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Newto aquascaping, want to setup this tank

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by mouselover01, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    I have a 10gallon tank. It has black gravel in it and an air stone. The lights I'm using are "grow lights".

    I would like to replicate this tank. I have no idea what the plants are.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs10Y2OvkgM&feature=related]Fluval Edge mit extra Beleuchtung... - YouTube[/ame]

    This is just going to be something to experiment with :)

    Thanks :)
     

    Sponsored link:


  2. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Hi there mouselover01!

    With regard to growing plants, if this community is going to help you, we need more info. What type of lighting do you have? An incandesent 60watt bulb could be called a "grow light" because it could help plants grow. But simply "growing plants" and growing the plants that you see in your photo are two very different things. The tank you have pictured probably couldn't have been done without adding CO2, fertilizers, excellent filtration, and a specialized lighting system.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to discourage you. However, I think a lot of people jump into this hobby because they see a jaw-dropping tank that they want in their home, and they think it's an easy process. If it was easy, this forum probably wouldn't exist, and everyone would have a beautiful planted aquarium in their home. If you're new to this hobby and you approach it by saying "I want a tank that looks like this", then you may be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, take this approach - learn, learn, learn. Learn about water chemistry. Learn about basic plant biology, and then learn about aquatic plant biology. Another good idea I think is to look around online for pictures of tanks that you think are beautiful, then check out what the specs of those tanks are. Some sites will give you this info, and it's very helpful! If you see a tank you like, great - but try to find out what substrate they're using, what kind of filter they have, what lighting they're using, what fertilizers, what CO2 method, etc. Once you've learned more, you can start experimenting with equipment and other variables. But remember, it's a learning process. It's also a financial process and depending on your budget, it may take you years to save for all the equipment that some people on here are using to get the tanks you see in a lot of these pictures. I've been aquascaping for about three years and I'm only now going to get my first pressurized CO2 system!

    I'd say that, in general, if you want a "show worthy" planted tank, at a minimum you need a substrate that's specifically for planted tanks, strong lighting, added CO2 and fertilizers, and good water filtration with very regular water filtration.

    One last note - you might want to ditch the air stone, or at least don't use it during the day. You probably won't find anyone on here that uses an airstone in their tanks unless it's at night. Air stones create a lot of bubbles that create a very turbulent water surface ... lots of pops, little waves, etc. That is bad for aquatic plants, because it tends to release CO2 that's in the water, and plants need CO2. Instead try to get the surface of your water to be still, which will help keep CO2 in the water where it belongs.

    Keep posting, and let us know if you have any more questions. Good luck!
    -Brian
     
  3. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    Thanks. I got the air stone because I had planned on just doing black gravel and the sterile bleached coral look in this tank, but then saw some planted tanks I actually liked (didn't think they could look so nice) and started thinking maybe I'd look into that.

    Can you identify the plants that are in that tank so I can do some more research on them?

    Looks like there's only a few different ones in there.
     
  4. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Another thing -

    Some plants are easier to grow than others - remember that.

    Don't set out trying to grow some of the more difficult plants and then get discouraged and give up if it doesn't work out. You might want to start with something easy to grow. For beginners, most people usually recommend:

    1. Java Fern
    2. Java Moss
    3. Anubis
    4. Crypts

    With the exception of Java Moss, all of those plants have lots of varieties/variations. If you google the plant "Anubis" you'll find a ton of varieties. Some of them are big, some of them are small.. but all are pretty easy to grow. And, I've seen some photos of aquascapes with nothing but Java Fern and Anubis that have been every bit as beautiful and stunning as any aquascape you could find anywhere.

    The website Aquarium Pond Plants Freshwater Aquarium Plants Aquarium Accessories (Arizona Aquatic Gardens) is a nice tool to use for browsing types of plants, and reading about their requirements. Don't get fooled by the prices though. They may only charge $5 for a piece of Java Fern, but they also have a minimum order requirement and a hefty delivery charge as well. Buying just a few small plants can easily cost you over $80 from a site like this.

    Currently, my tank has only java fern, java moss, and anubis in it - and all of them are doing well. I have large pieces of driftwood COVERED in java fern, and it looks beautiful, lush, and green. And, it's super easy to grow! If you have the patience, you can buy a few pieces of Java Fern or Anubis from a local pet store, and then let them grow. In a few years, you could have a tank full of the stuff. And as long as you keep algae at bay, it will be beautiful.
     
  5. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    That's what I was just going to ask.

    I was wondering about easy to grow ('beginner' if you will) plants.

