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lauraleellbp 01-08-2010 03:24 PM

Low Tech Tank Show-and-Tell (low tech can be lush, too! =)
Been a while since we had a thread like this, so I thought I'd start another, since this is the way I like to share and learn from other people. :smile:

The idea in this thread is to post a picture of your low tech tank(s), explain the setup (equipment, lighting, substrate, ferts, etc) and briefly explain a few things you've learned that do or don't work with your setup.

lauraleellbp 01-08-2010 03:35 PM

I'll start.

This is my 90gal. I've had the tank set up for about 2 years now.

filters- Rena XP3, Rena XP4
light- Catalina 4x54 T5HO (only run 2 bulbs for 6 hrs/day)
substrate- mix of Flourite black, Flourite black sand, black T grade Colorquartz, peat
heater- inline Hydor ETH 300 watt

tons of chain swords; all 4 varieties of Echinodorus tenellus, E. angustifolius, E. angustifolius 'vesuvius,' E. quadricostatus
Vallisneria spiralis
Bacopa caroliniana
Lobelia cardinalis
Marselia minuta
Echinodorus 'kleiner bar'
E. 'Indian red'
E. africanus

17x Pristella tetras
15x P. weitzmani (Black Morpho Tetras)
6x assorted BN plecos (albino LF and Calico)
1x Clown pleco
5x Corydoras schwartzi
24x Amano shrimp
1x German Blue Ram
2x Cardinal tetras (soon to be 50x)
5x(??) Otocinclus viattus

NOTES- I am right on the edge of too much light. This tank did much better when I had floating plants for light control. I let those get out of control and block too much light last year and removed them all... ever since then I've been having to fight algae so I need to add some again.

The BN plecos are also eating my Vals... not sure what I'm going to do about that just yet.

lauraleellbp 01-08-2010 05:10 PM

This is/was my 10gal (I'm having to break it down b/c of a leak). It's been one of my favorite tanks over the past year or so I've had it going:

Light- 18w T8 on for 8hrs/day
Filter- Rena XP1
Substrate- Onyx Sand mixed with a little black T grade Colorquartz

Assorted crypts (Wendtii, Undulata, 'Mi Oya', Ciliata, +??)
Christmas moss
Sunset Hygro

Red cherry shrimp
10x Boraras brigittae (Chili rasboras)

This tank has been just about no maintenance at all. Feed the fish and shrimp daily, water change about 1x a month, clean the filter every few months, and thin out the plants every now and again. Was the perfect little work tank and I'm quite going to miss it!

AkCrimson 01-08-2010 05:50 PM

Gorgeous tanks! I really, really like the way the 10 looks! And the driftwood in the 90 is wonderful. I'm not ready to show all mine off yet, the 55 is getting a rescape this weekend, and I need new pics of the 10.

I did just start a 29 Sunday though, and this is what I have so far;

Light- 65w 10k compact flourescent
Filter- Currently 2 established HOBs to help cycle, considering two Rena XP1
Substrate- Onyx Sand and eco-complete
Plants- Crypts (wendtii, spiral etc), Hygro, bacopa, ludwigia, swords and just bought some lilaeopsis
Livestock- None yet. Considering doing just a tetra tank with some tiger shrimp.

Sorry about the pic quality, it was taken with my phone.

kvntran 01-08-2010 05:55 PM

Very nice tanks Laura.
If your plecos eat the vals, I think they might be too hungry or the vals already melted or about to melt. vals melt away in acidic water. What's your tank parmeters?

lauraleellbp 01-08-2010 06:01 PM

My water is liquid rock, so that's not it. And I've always got fresh veggies in there, too... so IDK lol

ACK- Nice start! Are you going to put something in the foreground, too?

AkCrimson 01-08-2010 06:03 PM


Originally Posted by lauraleellbp (Post 975187)
ACK- Nice start! Are you going to put something in the foreground, too?

Yeah, I got 3 pots of lilaeopsis yesterday.....sooooo not looking forward to planting it!

lauraleellbp 01-08-2010 06:04 PM

LOL Yeah, it will take a while... hope you've got some good tweezers! :tongue:

AkCrimson 01-08-2010 06:41 PM

You bet! Nice expensive salon ones =D

Firestarter 01-09-2010 03:01 AM

My low tech tank I want to replicate kinda a mix between a pond and stream bottom. I am open to ideas for other plants and anything else. Also thinking about fish that look like minnows that will go with ghost shrimp.

Narrow Leaf Chain Sword
Java Moss
Dwarf Hair Grass
Duck Weed

Ghost Shrimp
Snails (Ghost Shrimp love to eat these.)

