Help Me Setup a 20G Long! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Help Me Setup a 20G Long!

This is separate from my 15G thread; I'm thinking I'll keep that tank as it is and just start a whole new tank.

I'm looking into a medium-high-tech tank (Or, a tank with a nice light and filter that can grow a lot of plants! )

I'm open to any and all suggestions. Talk to me like you would talk to someone who went out and impulse bought a 20G Long that was on sale for $.02 (which is basically what I am; I've gotten as far as a Finnex Stingray, two Finnex Planted+ Cliplights, and some fairly easy plants like Anubis, Java Fern, Wisteria, Crypts, and Swords.)

I would love for it to be all plants that I can buy online, preferably tissue cultured from a reputable source. I don't have a ton of money to spend, so this tank will be set up over the next year or so. I have plenty of cycled media but no test kit. According to the water quality report we have a Ph of 9! That was as of 2015, and the water source was recently changed so the Ph is even higher now. I think that's the main problem I'm having with my other tanks.

Any advice? Plants list? I love crypts, carpets, and most stem plants. Not picky.

Talk to me as if I don't exist and you're planning your own 20G Long! :P
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 02:01 AM
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From experience..... There's a lot of other things to pay attention to when you have a high pH. You'll likely need to buy different versions of ferts that most people don't. Fe may be difficult to keep available in the water without buying a different chelate and other items that show high in your water report may not actually be available to the plants in the form they are in your water. Plan on getting some sort of co2 injection and if you're not going to be getting fish maybe get a little RODI system and remineralize or use spring water where you can find a break down of contents from the supplier and dose accordingly. It probably will make things much easier in a high tech tank rather than sorting out the high Ph issues lol

I just moved to an area with a higher pH (not 9) and kH and gH at 10 & 16. My Water report, tons of research and a long thread here finally got me going in the right direction.... I'm finally getting things not dying and started growing and still have plenty of other hurdles to conquer.

If you want a high tech tank and your water is anything like mine plan on lots of reading and lots of questions. Also you can totally RODI with fish also, but there's other things to consider when doing so for the health of the fish and acclimation.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going to be honest, I have no clue what you just said. Fe, iron?, correct? What is chelate? I've actually researched RO water quite a bit since I was looking into getting a pair of wild bettas (who require a Ph of, like, 4) but not the DI part. Wouldn't have a clue as to how to re-mineralize, either. Have never tested Kh & Gh but have heard of them... related to hardness?

Things aren't nececarily dying, it's just that my tanks aren't looking as good as I want them to and I'd like to get a "fresh start" with a new tank. For example, my Wisteria grows so fast that it blocks the light to my S. Repens no matter how far back I trim the Wisteria.

There's a user here who has a gorgeous high-tech tank (burr?) but that is way over complicated for me... I don't need red plants (unless it's realistic for a medium light tank with no CO2 (which I can get eventually, just not until I figure out the lighting and plant list along with stocking &a save up the money for it)) or super exotic ones, but I was looking earlier and saw quite a few plants that I liked... Ludwiga was on the list (I have a few struggling stems in one of my 5.5s, but would like different varieties and to have it actually grow), along with Bolbitis and Buce. Would love to have a Val forest but it's never done well for me. I tried DHG in the past but it always dies. Same with the Myrio that I got a few months ago. I think there was one called Glosso, too, but I've always heard that that's very hard to care for.

I think the problem is my high Ph and lack of knowledge in any area other than general fish care and plant names.

So, a few questions after getting some of my thoughts in order...

1. What's the best light out there for a planted tank? I have always had Finnex products; I have a 30" laying around somewhere but feel like that's not enough.

2. What's the best budget-friendly light?

3. Sponge, HOB, Canister, or DIY sump? I have experience with the first two but not the last.

4. What substrate would you recommend? Always thought a dirted tank would be fun but there's a lack of organic soil in the area and I move my plants around too much.

