Your help requested - building a 20gal - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Your help requested - building a 20gal

Hello,
This is my first post here and I'm happy to meet you all.

I would like to ask you, as experts, for some suggestions on building a good plant worthy foundation for my 20gal tank (see below), and then about populating it. I would like to keep the cost under $500 for everything including the plants, which may take me a couple of months or so to earn.

I would like to fit the hardware inside the cabinet below the tank: minimum- 20"w - 13"t - 15"d, and I would like to use some form of Co2 injection.

I want to do this right, which I know in this business usually means PATIENTS. I have done reading on the basics involved but don't want to get started on the wrong foot, so I'm asking for your help and opinions.

I am prepared to not introduce fish at first if that is smart. I am fairly competent mechanically and can wrap my small brain around some science as well. I have had aquariums most all my life, fresh as well as marine, but never a planted one.

If you suggest something, it would be extremely helpful to me if you could be very specific, as I'll be making a shopping list.

Thanks in advance for your comments and I am really looking forward to discussing this subject with you.

Cheers,
.
.


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 11:55 PM
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With that much space I would consider an eheim 2215 for filtration, that or a 2213 and a powerhead in the tank for added circulation. If you want pressurized CO2 consider a paintball setup as you don't have much space to work with. Greenleafaquariums.com has a nice one and Orlando is a sponsor of these forums. Lighting will depend on what plants you want to grow, a single T5HO light rasied about 5-6" off the tank would work. Also could consider a pair of T5NO bulbs. Hardscape you have alot of options like wood or rock and all that is personal preference. Substrate I would splurge for a bag or 2 of ADA AS I. Plants you can do your research on and find most of them in the SnS section here.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Crag, thanks for the reply.
I looked at the paintball setup at Greenleaf and they specify that they are suitable for up to 11 gallons. Would that solution then require two of those kits running simultaneously?

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 01:36 AM
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'Fraid I can't help you with your CO2 question since I don't run it on any of my own tanks, but if you give Orlando (the owner of GreenLeaf) a call he'll help you get set up with exactly what you need.

When it comes to lighting, I'm a big fan of the Solar T5HOs from www.catalinaaquarium.com. Either a 3 or 4 bulb fixture would be ideal for your setup if you do go with pressurized CO2.

If you enjoy DIY, you might consider making some Mineralized Topsoil for your substrate; much cheaper than the ADA Craig is suggesting, and there's a sticky at the top of the substrate forum that explains how to make it. ADA is good stuff too, however- just pricey.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Laura Lee and thanks for the Welcome,
I checked out the Solar lighting and saw two different 24" fixtures, one with 4 24w T5 HOs and the other with 6, wow! Earlier today I had been looking at a couple different fixtures from AquaticLife. One with 4 24w T5 HOs, and the other has 2 65w CFs.

What I liked about both of the AquaticLife fixtures was that they had stand-offs available that raised the fixtures above the tank. I live in a place that gets pretty hot in the summer time, thinking that they may not heat up the tank water as much when elevated above. Do you know if the Solars come with stand-offs? Also what sets the AquaticLife models apart is that they come equipped with Lunar LEDs. I have lunar LEDs on my 55gal and I love them.

As for the substrate, I purchased some vermiculite, some quality top soil, and some #30 blasting sand after reading an article on diy substrate. I also read that commercial grade such as Aquasoil has greater longevity in regard to necessary elements than a dyi mix. If that is indeed the case I would then probably opt for that in order to lower my maintenance and just suck up the extra cost. But that is what I'm here for, let me know if I am off track on that. Do you think that diy is comparable to commercial grade substrate? If it is I would definitely go that way as I have a bigger tank to do later if this all works out, plus it would be more of my own creation.

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