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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so i am a complete noob but i have been researching low tech planted tanks for about two weeks now. I still have many questions and i do not know exactly where to start. I was looking into ADA Aquasoil, but i keep seeing information on several things that you could and may need to add below it such as peat and whatnot. What exactly would i need to do to create my own low tech planted tank?

Also, i dont know exactly what to add as fertilizer when the whole tank is actually setup? Will it harm the fish?

Thanks for any help you can give me
 

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Keep researching for like 5-6 weeks if you have the patience and you should be much more prepared and have many less problems starting up =) You don't really need ferts when starting up for a low tech planted tank. I also wouldn't worry about adding peat or anything unless you want to. A nutrient filled substrate is a good idea though, whether it's ADA aquasoil or not. Just remember that aquasoil leaches ammonia into the water for awhile after you set up, so you don't want fish in there right away. Let the tank cycle itself first. Make sure you know and understand the nitrogen cycle. But more importantly, I advise you to just keep researching and hold off on jumping straight in for as long as you can.
 

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VeeSe is giving you good advice. This forum is a good place to read, read, read. Many things to learn. I wish I had waiting awhile before I jumped in!

I started a low tech natural tank in March with Miracle Grow Organic under very small aquarium gravel. It was a mess with algae for about 3 months. I was about to give up, but I kept it going.

Now it is beautiful and very low maintenance. If I were going to start another tank, I believe I would try the mineralized soil (recipe on this forum, but not sure how to direct you to it).

Good luck with your future tank.

Mary
 

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For a lowtech setup I would actually look into the Walstad process. Just use Orgain Miracle grow instead of that expensive ADA Soil. Lighting should be kept to Normal Output.

What you need to decide on is your budget..What size tank? and Good Filtration.

Maybe start with a 40gal Breeders tank. 40$ Petco
Look into the Perfect Sunsun canister. 30$ Ebay
Decent heater $25
Planted substrate and cap $15
T5 No lighting 60-70$ Ebay

You might be able to find a decent setup on Craigslist.
 

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For beginners I recommend an easy substrate like Eco-complete, Flourite, or FloraMax.
Inert pea gravel is also a good choice for beginners but I'd recommend root tabs in it to help plants. Substrate depth should be 2" min to 4" at only the deepest points. 3" is a good depth overall.

I'm assuming by low tech you don't want to inject CO2. This means you need to be thoughtful of you light choice and stick with medium to low light (generally 1-2 watts per gallon) Bulbs in the 5000K to 1000K range are best.

29's and 40 breeders are IMO nice choices for beginners. Because the larger volume of water they are easier to keep stable than a 5-15 gallon tank. Also you fish choices are larger.

For plants THIS list is a good place to start. In general they include anubias varieties, some sword varieties, some crypt varieties, java fern and moss varieties.

And as others suggested keep reading. A month of good steady research should provide you with most of the information you need to get started.
 

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Don't get me wrong I really like the dirt based tanks, but if the is OP are anything like I was starting out they'll be moving plants around and rescaping for a while before they are satisfied and a dirt tank is a unholy mess when you go to move plants around.

If you do decide to go with a dirt tank, it's a great choice for low tech setups but only if you can be patient a have a plan for how to plant things ahead of time and not have the desire to change it much or at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OKay this is great stuff thanks :)

I plan on getting a bag of Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil and than im gonna put some black sand on top of that!

How would i go maintaining it though? would I need fertilizers?
 

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OKay this is great stuff thanks :)

I plan on getting a bag of Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil and than im gonna put some black sand on top of that!

How would i go maintaining it though? would I need fertilizers?
I have this same combination (Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix) with black Tahitian Moon sand.

If you want to maintain the pristine black sand substrate look then you will need to be very careful in how you layer in the substrate and extremely careful in the way that you fill the tank with water.

You will want to include a lot of plant mass right away. Floating plants that block the light and suck up nutrients and can then be easily removed from the tank when it is settled in should help you avoid disturbing the substrate like you would using the popular "fill the tank with fast growing stem plants and then pull them out when you get the tank established" method.

I wouldn't say that using this combination of substrate is difficult or takes advanced planted tank knowledge but you need to make sure that it fits the type of tank that you are looking to have or you may end up getting mad and tearing up the substrate later.
 

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OKay this is great stuff thanks :)

I plan on getting a bag of Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil and than im gonna put some black sand on top of that!

How would i go maintaining it though? would I need fertilizers?
If you are going low-tech then you won't have CO2 or high light which are the two things that will really speed up plant growth and thus result in rapid nutrient usage so you should not have to add fertilizers for quite a while (however long it takes the initial Miracle Grow to be depleted) in order to have healthy growth.

In theory the fish and fish food waste will provide some of the common nutrients and the miracle grow will provide a lot of the other and trace nutrients.

By the time that you might start adding more difficult plants or getting a mature tank that has a large plant mass you will hopefully have learned enough to be prepared to take whatever steps might be needed at that point.

So many people in this community are focused upon getting maximum growth or creating conditions that are as close to ideal as possible. It can be difficult to decipher exactly how to apply that knowledge and technology to a more casual planted tank experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks alot madness!! that was alot of help!

But could you maybe explain how the floating plants would help the other plants grow?? Also, would i need specific lighting for this setup?? :p
 

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thanks alot madness!! that was alot of help!

But could you maybe explain how the floating plants would help the other plants grow?? Also, would i need specific lighting for this setup?? :p
Floating plants don't help the other plants grow (they actually compete with them so at some point they probably hinder the growth of other plants) but what floating plants do is they help to stop the algae outbreaks that tend to take over new planted tanks.

They do this by blocking out some of the light (leaving less light for the algae below the surface to use) and by utilizing nutrients that algae would otherwise use. Certain plants (like 'fast growing stem plants' and many of the floating plants) are known to use a lot of nutrients and to grow very quickly. They are good to help avoid huge algae problems while you wait for the tank to get settled in and for the other plants (which might be slower growing plants or might be plants that take a while to acclimate) to become established.

It is easy to remove floating plants (though some are hard to get rid of every last bit of because you tend to miss a small piece) and that way when you want your more desirable plants to get more nutrients and light it is easy to get rid of the 'temporary' plants that you had in the tank to help get it established.

Personally I am finding that I really like Frogbit but some of the stuff like hornwort, anacharis and rooted water sprite that I threw in the tank during the early stages annoys me and will not be a permanent part of the tank.
 
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