This is my first post here on this site, and it seems like you have a nice community of fish lovers/planted tank enthusiasts. I hope to be able to pick your well educated fish brains. I am not new to fish keeping, or planted tanks for that matter, but it has been a couple years since I have had a setup. My last tank was a 75 gallon that I went with what I suppose would have been a high tech setup, with high lighting, Co2 injection, EI dosing ETC. It was my pilot into a serious planted tank, and while I had decent success with it, it had its fair share of problems. I had serious algae problems, and never quite got the balance of light, co2, and ferts correct to battle all strains of it completely. I am now living in an apartment, and I'm allowed to keep up to 20 gallons. Naturally I have already purchased a 20 gallon long tank and stand, and I'm eager to get back into the hobby, but I'm looking for some help and guidance from you kind folk. The following is a list of questions I have, input on any of the topics would be greatly appreciated!
I have done a little testing on the water supply in my apartment and as indicated by the calcium deposits that are left on my dinnerware, I don't quite have the water I wish I did. the values are as follows-
That GH bothers me
. I would like to keep a nice variety of more difficult plant species as well as some fish like tetras which I assume wont do very well in this hard water. My question is, can I get away this? I was planning on using ADA aquasoil so that should lower them some it appears, and the C02 should help with the PH, but will this be enough or should I look into adding some peat as well? I have entertained the idea of mixing RO/DI water, and it may be an option because I do have an RO/DI filter, however the filter wastes so much more water than it puts out usable, and since my water is included in utilities I don't feel great about having to do that weekly.
I suppose if the amount I would have to mix in was not great I could purchase distilled from the store and it not be a financial burden.
I have a multitude of t5 fixtures but most are too big to be usable and I'd like to go the LED route anyway. From some perusing the lighting forum I have deducted that Finnex seems to be the direction I want to go, as they seem to produce some nice fixtures for the price. I know this question has probably been beaten to death, but I cannot decide whether the planted+ will be enough to grow some more demanding plants and ground cover in this 20 long (~10 inch water column). It seems the ray2 will be way overkill, and I'm not sure if there's a combination of two that would work with such a small tank, such as adding a monster ray. Any input?
From what I have read, a substrate of just ADA amazonia aquasoil seems like it should work out well for me. If you have better options please don't to offer them, but I think I'm going to try it out. My question is, will a 9L and a 3L bag be enough together to get sufficient ground cover averaging 3 inches? or should I grab 2 9L bags? I want to be able to create some hills and slope.
I currently have two Rena Filstar xp3 available to use. I cant remember, but I believe they are either the medium or large sized ones. I realize one will probably be way overkill, but will I be able to get away with using one if I throttle the flow through a valve, and or stuff lots of media in the filter? should I just buy a new filter, maybe going with a HOB instead of canister? i think I'd prefer the flexibility of the canister as I can use spray bar etc. The filters I have are also a few years old and have been sitting with a little water at the bottom of both for that time
. I'm worried about the gaskets not being very good or something, and it's of high importance that nothing leaks being in a third floor apartment.
I apologize for what was probably mostly incoherent rambling, and I'm sure there's tons of stuff I'll have to inquire about that I have left out, but I would be forever grateful for any expertise. I have some experience, but I am still trying to relearn the knowledge I had previously acquired, and I want to get this tank started off on the right foot.
Also I'll try to throw in a picture of my old 75 just because
Here are some terrible pictures of my last tank, I couldn't find any good ones unfortunately.