20L - Planning Phase - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Post 20L - Planning Phase

I've been out of the hobby for a long while. At this point, this thread is mainly a log to keep track of where I am at on my learning curve. Everything has changed so much in the last 10 years! Please feel free to chime in with suggestions and comments. I have no shame here, so if you see me making any huge missteps in my plans please let me know.

This will be a lowish tech, planted, family tank. My aim is for easy maintenance. I plan on low light, no CO2, and while I don't mind the random dosing of ferts - I really don't want to be on any sort of regiment.

Tank: Petco 20 Gallon Long - got it during the $1 a gallon sale.

Filter: 10+ years ago the big thing was the Marineland Bio-Wheel filters, unless you were going with a canister. Not sure if those are still the sh*t. I'll have to do some research. I also read now that most people use different types of media. The more I read, the less I feel like I know about aquariums keeping.

Heater: Something appropriate for a 20 gallon.

Lighting: Most likely a single T8 fixture. It seems the cheapest option, and will work for the low light/low tech tank that I am planning.

Substrate: After some research, I've decided on the Black Diamond Blasting Abrasive. I can buy it locally. Combined with root tabs (still need to research those) for ferts. I've read that some people crush them up and dust the bottom of the tank when setting up new.

Flora: I plan on bunches of the low light classics, like java ferns, moss, and anubias - I want to stay away from stem plants (though I may try something with some pink in it). I would like some root plants for height too.

Fauna: The only drawback to a 20 gallon tank -- LOL. Since it is a family tank, I am considering a small school of shoaling fish (tetra's or the such), maybe some cory's for bottom dwellers, and some sort of centerpiece fish. Throw out your suggestions please! I need to do some water testing to see what I am working with as far as water parameters go.

Last edited by Niyona; 07-05-2016 at 05:42 PM. Reason: Update to plans
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niyona View Post
Filter: 10+ years ago the big thing was the Marineland Bio-Wheel filters, unless you were going with a canister. Not sure if those are still the sh*t. I'll have to do some research. I also read now that most people use different types of media. The more I read, the less I feel like I know about aquariums keeping.
I think most people tend to use canister filters now. If it fits in your budget, it's certainly what I would recommend just because of the sheer amount of media you can cram into one.

Re: media, I wouldn't worry too much about this kind of thing. People like to make things complicated, it seems, but the same exact logic that was true 10+ years ago is still true today for filter media: use lots of foam and maybe some kind of biological media. People really seem to like Seachem Matrix (and it looks like it may literally be pumice). You basically want something with a lot of surface area to promote bacteria growth. I tend to use Eheim Substrat pro, but if I were starting a new tank I'd probably give that pumice product a try.

The only filter media that truly seems to be magical to me and is worth investing in is Seachem Purigen. This stuff is amazing at clearing cloudy water and removing tannins, which is quite useful when you're first starting a tank. It can be recharged easily, too, which is nice. If you decide to use some Purigen, I recommend buying it in its bottled form and putting it in your own mesh bag. I just exploded a bag of the pre-bagged kind while cleaning my canisters the other day when I was just trying to rinse off some of the bacterial slime that built up on the bag... Whoops. So much for recharging *that*.

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Originally Posted by Niyona View Post
Substrate: Something black. I am really leaning towards black sand. In the past I have always used EcoComplete, Flourite, or some variant there of.
If you don't mind supplementing heavy root feeders with root tabs, you should have a look at Black Diamond Blasting Sand, which many people seem to like. It is amazingly cheap.

My personal favorite substrate was the EcoComplete fine type, but CaribSea seems to have discontinued it...

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Originally Posted by Niyona View Post
Fauna: The only drawback to a 20 gallon tank -- LOL. Since it is a family tank, I am considering a small school of shoaling fish (tetra's or the such), maybe some cory's for bottom dwellers, and some sort of centerpiece fish. Throw out your suggestions please! I need to do some water testing to see what I am working with as far as water parameters go.
I actually really like the size of a 20 gallon long as a shrimp tank. If you go this route, red cherry shrimp are very easy to care for (basically only requiring your regular water changes + feeding every few days or so) and can really make for a very interesting display. You can get a pretty decently sized colony going in a 20 long.

