Help me set up my 20H - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Help me set up my 20H

Hi everybody! This will be my first attempt at a REAL planted tank and not just a tank with plants in it. I thought I would post my selection of plants and equipment and let everyone help me pick the best solution. Ok here goes:

tank - open top 20H
substrate - pea gravel + flourite (any other suggestions besides gravel?)
lighting - Will the 65w coralLife fixture do or the 2x65w?
CO2 - Thinking the Hagen Ladder or DIY, I can't afford pressurized
decorations - 5-6 rocks
plants - Green: Hemianthus micranthemoids Red: Ludwigia acuata
Glossostigma elatinoides Ammannia gracilis
Echinodorous tenellus
Heteranthera zosterifolia
fish - 12-15 Harlquin Rasboras, 3-5 Hatchets, around 5 ottos, 3-4 algae eating shrimp
Ph - 7.6 and my water is fairly hard
ferts - I have no idea about this one. Probably alot.

I think that is it. Let me know what you think and feel free to comment. Like I said this is my first shot at a planted tank so any suggestions are welcome. Thanks alot for anyone who responds to this long post.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 03:33 AM
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I guess if you can't get a pressurised CO2 setup ...hagen will do Great! something is better than nothing....thats for sure...
I started off with DIY co2 etc too...and now having both tanks with pressurized setup...realize how much of a hassle DIY used to be ( but it was worth it when i started ) ...and in the long run...IMO....pressurised setup is cheaper...but the intial setup and cost ...will ding you a lil at first...but to encourage is better than not having co2...

ok substrate....Ive actually honestly never used flourite....but there are tons of flourite users on this forum and they swear by it...and it works great for them...
if you are looking for comments...recommendations ...I would suggest Eco Complete...if you can afford it...and try not to mix it with is a great substrate to start a planted tank...period...

at least if you can't get it right away can work towards it....right ?

take care bud...and good luck!!!

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 04:21 AM
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I use a flourite gravel mix and it works well for me. If you havent invested in it allready, get a good test kit that covers PH, Nitrates, Nitrites, amonia, KH, and phospates. (did I miss any) If any of these are out of balance you are going to have wonderful GREEN results as in algae, espically with that amount of light.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 06:18 AM
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ONE 65W bulb should be adequate. I believe R. Het. likes soft and acidic water, so you might toss in some bog wood to make them feel more at home.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 01:21 PM
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You are thinking about a very similar tank to one I already have. Here are a few thoughts.
For substrate, go FLOURITE all the way! I have heard a lot of discussion about Eco-Complete and some of the problems with it and I think Flourite is the better choice. The only problem with Flourite is when you initially set up the tank it likes to make your water muddy red for the first couple of days. My tanks are almost all Flourite, but I do use FloraBase in a couple of the smaller ones. It works very well for small tanks, but for a 20, I would definately go Flourite.
For lighting, I have one 65 watt CF on the back and a standard 10 gallon strip light on the front. It seems to be a perfect setup for the tank.
For CO2, go with the Hagen ladder and 2-liter DIY yeast culture. That's what I have on my 20 gallon tank. I don't know what people are talking about when they say it is a hassle. Once a month I drop in some sugar, water, yeast, and baking soda and it cranks out the CO2. It is very low maintenance and very low cost.
As for the open top tank, I think they are cool, but I will never have one because of fish loss. By the way, I give you one month before your final hatchetfish jumps out of the tank. You will lose them all in an open top tank, so I would consider something that doesn't sit at the surface and jump long distances in the wild.
The last thing I would suggest is possibly using 50% RO water with your water changes. You can pick it up at any Cub Foods store, if you have them in your neck of the woods for like $.30 per gallon. Your CO2 will bring the PH down a little, but I have had no problems with medium soft water with a PH max of 7.3, whereas I had lots of problems with the hard water out of the faucet with a PH of 7.5 to sometimes close to 8. That is the least of your concerns at this point, but I just thought I would mention it.

Two 1 GA desktops, a 5 gallon, a 2.5 gallon, a 10 gallon, a 20 gallon, a 25 gallon, and two 75 gallon tanks, all planted.
I am an expert on algae, so ask me if you have questions. I know how to grow it, just not how to get rid of it.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 01:41 PM
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Help me set up my 20H

Aphyosemion is right about the Hatchets! They are charming fish and you will enjoy them, but an open top is just not an option.

Sounds like you are on the right track! I tore down my plastic and gravel 20H 3 weeks ago today and planted it with flourite/gravel mix and in spite of the fact that my lighting is inadequate (dual 65 watts any day now - watching the mail!), my plants seem to be doing well. I studied and didn't pay much attention in a few of my "classes," but the one thing I did manage to hear was FAST-GROWING STEM PLANTS - LOTS! It has served me well. (Knocking hard on wood) I have had no algae... Granted, the low light has probably contributed to that and I have CO2 and ferts at the ready as soon as the new lights come, but I think the stem plants have been a big factor. You have some nice plants chosen, but you might want to consider throwing in some Cardamine, Hygrophila Corymbosa and/or Rotala Rotundiflora. IME these plants have grown a lot and I am assuming they are keeping the nutrients from the algae monsters...

Good luck to you and keep us posted! Oh and have FUN!

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks to everyone who has replied so far. My new revised list:

-100% Flourite
-NO Hatchets. I'd heard they do this and in a book I have it even shows a little hatchet fish flying above the water. They're just so cool, oh well. Everyone has to make sacrifices.
-The new fish in is a group of 5-6 X-Ray or Pristella Tetras
-Also does anyone know about whiptail catfish Farlowella acus? Would they be ok?
-Also adding some Hygrophila Crymbosa to the mix

My major question now is my water. Is the 7.6 Ph and hard water really that bad? I'd heard that hard water could help the plants because of the calcium and other nutrients available. Maybe I didn't exactly understand. If it is a problem could I just age my tapwater to lower the Ph? It doesn't seem like it would be a big deal. Thanks again everyone.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 05:47 PM
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I have whiptail cats. I only have one right now, but I have kept both Farlowella Acus and several other species. They are very cool, but about as exciting as a sleeping plecostomus. You will need to supplement their diet with algae wafers and they love a zuchinni slice now and again. They are primarily nocturnal so they just kind of sit there in the day. Even if a fish goes over and takes a poke at them, they sit very still and the fish quickly gets bored and wanders away.
As for the water, hard water with a high PH is not horrible, but certain fish such as South American fish will not do very well, since they prefer soft, acidic waters.
If you are not able or interested in diluting it with RO water, you are best to just work with what you have, rather than trying to change your parameters. In most cases stable water conditions are better than unstable conditions.

Two 1 GA desktops, a 5 gallon, a 2.5 gallon, a 10 gallon, a 20 gallon, a 25 gallon, and two 75 gallon tanks, all planted.
I am an expert on algae, so ask me if you have questions. I know how to grow it, just not how to get rid of it.
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