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Fresh Fish Freak
24,403 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Been a while since we had a thread like this, so I thought I'd start another, since this is the way I like to share and learn from other people. :smile:

The idea in this thread is to post a picture of your low tech tank(s), explain the setup (equipment, lighting, substrate, ferts, etc) and briefly explain a few things you've learned that do or don't work with your setup.

Fresh Fish Freak
24,403 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'll start.

This is my 90gal. I've had the tank set up for about 2 years now.

filters- Rena XP3, Rena XP4
light- Catalina 4x54 T5HO (only run 2 bulbs for 6 hrs/day)
substrate- mix of Flourite black, Flourite black sand, black T grade Colorquartz, peat
heater- inline Hydor ETH 300 watt

tons of chain swords; all 4 varieties of Echinodorus tenellus, E. angustifolius, E. angustifolius 'vesuvius,' E. quadricostatus
Vallisneria spiralis
Bacopa caroliniana
Lobelia cardinalis
Marselia minuta
Echinodorus 'kleiner bar'
E. 'Indian red'
E. africanus

17x Pristella tetras
15x P. weitzmani (Black Morpho Tetras)
6x assorted BN plecos (albino LF and Calico)
1x Clown pleco
5x Corydoras schwartzi
24x Amano shrimp
1x German Blue Ram
2x Cardinal tetras (soon to be 50x)
5x(??) Otocinclus viattus

NOTES- I am right on the edge of too much light. This tank did much better when I had floating plants for light control. I let those get out of control and block too much light last year and removed them all... ever since then I've been having to fight algae so I need to add some again.

The BN plecos are also eating my Vals... not sure what I'm going to do about that just yet.

Fresh Fish Freak
24,403 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is/was my 10gal (I'm having to break it down b/c of a leak). It's been one of my favorite tanks over the past year or so I've had it going:

Light- 18w T8 on for 8hrs/day
Filter- Rena XP1
Substrate- Onyx Sand mixed with a little black T grade Colorquartz

Assorted crypts (Wendtii, Undulata, 'Mi Oya', Ciliata, +??)
Christmas moss
Sunset Hygro

Red cherry shrimp
10x Boraras brigittae (Chili rasboras)

This tank has been just about no maintenance at all. Feed the fish and shrimp daily, water change about 1x a month, clean the filter every few months, and thin out the plants every now and again. Was the perfect little work tank and I'm quite going to miss it!

287 Posts
Gorgeous tanks! I really, really like the way the 10 looks! And the driftwood in the 90 is wonderful. I'm not ready to show all mine off yet, the 55 is getting a rescape this weekend, and I need new pics of the 10.

I did just start a 29 Sunday though, and this is what I have so far;

Light- 65w 10k compact flourescent
Filter- Currently 2 established HOBs to help cycle, considering two Rena XP1
Substrate- Onyx Sand and eco-complete
Plants- Crypts (wendtii, spiral etc), Hygro, bacopa, ludwigia, swords and just bought some lilaeopsis
Livestock- None yet. Considering doing just a tetra tank with some tiger shrimp.

Sorry about the pic quality, it was taken with my phone.

1,104 Posts
Very nice tanks Laura.
If your plecos eat the vals, I think they might be too hungry or the vals already melted or about to melt. vals melt away in acidic water. What's your tank parmeters?

220 Posts
My low tech tank I want to replicate kinda a mix between a pond and stream bottom. I am open to ideas for other plants and anything else. Also thinking about fish that look like minnows that will go with ghost shrimp.

Narrow Leaf Chain Sword
Java Moss
Dwarf Hair Grass
Duck Weed

Ghost Shrimp
Snails (Ghost Shrimp love to eat these.)

Some pea gravel mixture.
With some summit granite chunks.

10g aquarium
10g hood modified with two 26watt compact flourecent lights
Whisper 1 filter
20lb Aluminum CO2 tank with Western Enterprises regulator and cheap needle valve
Some sort of strange idea I had to get CO2 in the water it works and I get pearling and increased growth.

9,711 Posts
None of these had co2 or regular water changes or ferts.

A little cloudy in this pic because I just cleaned the glass. ADA 30C Aquasoil, 27W light 12 inches above tank. No water changes or ferts, only top-offs. Snowball shrimp

ADA mini m. River sand. No ferts or water changes. 27W 16 inches above tank

55 gallon. no water changes, a few misc. fish. inert gravel at first, later eco complete mixed in.

2.5 gallons. 20 watss of light. AS powder. HC. No co2, only occasional excel

ADA 30C 27 watts, inert black sand substrate

One of my first real low tech tanks, diy rimless 10 gallon, inert black sand, 20 watts cfl. Had a bunch of cherries in it.


