Newbie needing help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-15-2014, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Newbie needing help

Hi, my name's Logan I'm new to planted tanks I have a 20 gallon long I'd love to plant. I have my turtles in there now and 2 years ago I sold my 150 gallon tall tank to my aunt but I'm buying it back so I'm going to move them in there. I have a few questions I need answered with a few tips probably needed along the way.

1. I've heard to start the cycle going faster more naturally you can use some old already used gravel under your new special gravel that has the additives to help is that true?

2. Would it be smarter to just buy a CO2 reactor to help plant growth instead of making a home one with yeast sugar and water?

3. A 20 long is 30 inches long would it be okay to have a 24 in to cover the entire tank if I build my own good with an attached light fixture with the special bulbs?

4. If #3 is fine should I use 2 or one of the long fluorescent bulbs?

I just want to say thank you to all of y'all that help
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 12:13 AM
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1) Good sources of the beneficial bacteria:
Filter media from a cycled, healthy tank that is supporting plenty of fish.
Gravel from such a tank. Do not bury it in your substrate. You can scatter it over the top of your substrate, if you like the look. Otherwise keep the bacteria-rich gravel in several mesh bags and place them in an area with good water flow. You could hang them from the sides of the tank, or lay them on the bottom.
Other things from such a tank, but they have less bacteria, smaller jump-start.

Bottled bacteria, as long as it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label, and do not waste your money on anything else.

The right bacteria will find the tank, even if you do not add anything to jump start the colony.

2) If you are planning on a high tech tank, then I would sure go pressurized. If you are planning a low tech tank then DIY/Yeast or liquid carbon (Excel or similar) is OK.

3) A 24" bulb over a 30" tank is just fine. There is enough light scattered to cover the ends of the tank.

4) Depends on the bulb, but 2 of them, spread out a bit, would cover the back and front better than a single bulb down the middle. 2 might be so bright, though, that you would have to lift the whole fixture up to make it a bit dimmer. Similarly, a really good single bulb, with a high quality reflector, set a bit higher over the tank could give you reasonable coverage.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-16-2014, 02:42 AM
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+1 on/w Diana
If you build your own hood...
Two bulbs without reflectors is a good light level for the 20L tank.
One bulb/w a good reflector is good.
Both of these are IF the light is directly on top of the tank.
I don't know where that chart is but someone on here has a chart telling you what level each amount of bulbs is at what height is.
I get fairly slow growth on my 10g tanks(the same height) with one T8 bulb @10.5".
That one is in a under-the-counter fixture from Wally World($8) so it has it's bulb 1/2" over glass top. With two of those I was getting GSA on the glass that you could see after 3-5 days and I would let it go for about two weeks till it got very noticeable so
I wouldn't miss any when I cleaned it. Yes there was faster plant growth.
If that much GSA doesn't bother you then go for it. But slow growing plants will develope GSA on their leaves and be hindered in growth. Java Fern/Anubias/Crypts
all do poorly in there when I had two bulbs.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight the opposite direction...
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