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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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just want a "jungle"

Hey all Aquatic enthusiasts:

Well.... I have decided to try my hand again at another planted tank. I stumbled upon this great website and the planted tank bug really sunk it's teeth into me...AGAIN!

Here is a list of the equipment old and new:

1. 20 gallon high. I know this is not an ideal tank for plants due to the water column depth... but I would love to make it work
2. Fluval 305 canister filter
3. Eco-complete substrate
4. 20w (75w equiv) Walgreens CFL daylight bulb (6500K) and a 20w (50w equiv) Coralife 50/50 Mini CFL bulb (10,000k/blue actinic)
5. need to order a glass diffuser for a DIY CO2

I have installed the fish tank in the wall. Access to the tank is in the back. The lighting is also within the wall and approx 5 inches above the water level. It would be difficult to manicure and aquascape the tank to the great detail as seen on this website... so I have decided to just plant the tank and let it flourish. I would love if I can get a green carpet up front with high reaching plants towards the back. I would also like to have some lilies and a few floating plants. I am not as familiar with the names of plants, so the common names of plants you guys suggest would be appreciated.

I was discouraged after my first attempt of a planted tank. I used flourite and a regular flourescent 15w bulb, no CO2 and no ferts. For these obvious reasons, the tank failed...

Here are a few questions for now:

1. Where can I order a cheap CO2 glass diffuser? would you suggest anything else?
2. Where can I order and which ferts should I order?
3. What plants would you suggest? fast growing and tall, as well as some low growing.
4. Is my lighting sufficient for a 20H? I can replace the Coralife 50/50 with another walgreens daylight bulb, but I was saving it for another tank related project.
5. Should I mix in the old flourite I have with the new Eco-complete?
6. I have an undergravel filter... should I put it in? is it in any way beneficial? I have not seen anyone use an undergravel filter. Keep in mind that my primary filter is the fluval canister.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 04:34 PM
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My answers are pasted in with your questions. Hope they help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ES4 View Post
Hey all Aquatic enthusiasts:

Well.... I have decided to try my hand again at another planted tank. I stumbled upon this great website and the planted tank bug really sunk it's teeth into me...AGAIN!

Here is a list of the equipment old and new:

1. 20 gallon high. I know this is not an ideal tank for plants due to the water column depth... but I would love to make it work
You can definitely make it work.

2. Fluval 305 canister filter
Good filter

3. Eco-complete substrate
Good stuff. I've used it in my tanks a few times, and it will definitely work if you mix it with Flourite. I've done that as well with no issues.
4. 20w (75w equiv) Walgreens CFL daylight bulb (6500K) and a 20w (50w equiv) Coralife 50/50 Mini CFL bulb (10,000k/blue actinic)
The actinic will not do much for you, I'd swap for another Walgreens bulb or a 6500K Coralife mini CFL.
5. need to order a glass diffuser for a DIY CO2
Even easier, just plumb it into your filter intake. Cut your air hose so it is split and pull the splits into the filter grate.

You also may want to look into dosing dry fertilizers in the tank. With high lights, co2 etc that will keep algae at bay and get the plants into the jungle you desire. You can plant the foreground/stems with tweezers and then turn them loose. Floaters block sunlight from the foreground and they then grow upwards instead of carpeting.
I have installed the fish tank in the wall. Access to the tank is in the back. The lighting is also within the wall and approx 5 inches above the water level. It would be difficult to manicure and aquascape the tank to the great detail as seen on this website... so I have decided to just plant the tank and let it flourish. I would love if I can get a green carpet up front with high reaching plants towards the back. I would also like to have some lilies and a few floating plants. I am not as familiar with the names of plants, so the common names of plants you guys suggest would be appreciated.

I was discouraged after my first attempt of a planted tank. I used flourite and a regular flourescent 15w bulb, no CO2 and no ferts. For these obvious reasons, the tank failed...

Here are a few questions for now:

1. Where can I order a cheap CO2 glass diffuser? would you suggest anything else?
2. Where can I order and which ferts should I order?
www.rexgrigg.com
3. What plants would you suggest? fast growing and tall, as well as some low growing.
4. Is my lighting sufficient for a 20H? I can replace the Coralife 50/50 with another walgreens daylight bulb, but I was saving it for another tank related project.
5. Should I mix in the old flourite I have with the new Eco-complete?
6. I have an undergravel filter... should I put it in? is it in any way beneficial? I have not seen anyone use an undergravel filter. Keep in mind that my primary filter is the fluval canister.
Canister will be more than sufficient.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thank You for your response. I will swap the 50/50 bulb for another daylight bulb, get the dry ferts and plumb the CO2 hose into the outlet of the filter.

Once semi up and running I will post another pic of the progress.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 07:50 PM
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I would also opt for more light, such as t5s or 21" compact flourescent. A 65 watt 21" compact flourescent setup would be great. A 24" T5HO setup might be about perfect if it has individual reflectors. The Current SLR 24" T5ho x2 would be great! 48 watts but T5s are awesome!

