection once but the fish didn't appreciate the
whirlpool bath effect :) It worked fine and there was a noticeable increase
in plant growth, even pearling.  If I were to use DIY yeast CO2 I would
still use the bell concept so excess would bubble off.

>4.  What plants should I put in (I thought of some pretty hard low light
>ones like some java fern, anubius, java moss... but she does like riccia on
>little stones).

I tried Riccia but if I didn't keep up on the CO2 it didn't keep the _look_
that we are after, and if you do keep up on the CO2 you will be in the tank
trimming often.  It was too much work so I switched to Java Moss.  Mine is
planted with a Java moss foreground (tied to flat rocks), Anacharis, and a
baby Ozelot sword which interestingly has remained a healthy baby for many
months now despite my intent to just let it grow out a bit in there.  I also
have one large (relatively) black rock and several tiny driftwood branches
randomly stacked.  A nice, natural, Amano-like scene.  I have grown to
appreciate Anacharis in a setting like this.  Grows slowly with nice tight
internodes.  About once a month I change about 75% water and replant the
longest Anacharis shoots.  The roots are usually 4-6 inches long!  One of my
favorite tanks :)

I have a very nice photo if anyone is interested.

Mike Grace