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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Question Confused Overwhelmed Noob

Hello! Recently I have gained interest in aquascaping and planted tanks. I have a 20 gallon long and I am needing help with info about light, DIY C02 kit, and substrate. These three things I have been researching but still slightly confused. This is the light I have currently ( Just realized I can't post links, its a nicrew LED) . I plan on using either MC or dwarf hair grass and was wondering if this was powerful enough. If not, can you recommend a new one that won't break the bank? Also, is dwarf hair grass easier than MC? I ordered a diy C02 kit and everything else needed and was wondering how the diy version worked for everyone? I just leaned about the miracle grow potting mix topped off with another substrate and was wondering if this would be good for carpeting plants? Any help would be much appreciated, thanks!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 10:43 AM
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MC is very easy. Probably easier than dwarf hair grass.

DIY co2 is better than nothing but I highly recommend a pressurized co2 system. It is one of the best investments you can make in a planted tank.

Don't try to go cheap you will probably regret it later. Get some good equipment and it will last you a long time. If you go serious in this hobby you want better equipment later and this means your buys now will be a lose.

Personally I like the chihiros rgb units. I have the 60 version on my 80 cm. If you only go for mc and dwarf hair grass (mostly green plants) chihiros a series is also good.

Get a good aqua soil (ADA, Tropica, Dennerle) and if you want a big slope put some lava split under it to go cheaper. With a good aqua soil beginners can grow plants like a pro. They are really helpful.

Do as much research as you can about growing plants. If you use hardscape (wood and stone) I recommend getting a mock tank (wooden box, cardboard box) to practice with it (same dimensions as tank)Take this slowly and never rush it. You will look a long time to your tank and it is not easy to make a good hardscape. Make pictures of the hardscape as it is easier to look at that, than with the eye IRL. I recommend a mock tank with just play sand so you won't crush the soil or hit the glass with a stone. It is also easier to practice because you have no front wall.

Good flow to bring co2 and ferts to plants is important. A good basic rule is 10x turnover filter. So 100L tank means a filter that with 1000/l per hour.

DIY co2 is tricky to get a stable co2 input. Co2 fluctuations can lead to Black beard algae which is hard to remove.

Look for a inspiration tank and try to copy it. It will still look different because you have different hardscape. Your own success will come later.

Good sites for this

You don't wanna read so much? Listen to this podcast great information

There is so much information for beginners I could go on but just read the internet for good tips. Research, research!!

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Last edited by Nigel95; 01-08-2018 at 11:00 AM. Reason: edit
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 05:13 PM
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Nigel couldnít have said anything better, I believe that a pressurized co2 system is the single most important thing to have when in this hobby (water would help as well, lol) You can actually have a nice very nice low light co2 tank.

For lighting I donít know how much is breaking the bank. Correct me if Iím wrong it looked like the standard for 20 gallon longs were 30 inches in length. Based on that a Fluval 2.0 would give you extremely high PAR at the substrate level for 134$
If I were you I would buy the chihiros if you can find the 30 in model (I couldnít)

For soil you can get away with anything really. ADA aquasoil is a trade off, really good growth - quite expensive. I always recommend it but I am crying when I buy 4 bags of dirt for 150$ (then I walk past the miracle grow for 14.99 ) Many people are starting to use Black Diamond Blasting Sand (bdbs- as used on most threads) You can have very nice results with either.

Iím going to reiterate that co2 is the most important thing out of these 3 things imo. If you search around there are a few of these cheap regulators that actually worked pretty good for most people.

Hope this helps a little,
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 06:36 PM
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Very easy place to be confused! Goes with the game so we all start that way. No big thing!
So a point of caution. The main point on planted tanks is not getting too carried away on any one of three points. It takes a balance of the right amount of light ( how strong and how long) CO2( how much and how steady) and what we feed the plants (ferts) It is easy to see that lighting is often mentioned first and that leads us to believe that more is better. NOT True, if the other parts are not also bigger/stronger. So it often comes down to how much of each we want to deal with --and can afford! Ferts are cheap, lighting may be next and good strong, stable CO2 is likely to be the most expensive. Ferts at under $20, lights at under $100 and CO2 under $200?? Round figures and sure to be able to change those but it takes knowing what to buy and when/how to proceed. So I advise caution when starting to avoid buying and then finding it necessary to rebuy as that is a loss for sure.
Does it really get too disappointing to start with something a bit easier than a full carpet? Say narrow leaf sag which is easy combined with other easy type plants to get a feel for what is needed, as well as collect info and money before stepping into the real expense. I recommend starting easy/cheaper and gradually growing into the expensive areas.
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