first planted tank
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Old 05-30-2015, 02:50 PM   #1
Josher
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first planted tank


hello all!
I recently moved and brought a 20 gallon hooded tank that I haven't used in years to get back into the hobby. I have had tanks growing up so I know all the basics about upkeep and maintenance. the tanks I used to have include a 55 gallon cichlid and a 30 gallon community. ive tried to grow plants in the past but never really did my research so they didn't end up surviving in the long run. with this 20 gallon tank I decided to go full planted because I love the look of a lush planted tank. so after a couple of weeks of cycling the tank I went out and bought some items to get started which include: fluval substrate, caribsea gravel, t8 "power-glo" bulb, and driftwood. after laying the gravel and setting everything up I bought a couple of plants. they seem to be doing well with a lot of growth so it looks like my research has paid off a bit. I also bought 5 white cloud minnows and a cory fish to add some more life and they seem to be doing great. after a few weeks I do have some general questions that I hope this wonderful forum can help me out with.
- was fluval substrate a good choice? It was the only substrate my local store had so I went with it.
- what level of light am I going to get from this t8 bulb? im looking for medium light to grow a variety on plant. I also heard that wrapping the area around the hood where the bulb is with aluminum foil may help disperse the light better is this a good idea?
- I have created a diy co2 generator with a 2 liter coke bottle and gaterade bottle to separate that has been working well. I use an airstone to diffuse and can see the tiny bubbles so I know its working ok. my main concern is that ive had a huge ph drop from 6.8 to 6.0-5.8. is this gonna be harmful to my fish? im more concerned with the plants but am I adding to much co2? I used about a half packet of yeast while making my mixture is that an appropriate amount for a 20 gal tank?
- I have seen a weird growth on my driftwood. its not algae but more of a clear goo that has started to spread. any idea what this is? I add flourish for minerals idk if that has anything to do with it. I will add pictures at a later time so everyone knows what im talking about to get a better idea.
-there have been a few small snails making there way around the tank im not sure how they got in but they are there. is this bad for the plants? I don't really mind them but I don't want a lot crawling around and taking away from the ideal image of a planted tank.
-fish wise I plan on adding a few more smaller schooling fish. maybe some more white cloud minnows or some other type with a different color like the blue ones iv seen (cant remember their name). I also plan on getting another cory or 2 so they take care of anything that falls on the gravel. my main goal is to get 2 angle fish. ive read that angles do best in larger tanks but I was thinking about getting 2 small ones and letting them grow to fit the tank. so is it a good idea to add 5 or so schooling fish, 2 corys, and 2 angles to the tank? just want to make sure im not over crowding the tank and everyone will be healthy.
that's all my questions for now but im sure il have more. thanks you so much for any responses and hopefully I get everything figured out for a successful planted tank!
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:42 PM   #2
benealing
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I do not have experience with fluval, someone else will chime in.

Looking up that bulb, it looks like it is an 18000k bulb which, for me, is not ideal for a planted tank. I prefer 5000-6500k for the look. The spectral graph for this bulb if very heavy in the blue and lacking in the red. I like to have more red in my light. Without knowing how far your light it from the substrate level and the PAR data on the bulb, it is hard to know what type of light you will get. Do you know anyone with a PAR meter?

The pH drop due to CO2 does not really affect the fish. However, if the pH drops more than 1.0, you may see the fish heading toward the top of the tank and gasping for air. Watch closely and if you see this, reduce the CO2.

The growth on the driftwook is normal and expected. It is fungal/bacterial. Snails will eat it.

Most snails leave the plants alone. If you overfeed, the snails will reproduce dramatically.

I would not put an Angel in there. It is a myth that fish only grow to the size of their tank. What happens is they become stunted and stressed and will die prematurely in too small of a tank. The small schooling fish would be fine.

What type of filter do you have?

Ben
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:53 AM   #3
Josher
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Thanks for the reply! I'm bummed about the Angels but it's ok how many schooling fish would be good in a 20 gallon? Also my plants have grown a lot since my post but are going weird towards the center on the tank where the bulb is. I'm gonna trim them tomorrow but this brings be back to the question of dispersing the light better any ideas? Btw I use a penguin 200 which is pretty ideal right?

Bump: What's the best bulb for a 20 gallon of mine isn't that good? The guy at the local store suggested it
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:16 AM   #4
benealing
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Raising the light will spread the light more and the plants will be less likely to grow toward the center. This will reduce your PAR, by a lot if you raise it significantly. You could also use a two bulb fixture, try a different reflector, or change to LED and get wide beam angles.

For my t8 tank, I use GE daylight or active spaces tubes. They are 5000k-6500k, which I find more appealing. If you like the look of your bulb and the plants are growing well, there is no need to change just because.

Ben
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:26 AM   #5
Meowking
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Cory cats are schooling fish, and as most other schooling fish they be in groups of six.
White clouds are cold water fish. I assume by "blue fish" you mean neon or cardinal tetras. They are not as hardy as the minnows and you should probably wait until the tank matures. Also tetras and cory cats both need warm water, and that doesn't work with the cold water minnows.
I'm not sure what the Fluval substrate is like, but if i's not fine like sand, the cory's little barbels will get damaged over time.
You can always remove snails after a while. If you ever feel like you see too many, blanch a lettuce leaf, put it into the tank before bed, and the next day there should be snails on it. Then you just remove the leaf with he snails.
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:27 AM   #6
Josher
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Thanks for the info everyone. A little update: plants still look like they are doing well and growing. My fish also look to be doing well so I think I'm off to a good start only being a month in now.
- thanks for the info on snails I don't see that many so I'm gonna let them do their thing for now.
- my light lookes to be doing the job but like I said before I may need to upgrade so the plants stop growing towards the center and fight for the light.
- I think I may just end up getting some more white clouds but I'm worried my water may be to hot for them. It's been a steady 78 degrees in my tanks so that may be to warm.
- today I did my first trim on my stem plants and replanted the tops to get some more growth. The only plant that hasn't grown much are the smaller ones I planted in the foreground. I'm not totally sure what they are but I'm looking for a thick carpet of them. Im gonna post a pic at the end so maybe some one will have some more information on them.
- I took my driftwood out and washed it again with hot water to try and get rid of the slime that appears to be growing on it. I got most of it but I just hate the look because it makes the tank look dirty.
Thanks again any info is much appreciated and tips are always welcome

Bump: Here is how the whole tank looks so far. Pretty new are aquascaping but I don't think it looks to shabby.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:37 AM   #7
Josher
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First update
The tank is doing very well! All my fish are healthy and plants are all growing very fast. I just did my first real trim yesterday and cut back a lot of the plants on the left and right. The grass plants are growing well except for the patch on the front right corner. The plant in the back grew so much and covered the top on the tank so the grass didn't get much light and started to die off. The diy co2 seems to be helping and I haven't had any back algae blooms in the first 2 1/2 months. There is some hair algae on some of the plants but I cut most of it out when I trimmed. The only thing that is wrong are the snails everywhere. They don't really bother me and I think they clean a bit but I'm planning on doing the lettuce trick soon to thin them out. Let me know what you think and if you guys have have suggestions id love to hear them.
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