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Lynke 10-06-2012 03:20 AM

Need some help ^-^;
Hello everyone. I am new here and new to planting a tank. I have tried planting once before and everything died rather horribly. I have been trying to do some research but i must say that the great wealth of knowledge and vastness of equipment has me confused.

I am looking for a low-tech, low-maintenance tank setup. I have 2 african clawed frogs who are getting a new 20 gallon tank and i would love to try to give them a nice, natural aquarium. Plus the way a planted tank looks keeps on drawing me back to trying it again.

I would love a nice carpet covering type plant. One of those that look like grass. I'd also love a slightly taller, bushy plant for my frogs to hide in. I don't want to use c02 and i would ideally like to keep away from abundant fertilizing. If anyone can provide some plants that would work well together and also possibly suggest lighting that would work for my need that would be awesome :D I apologize if i am being redundant in the information i seek but i am a little confused and would appreciate a more direct approach ^-^

mistahoo 10-06-2012 06:48 AM

From all the advice I've been getting, grassy carpet and low tech doesn't go hand in hand. I've been told a lot of carpeting plants will grow fast in low light to reach the light or die off. There are some plants that will work though I find mixed results from many people.

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mistahoo 10-06-2012 06:49 AM

Also another thing, it seems as if most of the members here ignore posts by new members, but don't let that discourage you!

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Monster Fish 10-06-2012 08:27 AM

Welcome to TPT. If you want to go budget with lighting, go with two CFLs in clamp lamps. For a grassy looking plant in low light, you can't go wrong with dwarf sagittaria. For a low tech bush, go with either crypts or water wisteria. Fert dosing can be done via root tabs.

steven p 10-06-2012 08:56 AM

Another bushy plant that critters love to hide in is water sprite.

Lynke 10-06-2012 04:48 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys :D would this light fixture work for what I want?

I prefer the strip lights instead of the bulky clamp ones due to space. It requires two 40 watt T12 bulbs, I don't know if that's too much

Monster Fish 10-06-2012 04:55 PM

Yeah, that should work. Though the link you posted states that the fixture uses T8s.

Lynke 10-06-2012 05:19 PM

Oops sorry both the fixtures look exactly the same so I must have choosen the wrong one

same price but this one houses two 40 watt T12 bulbs

Monster Fish 10-06-2012 05:26 PM

That's a 48 inch fixture. Check if Home Depot has some 24 inch shop light fixtures.

AVN 10-06-2012 07:36 PM

Might I advise you against what you are about to do?

I'm new to the forum, but not new to the hobby. Been in it about 20 years now and I would love to help you figure this all out.

Already I can see some issues that might arise from your set up. You mentioned that you tried planting before, and were met with mass browning. Do you know why this happened?

You also mentioned that you don't want to dose Co2 and avoid mass fertilizing. Is there any way I can change your mind on this?

Planted tanks require both macro and micro nutrients to survive and grow. Two frogs aren't going to provide a 20g filled with plants with enough nutrients to even survive, let alone carpet the floor.

Lynke 10-06-2012 11:33 PM

I don't mind fertilizing but I really don't want to go into a c02 set up just yet. Is their any way I any get away with just using fertilizer, but not like everyday? I've seen some people that use flourish excel every day and that just seems like too much. I don't mind fertilizing every week, ideally every two weeks... But every day seems like a real wallet drainer.

I believe the browning occurred due to poor substrate choice, inadequate lighting on top of bad plant choice. I found out one of the plants sold to me was not actually an aquarium plant. From what I have read my gravel is too large and I didn't know I needed to use stuff under the gravel. Basically I just thought it worked like plant, water, go! I didn't realize the vast amount of research I should have done >< I am trying to rectify this.

Ultimately I just want easy to care for tank with hardy plants. If I can't get a carpet with this tank that is okay. I am willing to change my choices to make this as easy as possible. I have seen lots of wonderful tanks on here that require no c02 and little maintenance... This is ultimately what I would love. However as stated before I am more then willing to fertilize. If you have any advice or suggestions for a set up for my 20 gallon and 2 African clawed frogs I would be very happy to listen. Also I only feed live food as my frogs refuse to eat anything else. Their is always blood worms, earth worms, gold fish and guppies in the tank... I was hoping their presence would help provide the plants with what they need.

Monster Fish 10-06-2012 11:41 PM

You don't need CO2 for lush growth. Excel is not fertilizer but a source of organic carbon. Try using root tabs. Just place them deep into the substrate, and watch your plants grow. Replace every 3-4 months or if your plants start to turn yellow/stop growing.

There are plenty of low-tech, planted tanks on the forum. Here's some great examples:

And here's a nice looking african clawed frog tank:

AVN 10-07-2012 12:29 AM

Yeah, you don't need to inject Co2 or dose ferts all the time for plant survival or growth. What I meant was that you definitely need to replace the macro and micro nutrients when they are depleted if you want optimal health and growth of your plants.

If you have an overload of questions, please list them in this thread or in a PM, I will be glad to answer any and all questions I can for you.

AVN 10-07-2012 12:34 AM

I have a 10g planted tank. There is no filter, no air pump, no ferts, and no Co2 added at all.

All it has is a small school of guppies for Co2 and Ammonia, medium lights, a circulation pump, and some small snails for algae control.

The plants I have growing in there are thriving, as they're low-light mosses and med-light carpeting plants. I rarely ever do anything to this tank, as it's really just a tank I use for growing undemanding plants like mosses.

I think you are trying to accomplish the same set up I am? If so, I can walk you step by step with everything you need to know.

Lynke 10-07-2012 01:46 AM

Yes AVN that is basically what I am trying to accomplish. However so far I have liked to use a filter... My frogs aren't always the cleanest eaters and I have found blood worms to get particularly messy in the tank >< Should I reconsider using a filter? I would love to hear how you set up your tank and any other help you can give me would be great :D

Thank you monster fish... Are these the tabs you are talking about?

Here is the setup I was thinking of... I would love to hear opinions on it

Substrate - seacham fluorite on top of diamond black.

Lighting -

Hard scape - drift wood

Plants - java moss, water sprite, undecided

I still have some more planning but I like this lighting a lot better then the other ones I picked before.

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