20 gallon long setup (low tech)
Right now I have a normal 20 gallon with cories and kuhlis but want to turn it into a 20 gallon long because with what I have, it might turn out better. I had a few questions though:
I will move the playsand/water/filter into the new tank, I will need to add some more sand in order to get a better root system for the plants. I have a piece of wood I will add some Java Fern to. I was looking for crypts and possibly Water Sprite.
Ferts - Right now I have liquid ferts but I saw that tabs last for 2-3 months and I only have to plant possibly 3 because I only want plants in a certain area. I know Water Sprite work best floating and get their nutrients from water, so I should stick with my water ferts?
Lighting - Low tech, I have two options. I'm going to buy a small sheet of glass for a lid instead of buying a canopy from the store, a 10 gallon lid was $45 last time I was there, I can get glass cut for $10 and use that. My current light is for a regular 20 gallon so it will only be a 18" light. My choice is either to use it for now and center my plants around the light, or look for a cheap shop light thats 30" long I can place ontop of the glass and get a proper bulb. Which would benefit me more?
Co2 - there wont be any, I dont want to get involved with that just yet, and this tank is my girlfriends so I dont want to kill her cories getting the mixture wrong.
One of the things I would like to suggest is the idea of buying some high quality root tabs and grind them down into a fine powder. Litter it on the bottom of tank (especially where the planting is going to go) before moving your sand over. This will help jump start nutrients for any root feeders if you plan any. For the most part you'd probably be fine with just liquid fert. I've noticed a heavy water feeder like Water Wisteria seems to benefit from root tabs though (have an explosion of growth since adding one to where it's roots are).
If you are getting crypts...you are going to want to make use of root tabs. It's not that expensive when you consider how long a single tab can last.
The only other thing I can contribute is to be wary of the Water Sprite in a 20 gallon long. I had it in an old 20 gallon long set up and it was a hitch hiker with new plants. I ended up putting it's roots into my substrate and the thing grew taller than the tank was, curled over and then began growing out into the length of the tank. It was kind of neat but...it goes to show how it can and will outgrow the 20 long.
Thanks for the info, I have a 75 gallon I could put it in once it grows large enough, plus other 21" tall tanks. I had Hornwort before and for some odd reason once I moved it out of my 125 gallon into a 75 and 35, it died pretty fast still have no idea why.
I have two crypts who have done pretty well even after moving them out of the 125 which I later read they apparently dont do too well being moved. I didnt think of crushing the tabs when initially setting up the tank, sounds like a great idea
Water Wisteria look nice and are really cheap, however it says they grow up to 20" but I could always trim it. It would be something I have to buy online, how long can plants live in shipment? I know fish are 1 day but I dont know how long plants can go in shipment before dieing or melting too much.
The reason I moved the hornwort out of my 125 was because I installed a 1400gph pump for my clown/yoyo loaches and it moved them around too much. My swords are starting to die so I might take them out and possibly plant the sprite leftovers or let it float around in the calmer corner of the tank
I don't know how well they do. I've had plants spend a few days in shipment and turn out fine but those were hardy plants like Java Fern.
Now to find a decent place that ships to Canada
Several issues in this thread, so I'll try to cover them, starting at the beginning.
While a sheet of glass may be less expensive, it is not easy to deal with. You have to move it (and probably the light) every time you feed the fish. $45 just for the cover glass is a bit expensive. You can get an entire hood with a fluorescent fixture for less than $60 for a 20g long. As you're in Canada, take a look at this online supplier, I use this one a lot:
Search - Pets & Ponds
The cost of the entire hood is worth it, but if you want different lighting then a glass cover with a hinged front pane and the light would be better.
You can do a single T8 fluorescent tube (tube length preferably 30-inch, or 24-inch) with a good tube like the Life-Glo. Or an incandescent hood with 3 sockets, using Daylight 6500K CFL bulbs. Or perhaps an LED like the Bright Marineland.
Fertilizers. Some plant nutrients are only taken up via the leaves by all plants, so these need to be in the water column. And floating plants obviously need water nutrients entirely, and with your proposed fish floating plants are essential in point of fact. Substrate tabs do not release into the water (according to the manufacturers). The first fertilizer to use, always, is a good complete liquid; Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive or Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti are two I use/recommend. Heavy feeding plants rooted in the substrate will benefit then from substrate tabs in addition to the liquid. Sanguinefox's suggestion to break some apart and lay it under the sand is good; this will kick-start.
I would avoid Wisteria in this small a tank. Crypts, pygmy chain sword or chain sword would be ideal in the substrate. If you have medium hard or harder water, Vallisneria is another, but this does not usually do well in soft water, and it needs a bit more light than the others mentioned. Stem plants tend to grow very fast so I would avoid them, except perhaps for Brazilian Pennywort which can be left floating for a nice cover, avoiding the issues with Water Sprite. Though I use WS in all my tanks, even my 10g and 20g, and just pull off the daughter plants and discard the parent plant periodically during the water change to keep it in check.
You need to ascertain your GH of the tap water. This is more important than pH. Also the KH/Alkalinity which will tell you to what extent the pH might shift. I have an article in the Freshwater Articles section on the relationship between these if you want some background.
Plants can be shipped, I have sent plants to some members in Canada and they have always made it [only send during warmer weather]. PM me if interested. There are also Canadian online suppliers.
Thanks for the info as usual, I've made some modifications after doing more research last night and looking around Plantedtank and I think i'm going to go with CFL lighting and using the metal clamp lights you can buy at the hardware store with some 6500k bulbs. I have a piece of custom cut glass in my pictus/oscar tank which I need to have recut now that the tank they're in has a center support brace. I never go over the entire width of the tank so theres room for oxygen to get in, and easy places to feed/room for filter pipes.
I need to call the glass place in town, but I believe a piece of 30x8 glass will only cost me about $15, a piece of 48x15 1/4 glass was only around $40 or so. I'm trying to keep the cost down on this project, when I bought the 10 gallon lid/light for $50 I was shocked because I could have bought a 10 gallon kit for basically the same price.
I can also clip the lights into the tank or make a diy support stand so I can hang them over the tank and go lidless.
I know Wisteria is a fast grower, but I want to experiment with it and I know I'll prob turn my 75 gallon into a low tech planted tank full of easy to grow plants and put a good chunk in there. I do need to buy a KH/GH test or see if my LFS will do a test for me, but I know I have harder water in my area, PH around 7.5 or so and people here breed cichlids well
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