    I like the simplicity of the tank I posted (as in, not a ton of varieties) and the beauty.

    I want to use 1 carpeting plan (how is dwarf hairgrass?), 1 medium height plant, and one taller plant for the back.

    I want them to be good beginner/easy to grow plants.

    Currently my hood is sporting 2 15W "plant growth bulbs". I can replace the bulbs if I must but they have to be those small "tube like" bulbs (not strips).

    I just have normal black gravel.

    I'd like to add a variety of shrimp as well as guppies/neon or cardinal tetras

    I also have to find some nice wood/rock. nothing tickled my fancy at the lfs last night :-/

    Any plants fitting my needs that you guys know of?


    I'll be putting together a 150 gallon Tall tank sometime in the next few months, but I have a feeling it'll be sitting for awhile until I can decide on what to put in it. I'm thinking about putting together a bunch of 10 gallon planted aquariums to experiment on and see what I like best.

    Thanks all :)
     
  6. sushant

    sushant Aspiring Aquascaper

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    this is one of the best advice for a beginner aquascaper:rock:
     
  7. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    sushant -- thanks for the compliment!

    Mouselover - here are some comments directly addressing your last questions:

    I was wondering about easy to grow ('beginner' if you will) plants.
    The list I gave you is a good place to start - 1) Java Fern, 2) Java Moss, 3) Anubis, 4) "Crypts" as they're commonly known, but the actual name for this group of plants is "Cryptocoryne".

    I like the simplicity of the tank I posted (as in, not a ton of varieties) and the beauty.
    I agree! Sometimes with aquascaping, less is more. I think you could achieve a beautiful look with some small anubis varieties and some taller java ferns.

    I want to use 1 carpeting plan (how is dwarf hairgrass?), 1 medium height plant, and one taller plant for the back.
    I've tried hairgrass, and it died after a week or so. My lighting probably wasn't strong enough, and I also didn't have any CO2 at the time. Hairgrass can be tough if you don't have the right equipment. That being said, if you can get some, try it! The worst that can happen is that it'll die and you'll learn something from the experience. Most "carpet" plants require a lot of light, and only do really well if you have a good CO2 setup in the tank. But don't let that discourage you from creating a visually interesting layout. You could cover part of the gravel with small pieces of wood, with java moss attached to each one. That will eventually give you a moss carpet on the bottom of your tank, and it will be easy to grow. As far as medium and tall height plants go, I'd stick with the crypts for mid-ground and java ferns for the background. I've seen some varieties of java fern at my LFS that are nearly 12" tall. I also have a few varieties in my tank that are only about 3" tall. The link for the plant store I sent you is a good resource to check for this, because they help you find plants based on criteria like mid-ground/background, high light vs low light, etc. Check that out to help you find plants that you like. Just because you find them on that site doesn't mean you have to buy them there.

    I want them to be good beginner/easy to grow plants.
    That's what I want for you as well -- so stick to the four I suggested for now. Or try whatever you want! You'll learn something no matter what.

    Currently my hood is sporting 2 15W "plant growth bulbs". I can replace the bulbs if I must but they have to be those small "tube like" bulbs (not strips).
    Sounds like you have CFLs, or "compact fluorescent" bulbs. Normally I'd tell someone interested in aquascaping to get a good light fixture for their tank, but in your case I don't think that's necessary IF you stick to the plants I suggested. One of the best things about the plants I suggested is that they ALL have very LOW light requirements. Java Moss and Anubis can even live in total darkness for long periods of time, I've heard. And although most people will generally say that more light is better, that's not always the case. If you have plants that only need a little bit of light, giving them too much light won't do anything for the plants - they only take what they need. Excess light that doesn't get used by the plants for growth, will get used by something else for growth -- ALGAE. This same principal also applies to fertilizers. So in order to save money and experiment, keep your lights as they are for now, and see how you do with the plants I've suggested.


