New 20 gallon tall setup - April 6, 2008 update - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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New 20 gallon tall setup - April 6, 2008 update

Hey guys:

I've lurking and searching for a while, since I didn't have a serious planted tank. I recently (at Xmas time) acquired a 125 gallon for my cichlids, so decided to make the 20 gallon tall they came in a planted tank.

The specs. on the tank are: 24"x12"x18" (l x w x h), Penguin 100, Visitherm 100 watt heater, and Coralife 24" Aqualight Power Compact 1x65W light (bulb is a 6700K I think, since this is the f/w light).

This started out life as a Hagen tank with one of those black Marina tops with a 15W light and had a Fluval 2+ and a Hagen heater, which I ditched.

Anyway, I wish I had researched a bit more before I did the revamping last night.

I got a new glass top and the Coralife and 2 - 12 lb bags of Red Sea Flora Base (on the recommendation of the LFS - which uses it in their big dispaly tank). I am happy with the new light, it's great. The glass top from Hagen is pretty cheaply made, but only cost me $16 CDN, so no big deal. But I was searching around this morning on here, and it seems many people are unhappy with Flora Base. I also had a choice of Fluorite or Eco Complete, but chose Flora Base since I had read on Planetcatfish that the substrate should be fine and smooth for Corys, which I plan to keep in there.

Anyway, did I screw up royally, and will I regret this choice 6 months down the road?

I plan to do the natural "cycle" by introducing a fairly heavy stocking of bunch plants tonight (it was set up with fresh water last night), getting the water up to temp first (heater wasn't in it after a heavy cleaning). Cabomba and Wisteria to begin with I think. And in a couple of weeks, I plan to add a few guppies and cardinal tetras and finally a few corys, at which time I want to put a centerpiece plant like a sword of some sort in there.

I don't plan on using CO2 (although the Flora Base says it naturally adds CO2 - how does it do that?) and want to keep it fairly low tech so that my wife can take care of it when I am on the road (I travel a little in my work).

Do you think my plan would work, or should I look into changing a few things. I guess I should plan on acquiring an SAE or two to keep up with the algae too.

Last edited by 2wheelsx2; 04-06-2008 at 10:43 PM. Reason: New pics
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post #2 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 07:30 PM
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welcome to planted tanks ! I ve never tried flora base but all the substrates are more or less the same it should be fine! good idea ditching the 15 watt ( i would know ) i was in much of your situation last september. thoes glass tops are cheap i bought one and still havent used it. if flora base claims it naturally produces co2 it would have some type of acidic content has it dropped you ph ? and with that much lighting your plants would benifit from extra co2 you could use diy and it would be basic and easy to look after. i wouldint use sae's they get too large try to get ottos' or in latin (Otocinclus vittatus) they will stay small but eat algae well ! good luck on your tank here is the link to my 20 gal it should have some good info to some of your questions https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ph...ing-alive.html the first page is how to post an image it gets better near the end so does my camerea skills but good luck ! im sure all of us here at the planted tank and me would love to see some pics of your tank as soon as you get a hardscape.
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post #3 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I hear you on the CO2, but just am not sure how committed I am yet. 20 g would certainly be conducive to a DIY. I plan on getting a piece of Malaysian Iron Wood tonight and the plants to get things rolling. Any comments on the Cabomba and Wisteria as starter plants.

BTW, I am very impressed with the transformation of your 20 g. I can take hope that mine will turn out as good as yours did.
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post #4 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 09:00 PM
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Cabomba and Wisteria are good starter plants they will do fine and with the co2 it does take some commitment mabey when you get everything sorted out it might be an idea if you get any medium/difficult plants your going to need it but i know how u feel i was reluctent to start it out and ive had problems with it until recently. With any luck and a bit of skill your tank will turn out 3 times as good as mine. Good idea with the drift wood and also you could try to get a couple of small rocks to get a rocky area ( personal prefrence ) but i know with a 20 its hard quite cramped never enough space . thats why i went to a 75 gallon
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post #5 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 09:01 PM
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whoops double post
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post #6 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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I thought about rocks, but was worried about the cramped space. I have 130 lbs of rock in my 125 gallon.
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post #7 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 09:05 PM
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nice that would be a cichlid tank i suppose ?
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post #8 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, it's more of a South American biotope. I do have a piece of driftwood in there and some plants, but the Chocolate Cichlids and the Silver Dollars chew them up pretty badly. That tank has two Anubias, Wisteria and Cabomba. Stocking list is:

