Hello, have some questions


Junior Poster
Dec 17, 2007
Hey everyone, I'm new to the site and need help on rescaping a 10 gallon tank. I'm running 2 watts per gallon, DIY co2 at 1 bubble every 3 seconds, an Aquaclear 20 for mechanical filtration and a Whisper 20/30 filter for biological, regular aquarium gravel for substrate and no ferts. plants are java fern, java moss and for the fish i have a 3.5inch golden pleco, 5 inch dojo loach, 2 blood fin tetras and 2 common guppies.

tap water:(1deg hardness)
PH 7.6-8.1
ammonia 0.50ppm
nitrite 0
nitrate 0.10ppm

tank water:(3deg hardness after adding baking soda)
PH 6.6-6.8
ammonia 0.25ppm
nitrite 0.50ppm
nitrate 20-30ppm

When I rescape the tank i know for a fact that im going to be using dwarf baby tears(Hemianthus callitrichoides) for front of the tank but im stumped on what else to use cause the tanks going to be for a pair or blue rams or I'm gonna have a school of 10-12 cardinal tetra and some shrimp.

Also, what type of commercial substrate should i use or would it be better to make my own substrate?

I also have a 30 gallon that im thinking about starting up so any suggestions for that one would help

Thanks everyone,


Guru Class Expert
Jun 8, 2007
Well....before making any recommendations I guess you need to make some decisions. Are you sticking with co2? What type of plants do you want to have? Do you want a low maintenance, low growth tank or a more lush tank that requires more maintenance?

You pretty much have four options if I were to boil them down.....

1. low-tech - this is non-co2, low light (preferably 1.5wpg or less), low light hardy slow growing plants, lots of algae eating fish, a very low fish load, little to no fertilization, and more infrequent water changes say monthly once the tank is established, some people can go longer. A good substrate is good too since no fertilization is happening.

Benefits - cheap, little work involved
Drawbacks - doesn't always work out well, very limited on the plants you can successfully keep, slow plant growth, very low fish load required

2. regular non-co2 - this requires low light (2wpg or less), low light plants, some algae eating fish in the setup, and weekly 40 - 50% water changes with weekly fertilization.

Benefits - fairly easy to have a successful tank, not a lot of pruning required, can have a full fish load, once a week maintanance
Drawbacks - slow plant growth, limitations on plants you can grow

3. co2 - semi hi-tech - you can have moderate light but don't want to go overboard, say up to 2.5 maybe 3 wpg or you can stick with less if you want to... diy co2, weekly 50% water changes, fertilizing 2 - 3 x/week depending on lighting and plant load

Benefits - faster plant growth, more options for plants due to possibility of higher lighting, still not very expensive
Drawbacks - diy co2 can be a headache, requires regular pruning with faster growing plants and semiweekly maintanance at the least

4. co2 - hi-tech - pressurized co2, high light, fertilization 3 - 4x/week, pruning weekly, any plants you want.

Benefits - can grow whatever you want!!
Drawbacks - expensive, can be lots of work

This is just a general idea of what type of options you have, think about the amount of work and money you can invest and what you want for your final goal and then form a plan from there! There are lots of options and usually not one best option for anything, it all depends on what you want and what you can put into it personally.

One of the biggest mistakes that people seem to make when starting out is that they fail to choose one method...they try to have their cake and eat it too. So they do something like go with high light, but don't fertilize or add co2. Or go low light and don't do any water changes, but have a high fish load and put high light plants in the tank. Then start wondering why things start going out of control... balance is the key. Every parameter has to be in sync with the rest for it to work right.