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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys and gals, I'm looking into starting up an aquarium in my room, as I've got a big empty space on my dresser and everytime I look at it I just want an aquarium there. So I've got some basic ideas on what I want, and they are: ~20 gallon (long maybe?) tank, and I would like it to be as low maintenance as possible. I would like to have little to no water changes needed, with just having to top up water from evaporation. I would like to have some shrimp on the bottom, a fair amount of plants (however many i could have with a low tech low maint tank) and possibly some fish if that will work with what I want. My only experience with aquariums is having a beta a couple years ago, so I'm essentially starting fresh. I want to avoid having to use co2, even if it means less plant growth. So based on what I've said, does anyone have suggestions on where to start? Thanks for your time.
 

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First off, HI! and welcome to the forum. There are a few things you should probably look into before starting your first tank. Your spot you suggested is likely a bad idea. Most dresser arent capable of holding the weight of a 20L. Water is roughly 8 lbs. per gallon plus substrate (gravel). You dont want the top of your dresser bowing over time and putting stress in the seams of your new glass box. Its a mess to clean up and will ruin your dresser and possibly your clothes. Look for a suitable stand. Next, water changes are necessary. When water evaporates, the minerals dont and will create and unsuitable environment of water that is too hard to grow plants in. I would say once monthly 50% water changes are the bare minimum. As far as shrimp, they are a great addition to a planted tank. You should probably try keeping them by themselves to see if you can get them to grow before stressing them out with the presence of fish. Fish like to eat them and you have very few choices of fish that are compatible with an established colony of shrimp. Even then, they will likely eat most of the babies unless you provide LOTS of plant cover or moss for them to hide in. Im not saying that it cant be done, but there are a few rules of thumb or you will be wasting your hard earned money. I suggest browsing the forum and doing some research into the things you are looking to keep. Knowledge is key to success in this hobby and you will quickly run out of or waste your money/plants/animals if you dont meet their basic needs. Look around the forum at other peoples successes and dont be afraid to ask questions. there are PLENTY of people on here who are willing to help you along your journey. Again, welcome to the forum and of course, welcome to the hobby. Enjoy!!!
 

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I have a 20 long in my bedroom with a penguin 100 filter a 100 watt aqueon heater, and 20 watts of lighitng.
As for no waterchanges that is just not a reality. I have to do waterchanges on my most heavily planted tanks. It somply doesnt matter where you put it or how much you filter it. You could do 500 gallons per hour or filtration and still have to do waterchanges. Personaly i dont find it hard to take 3 gallons out and put 3 fresh ones in once a week. Since your just startine out and probly dont have a great grasp of the balance of aquarium chemestry and biology i wouldnt reccomend starting with shrimp, as most are somewhat sensative. As for easy plants look to the Anubias family and I have also kept amazon swords in low-tec-low-lighting situations, plus, if your looking at a 20 long your gonna need short plants haha.
But basically I would do this- For a 20 gallon long, a penguin 100, this is a very efficient and reliable filter, a 50-100 watt aqueon heater, you dont have to get an aqueon but they are very accurate, a whisper 10 airpump with an airstone, a strip thermometer, a medium sized sand-gravel because meny plants dont grow really well in overly larged sized gravel or too small sized sand, get about 30 watts of lighting, usually a two bulb fixture, make sure you do weekly water changes of 3-5 gallons at least and spend a little more and get some liquid fertilizer if you really want plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the quick replies. Unfortunately getting a stand is simply not a reality for me, all of my floor space is already claimed, so the dresser is the only open area. Would a 10 gallon also be too heavy, or would that be a more manageable weight? I'm not set on a 20 by any means but thought that would be a nice size to start with, guess not though haha. a 50% water change once a month would work for me, I would just prefer to not have to be doing weekly changes. Even every 2-3 weeks would be fine. One thing that I just thought of, the area that it would be going if I can do this would get a fair bit of direct sunlight, would this overheat my tank and would I want to put up some kind of blocker for that?
 

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Could you post up a picture of your dresser?

Does it sit on feet, or solidly on the floor? If it's not on feet, you may be fine with a 20L, though depending on the design of your dresser you may need to add some structural support.

The smaller tank you go with, the more water changes you'll need to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't have any pics, but its either half inch or 3/4 inch thick mdf or something similar. Even with all the drawers out its still pretty heavy, and it is solid alon the floor, no feet or anything
 

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find a heavy friend to sit on the dresser, if you dont hear any cracks (or it doesn't give out) you should be just fine...

