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Low tech tank starter kit

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Ohly, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Ohly

    Ohly Aspiring Aquascaper

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    hi,

    i'm really new to the aquascaping, i've had fish in the past but the minimal thing: sand, filter and water ...

    but now, i want to dive into aquascaping, but i'm confused about what equipement is important to a planted aquarium.

    did i really need a CO2 kit? did i need a specific substrate?

    also, i dont know what to plant in this first aquascaping try.. please give me ideas. or point me somewhere to go.

    i plan to use a 5 gallon tank that would be 9inches X 9inches X 12inches ( because i'll build it)

    or should i use a bigger tank like a 10 gallon or more even ?

    because what i want to, is a little tank where to get used to some techniques, plant growth, and equipement like all around CO2.

    Advices needed

    Ohly
     
  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I think a 5 gallon is a little small to try and get the hang of things. 10 gallons would be better, in my opinion.

    For a low tech starter tank you really only need the right lighting. If it is a 10 gallon tank I would recommend one T8 daylight bulb, I think the ones for that size are 18 watts.

    I recommend a nutrient rich substrate like ADA aquasoil, however it isn't necessary. Instead you could do some large grained sand, people have even used pool filter sand, which is very cheap from your local hardware store. Just be sure to rinse it a few times so you can get rid of fine dust particles. If you use the sand it has zero for plants to feed on, so I would place some root fertilizer tabs every 4 inches or so along the bottom before putting the sand over it.

    Hang on the back filters will work, but I really like canister filters over HOB filters. Be sure you get one with a good flow rating. For a 10 gallon tank that shouldn't be a problem. You will want something with a gph over 100 gph.

    With no CO2, which isn't necessary, your plant choices are limited. Good to take it slow. Read this sticky thread: http://www.aquascapingworld.com/threads/if-you-are-new-to-planted-tanks-you-should-read-this.5025/

    Good plant choices will be plants from the Anubias genus like anubias nana, anubias nana petite, anubias barteri, etc. Plants from the Cryptocoryne genus like Cryptocoryne wenditii, C. lucens, C. lutea, etc. There a few ferns that are great like bolbitus and variations of java ferns. Stem plants like Hygrophilia difformis(Wisteria) and water sprite are good options.

    For a tank like this fertilizing with standard store bought fertilizers will work just fine. An example would be Seachem Flourish line which have Flourish Potassium, Flourish Nitrate, Flourish phosphate, and a micro fert mix...I think it is just Seachem Flourish. You can also add a daily liquid carbon source like Seachem Flourish Excel which is a source of carbon for non CO2 aquariums.

    Hope this is helpful and welcome to the world of planted tanks and aquascaping. Best of luck!
     
    Ohly, keithgh and Kcraven like this.
  3. Kcraven

    Kcraven Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi there Ohly,

    There a different levels of aquascaping. To put it in short, you have 'low tech' and 'high tech'. Depending one which way you plan to go will decide what lighting , co2, substrate and plants you require.

    A low tech scape tank can be just normal gravel (1-3mm), low light, no CO2 Required and has a range of plants including anibus, java fern and moss (other mosses also), crypes and more. A high tech scape tank will require more specific items due to the demand from your plants. They require higher light and when you have higher light you need to use CO2. A proper substrate is also recommended as the plants will need nutrients and most plants get the majority of their nutrients from their roots (note : Low tech plants also get nutrients from their roots but they are easier to look after and are not as dependent of having a rich nutrient level in their roots. Using normal gravel and using fert tablets or dosing the water column can be enough for low tech plants to flourish!).

    Another thing to think about is the cost. A low scape tank will only cost what your willing to pay. If you already have a pump and an aquarium light your cost will be quite low. But when considering a high tech tank it is recommended you get a proper co2 system which can be costly.

    A 20L (5 gal) tank will be fine! I would suggest to you that try with a Low Tech tank first so you can get used to the planting and maintenance of a planted tank and work your way up. Getting the balance of CO2 And lighting can be difficult (or so what I have heard).



    All the best with your aquascaping.

    Cheers
    Adam
     
    Ohly likes this.
  4. Ohly

    Ohly Aspiring Aquascaper

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    finaly, i'm gonna buy a CO2 unit, better to get used to it now..
    or i will at least try a DIY CO2 generator.

    do you have any CO2 kit that have a good quality for the price ?
    And i know that i will use this unit after in a much bigger tank..