    I just have normal black gravel. I'd like to add a variety of shrimp as well as guppies/neon or cardinal tetras. I also have to find some nice wood/rock. nothing tickled my fancy at the lfs last night :-/
    If you have a small tank, and you do, you can buy a single bag of some good aquatic plant substrate for about $20 or $30 and you'll be better off with that than you would regular gravel. HOWEVER -- not all plants are the same, and some plants don't care what their substrate is. In fact, Java Fern, Java Moss, and Anubis aren't your typical plants with a root system. They have something different called a rhizome, and that rhizome needs to be in the water column (meaning above the gravel but below the surface of the water). Therefore, you could have the most expensive aquasoil on the market and Java Moss/Fern and Anubis won't know the difference. Crypts are different, they do need to be planted in the substrate, but see how they do in regular gravel. You might be surprised with how easy they are. As far as fish, what you suggested all sound fine. But I'll add this - most of the tanks you see on this website have very few fish, if any at all. Fish do a lot of things that totally change the chemistry to your water. Some of what they do is beneficial to plants, some of it isn't. So do your research, and whatever you do, don't go fish crazy and start buying a ton of fish. Also - DO NOT get any plecos or any large fish -- they'll wreak havoc on plants by uprooting them and eating them. Tetras and guppies I think are okay -- same with shrimp. As for rocks or wood, keep checking the LFS. Or try another LFS. Also try to look online -- and ask on this forum! Sometimes people sell excess plants or hardscapes (rocks/wood) and they'll sell it to you cheap on this website. Or, find something in a stream or lake nearby and you might be able to use that as well (as long as you take the proper precautions first -- but that's another discussion).


    Any plants fitting my needs that you guys know of?
    Remember, 1) Java Fern, 2) Java Moss, 3) Anubis, 4) "Crypts".
     
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    if you want an easier to grow plant that is similar to hairgrass I would suggest lilaeopsis mauritiana (narrow leaf micro sword) or cryptocoryne parva. Either of these will be less demanding on CO2.

    in your reference tank I see, hemianthus callitrichoides(HC), eleocharis acicularis (HG), flame moss, and Echinodorous tennelus

    the HC and the HG do best with CO2 injection and higher light.

    low light is best for just beginning. upgrade CO2 before increasing lights to higher levels.

    Bsnyder has you on your way...good advice here.
     
  9. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    The bulbs I have are like these:
    Walmart.com: Aqua Culture Aquarium Clear Light Bulb, 2ct: Fish

    But are labeled grow bulbs (same brand, same wattage, etc).

    I don't like them, I think they are dull. I prefer bright light but the lfs said there's nothing I can do unless I upgrade my hood.


    I originally got this tank to breed guppies, but after setting it up and looking at it empty, I want it to at least be INTERESTING to look at :)

    If you can suggest where to get better lighting that will fit what I have, I'd love to order it. I looked at the deep blue hood with T5 lighting, but I'm probably going to put that off until I get my next 10g started up. The hood alone is 40 and I don't want to replace one I already paid for :)

    Thanks a tonnnnnn bsnyder921!! I'm going to drive around over the weekend and see If i can get some of those low light plants. I wonder if I have another lfs that I can go to as well :)
     
  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    those are incandescent bulbs and will not give off a lot of useable light for plants. Low light plants will be all you could grow. Those types of bulbs waste a lot of energy as heat.

    Do not bump up your lighting to a T5 without going for pressurized CO2. Your best bet would be a hood that has a T8 fluorescent tube.

    something like this with a daylight bulb (6500k): Aquarium Lighting & Hoods: All-Glass Deluxe Fluorescent Full Hoods - Black
     
  11. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    Okay, so I got a few Java Fern and also got co2 booster, plant food, and 6 neon tetras.

    I put it all in, and in a matter of an hour, the neon tetras were dead and stuck to the intake for my filter.

    I don't know if they died first then got stuck, or got stuck and then died.

    Any suggestions?
     
  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    they died first, guaranteed.

    Did you dechlorinate the water? what was the temperature?

    At this point, I feel being blunt may be best for you and any future fish you purchase. It sounds like you have very little experience and struggle to just keep fish alive. That being said, the tank above requires a greater level of experience and understanding.

    The next fish you purchase should be zebra danios. They are very tough fish and will give you a better chance at success. Until you can keep fish alive I would forget about anything too complicated. I think you need to do some background reading on caring for an aquarium.

    Check here: Freshwater Aquarium Fish Beginner's Guide

    Beginner's guide to setting up an aquarium - YouTube

    Use google and Youtube to find guides.

    What is this CO2 booster?

    Explain EXACTLY what you did when adding the fish, each step of the process so we can help you.
     
  13. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    if you can post pictures of your setup and tell us exactly what you have for a filter, do you have a heater, what gravel did you use, what did you add, how much, etc
     
  14. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    Water temperature is 75.

    Water has already been de-chlorinated and the tank has been up and running.

    Got home, rinsed the plants, put the plants in. Put the proper amounts of both the co2 booster and the plant food.

    Then:

    Took my bucket that I use for aquarium water changes and put the fish in the bucket. I got extra water from the fish store as well (I left my tank with some room for more water when I set it up).

