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Beginner High Tech Planted Tank

6110 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  LittlePinkDot
Hello everyone!
I am an experienced fish keeper who is looking to set up my first planted aquarium. I would like to have a high tech, high lighting aquarium with CO2 to keep the following plants:

- Anubias Barteri coffeefolia
- Proserpinaca palustris
- Nymphaea lotus ( Red Tiger Lotus )
- Hygrophila difformis ( Wisteria )
- Vallisneria spiralis ( Italian Vals )
- Blyxa aubertii
- Lobelia cardinalis
- Eleocharis parvula ( Dwarf Hair grass )

in a community aquarium ( male betta & tetras ). This is my first planted tank build, so I would really really appreciate some input on the setup I have planned right now from more experienced fish keepers before I purchase anything :smile2:.

- 20 gallon long ( 30" long x 12" high x 12" deep )

- 40lbs of CaribSea Eco-Complete

Filtration / Heating
- Hang on back filter / normal heater

- 3 x clamp lights with 8.5" reflectors:

- 3 x 14W 5000k CFL light bulbs:

CO2 System
- 5 lb CO2 Tank:

- Regulator / Solenoid from amazon:

- Brass check valve:

- Fluval Bubble Counter:

- FOCUSPET CO2 Diffuser:

- Rhinox Glass Drop Checker:

Stocking - Algae Control
- Malaysian Trumpet Snails
- Nerite Snails
- Red Cherry Shrimp
- Bristlenose pleco

I also have some Seachem Flourish for dosing.

I would really appreciate any comments / tips regarding this setup, especially with the CO2 system since I have never worked with one before.

Thank you! :smile2:
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Most looks okay. Only issues I see are, HOB filters will gas off your co2. I recommend a canister. Also your tetras and Betta will enjoy their cherry shrimp snacks. The only way I see keeping shrimp with fish that will eat them is to have a mature grown out tank with lots of places for the shrimp to hide until late mature and to have very few fish and lots of shrimp so they can out breed the loses. Not sure on the lights I jumped right in to led when I started.

I'm sure others will chime in. Good luck and welcome to the hobby.
Thank you! I didn't realize that the tetras and betta would prey on the shrimp, good information! :)
I have to second Joshism on the co2 unit. That more than likely won't adjust low enough on the flow for an aquarium.
As well as Zackariah on the hob. When injecting co2, you want to avoid surface agitation so you don't offgas the co2. I personally use a canister filter with an inline reactor (no bubbles in the tank).

Just be sure that the co2 tank your looking at has been inspected. If it hasn't been, then you'll have to pay for the test as well as the fill.

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You said you have flourish, that is a micronutrient, make sure you also get macronutrients.

Check into the EI or PPS dosing regimens.

GLA (green leaf aquarium) is a great place to order dry fertilizers from, will save you lots over time.

You also mentioned coffeefolia, that will get big and might look out of scale in the size aquarium.

Good luck!

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Thank you so much for the input! I had no idea that this was the wrong kind of regulator for CO2 - you just saved me a lot of headache!

Bump: Would this kind of fertilizer from Green Leaf Aquariums work ( EI System )?
I just started out but I use that exact regulator. Combined with a needle valve it works fine.
I was just hoping to chime in on the lights. I am currently running a 29g, with my substrate about 12" from my reflectors. I have 3-23w cfl going. I am growing alternanthera reineckii mini, dwarf hairgrass and Monte Carlo . I also just recently added glosso. It's emmersed, I don't think you're going that route so maybe it's different , but from what I can tell they are all medium growth plants( other than glosso) and so far, are all growing really well. Here are some pics, just wondering if you'll have sufficient light . Have you checked out a par chart ? Super helpful when using cfls!

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Hate to break it to you but none of your listed plants are high tech and will do just fine without co2 injection. However, all plants will benefit from added co2 so your plants should be extra happy! Prepare to be overwhelmed with wisteria. It will probably take over your tank lol. Very easy plant to grow and a good "canary" plant meaning it shows deficiency well and recovers quickly.

The amount of co2 a HOB filter off gasses has a lot to do with how much of your co2 is 100% dissolved. A tank full of co2 bubbles can off gas rather quickly but if your co2 is fully dissolved and produces bubble-free co2 rich water, it's going to take a lot more surface agitation to off gas. An AquaClear HOB actually doubles as a pretty decent diy co2 reactor. A lot of high tech guys also run sumps and I can't imagine a HOB filter off gassing more co2 than a sump with an overflow. Those guys are also using some sort of co2 reactor to return 100% dissolved co2 enriched water, not a micro bubbled mess that pops and fizzes at the surface.

Just keep an eye on things and I'm sure it will go just fine your HOB.
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I use an aquaclear 30 on my 17.6 gallon and as long as you don't let the water get too low there should be a problem with off gassing. I have an atomic diffuser below and to the left of my filter intake and all my plants are pearling like soda pop.
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