The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been a few years since I have had an aquarium, due in equal parts to living places with no pet policies and reluctance to try again after my previous experience which did not go well. My last tank was a 12 gallon JBJ Nano Cube deluxe in which I tried to grow HC and Anubias nana petitie. I had little plant growth, problems with the plants floating away and algae bad enough to become a running joke. Eventually I started some DIY CO2, a decent fert schedule and saw a little progress. Then the tank leaked and that was that.

So, now that I have an aquarium allowed in my lease its time for me to try again. I have some clear ideas about what I want to do and would like some help figuring out the how. One important point i decided on is that I want to put together a solid system (also, it will be my only one because of how my lease is written).

What I am sure about (but will take comments):
Tank: a 20gallon long, Acrylic (I understand the pros and cons on this fairly well I think and care about leaking most)
Filter: Ehiem 2232, seems there is a fairly good consensus that this is quality and I know I cant do a HOB which splashes as it will kill the co2. Also, never had a canister filter, I assume that setup correctly it is not likley that a tub will fall off somewhere and my tank will get drained in 10 min onto the floor, right?
Layout/Plants: Iwagumi or close, HC in the front, dwarf haigrass in the back.
Startup: 'Dry' start for HC at least, hairgrass too if I can.
Stand: I have a stand which is an old desk which should work well.
Livestock: I am quite fond of lemon tetras, so those and shrimps of some sort. Some other small, active, colorful, social fish might do though.

The problem i am having is it seems very difficult to find reviews of products, comparisons of brand qualities, or detail about some products. In particular there seem to be many brands and many more online stores (no car so LFS is not ideal) making it hard to get a good idea of what is available. As a rule, I am willing to pay for quality, especially if im getting something that will last.

What I need help with (feel free to point me to other resources that will answer my questions):
Tank: I have been looking at the clear for life 20 gallon long with a black back, but know there are a number of companies and dont have any feel for the differences between them. Also, i am not clear on what cutouts I should expect on the top of the tank. I have seen one for the light in the center and one in the back for filters and similar, so is feeding acomplished by moving the light or is there usually another cutout?
Canopy: I am thinking about a wood one, both for aesthetics of concealing wires and the very practical part where I live with an unruly cat who I should allow acces to the water. Also, the cat needs to be able to jump on it without causing harm, cause he will jump. I have been having a lot of trouble finding one for a 20 long acrylic tank. I might end up having one custom made but I would prefer the simplicity of just ordering one.
Hardscape: No car makes it hard to get out an collect rocks, does anyone sell the really craggy kinds of rocks that I see so often in competition tanks?
Light/CO2/Substrate: These are clearly tied together. CO2 would be DIY if I use it. I want to get these all set so I dont have the disaster like before with algae after the tank is flooded. (this is assuming that growing HC and dwarf hairgrass is a reasonable thing to try, I hope that getting a clean start will help, but I would like some input on that.)

My plan for going forward is to get the aquarium, sediment, plants, rocks and maybe the light settled asap so the emmersed growth can begin. Any help is really appreciated.

Thanks, Chaos
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
Some comments:

Tank: Most glass tanks are quality built now, so you shouldn't need to worry about them leaking. However, if acrylic makes you feel safer, than you can go that way too. I am not sure how expensive they will be at that size, however. A 20g glass tank would not be too expensive. In addition, acrylic does scratch fairly easily, something to keep in mind.

Filter: As long as you don't throw your canister filter around, it won't break, and it will not leak.

Plants: HC will be tough to grow without high light (and subsequently fertilizers and CO2). If you go this route, then DIY CO2 will also be a hassle, since you will be changing a bottle of the mixture once a week (and I would say you'd need about 2 bottles going at once to maintain a steady rate of CO2 production).