5. What would you stock this with? I love Hillstream Loaches and Plecos, but I think both get too big for a 20 Long. I have two types of Corydoras and for types of snails.... Harlequin Rasboras, Longin Blue Zebra Danios, and Bettas. I'd like to stray away from fish I've had in the past, branching out into more "interesting" community fish.

I'll have more questions as I dive deeper into the technicalities.... I was always a "buy the plant and hope it lives" person but want to not only save money, but create better environments for my fish.

ETA: here's a picture of the 15 from a few days ago. Normally it has a different light.

It doesn't look awful, but could use better aquascaping/foreground plants/midground plants.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-26-2017, 02:47 AM
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Very nice looking tank. Shows how much you can do even with smaller tanks.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-26-2017, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatFishThough View Post
I'm going to be honest, I have no clue what you just said. Fe, iron?, correct? What is chelate? I've actually researched RO water quite a bit since I was looking into getting a pair of wild bettas (who require a Ph of, like, 4) but not the DI part. Wouldn't have a clue as to how to re-mineralize, either. Have never tested Kh & Gh but have heard of them... related to hardness?
RODI is RO with an additional step that takes all everything besides the water out of the water lol remineralizers are readily available on the market and what you choose would be directly related to your circumstances and what you are aiming to achieve. The remineralizers add back to the water exactly what you want and help to maintain a stable pH, kH and gH.

Quote:
Things aren't nececarily dying, it's just that my tanks aren't looking as good as I want them to and I'd like to get a "fresh start" with a new tank. For example, my Wisteria grows so fast that it blocks the light to my S. Repens no matter how far back I trim the Wisteria.
More frequent trimming? Lol I know it's tough with a small tank, I don't have that kind of time myself to maintain those ultra fast growers.... Though my sister (aquascaping genius) just got me my first official aquascaping kit as my way of doing things makes her nuts and she's ALWAYS telling me this or that about my trim jobs with household scissors lol

Quote:
There's a user here who has a gorgeous high-tech tank (burr?) but that is way over complicated for me... I don't need red plants (unless it's realistic for a medium light tank
Yes you can have red plants in a medium light tank they just don't get as vibrant, I love mine

Quote:
or super exotic ones, but I was looking earlier and saw quite a few plants that I liked... Ludwiga was on the list (I have a few struggling stems in one of my 5.5s, but would like different varieties and to have it actually grow), along with Bolbitis and Buce. Would love to have a Val forest but it's never done well for me. I tried DHG in the past but it always dies. Same with the Myrio that I got a few months ago. I think there was one called Glosso, too, but I've always heard that that's very hard to care for.
I've had several stems, some do well, some don't for me, I generally seem to stick to rooted or tie on stuff, I get impatient waiting for stems to stop floating up. Ludwigia is one that I haven't tried since my move. And DHG always went nuts on me until my move, I've again not tried it here lol. I imagine it would do well in the high pH though as many people have it with guppies which like the water a bit harder. Bolbitis and Buce gorgeous and require patience, be careful with higher light they are slow growers and may have a tendency to collect algae faster than they grow. My bolbitis has always failed due to not enough light or GSA that eventually I trim it to nothing (probably a me thing, don't let that discourage you its beautiful, I'm jealous of those that can get it huge) Buce is my next venture here, I'm interested in how it works for you if you try it!

Quote:
I think the problem is my high Ph and lack of knowledge in any area other than general fish care and plant names.
Yeah, story of my life since I started up in hard water.... I've been on a huge learning curve with plants here and I wasn't a guru by any means before hand either.

Quote:
1. What's the best light out there for a planted tank? I have always had Finnex products; I have a 30" laying around somewhere but feel like that's not enough.
2. What's the best budget-friendly light?
It's all a matter of preference, over time I've learned that having at least red and blue in the spectrum is best and I've only run full spectrum twice and the only difference I had was more algae.... Co2 may well help this, I've never ran a co2 tank though that's next in my list for my 55

Quote:
3. Sponge, HOB, Canister, or DIY sump? I have experience with the first two but not the last.
I like canisters and hobs for planted tanks, lots of options to get enough flow through the tank.

