Setting up my first planted tank, have afew questions. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Setting up my first planted tank, have afew questions.

Hello PTF! First post an first planted tank.

Anyways, I am planing to using a 20 long aquarium with a dual T5NO lamp fixture from Aqueon. (The same one corallife used to make, I think) Not gonna use pressurized Co2, but I've been reading about EI dosing an think that will work nice as I do 50% once a week already... Other then a heater, AC50 an fluorite that is my equipment.

My questions are:

1) The back of my substrate is about 2.5" deep an the front is 1" deep. Is this deep enough or Should I add more? Have another bag, but ill return it otherwise.

2) The light I bought has two bulbs, one is rated at 6,700k which seems fine from what i've read, but the other is called a Colormax.

Do I need to switch the colormax out with another 6,700k or will one 6,700k be enough?

(The tank is 13" deep, the fixture has a very thin plastic over the lights an the fixture itself sits on an all glass hood) an this is the light if that helps.

I think that is all, for the moment at least

Thank you.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 07:57 PM
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Your 1st Planted Tank

Hello Mich and welcome to the forum...

You'll get a lot of responses, so you'll need to pick and chose what advice will work for your particular tank. I'll start.

I'm a fan of large tanks, just gives me more room to work and in my years in the hobby, I've found if you decide on keeping fish in the planted tank, a large one is easier to manage. I typically leave the small tanks to those with many years of tank experience. Since you have the small tank, then you're very wise to do weekly water changes of not less than half the tank's volume.

I didn't slope the substrate in my planted tanks, because I wanted the entire bottom planted, so it was necessary to keep the gravel at least two inches deep. I'd use the extra bag of bottom material.

I use 6500 K bulbs. Those come closest to natural daylight at 5500 K. Use the ones you have and see how they work. Your tank isn't very deep, so your two bulb setup should be fine for most aquatic plants.

In my opinion, an AC 50 is too much filtration for a 20 G. If you're changing a minimum of half the tank water every week, you don't need to overfilter your tank. An AC 30 is plenty, because by flushing your tank with a lot of clean water weekly, your filter is just filtering water that's already clean. Keep in mind that filtration also forces oxygen into the water. Oxygen is a plant waste product, so a high oxygen environment isn't the best for a planted tank.

See what else people have to say and feel free to ask your questions. There are many experienced tank keepers here.

Above everything else, have fun!


"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 08:56 PM
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Welcome to the forum. If you've had a chance to poke about a bit, you'll know there's lots of good information here. Sometimes I find it helpful to search for threads about set ups similar to mine, to see what has worked well for others.

If it were me, I'd probably want the substrate to be just a little deeper in the front. It can be hard to get some plants to stay planted if the substrate isn't deep enough. But if you like it the way it is, try it and see how it works for you.

I think that combination of bulbs should work fine. But if you don't like the way it looks, by all means try switching out the colormax bulb for another 6700 and see if you like it better. A friend used the Coralife t-5 fixture on a non-co2 20 long tank, and liked how it looked but found it necessary to raise the lights a little because of algae issues.

I think the AC50 should work fine for you, but then I've always been a fan of overfiltering. You can always adjust the flow if you need to. You do tend to lose co2 due to surface agitation with a hang on back filter, but I wouldn't worry about that since you're not planning to inject co2 anyway. I have used diy co2 on tanks with HOB filters, though, and it's worked OK.

Diy co2 is very easy to put together, by the way, and works well on a tank of that size. You might want to give it a try. Or you could use Excel daily as a carbon source.

I find EI dosing easy to use (especially since I was already in the habit of large weekly water changes) but have sometimes tweaked it a bit. You may find that you don't need to dose the full amount recommended for a tank that size, or may want to dose less frequently.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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OK, thank you both.

Ill get to work washing the other bag of flourite... thought a pipe broke when I first saw the mud bubbling up from the previous bag, lol.

I've had pretty good luck using ac50s on 20Ls before, but that was for growing out fry an the tanks were bare bottom. Might just need a well placed rock if the substrate gets moved too much.. as long as the plants are fine though I don't really care.

I was thinking of using Excel also, but wanted to make sure the dry part of setting up was good before I get too far into it.... Don't wanna lose a pea puffer in a substrate avalanche
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 09:51 PM
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Once the tank fills in, you may notice some dead spots. I had an AC50 on my 20 long, but dead spots developed on the opposite end of the tank when the plants started spreading. I had to add a small powerhead to keep algae form growing in the dead posts.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 09:59 PM
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You should get good low to low medium light with that Aqueon 2 X T5NO light. If you can easily raise it about 2 inches I think you will be less likely to run into algae problems. Excel should be very beneficial for that tank, unless you plan to grow some of the plants that don't get along well with Excel, like Vals or Anacharis. Don't worry about "over filtering" the water, contrary to what you were told above, high oxygen content in the tank is good for the plants, as well as the fish. I doubt that the big slope you have from front to back of the tank will hold up very long. I have always found that substrates tend to settle down to about the same thickness all over after a few months. Given that I would shift some substrate to the front, to get at least 1 1/2 inches thickness there.

And, welcome to the Planted Tank Forum - you are going to enjoy it here!

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 12:52 AM
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Go Gators

I'm going to agree with hoppy, raise the lights, even substrate, and the ac50 is a nice choice.
Good luck and welcome

Semper Fi
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