20 Gallon Long Low-Tech (First Planted Aquarium) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-04-2015, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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20 Gallon Long Low-Tech (First Planted Aquarium)

First 20 gallon long build is completed. Now onto maintenance.

I'm keeping my journal on google drive along with pictures: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8...XNLbjdlQzNpUWM

Latest Tank Video:
Click here

Latest News:
Put in my fishes this weekend. Tank is now stocked with
4 x cardinal tetras
4 x peppered cory
2 x indian algae eaters
2 x german blue ram

i added a 2nd 20 gallon aquaclear filter also because there were sections of the tank that just wasn't getting surface agitation and was developing a film. Plus with the quantity of fishes i have in there, a 2nd 20 gallon filter made sense.

Up next:
1) Monitor and Maintain
2) Did see some algae growth on the side...indian algae eaters aren't doing much. Going to add some seachem flourish and excel to see if that helps and also lower the amount of light i provide to the aquarium.
3) Start on next 20 gallon long tank before i attempt a bigger tank!

Last edited by jblah; 09-16-2015 at 03:11 PM. Reason: latest update
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-04-2015, 10:49 PM
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Interested as me too I bought a 20Gal long. Not ready yet as I don't have a stand.

You realize you could have saved a bundle by using either one of play sand (that's what I use), pool sand or coal slag. The question is how long will the white gravel stay white.

I prefer to fill the tank when I have all or most of the plants. They contribute to cycle.


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-04-2015, 10:53 PM
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to be honest i would remove most of those rocks and rearrange the pice of wood. but to each there own and light should be fine for the plants
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-04-2015, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jblah View Post
Next Thoughts
1) Going to let the tank cycle until this weekend. I've already put in conditioned tap water in there
2) Going to get plants next monday and give it 2 - 3 weeks and use fert/co2 drops
3) going to get fishes after that and then stop giving fert/co2.

Questions:
1) Do you think my lighting will be good enough for low light plants? Any suggestions on plants? I was also looking for a grass type plant I could use for the foreground. any suggestions?
2) Any other suggestions, comments, or ideas?

will keep this updated with my experience.
How do you plan to cycle the tank.
Used additives in the past, still winds up taking 35-40 days.
Just asking.

Just starting is a great opportunity to plant heavy.

Why discontinue ferts & CO2?

20 gallon is awesome to grow out plants, not very tall 12 or 13" or so.

Wifey uses regular baby tears as foreground in her no-tech guppy tanks.


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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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How do you plan to cycle the tank.
Used additives in the past, still winds up taking 35-40 days.
Just asking.

Just starting is a great opportunity to plant heavy.

Why discontinue ferts & CO2?

20 gallon is awesome to grow out plants, not very tall 12 or 13" or so.

Wifey uses regular baby tears as foreground in her no-tech guppy tanks.
I was thinking that once I add fish (which will be after i add the plants), adding additional CO2 with the amount of light that i'll have (which gets PAR 15 at 12" dept) would throw the stability off balance. Was afraid of getting algae What are your thoughts?

by cycling it i just meant running the filter that i got today until this weekend then test out the water this weekend and see about getting the plants on monday.

what would you consider planting heavy? I'm thinking i'll get micro swords (Lilaeopsis mauritiana (From Here) for the foreground and then this Package. I would then let it grow out..should i get more?

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariostg View Post
Interested as me too I bought a 20Gal long. Not ready yet as I don't have a stand.

You realize you could have saved a bundle by using either one of play sand (that's what I use), pool sand or coal slag. The question is how long will the white gravel stay white.

I prefer to fill the tank when I have all or most of the plants. They contribute to cycle.
ha didn't think of that! ah well. i'll just plant grass over it if it gets too bad! I'm hoping that rocks become basically a secondary item to the wood piece and the plants.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, please keep them coming. can definitely use all the suggestions/tips/help i can get.

Bump:
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Originally Posted by strangewaters View Post
to be honest i would remove most of those rocks and rearrange the pice of wood. but to each there own and light should be fine for the plants
i'm hoping that once i put in the plants the stones will basically disappear. Probably the only one that would even be seen would be the one over the trail. Guess we'll see how it comes out.

August 4th


Last edited by jblah; 08-05-2015 at 02:40 AM. Reason: added pictures
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 02:21 AM
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Heavily planted would be when:
--Can't see through the tank front to back,
--Can't see the substrate,
--Suddenly see a fish you haven't seen in months. well or you see them just at diner time...

Those are bullets I read somewhere else.

Actually, it was here : https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...eavily+planted


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Last edited by Mariostg; 08-05-2015 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Added link
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 02:39 AM
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According to many on this forum 85% substrate coverage is heavily planted.
I didn't start this way, wish I had, but would not have learned as much though.
1st month went to LFS every week, 2 plants and 3 fish.
5 weeks totaled 15 fish and 10 different stem plants.
No NH3 or NO2 spikes, visible on the test kit but not off the charts.
40 gallon long tank with DIY canister and UV with CO2 reactor.
Began dosing ferts around week 6, 20% WC weekly.
Never been an algae farm either.

Not sure but I look at it as a patient approach.
Small changes over longer periods.

At 4 months massive lighting upgrade, more CO2, full fert regiment.
Now almost 9 months and a true jungle.

Bred many fish in the 70's and 80's, saltwater aquariums too.
I went in this for the plants.
Felt cheated many years ago, today provides extensive plant variety.
Not available years ago.

Fish only let me know there really is water in the glass box.


