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nickw2142 06-29-2013 03:19 AM

Need advice re-doing my tank
 
I have a 20 gallon tank that has been up and running for several years. Its just with basic gravel and plastic plants and some basic tetras and stuff. Well i've gotten tired of looking at all these beautiful tanks on the internet and i've decided to redo my tank.

I figured that for this, i'd have to revamp the lighting and the substrate to start. So I live in Arizona so its unbelievably dry so I decided that a cover is a must to control the evaporation. so I decided to get a glass cover. I'm thinking one of the versatops or something like that. Its a 20 gallon tank and i really have no idea what glass canopy to get. The tank is a 24" high so i was thinking a 24" top but if you actuall measure it, minus the trim of the tank, the actually canopy gap is like.... 23 1/2 inches. SOO im not sure if i'm being really paranoid about this, but some feedback would be nice.

For the substrate, i was just going to take out most of the gravel and fill out a couple inches of some nice planted substrate from petsmart or something. My plan for growing a nice tank is just high light, nutrients and a well stocked tank for c02. I really don't want to take the time to do homemade c02 or pay to inject it. so i was going to get the marineland planted tank led array to get my high lighting.

Because of the circumstances, i have no idea what plants to put in there. I really want a nice groundcover so I was thinking since I'm not dosing c02, no HC or glosso. soo maybe just your regular dwarf sag. I want a really nice carpet of something at least. maybe dwarf hairgrass?

For the fish choice, I already have 5 red minor tetras and I love them. With a planted tank, I'm gonna need a cleanup crew so I was thinking 5 ottos for algae and either amanos or corys bottom cleanup. I'm kinda worried about corys not getting enough food with the groundcover everywhere... like.. all the extra food will fall to the bottom of the plants and the corys will lose out on important grazing food. Any suggestions on cleanup crew is more than welcome. I don't really want snails because i think they just look unsightly.

Thanks for any help you guys can give me.

Byron 06-29-2013 08:25 PM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:cheers:

On the cover, a glass cover set and a light fixture is one way to go, the other being a manufactured hood. The glass cover sets come in sizes to fit standard tanks. A 20g "tall" is 24 inches in length and there is a lip running around the inside of the top frame. The glass cover sits down on this lip. The front half will either be hinged so it opens for feeding, or it may be a sliding model that uses a set of "tracks" that sit on the frame lip at opposite ends. For standard tanks you should have no issue, but if you are buying locally, ask them if you can return it should it not fit. You can see these online too.

To the substrate. Some of the so-called plant substrates don't seem to have much benefit, in my experience anyway. I now use play sand (fine gravel in one tank). One can have quite nice planted tanks without the expense of CO2 and enriched substrates. I don't use CO2 in any of my tanks, and you can see photos under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left. I use moderate light and some nutrient supplementation. The method is outlined in my article here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...uarium-178786/
I can explain more if asked. I'm still using T8 fluorescent tube lighting, but have looked a bit into LED. One of our members (JDM) has experimented more with this, and he tells us that the Marineland Double Bright LED system is quite nice; from the photos of his tank I would agree. I've thought of getting this for my 33g the next time I need to replace the tube. If Jeff sees this thread, he can offer more advice.

To the fish. We have profiles in the Reference Material area. Check out that for the Red Minor, or Serpae Tetra, Hyphessobrycon eques here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/c...-eques-191001/ As it mentions, I would increase the group to 8. This will be do-able in a 20g planted tank, along with some substrate fish. Corys are fine, but they will not manage just on fallen flake foods, so sinking foods like tablets, disks, pellets are better. I never have food remaining in my tanks; and none ever reaches the bottom except in one tank, but I leave it for the snails. Too bad you don't like them, they are your best friend in a planted tank. The Malaysian Livebearing are best, but I also have the acute bladder snail (could be pond snails, much the same). Their benefit cannot be overstated.:-)

Byron.

nickw2142 06-30-2013 02:46 AM

Thank you for your reply and your article on the basic approach was very informative. I think I might just have to get over my dislike of snails and i'll try the malaysian livebearing. With regards for lighting, im thinking of just getting this fixture, as it is far cheaper. Coralife Aqualight High Output T5 Dual Lamp Fixture Aquarium T-5 HO Light Fixtures

nickw2142 06-30-2013 04:17 AM

for fish, i just got two more red minor tetras, bringing the total to 7, and ill go get 1 more at least. For the corys, Im thinking maybe 3? i'm thinking 3 should be enough so that they have friends. Ottos are a bit more skittish and so i want a nice group of 5 i think, plus theyre great with algae. for the dual t5 setup, im also replacing the 10000k and actinic lamps with regular old 6700k 24w t5s. So the total stock would come out to 8 tetras, 3 corys, and 5 ottos. does that seem okay?

