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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been almost a decade since I have set up a fish tank so I feel a bit lost. (check out my join date!) I have done a lot of research and will be setting up a low tech 20 gallon long in the next week or 2. I am in the process of ordering all the equipment needed and have everything figured out except for ferts.

I will be using the current satellite plus light fixture and an aquaclear 50 filter. The plants will be mainly moss, ferns, anubias, dwarf sag. Easy stuff.

So, I am unsure as to what ferts I should use. Algae is a big concern of mine!

Would I be good with this modified EI fert schedule?:

excel everyday

CSM+B 1/8 tsp on monday

Tues:
K2SO4 1/8 tsp
KNO3 1/2 tsp
KH2PO4 1/8 tsp

50% water change weekly.

Thoughts? Thanks guys!
 

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Ahh...the old EI add a bunch of ferts and remove half of them every week routine.

First, plant heavily from the start.
Figure out what your plants need (trail and error/observation) and do a 20% water change weekly.

I dose Flourish Comprehensive, Trace, and Potassium - and change 20% of the water weekly.
If you want to do the whole EI/50% water change thing thing feel free, but with those plants I wouldn't.
I frankly wouldn't do EI with any plants, but that's a whole other discussion.
 

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I think you are going to be asking for algae. I have two low tech tanks, one I dose excel, the other I dont. I had a bba outbreak hence the excel the other never has any algae in it. Right now I dont dose anything. I actually think the bba was a result of me over feeding. I did put O+ root tabs next my heavy root feeders which consist of a handful of crypts and Amazon swords. For the sake of honesty my swords are having an issue but after reading some posts I believe those leaves may have been damaged and then eaten and not suffering from deficiency. I guess my point is I would get it up and running and see what the plants do and let them dictate what you dose if you even need to at all.
 

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I have the same light running on a 38 gallon aquarium. It's good for most low light plants. Substrate is important. With sand I always run into anaerobic bacteria problems in a planted tank. The sand just don't get stirred enough. I switched to Floramax recently and I couldn't be happier. Any of the plant substrates like Floramax Eco Complete Flourite are good. I would avoid Eco if you plan on keeping corydoras.

With low tech you really don't need to EI dose. I've done it and it worked but I think it's just unnecessary and for a beginner it just complicates things. With Excel for some reason I killed all of my Anubias with it. Anubias don't need a lot of anything to stay alive. With your light they will get covered in diatom algae unless you shade them from direct light with floating plants like frogbit or duckweed.

Another fast growing plant that is easy and I can't recommend enough is water sprite. It will help keep algae at bay.

For root feeding plants like crypts and swords root tabs work great. Just make sure to bury them deep in the substrate or they will lead to algae.

Plant heavy from the start. The more plants the better they out compete algae. Floating plants are great for adding plant mass. Except they work best with canister filters. Hang on back filters tend to push floating plants under the water surface.

I use a air stone in my set up for surface agitation when using a canister filter. I feel it helps the tank from becoming stagnant and keeps the water surface from growing scum. I just find my low tech set ups do better with some sort of surface agitation.

This is just the way I do things. There are many other ways and ask 10 people and you'll get 10 different answers. Just my opinion. Take from it what you will planted aquariums are all trial and error.

Heres a good video you might pick up some tips from it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c6BMDeZf9I
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the help guys! I thought EI dosing would be overkill for me so I will skip that. Would I be okay just using excel (Metrix metricide actually since its cheaper) and flourish? I won't be planting much of any plants into the sand. Just attaching them to wood and rocks.

Would a finnex stingray be a better choice for light?
 

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I am in the process of setting up a low tech 20 Long, I was planning on a finnex stringray because the satellite + seemed like it would be too much light without going pressurized co2. I would look into the PPS-Pro dosing over the flourish. More complete ferts, and if you do a low dose you don't need crazy water changes every week.
 

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Check out Tom Barr's low tech guide. There is no reason you couldn't do a single macro dose and micro dose once a week or once every two weeks. Especially if you double dose excel. You also wouldn't need to do that big of a water change, even if you do dose. My 15 gallon (low-medium light)...

Water change: 30%
Day After: Full EI macro dose
Next Day: Full EI micro dose
Rest of Week: Nothing
Excel-2x dose everyday
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am in the process of setting up a low tech 20 Long, I was planning on a finnex stringray because the satellite + seemed like it would be too much light without going pressurized co2. I would look into the PPS-Pro dosing over the flourish. More complete ferts, and if you do a low dose you don't need crazy water changes every week.
With the current +, apparently you can dim the light to suit your needs. I figured that it would be a better choice than the stingray because it has more features.
 

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With the current +, apparently you can dim the light to suit your needs. I figured that it would be a better choice than the stingray because it has more features.
I would have to agree with that then. I thought only the current + pro had the adjustable light without buying an accessory to make it adjustable. Guess i was thinking of the regular Satellite. I have never used a current light mainly due to cost compared to the Finnex, but i have a buddy who swears by them and his tank looks amazing.
 
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