Chocolate Cichlids x 2 (6" and 4")
Texas Cichlid (2")
Silver Dollars x 4 (2") - got them at 1" last month!
Gibbey Pleco(?) (2")
Redtailed Shark (4")
Corydoras (Deckerii?) x 4 (1")

Here are a couple of photos...I have since added more Wisteria (it's opportunistic, I only get plants when I see a fresh shipment with nice ones)



And one with the moonlights only:



This was before I added the two 36" Aqualights last night (2x21W T5's each) that I got a deal on from the LFS.

Oh yeah, ignore the Fluval 2+ inside. I was using that from the 20 gallon to "seed" this tank when it was first setup. That monstrosity is no longer there. The tank is filtered by an Eheim 2028 and a Rena XP3.
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post #9 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 09:33 PM
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theres no way that that dirt adds co2 to the tank lol
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post #10 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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That's what I thought. It sounded like a bunch of hooey. I have a background in geology, so when I read that it was supposed to buffer pH to 6.5, I thought to myself, how's it going to release CO2 and maintain pH at 6.5? If it released CO2, then by necessity, it would raise the pH, since it would be dissolving carbonates in the water. That's the only simple CO2 dissolution I could think of.
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post #11 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 11:28 PM
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I have the same tank and light with flourite substrate. I think you are going to want some kind of co2 to help battle the algae. I used diy for awhile and it seems to work well for a tank that size. Good luck.
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post #12 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoink
I have the same tank and light with flourite substrate. I think you are going to want some kind of co2 to help battle the algae. I used diy for awhile and it seems to work well for a tank that size. Good luck.
Thanks for the tip. Since everyone has been mentioning CO2, I have been doing some searching on this site and others. I'll post questions when I get to that point.

Last edited by 2wheelsx2; 03-02-2006 at 05:06 AM.
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post #13 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-02-2006, 12:26 AM
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I've got a hagen bubble ladder I'm not using anymore. It worked pretty well, I just got fed up with messing with the mix every week and pulling snails off of the ladder. It was given to me so its free if you want it. The only other thing you would need is a 2 liter bottle, check valve, and some tubing. Let me know if you are interested.
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post #14 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-02-2006, 05:04 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks a lot for the offer, but being the impulsive guy I am, your generous offer is a few hours too late. To make a long story short, I let the LFS plant expert convince that I needed CO2 and got a Nutrafin ladder and bottle kit. I set it all up about 2 hours ago, and so far, there's been no bubbles. Maybe the reagents are too old? Anyway, I got a pretty large complement of plants, including some Riccia. The guy at the store planned out the layout with me, suggesting plants and such. He also tried to sell me a piece of Malaysian wood with anubias and java fern and moss applied, but it was too much money, so I just picked out a piece of wood and got some java fern and tied it up myself.

Here are the results.....the first pic is of the tank before planting (forgot to put the blue background back up...oops):



This is the completing tank..so far, with the background and the CO2 ladder in place:



Let me know what you think.
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post #15 of 68 (permalink) Old 03-02-2006, 05:21 AM
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Those red plants will not do good on teh sides.. you need high light plants nearest teh light and the low light plants on the sides... i would take those clupms of hair grass and chain sword and break them up a lot more.. also the rica..(lower left) should be broken up a bit also... rember things will "fill" in...

Help control the pet population...spay or neuter people won't spay or neuter their dogs or cats!
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