I kept a 20G meta frame on an old dresser for years
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I sat on the dresser myself (140ish pounds) and it creaked a bit, but didn't seem to have any issues. I figure I'll stick with a 10 gallon for now just to get started and to be safe for the dresser. And I think I'll just do shrimp for the first good while, and maybe look into adding some fish down the line, or just do a separate smaller tank for fish on the other end of the dresser if I decide I want fish bad enough. So I figure I'll be getting a 10 gallon tank, filter, lights etc soon. Would I need a heater? Room temperature hovers around 70f. For substrate would regular aquarium gravel work, or would i want something bigger/smaller for plants? I like the look of smaller leaved plants, so I was thinking of having some java moss covering something like 20% of the tank bottom, with some java fern, with some green hygro and some rotala if it wouldn't be overcrowding. Does that sound like a fair amount of plants or am I over/underestimating how many plants would fit in a 10g? My other question is what kind of shrimp would I want, and how many for the tank? I would like a species that is fairly hardy and colourful. Thanks again.
 

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I'm looking into starting up an aquarium in my room
I want 20 gallon
I would like to have little to no water changes needed
Then you should try the El natural method. Which is basically dirt topped with 3ml gravel or sand. Scotts' dirt is good. My favorite sand is river sand which I got for $3 at landscapers.

Easiest plants are moss, ferns, anubias, and wisteria.

The main item is your light. It is the engine. For 20 gallon can do a few clip on lights with CFLs (twisted bulbs) or T8 strip or dual T8 or T5NO (normal output). Search hardware stores, hydroponic stores, this website, Big Al's site, Pet Blvd site. Note the 20 g long is largest that can go on a dresser.
 

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Changing aquarium water is not really the most fun, but, they are necessary. Changing the water removes excess nitrates, fertilizers and the 'algae cloud' that should be scrubbed from your aquarium walls. By scrubbing the side walls occasionally you prevent the growth of algae. The water removed is a way of 'resetting' your water parameters. (not literally, Your temp.,Ph and KH should remain close)
 

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I figure I'll stick with a 10 gallon for now just to get started and to be safe for the dresser.
You are so limited with a 10 gallon. A 20 gallon long is more fun
Check out craigslist for 1. I got a 20g long with stand for $20 on craigslist. Then got the light and hood from local aquarium association member for $10.
I have had my 55 gallon tank on a 20 year old wooden dresser for almost a year now with no issues.
Thanks for the info!!

I assumed that 20 gallon largest to be on dresser. For have read that there must be support on the edges. Perhaps the edges of your tank are supported.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I decided to go with a 10 gallon just to be safe, but stupidly ended up buying one of those kits that uses LED lighting in the hood. However it is set up so I don't have a way to return it and redo this. so now I'm looking at upgrading the lighting on a budget and came across these: http://www.homedepot.ca/product/illume-19-xenon-plug-in-linear/911405. If I get a glass top for the aquarium and used that, I would have 50 watts of lighting for $45 ($15 of that for the glass top). Has anybody used something like this? I haven't been able to find much at all using the search. They're linkable also, so I could have 100 watts for $60 if I wanted the extra light. Is there a reason people don't use these?

Edit: I can also get 35 watt bulbs for $6 per bulb, so goign by that I could have 70 watts of lighting for $42+taxes, or get 50 watt bulbs for $7 each giving me 100 watts for $45 or so.
 

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I decided to go with a 10 gallon just to be safe, but stupidly ended up buying one of those kits that uses LED lighting in the hood. However it is set up so I don't have a way to return it and redo this. so now I'm looking at upgrading the lighting on a budget and came across these: http://www.homedepot.ca/product/illume-19-xenon-plug-in-linear/911405. If I get a glass top for the aquarium and used that, I would have 50 watts of lighting for $45 ($15 of that for the glass top). Has anybody used something like this? I haven't been able to find much at all using the search. They're linkable also, so I could have 100 watts for $60 if I wanted the extra light. Is there a reason people don't use these?

Edit: I can also get 35 watt bulbs for $6 per bulb, so goign by that I could have 70 watts of lighting for $42+taxes, or get 50 watt bulbs for $7 each giving me 100 watts for $45 or so.

Thats a TON of light for a 10 gallon tank, look up the suggested wpg threads on here....most people say 2wpg as a general rule of thumb, however with T5 HO in my case the rule is broken as T5HO are much stronger. Make sure if your goal is to keep plants try and get a 65000k bulb.
 
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