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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys, I currently have a 29g tank with no plants. I want to have it moderately planted, specifically with some of the large leaf plants and wanted to know a couple of things on how to proceed.

I was reading this guide: http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/planted-aquarium/low-tech-planted-tank-guide/#advantageslowtech

And basically it suggests a good substrate (while I have gravel and can't just change it), and heavily planting from the start, while I'd prefer to slowly build up my plants, partially with some carry overs from my large hi-tech tank.

What steps/plants would you guys suggest for someone starting down this path? The plants are a bit easier, thanks to the list on this site, and I have all the needed ferts, both salt-form and liquid, it's just a matter of what plants/usage is best for a slow conversion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As I'm looking around a bit I think I might try something with the substrate. It looks like I can remove the fish, remove half the gravel and put in eco complete without too much issue. So that removes my issue with what plants would work in gravel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You can get plants that grow attached to rocks and driftwood, like anubias, java fern, java moss, ...
Yeah, I figured that, but at the end of the day I don't want to be restricted by that if it's not needed. I was worried that adding substrate to an aquarium with water in it would be disastrous, but all the comments on eco complete I'm reading is that it stops fogging very quickly. So I'd only need fish in a bucket for a couple of hours.

And if I have eco complete, it would be easier to use root tabs, which, as I'm looking around seem to be a good deal for my situation.

And although I don't need it for any fish in this tank, I should pick up some driftwood anyway... but that's tougher to find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here's an important question. I've had my 29g tank for a long time now, and have never had any plants in it. So I've always used the hood light that came with the kit back when I initially bought it. While I'm 92.3% sure the standard bulb would be no good for even a low light tank. Is there any single bulb I could put in the tank that would work?

Reason this is important is that to change the fixture, I'd also need to buy a new top for the tank. So a lot of expenses go into that as compared to just buying a new bulb.

The fixture is a 30" T8 I believe.
 

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I've kept a low light 29 gallon for a couple of years with a single t8 bulb over it. The only plants in it were crypts and anubias. They will grow, its just painfully slow.
 

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As for ferts in a tank with this amount of light, you can probably get by with only dosing micros and some potassium occasionally. This is all I dosed and my nanas would even flower.

There really is no specific bulb that you need, just remember that florescent bulbs need to be replaced yearly as they loose their spectrum. I used a 6700K bulb from home depot. They bulbs are the same that you would find in a pet store, just a lot cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks sparky. I stopped by HD to see if they had something like that, and they did so I grabbed it. Will try that out for now, and just try and keep plants healthy. I will do more reading on ferts and follow your advice for a start.

If at some point I decide to want to upgrade lighting I will be able to. I think what I'll do it set aside plants in my 75g hi-tech to grow to a decent size, and then transplant them to this tank so that they can live there, even if not growing too much.

Do you believe in Excel for low tech, if I have minimal plants (at least at first)?

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And for now, first step is in place. Eco-complete arrives Monday, and I will remove my fish, and put it in Monday night. Some of the fish will go back in, and others are being donated to my LFS in exchange for 10 Snakeskin Barbs I have coming on Wednesday. They'll be the main focus of this tank. I'm also working on getting some driftwood for it.
 

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I have never used excel except as a algaecide due to the fact that crypts don't do well with it and anubias doesn't benefit from. With light that low, I don't think it would make much of a difference in growth anyway. You could always give it a shot though, that's the good thing about a tank this small, its pretty cheap to try things out.

If you use the fert routine in the sudeepmandle article, I would start to lessen the amounts after three to four weeks til u figure out your tanks needs. If you have a high bioload and less plant mass, you wont need ferts in those amounts. The extra ferts won't hurt anything if you stick to the no water changes, they would just be wasted.
 

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Excel and ferts will definitely help. In my low tech 20g I dose Excel, Flourish comprehensive, and potassium (1.4tsp of potassium sulfate mixed with 500ml of water gives you exactly the same thing as a bottle of flourish potassium for 1/20 the price)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cthulhu. Firstly, I love the name/avatar. Second, I have the dry ferts for my big tank. But I also have liquid from when I first started my big tank. I will use those up first.

Good advice from both you guys, and I will definitely be playing things conservatively with water ferts. And big plants I put in will get a root tab as I have my own O+ tabs.
 
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