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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll start with a little intro I hope it's not too long.

My girlfriend and I recently hopped head first into the aquarium world with a 10g Nano Reef Tank and well... we're kind of hooked. After seeing some amazing low-tech (and high-tech) planted freshwater tanks here we thought it might be a good 2nd project to try our hand at plants also. We also happened to have an extra 10g tank and some misc. gear taking up space that we could put into use!

We are looking at this guide / information and looking to run a Low-tech, Low-light, no c02 tank. Right now we are just debating between doing the high density planting as detailed below and doing no WC's or using Excel.

http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/planted-aquarium/low-tech-planted-tank-guide/#filter

Right now we have:

10 gallon tank
5-15 HOB Filter with filter floss / biomedia (brand new and unused
50w heater
A choice of 2 Light Hoods, both dual bulb regular bulb socket types


http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=34040&stc=1&d=1313979203

My questions right now are:

What type of lights am I best off using?
2x10w 6500k CFL (spiral type)? Or is there another option that screws into the regular socket style? (sorry I don't know the tech name for it) I read about PC bulbs that screw into that socket type but can't seem to find anything locally. I'm not really interested in buying a whole new fixture or t5ho's or anything.

Is either of the hoods favourable over one another?

Anyone have a substrate recommendation? My LFS carries Fluval Plant Stratum, although it seems a bit expensive.

Beyond the above and Fertilizers am I forgetting anything?

PS - Sorry for the picture being upside down, new computer and not sure why, you get the idea though :)
 

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I'd use whichever light fixture has the most wattage, but either will do. The 2 watt/gallon guideline has never failed me.


The sky's the limit with substrate, and there's a forum within a forum here on substrate. I've never used Fluval Plant Stratum, and I know Eco-complete is great. I'd spend more money on substrate than ferts. That's just me.

Dirt with an inert (rock) cap works too. I used a thin layer of sphagnum peat moss(<1/4 in ) topped with 3 in of a coarse grain "plant soil." Plant soil = one step in coarseness above sand. It's crushed rock, but it's finely crushed...the largest rock being peppercorn-sized. It's working well.

By hoods you mean light fixtures? Covering the tank is personal preference and prolonging evaporation. I like an open top so I can reach in at the moment the impulse comes.

A word on ferts: I have enjoyed the hobby for a few years now, and just recently started throwing in a capful of Flourish phosphorous every Wednesday. If you have good CO2, light, filtration and circulation, and some fish poop, then you will have growth. The ferts make a difference, but they are not essential. That is my experience and opinion.

Hope that all helps :proud:
 

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You can find slightly higher watt CFLs at hardware stores, but just make sure the fixture is rated for it.

You can see pics of my low tech, CFL lighted tanks on my threads.

This is my messy 10g Shrimp tank
I used Flourite black sand capped with Tahitian Moon Sand.
 

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For a 10 gallon tank I'd go with 10 Watt or 13 Watt 6500K CFLs. Sylvania I know makes 13Watt ones. I wouldn't go more than two 13 watts bulbs if you want to stay with low light, no excel.

I'm not sure its the best option for beginners. But as far as dirt substrates you can do Mineralized Top Soil (MTS) or Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix (MGOCPM) with a cap of pool filter sand, aquarium sand, pea gravel, or fluorite. If you want to avoid the complexities of MTS or dirt with a cap, I'd go with just Fluorite or Ecocomplete.

Do some reading on Estimative Index (EI) dosing for fertilizing.

Stick with low light plants. Somewhere on this forum is a list of low light plants. Anubias varieties, some crypt varieties, java fern, java moss are a few examples.
 

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I will ad that if you go with the MGOPS, you will probably have tinted water like you'll see in the link to my 55 tank below my signature. Like untreated driftwood, the peat in the MGOPS will leach tannins into the water for a few months. I happen to like the look, but many people don't. In my 40b tank I only used pea gravel and FloraMax (an iron enriched gravel) and never had tinted water. I actually prefer the tinted tank to the clear one.
 

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Start with easy plants like:
Wisteria - Hygrophilis difformis
Mosses
Ferns
Anubias

If you buy from 1 on the forum they may send you more than you pay for. It happens. Since you are in Canada probably best to buy from 1 in Canada. Can find those doing an Advanced search in members section. Homer_Simpson is in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

I have found using peat or reptile coconut bark under the substrate helps decrease need for ferts. Peat may lower the ph though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This plan may be slightly modified as we found a 35g Tank mature complete setup locally for a great price. About the price of substrate + bulbs + fert for the 10g.

Will keep this thread updated :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok plans fell through on the 35g. It had a homemade rockwall glued to the back of it and I wasn't a big fan of it.

So We've decided to use the 10g.

Tonight went to the LFS and picked up a 20lb Bag of Eco-complete and Excel, as well as some rocks.

I've also decided to go with a DIY c02 setup also for now.

Should I still be going with (2) 13w 6500k CFL? Or should I now use something higher wattage? If so any suggestions?

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=34127&stc=1&d=1314157551
 

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Ok plans fell through on the 35g. It had a homemade rockwall glued to the back of it and I wasn't a big fan of it.

So We've decided to use the 10g.

Tonight went to the LFS and picked up a 20lb Bag of Eco-complete and Excel, as well as some rocks.

I've also decided to go with a DIY c02 setup also for now.

Should I still be going with (2) 13w 6500k CFL? Or should I now use something higher wattage? If so any suggestions?

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=34127&stc=1&d=1314157551
I would stick with 2 x 13 watts

if you ever decide you need more light you can go to 2 x 23 watts
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Feeling like a major noob now. Realizing Flourish and Flourish Excel are different products. They really need to name their products better! I will be heading back to the LFS to pick up some flourish and trying to find a hydroponics store for some dry fertilizers.

Anything else I should be picking up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To be honest we didn't really want the big 35g tank but it came with everything so it was hard to not think it was the right thing to do.

We are going to stick with the 10g.

Does anyone have a link to a basic tank setup guide of how to setup the actual tank?

Right now as I understand:

1. Substrate, Hardscape, fill with conditioned water and heat to 78 degrees.
2. Plant very high density Fast growing Plants mainly of the stem variety

Then whats next after this?
 

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To be honest we didn't really want the big 35g tank but it came with everything so it was hard to not think it was the right thing to do.

We are going to stick with the 10g.

Does anyone have a link to a basic tank setup guide of how to setup the actual tank?

Right now as I understand:

1. Substrate, Hardscape, fill with conditioned water and heat to 78 degrees.
2. Plant very high density Fast growing Plants mainly of the stem variety

Then whats next after this?
for fertilizers check out rootmedic (one of the vendor sponsors of this site) also check out aquariumfertilizers.com

1. substrate
2. hardscape
3. I'd fill only part way with conditioned water, then plant (more density is better)
4. Fill rest of way with conditioned water
5. 78 is a good temp for most fish, but be sure to research the temp needs of the fish you plan to keep, example: white clouds with something that prefers really warm water might not be ideal.
6. Decide how you want to cycle the tank (fishless or with fish)
7. Cycle tank
8. When stocking tank I like to start with the hardiest fish first, wait two weeks then add the next hardiest, two weeks and so on till tank is fully stocked.
9. Fertilizer and water change routine and enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the replies, was looking for a step guide, ^^ thanks for posting this.

Will be hardscaping my tank tonight and getting it filled part way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok since I'm located in Canada, i've found out the hard way that KNO3 is a banned substance here. I got a lot of looks from hydroponics shop employees like I was a soon to be bomber.

What are my other options for fertilizers?
 
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