My New 10 gal Ember Tetra and Live Plant Fish Tank!

As you know, I’ve been taking care of my awesome Betta fish: Joey! My Joey is amazing, healthy and so adorable in his 2.5 gallon apartment. However, watching more YouTube and being more amazed by saltwater tanks, big tanks, and ponds, I wanted something more, not too big but bigger than what I have. I started researching Neon Tetras, but I saw something that caught my eye. Ember Tetras! Ember Tetras are so vibrant and bright orangeish-red that I couldn’t help but be blown away by their nature and how beautiful they are! I spent lots of hours and days researching and slowly creating a slide presentation to start a new fish-keeping hobby adventure. I slowly worked and worked on the slide, researching and creating guides for myself. With the help of Kara editing the slides, I presented it to my mom and dad. About 1 week later, I got an answer.
“You can keep them, but in the dining room because upstairs isn’t sturdy enough and might be knocked down.”
Mom said something along those lines, (I don’t pay much attention to family lol) and I was at first a little sad. I wanted it in my room but my mood quickly swung around as I realized I ultimately got what I wanted. I was hyped! I was so excited for my new fish tank, finally a step forward, and I started putting in more hours researching and watching care guides and tricks. I researched the best tank setup, the nitrogen cycle, care for live plants, and was finally ready. Or, I thought.
You see when my mom took me to the pet store to ask questions to an expert there, I had a lot of questions after her explained lots of valuable information to me. In the end, he was super helpful and I am so glad I talked to him (he’s a real mvp), otherwise it would’ve been the downfall of my tank. I put in more hours researching and finally had a structure of how everything would be organized.
A few days later, my fish tank arrived and I was astonished by how fancy the high-tech aqueon quiet power filter was, and I was excited. My mom and dad agreed to pay for the base of my tank, including the fish and the plants as my graduation present to high school. I quickly ordered everything I needed on Amazon and pet stores nearby, and I was crazy excited and hyped. Heater: check; filter cartridges: check; ammonia tester: check; bacteria implements, tank stands, plant fertilizer, aquarium glue, flake foods, everything you can possibly think of for a 10 gallon tank: I bought. Nothing was stopping me to having the perfect Ember Tetra tank in history!
I quickly bought 2 layers of substrate (including aquasolum, the best of them all) and planted in one day. I was amazed by how beautiful the plants were, and to this day I’m crazy happy of how my plants are doing (my Java Moss couldn’t be any better). I will attach photos so you can see how it came out on the first day.
A couple days later, into the nitrogen cycle, I added more live plants. My mom was kind enough to use time after work to take me to all these stores. My tank was looking really well and I was excited so much I couldn’t help but ask my mom if I could go to the fish experts at the Pet Store and see how far my tank was cycled, if even cycled at all. She took me the next day.
I remember it like it was yesterday: (well it actually was only like a week ago so I’m not surprised, but I need to be fancy like my ELA teacher) the store worker testing my fish tank water to see the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels; how far I am through the nitrogen cycle.
When she came back with the results, she said:
“No, get out of my store noob”
Jk she said that my tank was FULLY CYCLED, which was truly jaw-dropping for me as it went far beyond what I thought would happen. Honestly, I thought she would truly say No, get out noob but I guess I got lucky
Anyway, I was about to pick up all 8 ember tetras to buy for my tank (again, thank you mom for putting all this time for me) when a worker there told me that I should introduce 3 first so the bio-load doesn’t go off the charts on the first day (bio-load is how much ammonia is produced, which comes from excess uneaten food, fish waste, and harmful algae. Ammonia is harmful to fish and gets converted to nitrites which is also harmful, but then to nitrates which is beneficial and helps kill ammonia and bad things. You look it up, I’m a lazy noob). So to this day, I have 3 ember tetras swimming happily in my 10 gallon tank, with 7 more to come. On Wednesday this week, hopefully my bio-load is ok and I can get three more. I’ll keep you updated on that.
But here is a Q/A that no one asked for:
How was your experience getting a bigger fish tank?
It was definitely different. For instance, my 2.5 Joey apartment was so small, I didn’t have to run the nitrogen cycle. But this is so much more work. To this day, I pour Seed Bacteria every day, plant fertilizer every week, monitor plant growth, trim plants, monitor ammonia levels and water parameters, and take 45 min every Sunday to change this tank on top of Joey. To conclude, even though it’s a lot of work, no regrets.
What does it look like?
All planted, all natural driftwood and mountain stones, I have 2 anubias plants, one is also a carpet. I love my Jungle Val, which is amazingly green and growing long, healthy roots as I write this. I have so many different types of plants, that it’s hard to keep track.
What did you name them?
I am going to get so many that it’s hard to keep track of who’s who, so I am going to give it a group name. The thing is, I haven’t come up with a good one so if you can comment it, that would be nice. Some ideas are [The Niners; 49ers; The Fire Nation; The Ember Empire; The Phoenix Empire] but please give me suggestions!
Why did you write about this?
I wanted to share my fish keeping experience and the wonderful journey of my Ember Tetras!

Thank you for reading, if you got this far and I wasn’t extremely boring!
Peace, Jordan

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