Hardscape: You can check the Swap and Shop forums for people that are willing to sell rocks. However, be prepared to pay shipping, since it will be expensive (you are, after all, shipping rocks).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
As far as the tank, I'd say its a matter of budget. Personally, I try to be as cheap as possible, and I actually really like the standard pet____ 20 long with the black silicone. I've noticed even though its a cheapo megastore brand tank, they take more care with the black silicone as sloppiness is very blatant with the black. Rimless is great, but for the price, I really like the look of my 20 long with black trim, black silicone, black substrate, and a black painted back panel.

you will be changing a bottle of the mixture once a week
Once a week? I'm able to change mine every 3 without any notable decline in bubble rate...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Plants: HC will be tough to grow without high light (and subsequently fertilizers and CO2). If you go this route, then DIY CO2 will also be a hassle, since you will be changing a bottle of the mixture once a week (and I would say you'd need about 2 bottles going at once to maintain a steady rate of CO2 production).
Thanks for the input. This is one of the questions I have wondered about most. If i follow Tom Barr's emmersed start (for HC for sure and dwarf hairgrass if it will work for that) for a tank then I should have good coverage by the time the tank is flooded so I am wondering if I need to have the HC grow quickly (I dont want it to die of course). I would like the tank to be well lit in general, for aesthetics, so is the problem then that I need something to out-compete algae in a high light environment which will then mean CO2 and ferts?

For DIY CO2, if that is 2 bottles and one gets changed every week I can probably live with that. Moving to real CO2 can always happen later if needed, but I would prefer to not pay that cost.

Chaos
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
SvenBoogie - Thanks for the feedback, particularly on CO2 timing.

Also, nice tip with the black silicone, but I will stick with Acrylic I think as I am worried about leaks, because I had one before and my landlord said they had reservations there. After quite a while I got approval from them and really don't want a problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
SvenBoogie - Thanks for the feedback, particularly on CO2 timing.

Also, nice tip with the black silicone, but I will stick with Acrylic I think as I am worried about leaks, because I had one before and my landlord said they had reservations there. After quite a while I got approval from them and really don't want a problem.
Understandable. Just a note on the co2, I use red star red wine yeast for my mixture, so that may extend the usable life of the bottle a bit. Pressurized is definitely the way to go if you can afford it. I'm doing pressurized for my 40 breeder, but I have 3 additional planted tanks going (10, 10, and 20 long), and I'm not rich, so I settle for DIY for those.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Yeah, I have read about alcohol tolerant yeast being better and with all the home brewing going on I can probably find some.

In terms of affording it I dont know if I can, what would be startup cost? and whats the cost to keep it running?
The cost is almost entirely up front, as you have to put together the entire system. Running cost is minimal as you just have to have your co2 tank refilled every so often. For a 20g, it would take quite some time to have to refill a decently sized co2 tank. This might be a somewhat conservative estimate, but I'd say if you're willing to put in some work doing research and shopping around, you could probably put a system together for somewhere in the $200 range. You can find lots of good info/tips on this site on how to put together a regulator and co2 system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Go with pressurized CO2! The reason I fell out of the hobby before was because of the hassle with dealing with DIY co2 and not seeing stuff grow fast enough (and beautiful enough) to hold my interest.

Since going pressurized I never looked back-you get to grow more varieties too (given good light and substrate).

Yes the cost is all up front but its an investment ( you can say somewhat long term 1+ yr).

Good luck and keep us posted!

Regards,
Randy
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
The cost is almost entirely up front, as you have to put together the entire system. Running cost is minimal as you just have to have your co2 tank refilled every so often. For a 20g, it would take quite some time to have to refill a decently sized co2 tank. This might be a somewhat conservative estimate, but I'd say if you're willing to put in some work doing research and shopping around, you could probably put a system together for somewhere in the $200 range. You can find lots of good info/tips on this site on how to put together a regulator and co2 system.
+1. You can easily get a good CO2 setup for < $200 if you buy all the parts individually and assemble them yourself.

If you do your shopping around and are patient (i.e. waiting for the best deals and not jumping on the first one you see), you can save even more money. For example, you can easily get a Fabco NV55 needle valve for $23. Of course, if you are lucky (and a few members were!), there were some Parker metering valves (essentially, much finer needle valves) going for $15 on eBay. It pays to wait ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the feedback.