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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
According to many on this forum 85% substrate coverage is heavily planted.
I didn't start this way, wish I had, but would not have learned as much though.
1st month went to LFS every week, 2 plants and 3 fish.
5 weeks totaled 15 fish and 10 different stem plants.
No NH3 or NO2 spikes, visible on the test kit but not off the charts.
40 gallon long tank with DIY canister and UV with CO2 reactor.
Began dosing ferts around week 6, 20% WC weekly.
Never been an algae farm either.

Not sure but I look at it as a patient approach.
Small changes over longer periods.

At 4 months massive lighting upgrade, more CO2, full fert regiment.
Now almost 9 months and a true jungle.

Bred many fish in the 70's and 80's, saltwater aquariums too.
I went in this for the plants.
Felt cheated many years ago, today provides extensive plant variety.
Not available years ago.

Fish only let me know there really is water in the glass box.
i read that also where only 15% of the substrate should be visible. But shouldn't you account for plants growing and spreading? Especially grass type plants?
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Mariostg View Post
You realize you could have saved a bundle by using either one of play sand (that's what I use), pool sand or coal slag. The question is how long will the white gravel stay white.

I prefer to fill the tank when I have all or most of the plants. They contribute to cycle.
White gravel is a lot easier to keep clean than the white sand. Every bit of mulm sticks to the white sand. With the white gravel the mulm you can't vacuum out during water changes sifts down to the bottom of the gravel.

I prefer river sand ($3) over Scott's Hyponex Potting Soil 1cu ($6).

Cycling is speeded up using API Quick Start and stem plants like Wisteria. I use the API when I add fish to make certain I have no ammonia spikes.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
White gravel is a lot easier to keep clean than the white sand. Every bit of mulm sticks to the white sand. With the white gravel the mulm you can't vacuum out during water changes sifts down to the bottom of the gravel.

I prefer river sand ($3) over Scott's Hyponex Potting Soil 1cu ($6).

Cycling is speeded up using API Quick Start and stem plants like Wisteria. I use the API when I add fish to make certain I have no ammonia spikes.
Who says I vaccum?

Sent from my SGH-M919V using Tapatalk


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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
White gravel is a lot easier to keep clean than the white sand. Every bit of mulm sticks to the white sand. With the white gravel the mulm you can't vacuum out during water changes sifts down to the bottom of the gravel.

I prefer river sand ($3) over Scott's Hyponex Potting Soil 1cu ($6).

Cycling is speeded up using API Quick Start and stem plants like Wisteria. I use the API when I add fish to make certain I have no ammonia spikes.
Thanks! I purchased 8oz of the API Quick Start.

so do you all recommend that i get plant and then wait a week or 2 and then get fish or should i go ahead and get fish/plants at around the same time. I know i need to plant 1st and then get fish so i don't stress out the fish..but I don't know how long of a wait (if any) i should have.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 03:21 PM
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Thanks! I purchased 8oz of the API Quick Start.

so do you all recommend that i get plant and then wait a week or 2 and then get fish or should i go ahead and get fish/plants at around the same time. I know i need to plant 1st and then get fish so i don't stress out the fish..but I don't know how long of a wait (if any) i should have.
Your tank will not be cycled for the fish that quickly. Look for posts from Diana here on this forum about the fishless cycle. Until your test kit is reading 0 for ammonia and nitrites your tank is not ready for fish. Plants are fine to do right away though.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Your tank will not be cycled for the fish that quickly. Look for posts from Diana here on this forum about the fishless cycle. Until your test kit is reading 0 for ammonia and nitrites your tank is not ready for fish. Plants are fine to do right away though.
Thanks for the information about fishless cycle. I'm reading up on that now. Didn't know anything about that! good thing you pointed me in the right direction.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Got my water test kit

pH: 7.6 (way to basic..i heard you can add driftwood to make it more acidic..is that true?)
ammonia: 0ppm (good to see!)
nitrite: 3-5ppm (hard to tell based on the color but this is TOO MUCH)
nitrate: 2ppm (very faint amount of nitrate)

I think my nitrogen cycle is doing okay considering that it has only been about 3 days...I read from Diana that I should continue adding ammonia in small amount continuously. I'll have to go get that but will wait until my API Quick Start arrives.

Ordered some plants today. 10 plants + micro swords. Not sure if that is enough for 20 gallon long to start off for a planted aquarium. Thoughts?


Update: It looks like I didn't know much about the Nitrogen Cycle and how it worked with the Tank. I looked at a few youtube video to get an idea of that. As such, i added some fish food into my tank to create some ammonia to see if that will be taken up by the bacteria and converted to nitrite. i'll test every other day. i'll also get some ammonia from the store and do a cycle if the fish food doesn't work well initially.

I feel like such a newbie learning all this information now!! I should have read up on this before i added any water to my aquarium. but i guess we all start somewhere.

Last edited by jblah; 08-06-2015 at 03:51 AM. Reason: added an update
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 04:35 AM
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The problem with doing the fish food style is the mess it makes! Make sure the ammonia you get is fragrance free and has no surfactants. This was surprisingly difficult to find. Others have stated that Ace Hardware usually has it but the ones near me didn't. Many phone calls later I did find it in a small hardware store.
You are fine to add the water and the plants. You will need to cut down on the amount of ammonia you add though as the plants will not appreciate 4ppm.
If you dose your tank the night before you add the fish with Tetra Safe Start Plus it helps your fish because it has beneficial bacteria in it.
In the begining water changes are your friend for sure. Good Luck!
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