These two tanks sit on the bottom shelf of my DIY aquarium rack. They are standard aqueon 10 gallon aquariums, but they are positioned with the short sides in the front and back. I've never set up aquariums in this configuration, but I knew it would work really well with how I wanted to drill them. It's also an interesting layout to try to aquascape.
These tanks are drilled with an overflow in the back, which flows out to the main drain stack for the room. See this post for info on how I drilled the glass and this post for the drain system build.
The overflow allows water changes to be done by just adding new water to the tank. Eventually this will be accomplished through an automated drip system operating on a timer. For now I'm doing water changes using my python hook, which makes filling tanks really easy.
I used hamburg matten filters in these aquariums to hide the overflows and heater at the back of the tank. Matten filters provide a ton of surface area for biological filtration and are excellent for keeping shrimp and small fish away from an overflow. The filter is a thick foam sponge cut to the dimensions of the aquarium, with a hole for a PVC lift tube to fit through.
The lift tube uses air to pull water up from the bottom of the tank behind the sponge and out the tube in the front. This pulls water through the sponge to the back, trapping debris in the sponge and feeding the beneficial bacteria. The foam sponge also provides a great surface for shrimp to graze on biofilm. I got these matten filters from Flip Aquatics.
The lights for these aquariums are 20 watt LED floodlights. I am keeping mostly anubias in these tanks so I went with a cheap lighting option since I only need low light. The lights currently sit directly on top of my DIY glass lids. Two of these LED lights only cost me $22.
The tank on the left is home to a colony of red cherry shrimp I've had breeding for a long time. I may add a small group of nano fish like celestial pearl danios or white cloud mountain minnows later, probably after the auto water change system is complete.
I set this tank up with Fluval Stratum because it is marketed as a shrimp friendly substrate. So far I have been happy with it, although it does require a thorough rinse before you dump into an aquarium. I do like that it has a nice uniform grain size and shape. The substrate is larger than sand but smaller and lighter than most types of gravel.
The other tank is home to my male betta. He is alone except for some ramshorn snails. I tried adding some cherry shrimp to his tank, but he hunted them all down and ate them within a day. In the betta tank I used a combination of white sand and white gravel. I like the combination better than using either sand or gravel alone.
Both tanks were scaped with easy low light plants.
In the shrimp tank I used a single large piece of malaysian driftwood as the only hardscape. I attached to that two anubias nana rhyzomes and another large anubias that I've had for a long time. I used zipties for the larger two rhyzomes, and the smallest one is tucked into an opening in the driftwood. Once the roots attach themselves to the wood, the ties can be removed.
In the back of the betta's tank there's a wall of rotala rotundifolia, which is a stem plant that should grow thick if its trimmed regularly. This plant will grow quickly under high light, especially with CO2, but it does fine in a low tech setup.
I also included two large anubias rhizomes attached to pieces of malaysian driftwood. The anubias plant in the back has been growing on the same piece of wood for several months. The one toward the front is over a year old, and was ziptied to the driftwood. Zip ties were easier than super glue and can be easily snipped off later if I want to make a change.
Finally I have a small cryptocoryne wendtii in the foreground. This plant has some nice red shades in its leaves and grows differently under different lighting conditions. If it does well here I will probably add more crypts to both of these 10 gallon tanks.