Ok, so Im feeling somewhat convinced on the pressurized CO2 front. I am essentially trying to achieve what I could not do last time and dont want to be disappointed again. One last practical question for now. How/where do you get these filled. Again, no car, but I can get one occasionally if needed.

Also, I want to sort out lighting (with the assumption of CO2) and substrate as I need this to start the emmersed growing procedure.

Lighting: The tank will be 30" but with the canopy I think a 24" fixture would be required. Also, because of the canopy, I assume it will need to sit flat on top of the tank and because of the hole in the acrylic it will be over, it should have some sealed preventing the bulb(s) from getting wet. Also, I am not sure what kind of bulbs/wattage make sense other than, not something so hot it will cause problems with the acrylic.

Substrate:
I know a number of the prominent brand names or types, but dont know what is best or good enough for this application and how much I need, assuming it will slope up in the back of the tank.

Chaos
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
CO2 tanks can be filled at welding stores, fire extinguisher stores and/or some paintball shops.

For substrates, there are lots of options you have; you can choose any one, and they will pretty much all work. How much you need depends on the final footprint of the tank (30" x 12" for a 20g long) and also how deep you want the substrate at the front/back. Don't forget to take the slope into account.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey,

I really appreciate all the help everyone is giving. So much useful advice, its awesome.

For substrate i think 2 bags of black flourite will do what I want.

Looking at the Coralife Aqualights on BigAls I see 3 options for fresh water 30" fixtures: two 18W T5 lamps, one 65W CFL, or two 65W CFL. Option 3 seems like too much light at 6Wpg. From the first two options it is my understanding that T5 is more efficent than CFL so they are more equivalent than W measurement suggests. Assuming thats true, it looks like t5 is a better choice. Also, would this be high light or medium?

Also, for plants, shopping at the aquariumplants.com site, how big is a pot and how many should I get for hc and hairgrass, probably the tank will be 60/40 respectively.

Mike
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
From the first two options it is my understanding that T5 is more efficent than CFL so they are more equivalent than W measurement suggests. Assuming thats true, it looks like t5 is a better choice. Also, would this be high light or medium?
Using 36W worth of T5 lighting over a 12g tank would give you high light. You will need fertilizers (both micro and macronutrients) as well as a steady source of CO2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Using 36W worth of T5 lighting over a 12g tank would give you high light. You will need fertilizers (both micro and macronutrients) as well as a steady source of CO2.
Oh, its a 20g. Still high?

That said, I think ill give the high tech lifestyle a go.

Mike
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
Sorry, I skimmed through your original post and saw "12 gallon JBJ" (your previous tank) and assumed it was your current tank. Silly me, I should have read the topic.

36W over a 20g tank would give you medium to medium high light, I'd say. You should be able to grow a wide variety of plants if you choose to go this route.

As for the high tech route, be sure that you know what you are diving into :) You will need to have a steady CO2 supply as well as have regular macro and micronutrient dosing to prevent an algae farm from forming.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
36W over a 20g tank would give you medium to medium high light, I'd say. You should be able to grow a wide variety of plants if you choose to go this route.

As for the high tech route, be sure that you know what you are diving into :) You will need to have a steady CO2 supply as well as have regular macro and micronutrient dosing to prevent an algae farm from forming.
For better or worse its HC I have my heart set on so if the light will work for that then I am happy.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
You should have no problems with HC with 36W of T5 lighting over a 20g. Just be sure to keep up with your fertilizing regime as well as a steady source of CO2 and it should do quite well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey,

I just got my Eheim filter and have two questions. First I didnt notice the grease on the pins which are used to lock the top of the filter down and it got spread around a little. Not too much, but I just wanted to find out if that stuff is toxic for fish and how to clean it up if it is.

Also, the inflow pipe has Eheim written in bright white letters which is pretty tacky and the outflow is concentrated and I feel like a spraybar would be better. Who makes accessories I can use as a replacement?

Thanks
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top