New 20 Gallon Long community/planted tank
I've posted a bit on Bettafish.com and I love it there, but this aquarium will not have my betta in it so I figured I would try out TFK because I heard good things about it from some of the other guys.
I bought a 20 gallon long off craigslist with black sand, a hood a filter and a heater. I'm ditching the filter because I think my aquaclear 20 is better, but everything else I have cleaned and I have the tank filled and cycling. I'm completely replacing my 5 gallon(which will become my sick tank). I'm using all the same decor, equipment and plants from my already cycled 5 gallon(livestock as well). The only exception being extra Sand(or another substrate, see below) and a heater. I will be moving a Sponge filter rated for up to 40 Gallons I believe and a Aquaclear 20 filter. Since both were already part of a cycled well maintained aquarium, Do I still have to cycle the 20 long? My thoughts were that I would just transfer everything, and let it cycle for a week. I was hoping that having already cycled equipment and decor would save me some time on the cycle, but I want to do it right so I didn't want to jump the gun.
I'm also moving quite a lot of low light plants over to the new aquarium. I love keeping live plants, Especially the low light/low maintenance ones. I think they look so much better than the fake plants and I think the livestock appreciate them more. I had sand in the 5 gallon but I was looking into other substrates, Mainly floramax, because it is the easiest for me to get. Would a layer of that under the sand still provide all the nutrients or should I just go with straight floramax? I know its not completely necessary with the plants I have, but I may eventually get some more demanding plants and I don't want to have to redue the entire tank to add them. I currently use Seachem Flourish and excel weekly and the plants are doing great. Should I bother with the floramax or another substrate right now?
Currently in my 5 gallon tank I have an amazing clean up crew consisting of 2 albino corys, a otocinclus, 5 ghost shrimp, and a zebra nerite snail. I also have 2 baby black mollies my dad gave me from his last batch. I plan to add 3 or so more corys, and another oto. I would like to get a nice set of schooling fish, like neon tetras or something like that. suggestions would be very helpful. I want something that is colorful to add a little be of moving pop to the tank. I noticed that currently all of my livestock is either black, white or clear. so I need some color, although I do kinda like the black and white theme...
I'm also looking for ways to add some depth to my aquarium. I was thinking about having a sand hill towards one of the back corners, but that is kinda boring so any other suggestions would be great. Pictures of some natural 20 gallon longs would be great if you would like to show off you tanks and give me some ideas of what mine could look like.
Thanks everyone in advance!
Welcome to the TFK side.:-D
I have not myself used FloraMax substrate, but I did have a tank with Flourite which from what I can gather is much the same thing. Eco-Complete (also made by CarribSea, who make FloraMax) is nearly identical to Flourite. I was very disappointed; it cost a lot to get this, and the plants were no better. Plus it was rough enough that substrate fish had problems. I would stay with sand. I prefer play sand as it is very inexpensive, very authentic in appearance, and substrate fish have no issues.
Sand substrates tend to level out, as there is a normal water flow through the substrate plus gravity. Building up higher areas with heavy rock or wood chunks can be effective. You seem to be going with forest fish, and the more wood the better, so perhaps this is the easiest way to achieve some contrast. Check the photos of my tanks under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left, you may get some ideas.
A very plain black background, such as black construction paper taped to the outside of the tank, can make the depth (front to back k) seem greater, as the fish and plants and wood will be more obvious.
For filter, with forest fish a sponge will be sufficient. I only use a dual sponge filter in my 20g and 29g tanks. The problem with HOB filters on such small tanks is the water flow can be greater than what the fish and plants prefer.
Hope this is of some help.
Thanks for the info. I was concerened about the sand evening out but I figured with some plants and maybe one of the stones I have I could maybe keep it from doing so. I'm doing find with the sand so I guess I'll stick with it and maybe try some of the nutrient pellets if I have some more difficult plants. I've been looking into driftwood for quite some time but I haven't found any that really pop. I'll keep my eye open though. Thanks for your help!
I agree with Byron that your sponge filter will be enough. Doing that and the AC is likely to be too much movement in the tank.
If you have root feeder type plants just get root tabs. Seachem and API both put out really nice ones. The Seachem though is a bit less messy if disturbed. However I have found API to do better for things like Crypts and Swords. They give mine so much more growth versus the Seachem.
You mentioned schooling fish. When you look at schooling fish that catch your eye be sure to research how active they are. Some schooling fish like to move about a whole lot more than others and as such require more space despite being small fish. There are several hardy variety of rasbora that fit what you are doing very nicely so that's one place to start. I kept Harlequin Rasbora for a good amount of time in a planted 20 gallon and they spawned regularly. However they may or may not be the right kind of color pop you are looking for.
This is a 20 long that I ran planted:
It had Eco Complete but you can get the same kind of growth using root tabs when necessary.
I tried the sloped substrate with sand thinking that the plants might hold it.... it doesn't work. Others told me as much but sometimes I like to play anyway. I only had about an inch or so difference and now it is mostly flat even after moving front sand to the back a few times. Once the sand wets through thoroughly it flows like water.... takes a little longer but it flows. Even a row of rocks will let the sand flow around them. I have a few plants that are actually out of the sand and look like they are standing on their roots. It doesn't bother them and it's not really noticeable so I haven't fixed it yet.
The only way to get a defined incline is to create a separator the literally holds the sand back then put something in front to conceal it. Semi-burying some driftwood along the front edge of the "step" would work in your case creating a second level in the rear or corner.
As far as the cycling goes, if you are moving everything over and you keep the fish numbers the same initially then you shouldn't need to worry about cycling, most everything is already to go and the plants will continue to help. Add more plants before adding more fish and you still should be fine... bumping up the existing groups early would be beneficial for the fish. I might suggest to leave everything for a month before adding new different fish but you could keep adding plants anytime.
I appreciate your input guys. I've very interested in Galaxy Rasboras, I think another name for them are celestial Danios. I also Like the loches, but I need to do some more research. I'm very excited to get home and start transferring the plants. I may stop by the pet store to grab some root tabs and take a look at the driftwood they have.
My Dad used to use plexi glass to hold back some gravel. He had 3 - 5 inch tiers in his 55 gallon. I would like something a little more natural looking though. I guess I'll have to play around. Maybe some sort of artificial barrier masked by some plants or something.
I use substrate tab fertilizer but only for the larger swords and the red tiger lotus. Other plants will be fine with just liquid, which is necessary anyway as it provides all nutrients and plants take some up only via the leaves so a comprehensive liquid provides everything.
Check our profiles for any fish (or plants) as some have very specific needs. You mention the Celestial Pearl Danio for instance. Profiles are under the second heading from the left in the blue bar, or click shaded names.
"White" kuhli loach? I think you might be referring to Dojo/Weather Loaches, just for future reference. I'm pretty sure they require cooler waters and around a 4 foot tank minimum.
Kuhli loaches are a lot of fun, and they stay relatively small :) Just be sure that if you do use an AC, to put a sponge or net over the intake. They're notorious for getting into places they shouldn't.
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