My First Planted Tank (20 Gallon) Low Tech - Help Needed - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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My First Planted Tank (20 Gallon) Low Tech - Help Needed

Hello Everyone,

After having an aquarium without plants for over a year, and an unsuccessful attempt at planting the tank when I had no idea what I was doing, I am now attempting to make a true low-tech, planted tank.

Right now this is the setup
Substrate - 30 lbs of Floramax with an underlayer of gravel.
Light - Aqueon Floramax Plant Growth T8 Freshwater 15 Watt light (I know this is not enough).

Plants
Amazon Swords
Java Ferns
Jungle Vallisneria
Ludwigia repens
Bacopa monnieri
Green Cabomba

Fish
3x Fancy Tale Guppies
3x Neon Tetras
1x Ballon Molly

I really need some help with finding economical and appropriate lighting. I have heard the 2 watt per gallon rule and would like to explore ways to get more adaquate lighting in my tank. Right now my plants seem to be maintaining the status quo, and other than the Green Cabomba not growing very well.

Can anyone suggest some effective and economical lighting for this twenty gallon tank?

I also am not using any type of C02 or fertilization. Is this a bad idea, or can I get by without it?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-05-2014, 03:40 PM
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You could keep the set up you have and buy some Anubias plants, they love low light. then wait to see which plants make it and which plants don't and go from there.

If you upgrade your lighting you'll find that you're more than likely going to have algae problems... at which point you'll set up a DIY C02 system... at which point you'll learn that you need to fertilize your water column... at which point you'll be sick of your DIY CO2... and you're on your way to a High Tech set up

I have a 20 gallon tall with 24" Aquatic Life dual lamp T5HO light (~$100), with yeast C02 and PPS pro fertilizers from green leaf aquariums and many of the same plants you have. It seems to be a pretty good balance of nutrients with weekly 25% water changes.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I am definitely looking to upgrade my lighting, although $100 is out of my range.

I was looking at: [Ebay Link Removed]

Does this Freshwater Marine Beamwork look like a decent setup?

Do you, or anyone know where to find quality information that rates lights for planted tanks?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingleaves View Post
Thanks for the reply. I am definitely looking to upgrade my lighting, although $100 is out of my range.
If funding is an issue, consider screw in compact fluorescent light (CFL) from hardware store. Look for 6000K. I have a 10 and 15 gal tanks that are setup that way and it work fine. I use 2 13 watts ( I think it is) for those tanks.

In the 15 gal, I put glossos as carpet plants and they grow.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 06:23 AM
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Welcome to the forum and the planted tank world! I wish you much better luck this time around!

I would suggest a perusal of the lighting section here, particularly the sticky at the top should help you figure out a decent light. CFLs are definitely an option for an extremely low-tech tank. The low tech forum can also be your friend for ideas.

With your current setup, you'll need to do minimal fert dosing before long. All plants need nutrients, no matter how you slice it. The amount you provide will depend on the rest of your setup. Everything in proportion to one another. The plant growth will not only be limited by light, but also in CO2 (liquid carbon or CO2 gas) and ferts. Plenty of people get away with very low tech, low maintenance tanks. Just takes the right amount of planning.

For lights, I'm a big fan of LEDs. Finnex has a new fixture out, the stingray that is tailored to low tech setups. I don't know the price, but for a 20 gallon, I doubt it's over $100. Current USA satellite freshwater plus is a quality fixture that will do low tech no problem.

And I would suggest getting some more plants. It's pretty sparsely planted. To start off with for design, focus on the background, midground, foreground style. And group stems of the same type together in bunches, not individual stems. The cabomba is an example of this. It would look better if all the stems are grouped together in a cluster of cabomba instead of little sprigs of it spaced out like that.

Again, welcome and best of luck!

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 11:27 AM
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Aquatraders sell cheap LED fixtures. You should be able to get one from them for around 40$. Aquatraders.com.
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