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raulfd4 12-20-2012 07:00 PM

Lots of Questions on Low-Tech Setup Ideas
I have had a 20 gallon community aquarium with only a few anubias and java moss for a year now. The wife approved an upgrade in size and a move to the living room for display, so I want to go for my dream aquarium. Please read below and offer your advice.

Here is what I want:
  • A low-tech, heavily planted, Walstad-esque aquarium
  • Lots of hearty low to mid-light plants and mosses nothing fancy or demanding
  • Infrequent water changes (I know this can be controversial, but I think it can be done)
  • Occasional liquid CO2 or ferts (no DIY or pressurized CO2)
  • Minimal pruning (I kind of like the slightly overgrown and wild look)
  • Slow and steady growth
  • The tanks in the Show and Tell thread are my inspiration.
Here is what I have:
These are my ideas for a setup:
  • Substrate: Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix and Pool Filter Sand
  • Filtration: 20 gallon used as a sump with 2x AC 20s + 1x AC 110 HOB filters
  • Lighting: Odyssea 4X T5 HO (156W 6500K)
These are my questions:
  • What will I need to do/buy to set up a sump with this aquarium? (I know nothing about water pumps, plumbing, overflows, etc.)
  • Is the lighting fixture I want to order going to be too much light for a low tech setup? Would a dual T5 be better? The tank is 24 deep, so I think lighting will be tricky. Could I run it with only 3 bulbs operating? I like the look and features of that particular model a lot.
  • What types of plants would you recommend for me to start out with? I was thinking mostly vals, crypts, java moss, amazon swords, etc. Maybe some mid-ground plant ideas?
Im not too worried about stocking yet, but I will probably shoot for 2 or 3 gourami, a school of microrasboras, a school of pygmy cories, and lots of red cherry shrimp.

Thanks in advance for all of your help.

mitchfish9 12-22-2012 02:26 AM

That low tech show and tell thread was also my inspiration. I got lots of ideas from there. I like your plan for a low tech tank. You probably dont even need liquid co2 if the tank is going to be heavily planted and a bit overgrown like you mentioned. Some flourish comprehensive should be great for your tank. That is all I use.

The lighting is definitely tricky for that tank. I'm not sure the exact dimensions for that tank, but judging from the picture, you should probably use a t5 fixture, but raise it up to make it lower-medium light as well and getting even coverage from front to back of the tank. You can also check out my journal in my signature for any plants that I recommend for low tech. They all are doing great in my tank

Axelrodi202 12-23-2012 12:56 AM

Four T5HO bulbs is definitely too much light for a low tech tank. Take out one or two bulbs and raise the fixture.

raulfd4 12-23-2012 01:40 AM

Thanks for the replies.

Tank dimensions are (LxWxH) 36x18x24,so it is deep.

I guess I will go for a dual T5HO fixture, because I won't be able to suspend the fixture from my ceiling. It will either have to sit on top or on the "legs" that come with the fixture.

Can anyone recommend a dual T5HO 6500k 36" fixture?

This one looked good, but it is expensive. It says it has a 6000k bulb and a roseate bulb. What is a roseate bulb?

Sethjohnson30 12-23-2012 01:57 AM

I would only use a single t5ho 2-4 inches above the tank. If you run dual t5's you will need to dose excell heavily everyday. If you miss a day or two.....BOOM! Bba everywhere I wouldn't put a t5 directly on the glass they produce a lot of heat

mitchfish9 12-23-2012 02:03 AM

18 inches is not actually that deep. 24 inches is very tall though, its a taller 40 breeder basically. So just get a T5HO and use the legs and you will be fine since the tank is so tall.

Check out hoppy's par thread for par readings on various fixtures

caoder 12-25-2012 04:55 PM

well for the sump since its already predrilled with an installed overflow, just let the water overflow into the 20g and plumb a pump from the 20g into the 65 and that's pretty much it. Just look for schematics to make the 20g into a sump where you can put all the filter media. you won't need an ac110 with a sump configured correctly. You can go with some medium light stem plants that grow slightly slower such as ludwigia repens. But i would suggest having some fast growing stems until your tank stabilizes that's easy to remove such as hornwort.

FYI most vals HATE excel and other liquid co2s

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