Quote:
4. What substrate would you recommend? Always thought a dirted tank would be fun but there's a lack of organic soil in the area and I move my plants around too much.
With hard water don't bother with a buffering substrate, it'll quit buffering in a matter of weeks or months, this can be detrimental to stock as it can cause pH swings that are can be very stressful until the buffering capacity is diminished. I like flourite substrates and they last forever, no need to replace them. But wash wash wash wash wash they'll dust up a tank something fierce if you're not careful lol
Again dirt is all around touted as the best, but I've never used it because it can run out and the mess when rearranging...

Quote:
5. What would you stock this with? I love Hillstream Loaches and Plecos, but I think both get too big for a 20 Long. I have two types of Corydoras and for types of snails.... Harlequin Rasboras, Longin Blue Zebra Danios, and Bettas. I'd like to stray away from fish I've had in the past, branching out into more "interesting" community fish.
Hillstream Loaches require a lot of current and high oxygen water, I wouldn't advise them for a planted tank and eventual co2. Maybe they'd work maybe not, but a 20 long I do believe would be a bit small for a good group anyway. Community fish for a 20 long that are good with plants there's many.... Almost any rasbora or danio, I love Celestial Pearl danios (aka galaxy rasbora). Most small tetras would be happy like neons or cardinals (different temps same basic appearance), emerald tetras are a favorite but a bit picky about water parameters. A group of male endlers won't breed tons (unless you get females) have a fairly low bioload come in tons of colors and are very active and playful. I think even a BN or rubber lip Pleco would do more harm than good in a 20 gallon since their bioload is pretty enormous. A big shoal of pygmy cories for the bottom, they don't look really like the other Cories and are tiny. And I successfully keep, breed and raise Neocardinia Painted Fire Red shrimp and have a huge amount of them in several tanks. Again my pH isn't 9 and you do not know your kH and gH but they could work, any cherry shrimp really could be a possibility and they add a lot of life as well.. If you have shrimp though be aware that shrimplets are a tasty snack for ANY fish even nano fish, but I have slowly increasing populations with small fish in moderate to heavily planted tanks.


And just to touch on the high pH issues I mentioned before.... I couldn't get iron to stay in the water it almost immediately precipitated out (clouded up the tank for an hour or two), I although I have a high amount of Mg in my water source have to supplement Mg due to the plants not actually being able to use the Mg from my source due to how its (I'm not using the right word but close) bound. I also have to utilize Potassium from P2So4 (I think, not looking at it) as something whatever my water doesn't agree with the other stuff lol. Some of this was found via trial and error, most of it through research during an fairly long thread here. I'll post a link to my thread going through my water issues if you are up for some reading lol it's not all detailed out but there's a whole encyclopedia of ideas and information and experiences that got me on the path to what works for me. That said, maybe you're water won't react as mine has lol maybe you won't have issues! All tanks are different, water sources are different setups all of it lol I have several tanks and my 55 was the first here with medium-high lighting and the first to really display serious issues with my ferts routine. I have another tank that has a couple swords that suffered greatly from co2 deficiency here due to the water and light levels (my son's tank, I can't make him keep lights out when he's in his room, nor will he allow a circulation pump as he insists in torturing me with platy fry that I "take to the lfs") and eventually they stunted down to where they don't have build up any more and they "maintain". So be vigilant and watch close to your plants, see what they want. You may find a bit of research is necessary as standard ferts might not do the trick for you either.... The pH game, it's actually interesting if you're into that kind of stuff lol I'll link my thread next post.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-26-2017, 06:56 AM
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Here's that link

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh....php?t=1207322

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-26-2017, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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We really need a "thank" button...
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