Byron 06-30-2013 11:26 AM

Quote:

Thank you for your reply and your article on the basic approach was very informative. I think I might just have to get over my dislike of snails and i'll try the malaysian livebearing. With regards for lighting, im thinking of just getting this fixture, as it is far cheaper. Coralife Aqualight High Output T5 Dual Lamp Fixture Aquarium T-5 HO Light Fixtures
This will be way too much light, nothing but problems. T5 HO lighting is about 1.5 times more intense that the same type and length in T8, and a single T8 tube would be sufficient, so this dual T5 HO is going to be three times more light than necessary. Algae will be rampant, and your fish will be blinded.;-)

LED was mentioned previously, and here (from the same place as the above) is the Marineland Doublebright LED which Jeff has and finds it good, and I am planning on getting this for my 33g when the time comes to replace the present tube.
Marineland Double Bright LED Lighting System Aquarium LED Light Fixtures
The first one, Model 32990, will fit your tank. The next one up might be worth getting as it will be a bit more light. This is where Jeff's experience will be useful, as he has one of these and could recommend which one would be better. Over a 20g I would myself suggest the smaller. And it is less expensive than the fixture you linked.

Quote:

For the corys, Im thinking maybe 3? i'm thinking 3 should be enough so that they have friends. Ottos are a bit more skittish and so i want a nice group of 5 i think, plus theyre great with algae. So the total stock would come out to 8 tetras, 3 corys, and 5 ottos. does that seem okay?
First, you want more corys, no less than five. Corys are a very social fish that live in groups of hundreds, and they need numbers. Five has shown to be the fewest one should have, and this is fine in a 20g. All one species. If you want two species, I would get three of each, six in total. Some species stay together more than others, but in my 20+ years of experience with many species and spawning regularly, the total numbers is the main thing, but they do seem to fare better with some of their own species when possible. Do you know of our profiles? We have many species included, check under Catfish, the Corydoras species.

Otos, I would say 3 max. But if this is solely for algae, no. You won't need them for that. First off, any so-called algae eating fish will only eat certain types of algae, and almost always if one has algae problems it is one of the more difficult types like brush algae, and otos will not touch this. Also, if common green algae does become evident down the road, adding fish like otos for this is better then, after you have the algae; otos are notorious for not making it. They are wild caught, and nearly starved when we get them, and if they go into tanks without common algae they frequently do not make it.

Byron.

nickw2142 06-30-2013 11:06 PM

Unfortunately the regular Marineland double bright system has proven to be ineffective in growing plants. It just wasn't made for that. However, they also make a planted tank edition that I've decided to get for cost efficiency. Marineland Aquatic Plant LED Lighting System - WITH TIMER Aquarium LED Light Fixtures

with the ottos, your saying to wait until i have an algae problem or just not at all? because their sole purpose to me is just algae control. then again, what about amano shrimp? they're legendary for controlling algae as well as keeping the substrate clean, so i could just use a combo of amanos and otos after the tank starts to get some algae in it so they don't starve right away. i just really uncertain about how i'm gonna do my cleanup crew

ameliarose82 07-01-2013 12:15 AM

My husband and I recently changed over our 30g from gravel and artificial to sand and live plants. I'm so happy we did too. We do weekly water changes and my husband cleans the sides of the tank a little with an aquarium brush and we haven't had any need for any other clean up crew other than our catfish. The live plants have helped our tank be cleaner and our water clearer than ever before, so I would try the plants for a while and see if you still even have need for anything else besides the catfish or corys you choose.

nickw2142 07-01-2013 01:39 AM

I will definately wait a while after setting up my planted tank before i introduce any otos or amano shrimp to see if it becomes a problem first

Byron 07-01-2013 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nickw2142 (Post 2444282)
Unfortunately the regular Marineland double bright system has proven to be ineffective in growing plants. It just wasn't made for that. However, they also make a planted tank edition that I've decided to get for cost efficiency. Marineland Aquatic Plant LED Lighting System - WITH TIMER Aquarium LED Light Fixtures

with the ottos, your saying to wait until i have an algae problem or just not at all? because their sole purpose to me is just algae control. then again, what about amano shrimp? they're legendary for controlling algae as well as keeping the substrate clean, so i could just use a combo of amanos and otos after the tank starts to get some algae in it so they don't starve right away. i just really uncertain about how i'm gonna do my cleanup crew

Have you tried the Marineland Double Bright? Jeff has good plant growth from it. I'll wait for him to comment, as I am going by what he has posted, not personal experience. One thing though, one does have to keep in mind that different plants have different light needs, and this lighting did work for low and moderate light plants. The "carpet" or lawn plants and red-leaf plants might not fare so well as they are naturally higher light requiring.

On the otos, correct. Never buy any fish to serve a function, as it rarely works. Only get fish you like as fish; if they happen to have an added bonus, fine.:-) Fish like otos, Farlowella and Bristlenose pleco that are "algae" eating need to be added to more established tanks so they can initially get some natural food, common algae or diatoms. As I mentioned, these do not eat the more problematic algae. And while they can ussually be coaxed onto prepared sinking foods, initially they sometimes refuse these and can starve.

"Cleanup crew" is rather misleading, as the term is bandied about by aquarists without really understanding things. No fish will clean up anything really. All fish need foods meant for them or they will not be healthy. Snails are the only critters that eat waste, be it fish excrement, dead plant leaves, dead fish, uneaten food, etc. They also eat algae, though minimally, by which I mean they will not solve an outbreak of problem algae. Shrimp also eat algae, or some of it, but I'm not sure if they need foods targeted to them. From what I have read of some as in Amano's setups, they seem to manage on algae, but this is just my guess.

Byron.


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