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Discussion Starter #1
ive had a 33 and a 55 gallon up for a while, and since my 33 gallon just went to heck, i decided to tear it down and try something else. i had a ton of community fish in the 33, alot died, and some wouldnt die no matter what. i gave the surviving 3 away to my dad, and kept my BN pleco. its in a 10 gallon right now.

i also have a 55 setup with a bunch of cichlids, which i might try to sell or get rid of a few sometime soon... but this tanks been perfect.only problem was introducing some walmart fish that were too small, and ended up being bullied.

but now, i wanna turn my 33 into a, i guess low tech planted tank. i have 2 15w lights... aqua-glo, and life-glo 2. so i know i wont get a ton of amazing, and beautiful plants, but just a few would be fun and some small fish. i just put the water in and some pool filter sand. that should be ok right? i read somewhere it would, but not 100%. i bought some of those cheapo bulbs from walmart to start off the plants. lilly bulbs and hardy aponogeton bulbs. ive had the lilly before and it was awesome. grew real fast but i left it out one day while i was cleaning to tank out... so that sucked.or i was doing something and i had to take it out.

so after my tank cycles, what kind of plants should i look at?
 

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30 watts over a 33 is def low light. Old rule would be less than 1wpg which some people still follow on average sized tanks.
Bulb plants typically get their nutrients from the substrate and pool filter sand is inert. You would need to load up on substrate ferts and feed regularly. Typically low light/tech tanks have a nutrient filled substrate like Diana Walstead type (dirt) or amazonia 2 or Fluorite or Eco complete and people still put in root tabs.
If you do stems or floaters or rhisomes then water colum dosing is fine. Java fern and moss woud do well. Ive had giant hygro grow wild under 15 watts in my 20gal so i would try some hygro as well. Red or pink plants are generally out of the question in such low light although each tank is different and some people are successful. Crypts like windetii will do well. Anubias nana and petit, pretty much any floater but then you need to deal with them blocking out the light to the plants underneath. My aunt had success with corkscrew vals in a very very low light tank when she was younger before she cooked the whole tank by accident.
Just some thoughts
 

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yeah, im going with low light for now untill i get a job. which will hopefully be very soon.

could i mix in another substrate with the pool filter sand?? i have this seachem iron suppliment thing. would that be good enough for the start?
 

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Seachem flourish and iron will help. You should try root tabs to innergize your substrate a little and go for the plants that he mentioned above. You can mix your existing substrate with those cool ADA amazonia or malaya.
 

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plants need more than just iron although iron is good. Again try root tabs they are more balanced. Plants need Macros (NPK) as well as micros like iron, magnesium, boron, etc which can come from changing the water regularly or buing a micro supplement to add to the water. I use Amazon elements as well as an iron supplment for micros.
 

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IMO you probably won't need ferts much if at all under that low light.

Light is what tells plants how fast to grow. In very low light, plants grow so slowly that their nutrient needs aren't high, and probably can be provided just with your bioload with minimal to no additives. Unused nutrients in your water column is more likely to lead to algae issues than help the plants.

If you do put together a fert regimen, you'll need to balance it carefully against water changes to make sure things don't get out of balance (algae city).

Mosses, Java fern, Anubias, and Crypts are some plants to try. I'd probably stay away from most stem plants.
 

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If you want a cheap way to get a bit more lighting, check Walmart or Home Depot for a shoplight fixture that will fit over your tank. They're about $20 bucks or less, and you can get 6500K 'natural daylight' bulbs at either place to put in there.
 

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I agree that in low light ferts are not taken up quickly at all however in the beginning when there are no fish to build up a good amount of "poop" it takes some ferts to get er goin. Granted yes plants have reserves but you want to make sure they stay healthy. It depends on the individual tank. My 20 gal had no ferts and the plants grew wild and i never had an algae problem but in my 32 Im dosing ferts every week, excel daily, and root tabs monthly and its only got 40 watts over it with floaters covering over half the tank. Its also got a medium to heavy bioload depending on whose opinion you listen too. I learned in my tank that it wants all those ferts or i get major algae issues or the plants dont grow properly. My brother in law only has pressurized Co2 and his plants grow like mad and he has a low bioload.
Again it depends on the tank.
 
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