    Tanks a lot for the advices,

    - after thinking, the tank i'm gonna build will be bigger.. to be close to 9-10 gal not more..
    -and i should find some place in Quebec or at least in Canada where to buy some ADA substrate...

    thanks again

    Ohly
     
  5. Robert swingle

    Robert swingle New Member

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    I bought a preowned 20lb co2 tank and got it filled for total of around 50$ off of Craigslist. Then bought co2 regulator that came with 15 ft co2 airline and a bubble counter and electronic solenoid for like 80 dollars off of eBay then another 14 dollars for 2 co2 diffuser s off of eBay. Then I went to my lfs and bought a 4 dollar splitter and another bubble counter and am feeding 2 fishtanks off of that. Idk if that info helps or not
     
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  6. Ohly

    Ohly Aspiring Aquascaper

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    @Robert Swingle

    how long a 20lb bottle last for your setup?
    _________________________________________________

    i'm about to buy some substrate.. i'm looking at the ADA products and i want to know what is the difference between the substrate :aqua soil -vs- power sand..

    thanks

    Ohly
     
  7. Robert swingle

    Robert swingle New Member

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    I'm not sure how long it will last. I've been running it 8 hrs a day for a month now and the tank still is almost full. So I'm sure it'll last 6 months to 12 months. If not it only costs 30 dollars to get it refilled
     
  8. niko

    niko New Member

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    If you natually have patience you can make a tank that runs by itself. The only work it will need is to change a little water whenever you want. Inert substrate, moss, very clean water, and a little water movement. That's all. No need for light. Do not put fish or put just 2 or 3 small fish.

    What is interesting about a tank like that is that it will teach you many important things that most people in this hobby never learn - the importance of patience, planning, and not forcing things to happen.

    With only ambient light the moss in the tank will grow slower but you will never have any issues (algae). After 3-4 months you can very carefully start to change things to move to a more high tech setup. What will happen is that you will go a full circle - from a simple low tech tank to a high tech tank and back to a tank that is running itself and needs minimal care. At that point you will know what makes sense and what not in this hobby. If you have patience you will enjoy the hobby much more than the average hiped up enthusiast.
     
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  9. Kcraven

    Kcraven Aspiring Aquascaper

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    CO2 will last for ages and it is pretty cheap to refill. I wouldn't try DIY Co2 unless your running it on a Low Tech Tank. This is due to it being unstable with how much CO2 it generates and only a selected few people can really report good results from it. As for your ADA substrates. Aquasoil is what you need don't worry about AquaSand. Aquasand is just a very fine version and alot of people have asked that question. If you search on the forum you will find that everyone suggest using aquasoil and not to waste your money on the sand!
     
  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Ohly

    Once you start thinking about Co2 and ADA substrates you are no longer a Low Tech it's heading into a different class of Aquascaping completely.

    My suggestion is if you decide to continue that way start by doing a lot more research, forget any DIY its more trouble than its worth especially for beginners using Co2.

    I have never used either or ever intend to my tanks a pure Low Tech.

    Keith:):)
     
  11. Kcraven

    Kcraven Aspiring Aquascaper

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    And might I just add to keithgh's comment............ His low tech tanks look really good and healthy! Its definitely worth having a look at his tanks and doing your research to see what class of aquascaping your looking at doing!

    Good luck!
     
  12. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Ohly
    No Co2
    No Special Substrate
    No Special Lighting only T8 plant and Daylight tubes. 12 hrs per day
    Feeding I only use Seachem Liquid Ferts and once every three months Fert Tablets.

    Filtration a UGF 2 risers and an Eheim Pro11

    You could not get more of a Low Tech than that tank.

    The Substrate is never cleaned its impossible any way the mulm is the natural food for the plants and Shrimp Fry.

    Keith:):)
     
  13. Ohly

    Ohly Aspiring Aquascaper

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    thanks keith! actually i have this level of tank for over a year, except for the number of plants that is quite incomparable... your's like a tropican forest and mine is close to a desert..
    well thats my girlfriend's tank but i put a lot more $ in her tank ..

    but i think i want to try the next level in planted tank.. with a ''mid tech'' tank

    beside my ''mid teck'' tank, i want to built a mini tank wich would be dedicated to simplicity..... and growing moss .. the mini tank would be stylish, with the back made of stained glass window, it would be a 1-2 gallon tank, with , i said moss and maybe one or 2 shrimp/ little fish , filtration would be a hang on the back filter.. and aswell fert by seachem liquid fert..

    so, thanks averyone for all the advices, great looking super low-tech tank

    Ohly
     

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