Originally Posted by Guber
wow yeah that looks really good. What kind of plants are those? I have java fern, java moss, anubias nana, and anachris in my tank. and what wattage do you reccomend i get for a 20 gallon? I've probably just gotten used to the lights then and i'll put off getting a new bulb for very long. Another question i want to ask so i can save making a new thread, i'd like to get a new heater...how should i go about introducing it into my tank? My reasons for this are that the heater that came with my tank just has a real stiff knob on top with no exact temperature readings so when i set my tank up i had to fiddle with it for forever until i found that it sits at around 79-80.
The main plant in that tank was Anubias nana, the dark green large-leaf plant that is almost everywhere. All that came from one little plant that I bought in 1998/9 (I know it was before I moved in 2000) and it was planted in the back corner of my 90g tank. With the minimal light it received at the bottom of a relatively deep tank it still kept growing. As you know from yours, it grows by slowly extending the rhizome just above the gravel (or whatever it is attached to) and new leaves arise and roots will form along it and attach to wood, rocks and even the gravel. When I set up the 33g I just broke the rhizome into sections several inches long and placed them around the tank. The plants growing in the substrate along the front are crypts, 2 or maybe 3 species. Java moss is attached to the wood. And the floating plant is Ceratopteris, floating fern, that will grow well in almost any tank with soft slightly acidic water, as it is up under the light. Little plants arise from the leaves constantly and can be pulled off as new plants. I have to cull it every week or it would cover the surface (I have it in my 70g now).
For a 20g I would use one tube; it will probably be a 15w but maybe a 20w if it is a 20g Long tank. My 33g was 36 inches, so the light is a 24 inch tube and they come in 20 watts. As long as it is full spectrum, 15w or 20w will work with these types of plants.
Buy a good heater, the best you can afford; the investment is worth it--nothing worse than having a heater malfunction and cooking your fish (or frezing them) overnight. [I had this happen, in this 33g actually; one morning I saw the corys acting weird and discoverd the heater was on and the temp was 86F. The pencilfish and cardinals didn't mind, but all the corys were dead in two days from the excessive (to them) heat.] I believe the heater is the single most important piece of equipment. When you get a new one, hang it in the tank and wait 30 minutes, then plug it in and adjust the knob to the desired temperature. Leave the existing heater running until you're sure the new one is working properly. You won't overheat the tank (unless one of them malfunctions of course) as neither will come on unless the temperature falls below where they are set.