First tank in YEARS! 40B Low Tech - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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First tank in YEARS! 40B Low Tech

Hi everyone! I have been out of the hobby for years. My son is now really into fish and I have a 40B and stand that is dying to be set up. We went to a few stores and he really loves the look of Tiger Barbs. So my goal is to do a low tech planted tank full of them (12 or so) and maybe a bottom dweller? He really liked the Rainbow Sharks, but I have read they need 55 gallons or bigger. Do Tiger Barbs typically eat snails?

I would love to go for a lighter colored substrate, maybe sand, but couldnít remember if that was ideal for planted tanks? All of the nutrient rich substrates I am finding are black. If I go with sand, would I need root tabs? I am scared to over do it. As far as plants I am trying to research if any low light/tech plants are native to the Tiger Barbs as I would love to do a biotope tank if possible. Any recommendations would be awesome. If not I will probably just go with Java Ferns since they are super easy from what I remember.

For a filter I always had good luck with Aqua Clears in the past so will probably get a 70. I am not sure what to do for a lid/light. I really just want to keep things simple and easy since he wants to help and learn. Hoping to give him a positive experience for his first tank

Anyways, just wanted to bounce my ideas off everyone here. Does my plan sound ok? Would love any suggestions if you guys have any! Thanks in advance!!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 09:48 PM
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Youíll be better off with 2 Aquaclear 30 than 1-70. Youíll get better coverage/circulation pattern across whole width of tank so there wonít be any dead spots and each output will be a more plant friendly 150gph instead of the over aggressive 300gph deluge that 70 will bomb your tank with and blow your plants sideways. Plus you can alternate filter cleanings so you bacteria load stays more even keeled.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 11:34 PM
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Tiger Barbs are native to parts of south east asia where frankly 90% of all plants and fish come from that are popular in the hobby. I might be exaggerating a bit with that 90% figure but it sure feels that way. Anyway the easiest root feeding plant of them all are various types of cryptocoryne which are native to south east asia. You could go to your local fish store and pick out some crypts. Put in some drift wood and some rocks. Bank the sand to be higher in the back and off to one side and you have yourself a lovely easy to put together aquascape. Watch some videos on youtube on how to prepare plants, it will be a big help. Somebody like George Farmer works with a lot of crypts and has a ton of good quality videos out there. He tends towards high tech scapes but you can still get a lot of valuable information from him.

Pool Filter Sand is a nice (and cheap) substrate option. Smaller gravel sizes (1-3mm being ideal) are also a good choice. You could go with root tabs but its easier and frankly safer to get an easy liquid fertilizer. Thrive C is often recommended for low tech planted tanks because it has everything you need in it including liquid carbon.

For a light there are a lot of options here. Crypts are low light plants so you don't need a lot. Beamworks lights get a lot of attention because they are cheap. They are better for low light to maybe the lower end of medium light. You can find them on amazon. A more expensive option would be something like a Fluval 3.0. Both will grow crypts in a 40 breeder. The Fluval will give you more options down the road if you decide to go high tech. Read up on them and you can make a decision.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all of the help! It has been so long and I feel like a total newbie again! I am really looking forward to setting up a tank with my son, and honestly pretty excited about Tiger Barbs being his choice. All of my tanks were either planted Betta tanks or nano tanks (ember tetras, CPDs, inverts, and other tinies), and honestly canít ever recall having something bigger than a 20 long. I think it will be fun to have a bigger and more bold schooling fish, even if they are super common
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 05:51 PM
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I would love to go for a lighter colored substrate

Anyways, just wanted to bounce my ideas off everyone here. Does my plan sound ok? Would love any suggestions if you guys have any! Thanks in advance!!
Your plan sounds OK.... but for substrate if you prefer lighter I would go with Stoney Creek- it is larger granules and therefore easier to siphon when doing a gravel vac.

There is no need for root tabs if you are dosing the water column IMO, I agree that Thrice C is going to be a good bet. My recommendation after having lived in asia- dont overdo the nutrients. Instead focus on water quality.

I like frame-less tanks- I use a 2.5 strip of plexi for a 'top' over the front.... which you dont need unless your fish jump for food.

Lights: there are quite literally oodles on Ammazonia dot com. Any will be OK with medium light plants, and preferably WIFI programmable so you dont need to worry about light overage (algae bloom).
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Last edited by livebearerlove; 07-29-2019 at 05:55 PM. Reason: Removing excess spacing....
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 05:57 PM
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Thanks so much for all of the help! It has been so long and I feel like a total newbie again! I am really looking forward to setting up a tank with my son, and honestly pretty excited about Tiger Barbs being his choice. All of my tanks were either planted Betta tanks or nano tanks (ember tetras, CPDs, inverts, and other tinies), and honestly canít ever recall having something bigger than a 20 long. I think it will be fun to have a bigger and more bold schooling fish, even if they are super common
I think Tiger barbs look great especially in a planted tank. I was tempted to buy a school the other day but I wanted Pearl Gouramis and with their reputation for fin nipping, didn't want to test my luck by mixing them with the long flowing fins on the Gouramis. If you want a low cost light coloured inert substrate you can try Fairmount pool filter sand. I just used that for my 75g and it wasn't messy at all, it's the right size grains to stay at the bottom rather than blowing around. Personally I like the look of natural gravel so I capped it with a small layer of that, but the sand should provide a better base for the plant roots to grab than having all coarse gravel would have (and also cheaper).
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 08:10 AM
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I disagree on larger gravel being better for vacuuming, it’s the bane of planted aquarium keeping because all the detritus settling down into lower levels.

1-3mm coarse sand is perfect size, tight enough pore size that it keeps all debris at surface where all you have to is lightly skim over it or blow it up with turkey baster and let filters pick it up.

Peace river if you want a nice med light sandy plant tank friendly substrate.


HTH pool sand if you want it even lighter. One on left here and only $12 for 50lbs. One on right is cheap stuff, don’t buy it, it’s to fine and compacts.


Or you could mix them and come up with any shade you like.

Root tabs are usually a waste of time and effort if you just do proper water column fertilizing.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 12:15 PM
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1-3mm coarse sand is perfect size, tight enough pore size that it keeps all debris at surface where all you have to is lightly skim over it or blow it up with turkey baster and let filters pick it up.
That is what I recommended with the stone river- it is basically a larger grained sand. Not fine enough that it is powder, but small none the less (much smaller than eco complete, maybe same size as Micro aquasoil).
https://www.amazon.com/Stoney-River-...87121214&psc=1

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 05:03 PM
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Sorry, donít use coated substrates.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 06:58 PM
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Sorry, donít use coated substrates.
I would like to start a bit of discussion on this subject- since they use it in the zoo, breeders, etc. I personally have entire tanks that are 'native' but also have tanks that are obviously not. I would be curious....

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 06:59 PM
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Here's a planted tank with tiger barbs for a bit of inspiration.

https://www.adana.co.jp/en/aquajourn...world-2018_03/
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 05:04 AM
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Here's a planted tank with tiger barbs for a bit of inspiration.

https://www.adana.co.jp/en/aquajourn...world-2018_03/
beautiful scape. definitely an inspired me!


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all so much for the suggestions!! I really love the look of the Peace River. We have slowly started collecting supplies. So hoping to have the time soon to get it started. Thanks also for the link to that tank! Itís GORGEOUS!
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