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Hello, newbe here. Just need to rack your brains

1527 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  epicfish
Morning everyone,

Firstly, newbie here but I've been a lurker for a while but I've only just got around to registering as it's about time I jumped in and got involved - besides I wanna rack your brains on a couple of issues.

Right, last week I decided to get my old 20gl tank down from the loft where it's been since we moved house many years ago, mainly because I was at the garden centre some weeks ago and my little lad (6 yrs old) took loads of interest in the fish section.

Tried to do this on a budget, see how much of my old stuff worked and took it from there rather than have a massive spend up and fall flat on my face

Bought some new substrate (can't remember exactly what it is, but it's not that horrible pea-shingle that you sometimes see) it's more, sandy in colour, with the grains about 5mm round to a depth of about 2inches in general.

Oh yeah, my tank size is, in inches, 30(L) x 15(H) x 12(W)

My pump worked fine, my heater was still working, the lighting bulb had blown but other than that I was pretty much onto a winner.

Got the substrate in over the weekend, bought some slate to make it look nice, a couple of bunches of plants from the local aquatic centre, and a couple of old plastic ones that I used to have.

Pretty pleased with it to tell ya the truth once it'd all settled down.

Yesterday I ordered some plants from t'internet consisting of:

(60 plants)

5 x Echinodorus Tennellus
5 x Hygrophilia Polysperma
5 x Red Ludwigia
5 x Ambulia Aquatica
5 x Bacopa Monniera
5 x Red Ivy
5 x Diplis Diandra
5 x Vallis Torta
5 x Elodea Densa
5 x Hairgrass
5 x Bacopa Caroliniana
5 x Sagittaria Subulata

It was only £7.50 for all the above so if it doesn't work then i've not lost out really.

The lighting that I'm using at the moment is just one single standard 15w tube. It's a proper fish one, apparantly for the assistance of plant growth.

I ain't got no fish in it either at the moment, but when I do then I'm sure that I'll go for the easy fellas such as guppies, neon tetras, y'know just the normal, everyday community fish.

I want a nice, planted tank, with minimal fuss (I've not got one of these Co2 jobbies that is constantly mentioned when you say the word 'planted')

How much light would you suggest, do I have enough, do I need another bulb, do I sereriously need to re-consider what I've done, have I got to spend loads more money to get something decent, is that plant collection totally unsuitable etc.....

Tell ya what, I'm due to pop home at lunch today, I'll take a piccie of my tank set up, and stuff, and whack it up here when I get back, that'll give you more of an idea.

Sorry for the ramble, but thanks for reading, and ANY assistance that you'd care to give me would be greatly apprichiated.
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Good day to you!

I am rather new here myself, but would like to offer a link to a website of one of the forum regulars:

Rex's site is a very helpful no nonsense place to get great information.

You would probablly want to take a close look at the lighting section. :icon_surp

Nice to meet you!

- Bean
The one 15W bulb is probably not enough to keep many plants happy, I would at least double that if you can. As you approach 2w/gal and over, you need to think about fertilizers (CO2, Macros, Micros), but with two 15W bulbs that shouldn't be an immediate need.
The substrate you have unfortunately is not very good. 5 mm grain size is way too large. You need it in the range of 2-3 mm. It won't work for you, I'd seriously consider swapping that out.
Right, here goes again ........

KDahin - I was only guessing my substrate size yesterday, but when I got home I estimated a little large (don't all men lol), and it is actually about 2-3mm. Here's a pic, doesn't exactly show the size but I think that it should give you an idea of what I mean. Do you think this may be ok?

Wasserpest - Thanks for the note on my bulbs, I always used to have 2 bulbs in my tank, but as I was trying to do this on a minute budget I thought that I might have been able to get away with 1. I'll pop down the local shop over the weekend sometime and get myself another lighting set. Incidently, the bulb that I've got in at the moment is an 'Arcadia Origional Tropical, FO18-(24"-600mm) The Plant Growth Lamp' (

I've got a couple of photo's that I took last night, which I wanted to put up on here so that you can pull it apart (in the nicest possible way), but to be honest I'm not sure if I should. Most of the tanks that I've seen people post here are pretty much amazing and mine, in comparison, looks like it's been done by a 10 year old with no knowledge of aquariums at all.

I read an article on this site which I personally found fantastic, written by some fella on here back in 2000, going on about triangles and all kinds of stuff like that, found it again here ... it's great:

Anyway, since reading that I'm going to undertake pretty much a complete tank re-design when my new plants arrive (hopefully this weekend) so with a bit of luck it'll look totally different, but for what it's worth this is what it looks like at this moment in time.

Oh Oh Oh, one other thing - looked this morning and the base of one of my plants has started to go a little brown in colour, yet another piccie below. Is this a light issue, or is it because it's too close to the heater ??

Thanks for any help, and sorry for being such a pain. Oh, and Beancurd thanks for the link I'll be spending a couple of hours on that in the very near future.

Thanks guys !
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new tank

if you are able to get seachem products in your area,you may want to concider using flourish excell.also use their stability product on a new sure to follow instructions on both products.after tank is setup for a while use some dry ferts.when picking out a light remember if you have glass on the top you lose light some what.two 18 watt bulbs would get you by if they are new.get full spectrum. good luck and welcome to The Planted Tank.
cornhusker:smile: :smile:
That Egeria/Elodea/Anacharis turning brown on the base could be a result of too little light, and temperature. It's really a cool water plant, I was never successful keeping it in my tanks, although others report it as an extremely fast grower.

Sometimes bunching too many stemplants together causes their bases to rot as well.
Just a quick guess here, but it looks like your rocks and possibly your substrate are limestone based. To test this, pour some muriatic acid (hydrochloric) or white vinegar, if you don't on them. If you see fizzing, then these need to go. They will raise your kH over time.
I've read that anacharis is really an above-the-substrate plant. Just a thought.
I've read that anacharis is really an above-the-substrate plant. Just a thought.
I stick mine in all the way into my substrate and it does great. :)
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