Newbie 20 gallon high planted tank setup - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie 20 gallon high planted tank setup

Hi guys, I've been lurking the forums for the past few weeks and finally decided to say hello!

Here's my planned planted setup so far... I would like to see your opinions and suggestions!

- I'll be going for a "iwagumi" look
- It will have a black background
- DIY CO2 setup for the plants


Top Fin 20 gallon high tank
Aquaclear 30 Filter
100w ViaAqua Heater
Full hood
1 18 T8 15W Power-Glo light
Aquatic Fundamentals 20 gallon aquarium stand

I managed to find the above for $30 on craigslist. It was dirty and collecting dust from the previous owner. After cleaning it, it looked brand new. I'm being patient with this tank by leaving it empty until I get everything ready.


CaribSea Eco-Complete Black (20 lbs)
CaribSea Flora Max Midnight (12 lbs)
CaribSea Supernaturals Sunset Gold or Black (20 lbs)

Still deciding on combining or getting 40-50 lbs worth of one of them.

These are the ones I am looking at. I am by no means, getting all these fishes and putting them in together. I am merely putting out which ones I like, and hoping to see your suggestions on the combinations of which I can have. I want my fish to be happy... Quality over quantity.

Emerald Green Cory Catfish
Peppered Cory Catfish
Green Cory Catfish
Upside Down Catfish
Skunk Cory Catfish
Otocinclus Catfish

According to LiveAquaria, some of them are recommended for a minimum 30 gallon tank. Please let me know which ones. I'm reading various numbers from various sources. Some say 10 gallons, some say 20 or 30.

Schooling Fish:
Neon Tetra
Cardinal Tetra
Lamp Eye Tetra
Long-Finned Zebra Danio
Ghost Catfish

Dwarf Gourami

Hemianthus callitrichoides - foreground
Taxiphyllum barbieri[censored]- foreground
Microsorum pteropus[censored]- mid-ground
Limnophila sessiliflora[censored]- background
Limnophila aquaticum[censored]- background

My questions for you:

1. There is one part of the hood I can't clean... It's the part of the hood where the light goes through. It's a little foggy from the use of the previous owner. Will this be an issue for my lighting? How would you fix this?

2. Where would you get rocks? A friend of mine suggested we go on a hike and grab rocks along the way. I thought that would be a cheap way to do it, but also might be unsafe for the fish/plants.

3. I am putting the tank on a carpeted area. For those of you who know, how do I level the stand? I want to make sure the foundation is solid or else all of this will simply fall apart and make a mess.

4. Is one 36 watt light going to be enough? I'm on a tight budget and the AH supply kit seems like a solid choice over the one 15 watt light I already have.

Any suggestions on other fish and shrimp would be great! Thanks for reading!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 03:28 PM
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question 1
Have u tried vinegar? If it's calcium deposits vinegar should take care of it. If not, you could always cut the glass out and replace it with another sheet. although the lost light would probably be negligible.
question 2
Hiking works, just be sure to do the acid test on the rocks when u get them home. If it fizzles, it probably won't work.
question 3
is the floor not level to begin with? in all my years of keeping fish, I guess I have been lucky, in the fact that I always had Tile floors, or some kind of built in shelf to place tanks on. On tile, if needed I would usually just use a shim of some kind.

question 4
Hopefully someone with more experience in the plant department can answer that one.

hope some of this helps
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 05:13 PM
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For #4: I have kept HC (Hemianthus callitrichoides) in my 15 gallon with no CO2 injection. I just placed the light directly over where I had planted it. If you don't do this, the plant will stretch upwards and will have a hard time spreading out horizontally. I have not kept the other plants on your list.

Those are my .02 cents.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the insight guys!

I'm trying the vinegar suggestion now.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Here's an update on the tank.

I'm planning on getting the AH supply upgrade kit. Thinking about the 55w bulb instead of the 36 in a week or so. I currently have some Java moss in there for now. (They're easy)

The lights kind of don't justify the patterns on the rocks. I'm definitely getting more plants, probably two more kinds and I'll be good. I'll do it when I have the lights ready. The 15w I have in it isn't great for the plants from what I've heard.
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