    Then I put some of my pre-existing tank water in the bucket. Let it sit about 10 min, added a little more, let it sit for about 10 minutes, then poured them in the tank.

    Came back an hour later to check on them, they were dead, stuck to the side of the filter.

    I will get a photo. I use plain black aquarium gravel. It was rinsed prior to being put in the tank when I set the tank up.


    Also, FYI, I have other tanks up and running and I have no problem keeping those alive, clean, clear and healthy.
     
  15. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    Re-tested my water AGAIN just now, nothing too bad.

    Nitrates were 0ppm
    Ammonia went up to 2.0-3.0ppm
    PH is 7.6

    Filter is:
    Aqua-tech 5-15 power filter with bio-fiber biological filtration and EZ-change #1 filter cartridge

    Let me know if I missed any of your questions.

    [​IMG]

    Plant Food
    [​IMG]

    Co2 Booster
    [​IMG]

    Photo of one of my other tanks that, even though is a goldfish/koi tank, never registers ANYTHING when I test for ammonia and Nitrates. Yet, when I got this tank from someone who didn't want it anymore, it was wall to wall solid green and needed A LOT of tlc
    [​IMG]
     
  16. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Phew, lots that could be going on here.

    Back when I was relatively new to the hobby, I remember wanting neon tetras BAD. I bought about six of them, brought them home, and within a day or two they were all dead. Then I tried again -- and again, a few days later they were all dead. So I gave up and kept other types of fish. But about a year ago, I decided to give it a try again. So I bought about a dozen cardinal tetras, and they're all still alive and thriving today!

    Looking back, I'm not sure what I did wrong the first time. Always keep this in mind, too -- there's a chance that you did NOTHING wrong. Buying from a LFS is always risky, even if it's a great LFS with a great reputation.

    Now since it looks like ShadowMac is on the ball with helping with regard to your tank parameters, I'll take a different approach and give you some tips on buying fish from your LFS.

    1. First off, most fish stores gaurantee their fish - so if they die, you can bring back the dead fish for a refund. Oftentimes, they'll only give you your money back if you give them a sample of water for them to test. If they see ANY trace of ammonia (or other harsh conditions) -- they won't refund your money. So if you don't have a test kit, and you haven't mentioned it so I doubt you do, this sounds like it would be a great opportunity to both 1- Try to get your money back, and 2- Get your water tested at the same time. In fact, even if they don't have a gaurantee on their fish, call them anyway and ask if they'll test your water for you. Get as many tests done as possible, and report back here with the results. And as I mentioned before - time to learn about water chemistry. It's not hard, I promise.

    2. Second, most fish stores get shipments of fish. They don't breed them in-house. This means that a lot of these fish are either caught in their natural habitat or bred commercially, then literally boxed and shipped via truck/air to their destination. Imagine what that would be like for the fish. Total darkness. Changes in temperature, changes in the food they're used to, less than idea water conditions, and shakes, jolts, and bumpbs. Talk about fish stress.. I really feel sorry for fish that have to go through this. So even assuming that the fish were healthy to begin with (and sometimes they aren't) -- they certainly are NOT in top shape by the time they end up at your LFS. Then, they get thrown into tanks, which probably have different water parameters (hardness, temperature, etc) than they've ever been exposed to before. And if THAT doesn't stress them out even more, the fact that so many fish stores don't maintain their tanks well certainly will. Most fish store tanks are over crowded and lack hiding spaces or decoration. Sometimes they have rotting dead fish in them and algea everywhere. So now you come in the next day, and buy a few fish that are already on death's door, and back into a bag they go -- to be transported AGAIN, and to be put into another fish tank with different water parameters AGAIN. My point in telling you all of this is just to get you to appreciate how difficult the lives of your little fish are, and to help you learn some tips that can make it easier on the fish. First, talk with someone in the LFS who knows when the shipments of fish come in. It's pretty risky to buy fish that are very new arrivals. If you see a fish you want, ask how long they've been in the store. If they arrived that morning, I'd be hesitant to buy. Let the fish store take care of them for a few days and see how they do. If they survive the transition, then they'll probably do okay transitioning to your tank. The only way you can find this information out is to ask.

    3. Second, before buying anything, walk around the store. Check out the conditions of the tanks. Ask questions! How often do the tanks get cleaned? Do they have quarantine tanks? Do they offer a gaurantee on their fish? If the people selling the fish are ignorant of how to care for them, I'd be skeptical.

    4. Never, ever buy fish from Wal-Mart. Additionally, I'd personally never buy fish from any store that sells fish that have been injected with dyes to give their bodies bright, fake coloring.

