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Old 09-17-2006, 02:17 AM   #1
tritan
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Who says low tech can't look nice ! Check these tanks out !


First off I don't work for this LFS but he let me take some pics of his low tech tanks so I could show you guys that low tech doesn't mean ugly and cheesy plants. He uses NO CO, fancy substates, or testing equipment, just gravel and weekly water changes and a decent light(2-3WPG). His idea is to get more people into planted tanks by showing them how easy it can be AQUARIUM SERVICES LLC

This is a 125 gallon with nothing more then a decent layer of gravel 3-4 inches, canister filter and a power head for some water movement. Lighting is some flourcent plant bulbs on a strip light . He does have a couple of nice piece of dift wood in there that have mossed over nicely.



You can see the tank from all sides as you enter the store.



Front of the tank I couldn't get rid of the glare from the store doors that where open sorry.



He then has a cherry shrimp tank with hundreds of shrimp in it. Its a 20 gallon tank acrylic, with a CF 32 watt and runs a undergravel filter with Aquaclear 20 powerhead. He just got done getting out some shrimp for me so the water was a bit cloudy but normally crystal clear.
I laugh at the people that state you can't use an undergravel filter for a planted tank.



different view. Notice the shrimp on the moss balls.



In the front of the store he has a really big Ray tank with some angels to keep them company. It's in the shape of a pie and I am guessing around 200 gallon range. He does run two metal halide lights due to the lack of space and open top. You can see one ray on the far left againist the glass.



AQUARIUM SERVICES LLC is a great place to vist if you are in the Grand Rapids area of West Michigan. This is why I got into plants, if you see his tanks and here how he takes care of them with such little maintance it will really get you going on a natural as possible planted tank.

I read some of these fourms and wonder to myself do some of these guys every sleep? Some people spend so much time on dosing , CO, KH,nitrates, PH,WPG, if it becomes to much work you won't stick with it or enjoy it plus the cost goes up . I think that's what makes his tanks so different he doesn't test PH, no dosing ,just decent gravel, the right amount of fish, plants,decent bulb and (tap) water changes and you can grow most plants with excemption of some exotics. The 75 gallon has been growing about a year to get that height so his growth is slow and steady, no added headaches of cutting and rescaping every month just set up and enjoy.

Now don't get me wrong I understand High tech tanks have there place for growing certain plants many semi exotic kinds but I am just curious Can anyone break down what it costs them per month on lets say a 50-75 gallon tank? CO bottles, ferts, test kits , chemicals etc ?


What do you guys think I would love to hear feed back.
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Last edited by tritan; 09-20-2006 at 01:56 AM.. Reason: updated headings
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:48 AM   #2
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People dont say you cant use an under gravel filter in a planted tank. They say you shouldnt with heavily rooted plants as the roots get tangled in the filter plates. Huge difference.

I spend about $10 a month on DIY CO2, as for ferts I spent $30 for a yrs supply from Greg Watson. I change 40% of my water a week in my 125
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:53 AM   #3
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People dont say you cant use an under gravel filter in a planted tank. They say you shouldnt with heavily rooted plants as the roots get tangled in the filter plates. Huge difference.

I spend about $10 a month on DIY CO2, as for ferts I spent $30 for a yrs supply from Greg Watson. I change 40% of my water a week in my 125

How big are you tanks? And do you think it'd be better to just go with pressurized CO2 if you're spending that much on DIY per month?

I'm thinking low tech tank too, and from those pictures, I think I might be able to pull it off nicely! (I hope!)....but I want to have a nice setup. DIY seems like a PITA....but since I haven't done it, I have nothing to base it upon.
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Old 09-17-2006, 03:26 AM   #4
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I have a 150g very low light (1 - 10k 40W actinic because of the depth - 27.5") that has been up going on 9 years in this location. I don't own any testing equipment. Have approximately 400 fancy guppies of all sizes in there (low bio-load). Use it mainly as a growout tank. Dose the plants once a week with FloraPride and Coralife Iron supplement. Change 50% of the water 2x a year (Nov - May) between topoffs. Have an undergravel filter w/2 power heads (turned off) and a 350 magnum cannister (off). Over the UGF is 2 - 4" gravel with most of the plants growing in the deep gravel which is not all towards the back... wherever it landed when I set up. There are Crypts that have been flowering since April, Saggiteria that's just started flowering, Mondo grass that is growing like a weed, Java fern that just won't stop putting out leaflets, 5 ft Bamboo planted along the back (grown a foot in 3 months). Still have only half the tank planted but its growing great. Never any disease or deaths. Think this tank has cost me no more than $4 a month in all the time it has been set up (set up continously going on 39 years).
Also have a 20gL, 2 - 10g's that are loaded with plants.
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Old 09-17-2006, 03:31 AM   #5
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How big are you tanks? And do you think it'd be better to just go with pressurized CO2 if you're spending that much on DIY per month?