The bulbs you mentioned don't have the best coverage, i used them over my 5.5 gallon, i had two of them running and there were a lot of deadspots. Anyway i'd shoot for 3 watts per gallon (or the previously mentioned t5HO setup) atleast since the 20H is fairly deep.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 07:55 PM
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I also have a feeling that the lighting you have will not be sufficient. I have a 20 High and have a 2x24 watt T5HO strip by Current with individual reflectors and I love it. However, I would not recommend it with DIY CO2. In your case, I would go with a nice power compact setup.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KentCurtis View Post
I also have a feeling that the lighting you have will not be sufficient. I have a 20 High and have a 2x24 watt T5HO strip by Current with individual reflectors and I love it. However, I would not recommend it with DIY CO2. In your case, I would go with a nice power compact setup.
I'm curious why you recommend the pc over the t5? I'm still fairly new to planted tanks myself. I've had reef tanks for awhile and us reefers kinda hate power compacts lol. Just wondering what the difference is for planted setups.

Thanks.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 09:17 PM
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That's a cool place for a tank. I have a 24 inch deep 20 gallon hexagonal aquarium with a current usa 18x2. (36 total watts) I am able to Wisteria, java fern, some kind of hygro, pennywort, and a few others fairly well. This is definitely low light, but if it is a real pain to get to, then maybe that is not a bad thing. I have had some plants that just never did too well and I doubt any of them would win any awards, but I enjoy them and hardly know any better.

I am also using a red sea wood air defuser (I guess it isn't a wood air stone). It seems to work fine, but you do have to clean them every now and then and it is difficult to build up the pressure to run them of diy co2 (however I am doing just that). The wood difuser is cheap they are like 3 for 5 dollars, and you can find them at the big pet store chains.

I have trouble keeping nitrates in the tank, but I have a pretty thick sand bed and not many fish. I feed heavy and supplement with some Seachem Nitrate.

I don't know about a nice carpet plant, I've got some e tennelus and some microsword in mine, they definitely not stellar. - they are growing though. I am also not too sure of the spiral cfl's. I've not tried them. I am also not to sure of an undergravel filter I've heard they cause root related problems, but i've never tried that either so I can't honestly say. I would think that a canister filter would take care of you though.

All that to say: it can be done. I am in school and can really only afford to THINK about all the pretty things I want to buy for the fish tanks. I have really enjoyed my low light-low tech-low cost tank though. You may have to accept that some stuff won't grow well in it and you may end up frustrated half the time, finding yourself constantly scheming to make the tank better, and dreaming of more and better tanks; but if you didn't do that, you might forget that you have a hobby of trying to grow plants underwater in your living room.


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 05:18 AM
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I'd suggest a 20" 65W CFL. If I'm not mistaken I think there is one in the SnS right now.
I have an Eco/Flourite mix going strong right now. If you can do Flourite capped with Eco the black will really make the plants pop.
NO to the undergravel filter. No need for it at all.
With the light suggestion I gave you, you should have a pretty wide selection of plants to grow. In essentially that same setup, my brothers tank was growing HC, Blyxa, Limnophilia aromatica and other mildly demanding plants. And stem plants will reach the top so fast you won't know what to do with them!
Lastly, DIY Co2 will work in a 20H, ran it in the brothers tank. But I'd personally recommend pressurized if you can afford it. You'll pretty much be able to grow anything with good light, Co2 & ferts. If you can't do pressurized right now, go overboard on the DIY Co2. We ran 3x2L bottles on our 20H, hell I was using a 3L on a 2.5 just to make sure it was getting what it needed! You can't really OD on DIY Co2 so go crazy with it. Best diffusion method I've found for it is the Hagen Mini Elite Filter. Glass diffusers sometimes don't get enough pressure built up to successfully work in conjunction with DIY. Plus the Mini Elite will add another source of filtration as a bonus! It's win-win!


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all so far.

I finished up wiring the light fixtures last night. I will post a pic later today of how it looks (not professionally done, but no one will see it). This will be a low-cost tank and although I would love to get new lights, i have to settle for the CFL's I have now. Pretty much, the lighting only cost me about $20... two home depot sockets, two Walgrees daylight bulbs and some electrical wire with a switch. It is mounted in the wall about 5 inches above the water level.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-28-2009, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Well... have been a little too occupied for the past month and a half or so, but had some free time yesterday and decided to take another HUGE step forward.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Ok... so last night I was admiring the growth in my tank and noticed a bunch of "worm like" organisms swimming around. WTH are they. They are rather tiny and wiggle around. They're NOT mosquito larvae, they look like some kind of parasite. What would you suggest to erradicate them without damaging the plants and fish?
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Oct 16 pic. The lilies have really taken off even more. I had to drop in the power head to get some movement in the water column. I am gonna order up Excel to give it a shot. need to dedicate some time to the tank... clean up power head, plants and filter, and do a water change. Also... sorry for the low water level.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 01:14 PM
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The worms are most likely planaria. Water changes and cleaning should take care of them. The fish lke to eat them and they shouldnt cause any problems. Mine went away after the tank established itself. (or the fish ate them)
You may as well cut off the dying leaves on the swords as the plant is wasting energy trying to bring them back (and it they wont come back) By cutting them off you will encourage new growth. The new growth will look different in shape as you have emersed growth now.


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 01:58 PM
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In that last pic there, maybe it's just the photo, but it doesn't look like the microsword is getting enough light. What kind of reflector(s) did you use over the cfl bulbs?

The tank is off to a great start btw!
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 03:00 PM
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That lily is going to block a lot of light if you let it grow, so will the sword, eventually. You'll grow a carpet faster if you break your microsword into smaller clumps and checker-board it, like Church has in the left of his sig ^


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