Setting up a 20g. Detailed plan w/ pics.
So I have a 20g high that I inherited from my sister. Currently it's sitting in my computer room with a bunch of granite and a mixture of sand, laterite, and mulm that I was less-than-ambitiously going to set up as a low-light, low-maintenance aquarium. I decided to scrap that idea, however, and this is where I need your help. My tentative plan:
Here, I have essentially 3 options.
1.) Most economical.
I could reuse the sand-laterite mixture and possibly put a thin layer of garden loam or peat moss underneath it, as well as some more laterite.
2.) Schultz-aquatic soil.
Doing some research, it seems that this stuff doesn't have any added iron or ferts in it, just a high CEC rate. I could "enrich" it, however, with my laterite that I have.
3.) Ordering a substrate.
If I went this route I'd probably go with eco-complete because it's cheaper and people seem to be having success with it. Although I'd love to have the ADA stuff, I don't really have the money.
I've decided on getting the 2x 55w kit from AH supply. I could rig up a DIY hood pretty easily I think, but I'd be worried about excessive heat. This would give me 5.5wpg, probably enough to grow anything.
DIY. 2x 2liter bottles connected to a single ladder diffusor. The bottles would be allowed to go for 2 weeks, I'd change one in alternating weeks to get as much constancy as I can. I know pressurized is amazing, but sugar and maintenance-time is cheap, pressurized systems are not. Most of my budget-money will be going to the lighting, anyways. Besides, I've seen some pretty amazing results with people using DIY.
Greg watson ferts using the estimative index and 50% water changes every week. seems to be the most economical and effective method.
10-20 shrimp (are ghost shrimp effective algae eaters? otherwise I'll need to order others.)
3-4 cherry barbs
Malaysian trumpet snails?
it's a relatively low bioload but I think it'd be good because they all potentially eat algae.
Brazillian micro sword (already got a bunch of it)
Wisteria (also, already have a lot)
just glosso and microsword (lot less wpg needed too?)
Although I already have a HOB filter, I was thinking about just getting some cheap internal filter and then taking the carbon out. This would just give a little extra biomedia room as well as some water movement. I don't know how inexpensive canister filters can get, but all the ones I've seen are pretty pricey.
would that be ok?