20L Low Tech Dwarf Cichlid Tank
Hey guys. So I have a spare 20L laying around, and I'm thinking about making it into a low-tech planted tank. I've never done a really good planted tank before, so I'd like to try. Of course I have a few questions, lol.
Will a really fine sand work for substrate? The stuff I'm looking at is the Petco white sand, it's like $7 per 10lbs and most their stores have it. It's cheap, and I like the look of white sand, looks clean to me. Would I be able to get by with the sand and root tabs, or is mixing it with some other substrate really that helpful?
Next, lighting! I'm hoping a single T8/T5NO bulb will provide enough light? I know it's only 20-30 watts (and I also know that watts DO NOT equal output), but it's also only lighting a 12x12 square inch space.
Now for filtration! I like Aquaclear, and I was thinking either two 20s, one on each end, or one 30? Would that be enough/overkill in combination with the plants? The stocking list is going to be something like a couple pairs of dwarf clichlids (apistos/rams), a school of dithers, some cories, and possibly a small pleco if needed. So not heavy, but not light either. Do I have to worry about the output from the filters blowing around the plants?
As far as heat goes, I have a 100 watt heater I'm going to throw in.
For dosing, I was thinking a combination of Excel/Flourish/liquid fertilizer and root tabs? I know it depends on whether or not the plant feeds through the leaves or the roots.
Considering the actual plants, the only thing I really want is some sort of carpet/ground cover plant, like Dwarf Hairgrass, Micro Sword, etc. Obviously I want other plants as well, but I don't know enough about aquatic plants to know which ones I like. I can say that I usually don't go for red/green plants, preferring just one or the other, and mostly green.
I might move on the setup as early as tomorrow, I have plenty of seeding material for the filters, and I'm going to a popular LFS store that's a decent enough drive for me to want to make the most of it (I'm going for other reasons already). So if I see a pair of Apistos I really like, I'd like to be able to buy them.
That being said, my most important questions are: Substrate (since I might have to get it all set up by tomorrow), and filtration (I'll shove an airstone on there for a couple days while Amazon ships whatever I go with, and again I have enough material that I don't expect a cycle).
I'll post pix tomorrow when I actually set the tank up. Thanks for all your help guys and I look forward to learning about this stuff!