If you go this route, I'd actually recommend just using a bunch of those double-sponge filters since they provide an excellent food source for the shrimp (both the babies and the adults) and are incredibly cheap. (Can you tell I'm a budget guy?) You can pick up one of these for like $5 on Amazon, and probably cheaper if you search around. I used four along the back in a shrimp tank with good success.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 10:42 PM
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So this will be a low tech tank. I have a 20g long low tech tank. I am using 1 T5NO light bulb on it. A T8 would suffice for low light plants. My favorite low light plans are ferns, moss, Wisteria, and Water sprite.

Here is low tech 20g long by nonfucious. Low tech by Trallen
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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So this will be a low tech tank. I have a 20g long low tech tank. I am using 1 T5NO light bulb on it. A T8 would suffice for low light plants. My favorite low light plans are ferns, moss, Wisteria, and Water sprite.
What are the major differences between the T5NO and T8 bulbs? I imagine that both require different lighting fixtures.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 04:07 PM
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What are the major differences between the T5NO and T8 bulbs? I imagine that both require different lighting fixtures.
Yes that is correct.

I read somewhere that A 28W T5NO produces about the same light output as a 32W T8. If I calculated it right that is an 14% increase.

I just changed to 1 T5NO because Bolitis fern is not growing very well. It grows very tall. I have had ferns and mosses in a 10g tank without a light in a sunny south window.

My favorite substrate for low tech tank with ferns and moses is Black Diamond blasting sand. It is $10 for a 50lb bag at my Northern Tool. Then substrate I like best to top dirt is River sand. I get it at a local landscaper place $3 a 5g bucket.

Here is a list of low light plants from Homer
FLOATERS
Brazilian Pennywort, Pennywort - Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Hornwort - Ceratophylum demersum
Pelia - Monosolenium tenerum

ANUBIAS
Anubias barteri - Anubias barteri v. barteri
Anubias barteri 'glabra' - Anubias barteri v. 'glabra'
Anubias barteri 'marble' - Anubias barteri 'marble'
Coffee leaf anubias - Anubias barteri v. 'coffeefolia'
Anubias nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana'
Golden nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana golden'
Narrow leaf nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana narrow leaf'
Petite nana - Anubias barteri v. nana 'petite'

FERNS & MOSS
African Water Fern - Bolbitis heudelotii
Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus
Narrow Leaf Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'
Philippine Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Philippine'
Red Java fern - Microsorum pteropus "red"
Windelov Java Fern, Windelov Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'
Java Moss - Vesicularia dubyana

CRYPTOCORYNE
Crypt Aponogetifolia - Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia
Crypt Balansae - Cryptocoryne Balansae
Crypt Becketii - Cryptcoryne becketii
Micro Crypt - Cryptocoryne petchii
Pygmy Crypt - Cryptocoryne pygmaea
Crypt retrospiralis - Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Crypt spiralis - Cryptocoryne spiralis
Crypt Wendtii - Cryptocoryne wendtii

SWORD
Tropica Sword - Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica'
Other swords without red

STEM PLANTS
Bacopa - Bacopa caroliniana
Guppy Grass - Najas guadalupensis
Green Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma
*Sunset Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
Ceylon Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma 'Ceylon'
Moneywort - Bocapa monnieri
Rotala Rotundifolia - Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala Rotundifolia sp. Green - Rotala rotundifolia sp. 'Green'
Rotala Indica - Rotala indica
Parrots Feather - Myriophyllum aquaticum
Waterwheel Plant - Aldrovanda vesiculosa

*Do not need high light to attain pink color. Dosing Iron can bring out this color.

Last edited by Hilde; 07-03-2016 at 04:18 PM. Reason: added
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 04:20 PM
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May I assume because of your cat avatar that you or mate are a cat lover?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niyona View Post
Filter: 10+ years ago the big thing was the Marineland Bio-Wheel filters, unless you were going with a canister.

Heater: Something appropriate for a 20 gallon.
Many still use HOB filters. For canister filters I have found new Eheim's on Evilbay.

When I had tetras in a 20g long low tech I did not have a heater. Tank seems to keep a little hotter than house temp.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-04-2016, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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May I assume because of your cat avatar that you or mate are a cat lover?
Ha! I am a general animal lover. However, cats have a special space in my heart.
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