1,104 Posts

wow, great tanks. This makes me thinking about rimless now ;)

Here's my 50g tank, only top off, and do water change only around 2 times a year. No ferts, no co2.
plants: anubias, vals, chain sword, baby tears, red tiger lotus, sunset hygro, flame moss, java moss, fissidens, crypt
residents: 4 long fin brown bn, 5 guppies, 15 cardinals, 10+ amanos, some cherries, some blue shrimps, 40+ crs

side view

4,287 Posts
Just found this thread! I'll add mine! :)

First is my 30g, 17w T8 lighting, top offs when necessary, water changes every couple months (full specs after pics)

Right Side:


Left Side (back focus):

Left side (front focus):

Equipment etc.:
30g Tank (36"L x 16"H x 12"W)
30" Strip Light
25" T8 17w bulb
50/50 Eco-complete + Black aquarium gravel substrate

Cryptocoryne wendtii 'bronze / red'
Cryptocoryne undulata
Hydrocotyle leucocephala (pennywort)
Limnophila sessiliflora (asian ambulia)
Cabomba furcata
Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig' (sunset hygro)
Hygrophila difformis (wisteria)
Microsorum pteropus regular, "needle leaf" and "windelov"
Fissidens moss
red ocelot sword
Some form of "grass-like" plant that i forget the name of
And some others

15 Ember Tetras
7 Celestial Pearl Danios (CPD)
3 Boraras brigittae
6 pygmy cories (corydoras pygmaeus)
1 male betta
1 Oto (the largest creature in the tank )
Many RCS

Notes: I have this tank on a 13 hour photoperiod which I think is the reason I get as much growth as I do with such low lights. I also have found in my low light tanks that the bubble walls tend to be very helpful because they help maintain the CO2 levels at atmospheric levels. I also tend to slightly overstock my tanks which I think is helpful because it adds fertilizer to the tank for me so I don't have to remember to do it ;) I also use roots tabs under the heavy root feeders (crypts, sword and a few others)

4,287 Posts
And my 10g, just set this guy up a few weeks ago, gravel is inert newly stuffed with root tabs. Weekly+ water changes to remove tannins for now. 12 hour photoperiod.

Full tank specs after pics:

10g AGA tank
Perfect-A-Lite fluorescent Hood w/ Marineland "Natural Daylight" 18" 15w T8 bulb
$11 Wally World Aquatech Filter (with my own media, not the cartridge)
Bubble wall

Flame Moss
Fissidens Moss
Crypt undulata
Crypt wendtii
Limno sessiflora (Asian ambulia)
Hygrophila polysperma 'rosanervig' (sunset hygro)
Lindernia rotundifolia sp 'variegated'

3 White Cloud Mountain Minnows
3 Endler's livebearers (all male)
1 Guppy (male)
Red Cherry Shrimp

Notes: I'm getting a little more algae in this tank than in the 30g so I've been giving this one an occasional dose of Flourish Excel and Comprehensive. I'm hoping the recent addition of the roots tabs will help the plants grow faster and outcompete the algae.

As with the 30g I think the bubble wall is very helpful, but because there is more light over this tank I think I will reduce the photoperiod to see if that helps with algae. At least until I get some more fish in here to help fertilize the stems as well.

Aroid Addict
3,493 Posts
Here's mine.

20 high, no ferts, 2 water changes per year, soil substrate. It's a Diana Walstad-inspired tank :icon_smil

Algae Grower
6,444 Posts
great low techs everyone!

here's mine.

my 50g

just gravel and mts. i add nitrogen and phosphorous once a week along with some flourish now and then. haven't been changing the water at all lately. lighting is 2x21w t5no for 8hrs.

the 29g

i might get flamed for adding this photo here, but up until one week ago this tank was non-co2/non-excel. lighting is 2x24w t5ho suspended way up above the tank. substrate is play sand and mts. i was dosing fallowing the tom barr non-co2 method. nothing has changed in the tank yet except the bubbles.)

all i did to take myself out of the low tech category was add co2, more ferts, and lower my lighting a little.

24 Posts
29 gals, set up for 7 years now. Had various changes over time, this is it's current setup:

One single 25 watt light,

Cheap basic pond soil capped with 2 inches of plain aquarium sand,

Planted with various Echinodorus, Aponogentons, some small crypts, and a few stem plants like Cabomba and Elodia, plus a massive moss ball.

Mixed community of a few odds and ends my horrible brother didn't want in his tank anymore and was going to flush down the toilet!!! :(, so I had them where they can live out their lives. Gold barbs, a gourami, couple of loaches and a few shrimp.

50 % water changes once a week every week.

12 gals

One single 15 watt light

Gravel and sand mix from the old tank plus mulm that was in there, topped with black gravel.

Planted with some small swords, a few baby echinodorus from the plants in the main tank, some Riccia ,moss balls cabomba, hairgrass, crypts and a big pile of java moss on bogwood that I grew in the main tank before moving to this one.

Inhabitant is a single male Plakat betta.

50% water changes once a week every week.


198 Posts
My 120 thats been running about 7-8 weeks.
4 T-5 HO's 2 for 9 hrs and all 4 for 5 hrs about 8-9 inches above the water
Filtration is 1 Fluval 304 and 1 SunSun 302
2 PH's at 170 GPH each
Substrate is a mix of Eco, Flourite and Oil Dry
Dosing Flourish once a week

Amazon Sword
Dwarf Sags
Jungle Val
Java Moss
Micro sword as I bought it as (L. brasilensis)
and some Duck Weed floating around in there

Fish, I will be thinning them out
8 Julii Cories
8 Otos
8 LF Albino Bristlenose Plecos
Mated Pair Double Red Apistos
24 Cardinals
19 Pearl Scale Blue Platinum Angels


659 Posts
my 80 gallon

my 80, more or likely going to move the plants in to the 15 gallon cube.
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