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How much to setup and maintain?

919 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Otto72
Hello :)

I have a 20L tank which houses a male Betta, an apple snail and two ghost shrimp. The tank is pretty basic - standard natural gravel, three silk plants, a coconut cave and some pebbles/terracotta type decorative vases. As far as a non planted tank goes I think it's okay... But I am really interested in setting up a properly scaped and planted tank with some sort of driftwood.

What is the best way to do this on a budget? I'm thinking as low cost as possible (I'm 17 and for various reasons can't get a job at the moment, so my only income is ironing and the odd bit of babysitting) so a no-CO2 system for sure. This is what I believe I will need to buy:

  • Specific plant-orientated substrate
  • Driftwood
  • Plants!
  • Excel if I'm doing no CO2?
If anyone could suggest a sort of ball-park figure for how I can do this that would be great :)

This is what my tank looks like at the moment, more or less

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Here's the thing, you can make a DiY co2 system out of a 2 liter soda bottle, some yeast, sugar, baking soda, and water. You can just use a wooden airstone for diffusion too. Might work better for you then the excel, as it can be pretty expensive.

I would say with driftwood, substrate, diy co2, and some low light plants for your tank, would be anywhere between 60-100 bucks if you shop at a LFS. Now that depends on what plants and how many plants you are getting.

Now, you can probably spend less then that if you look for someone on the SnS here to ask for a specific amount of used substrate or something and that will bring your spending down, as well as with plants and driftwood.
thats one of those arcadia tanks isnt it?
quick question is it made of glass or Acrylic?

btw, I have oliver knott nature soil for substrate, it lowers the ph to the correct level and also adjusts the hardness of the water too, though it is a bit expensive, there are cheaper alternatives though, flourish and flourish excel is a good substitute for co2 if for now your on a budget ;)

Also that betta may eat your shrimp!
Im not positive but as far as i know that Apple snail will eat every plant you put in your tank.
Hey Josie! Welcome to the forum!

What type of lighting do you have? Bulb, Kelvin (K) and reflector wise. The amount of lighting getting to the plants will determin if you need to get a new lighting system or not. If you want a cheap system, I would go low tech, meaning no advanced CO2 systems, and easy plants. A quick break down of all the costs would looks a little something like this-

Substate - $10-20 (optional)
Lighting - $20-25 (depending on current fixture)
Plants - Depends. Anywhere from $5-+15
Fertilizers - $10-15

Total - $65 - $100+

Remember, that is a really ruff outline. ;)

Nice to see another teen on the forum BTW!
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Thanks for all the info, it's appreciated :)

Starting from the top! CO2 is really not something I fancy right now. I'd just really rather not go down that route to begin with - and I understand that that's not a huge problem, growth will just be slower?

Yes, it is an arcadia arc and it's glass :) I got it for my birthday and it's my first tank. I was worried about Skye with the shrimp, but he's never once tried anything on with them even when they were both zooming around the tank after the water change today! He just ignores them :)

I thought that the snail would just eat dead/decaying plant matter? Ooer. I can always take him back if necessary but I do like him!

The light I have is just the 9W light that came with the tank, very basic!

Thanks again :)
Lovely little setup Josie I hope you get your plants growing nice and healthy now!
Now how about a few more pics of your nice little tank and its residents :D
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