Some pea gravel mixture.
With some summit granite chunks.

10g aquarium
10g hood modified with two 26watt compact flourecent lights
Whisper 1 filter
20lb Aluminum CO2 tank with Western Enterprises regulator and cheap needle valve
Some sort of strange idea I had to get CO2 in the water it works and I get pearling and increased growth.

CL 01-09-2010 03:53 AM

None of these had co2 or regular water changes or ferts.

A little cloudy in this pic because I just cleaned the glass. ADA 30C Aquasoil, 27W light 12 inches above tank. No water changes or ferts, only top-offs. Snowball shrimp
ADA mini m. River sand. No ferts or water changes. 27W 16 inches above tank
55 gallon. no water changes, a few misc. fish. inert gravel at first, later eco complete mixed in.
2.5 gallons. 20 watss of light. AS powder. HC. No co2, only occasional excel
ADA 30C 27 watts, inert black sand substrate
One of my first real low tech tanks, diy rimless 10 gallon, inert black sand, 20 watts cfl. Had a bunch of cherries in it.

kvntran 01-09-2010 04:20 AM


wow, great tanks. This makes me thinking about rimless now ;)

Here's my 50g tank, only top off, and do water change only around 2 times a year. No ferts, no co2.
plants: anubias, vals, chain sword, baby tears, red tiger lotus, sunset hygro, flame moss, java moss, fissidens, crypt
residents: 4 long fin brown bn, 5 guppies, 15 cardinals, 10+ amanos, some cherries, some blue shrimps, 40+ crs

side view

Karackle 01-17-2010 05:48 PM

Just found this thread! I'll add mine! :)

First is my 30g, 17w T8 lighting, top offs when necessary, water changes every couple months (full specs after pics)

Right Side:


Left Side (back focus):

Left side (front focus):

Equipment etc.:
30g Tank (36"L x 16"H x 12"W)
30" Strip Light
25" T8 17w bulb
50/50 Eco-complete + Black aquarium gravel substrate

Cryptocoryne wendtii 'bronze / red'
Cryptocoryne undulata
Hydrocotyle leucocephala (pennywort)
Limnophila sessiliflora (asian ambulia)
Cabomba furcata
Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig' (sunset hygro)
Hygrophila difformis (wisteria)
Microsorum pteropus regular, "needle leaf" and "windelov"
Fissidens moss
red ocelot sword
Some form of "grass-like" plant that i forget the name of
And some others

15 Ember Tetras
7 Celestial Pearl Danios (CPD)
3 Boraras brigittae
6 pygmy cories (corydoras pygmaeus)
1 male betta
1 Oto (the largest creature in the tank )
Many RCS

Notes: I have this tank on a 13 hour photoperiod which I think is the reason I get as much growth as I do with such low lights. I also have found in my low light tanks that the bubble walls tend to be very helpful because they help maintain the CO2 levels at atmospheric levels. I also tend to slightly overstock my tanks which I think is helpful because it adds fertilizer to the tank for me so I don't have to remember to do it ;) I also use roots tabs under the heavy root feeders (crypts, sword and a few others)

Karackle 01-17-2010 05:54 PM

And my 10g, just set this guy up a few weeks ago, gravel is inert newly stuffed with root tabs. Weekly+ water changes to remove tannins for now. 12 hour photoperiod.

Full tank specs after pics:

10g AGA tank
Perfect-A-Lite fluorescent Hood w/ Marineland "Natural Daylight" 18" 15w T8 bulb
$11 Wally World Aquatech Filter (with my own media, not the cartridge)
Bubble wall

Flame Moss
Fissidens Moss
Crypt undulata
Crypt wendtii
Limno sessiflora (Asian ambulia)
Hygrophila polysperma 'rosanervig' (sunset hygro)
Lindernia rotundifolia sp 'variegated'

3 White Cloud Mountain Minnows
3 Endler's livebearers (all male)
1 Guppy (male)
Red Cherry Shrimp

Notes: I'm getting a little more algae in this tank than in the 30g so I've been giving this one an occasional dose of Flourish Excel and Comprehensive. I'm hoping the recent addition of the roots tabs will help the plants grow faster and outcompete the algae.

As with the 30g I think the bubble wall is very helpful, but because there is more light over this tank I think I will reduce the photoperiod to see if that helps with algae. At least until I get some more fish in here to help fertilize the stems as well.

legomaniac89 01-17-2010 06:13 PM

Here's mine.

20 high, no ferts, 2 water changes per year, soil substrate. It's a Diana Walstad-inspired tank :icon_smil

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