    I think that's enough info for now. Report back with water parameters!
     
  17. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Okay - so now that I've read your followup post with the water parameters, I can say with confidence that the ammonia levels are high, and that most likely was the cause of death in your tank. If they were even at 1 ppm that would be cause enough for immediate action on your part to save your fish. So it sounds to me like your tank hasn't been fully cycled yet, and therefore you need to start with just a couple of very harty fish - like the danios that ShadowMac suggested. I've also heard that adding a goldfish or two can help speed up the cycling process since they produce so much more waste than other fish. Do you fully understand the cycling process? Have you researched ammonia in the fish tank? If not, do so now before you buy ANY other fish for your tank.

    Another note - the plant 'food' and Co2 booster you got are probably unnecessary for the two Java Ferns you got for your tank - though ShadowMac will probably be a better judge of that than I. Remember how I mentioned in a previous post that too much light is a bad thing in the tank? And that too much of it not only won't help your plants grow but will also cause damage by encouraing algae growth? Well, the same is true with nutrients for plants. If you had a densely planted "dutch" style aquarium, you'd probably be fine with adding a ton of fertilizers and using a ton of light - because the abundance of plants would use it all. But since you only have a couple of small java ferns, you probably don't need the extra nutrients at this point. Also, keep in mind that the beginner plants that have been suggested are considered beginner plants because they have such minimal requirements for growth. And finally, don't waste any of the stuff you bought by adding it to your tank now while you have ammonia in it. That would be like giving a multi-vitamin to someone who is terminally ill and expecting good results. Cycle your tank first. Then you can start thinking about plant supplements.

    One last thing - did you bury the java fern in the gravel? I couldn't really tell by the picture. Java ferns will probably survive if you bury them in the gravel, but they'll do a LOT better if you attach them to driftwood. You don't have to get a huge piece of driftwood... even a small piece just a few inches across will do for now. But get those things going on wood, and in a few months the entire piece of wood will be covered in healthy, green growth. Keeping it buried in gravel however will limit the growth because the entire java fern plant needs to have full exposure to the water column. By burying half of it, that bottom half is no longer in the water column, and thus is not able to get the nutrients it needs from the water.
     
  18. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    The ammonia was 0ppm last night prior to the fish being added.

    About 1 gallon of water I added was from the lfs.


    I'm wondering if taking water from my gold fish tank and putting it in my new tank will help?

    My gold fish tank will have a water change tonight and instead of dumping the water, I could put it in the 10gallon, since I'm going to be pulling out about 7ish gallons.

    Would that help the issue?



    As far as fish grantee, they will replace the fish or give me a full refund. I'll grab some zebra danos (are glofish also hardy-- I know they are dannos, would they be an ok choice)?

    How hardy are guppies?

    Anyway, I pushed them into the gravel and pulled up to make sure the roots are vertical. I'll grab some wood over the weekend and tie them to there if it'll be better.

    I'm getting a few more of those java's to line the aquarium with. I'll probably have a total of 7. Would I still not need the plant food and Co2 booster?

    Thanks
     
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry to assume you have limited experience, it seems I was wrong and you have kept fish fine before. I had to ask for specifics so I could avoid making more assumptions.

    A regular dosing of Seachem Flourish wouldn't hurt the plants. Algae really is caused by too much light, not enough CO2, and/or a lack of nutrients. The Co2 booster dosed according to directions is fine as well, but probably not necessary at this point since you have so few plants.

    The ammonia is the likely culprit for the fish deaths. How long has the tank been running? Since you have ammonia it would seem it hasn't cycled. If you want to quicken the cycle time you can take some mulm (brown slimy stuff and particulates) from the filter on your existing tank and dump it into your new tank filter.

    You took some time and acclimated the fish. In the future I would recommend floating the bag to help with a temp change. Neon tetras can be touchy and like Brian mentioned sometimes just kick the bucket for no apparent reason. However, in this case it would be the ammonia. You want that down to where your test kit cannot detect it. In a cycled tank ammonia is immediately processed by bacteria so it does not build up to detectable levels.

    Also your ferns have rhizomes that should not be buried in the substrate. This is the horizontal structure the leaves grow from. This should be tied using cotton thread or even your common twist ties to rock or driftwood.

    This magazine gives a decent overview of nature aquariums(keep in mind that half of the magazine is like an add). There is a good article for beginners in this issue:
    Aqua Journal - September 2011
     
  20. mouselover01

    mouselover01 New Member

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    Thank you very much.

    Would filling the 10 gallon with water from my goldfish aquarium solve the ammonia issue?
     

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