I'm thinking low tech tank too, and from those pictures, I think I might be able to pull it off nicely! (I hope!)....but I want to have a nice setup. DIY seems like a PITA....but since I haven't done it, I have nothing to base it upon.
I have a 20L that is currently empty, a 46 and a 125. Yes it would be cheaper to go pressurized in the long run, however, I am a disabled vet living on disability. So that kind of expenditure is out of the question. I am saving a little each month to buy a pressurized system.
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Old 09-17-2006, 03:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimo View Post
I have a 150g very low light (1 - 10k 40W actinic because of the depth - 27.5") that has been up going on 9 years in this location. I don't own any testing equipment. Have approximately 400 fancy guppies of all sizes in there (low bio-load). Use it mainly as a growout tank. Dose the plants once a week with FloraPride and Coralife Iron supplement. Change 50% of the water 2x a year (Nov - May) between topoffs. Have an undergravel filter w/2 power heads (turned off) and a 350 magnum cannister (off). Over the UGF is 2 - 4" gravel with most of the plants growing in the deep gravel which is not all towards the back... wherever it landed when I set up. There are Crypts that have been flowering since April, Saggiteria that's just started flowering, Mondo grass that is growing like a weed, Java fern that just won't stop putting out leaflets, 5 ft Bamboo planted along the back (grown a foot in 3 months). Still have only half the tank planted but its growing great. Never any disease or deaths. Think this tank has cost me no more than $4 a month in all the time it has been set up (set up continously going on 39 years).
Also have a 20gL, 2 - 10g's that are loaded with plants.
I would love to see pics of your tanks.. please..
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Old 09-17-2006, 04:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimo View Post
I have a 150g very low light (1 - 10k 40W actinic because of the depth - 27.5") that has been up going on 9 years in this location. I don't own any testing equipment. Have approximately 400 fancy guppies of all sizes in there (low bio-load). Use it mainly as a growout tank. Dose the plants once a week with FloraPride and Coralife Iron supplement. Change 50% of the water 2x a year (Nov - May) between topoffs. Have an undergravel filter w/2 power heads (turned off) and a 350 magnum cannister (off). Over the UGF is 2 - 4" gravel with most of the plants growing in the deep gravel which is not all towards the back... wherever it landed when I set up. There are Crypts that have been flowering since April, Saggiteria that's just started flowering, Mondo grass that is growing like a weed, Java fern that just won't stop putting out leaflets, 5 ft Bamboo planted along the back (grown a foot in 3 months). Still have only half the tank planted but its growing great. Never any disease or deaths. Think this tank has cost me no more than $4 a month in all the time it has been set up (set up continously going on 39 years).
Also have a 20gL, 2 - 10g's that are loaded with plants.

Wow, that's pretty amazing. I can barely get my plants to grow. Stupid 15 watt bulb in a small 10 gallon tank. =/
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Old 09-17-2006, 04:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by fshfanatic View Post
I have a 20L that is currently empty, a 46 and a 125. Yes it would be cheaper to go pressurized in the long run, however, I am a disabled vet living on disability. So that kind of expenditure is out of the question. I am saving a little each month to buy a pressurized system.
Ahh, I understand. I can't really afford pressurized CO2 yet, either. Ever penny I save up is to pay back my student loans.
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Old 09-19-2006, 02:15 AM   #9
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Awsome tanks! I'm a newbie to the whole planted tank scene I just set my first tank up 5 days ago. I dont know what many plants are but could someone tell me what the plant is in the second picture from the top. In the upper right coner of the pic with a bunch of rasboas swimming infront of it.
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Old 09-19-2006, 02:30 AM   #10
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Wow, that's pretty amazing. I can barely get my plants to grow. Stupid 15 watt bulb in a small 10 gallon tank. =/
Hey, I had that problem... is it like, a screw-in bulb? 'cause you can get one of those bulbs that's like a flourescent, but screws in, y'know? they're all curly looking? Usually sold as "energy saver" bulbs. I've got a 15W one that's equivilant of a 60W for light output, fits in the narrow tube slot of the normal dim 15 watt bulb... Just a thought. They seem to be catching on to the point of being sold in slimmer/bigger sizes finally. I found mine at Target. ('twas 8$ and change... but it'll last me a few years.)

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Old 09-19-2006, 11:27 AM   #11
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those tanks look cool!

i remember growing up and visiting the lfs with my pops and seeing cool planted tanks and would sometimes buy a few stems here and there but they never lasted and i was not educated about any of it. if memory serves right i the display tanks i seen back then didnt have all the gadgets i see today.
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Old 09-19-2006, 11:47 AM   #12
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the plant in the second picture is Rotala rotundifolia or Rotala indica(the name I called it for years).
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Old 09-19-2006, 11:55 AM   #13
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This Diana Walstad El Natural (low tech) tank got water changes of about 10% every 4 months, and the panda corys where breeding like rabbits

For those of you who aren't fimiliar with El Natural, it's 1" to 1 1/2" top soil and 1" to 1 1/2" gravel/sand and 1.5 to 2 wpg, and depending on your water source, basically no ferts, the top soil takes care of the best part of that

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Old 09-19-2006, 01:07 PM   #14
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Yea, I've seen these tanks and they are definitely impressive. Esp. the 75g, it's veiwable on 3 sides which is a real treat. Nice work Tim, your experience shows!
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Old 09-19-2006, 02:58 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mangala View Post
Hey, I had that problem... is it like, a screw-in bulb? 'cause you can get one of those bulbs that's like a flourescent, but screws in, y'know? they're all curly looking? Usually sold as "energy saver" bulbs. I've got a 15W one that's equivilant of a 60W for light output, fits in the narrow tube slot of the normal dim 15 watt bulb... Just a thought. They seem to be catching on to the point of being sold in slimmer/bigger sizes finally. I found mine at Target. ('twas 8$ and change... but it'll last me a few years.)


I have been using the energy saver bulbs as sort of a test or the past 4 months or so... and they are working great for my nano tanks. Virtualy no algea I cant complain...
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