Best lighting for 20L planted tank.
I will be soon setting up a 20L tank and am wanting to heavily plant it. I am planning on doing about 8 to 10 mollies and perhaps 2 or 3 Cory cats. In the past I have done gravel and sand. I am wanting to plant amazon swords and crypts and dwarf hair grass.
Should I get a T5 fixture and the "specialty" substrate for planted tanks? I do not think I need or want a CO2 system with the amount of fish that I plan on doing. Also, after reading the basic plant guide on here I want to get a regular sponge filter. I also have a hang on back for a 20 gallon, could I do both with just foam filter materials? Would the hang on be sufficent?
20 liters is 5g.....I find that very small for 10 mollies and cory's! Despite that Cory's need to be in groups of 8 to feel secure (so with happy, so with healthy).
You do not need no specialty substrate; for the Swords I'd get plant sticks and everything else if need be liquid ferts.And no you do not need CO2...Look at my aquarium lof here on the left: All these tanks are set up with normal gravel or sand, no CO2 no ferts nothing but fish & water (well and plants lol) :-)
I'd just use a sponge filter in that sized tank.
The biggest you'll need is proper light; which is a full spectrum light, rated at around 6500 Kelvin and for a 5g i'd get something like a 7 or max 10 watt. You can find these at any home store or walmart labeled as "Daylight or Ultimate daylight" cost you less then $5 and works great; you can find these by companies like Phillips, GE, Bright effects and Salvina.
I understand that dwarf hairgrass needs lots of light while crypts and swords do not. My crypts did fine with 1watt per gallon but melted when I increased the light to 2watts per gallon.
While crypts and swords are heavy root feeders and would benefit from an enriched substrate, many on this site discourage the use of enriched substrates. They prefer root tabs.
Sorry guys, I meant 20L as a 20 gallon but the long style or "breeder" tank.
While the other two are quibbling over dwarf hairgrass:lol:...
By T5 if you mean regular which I believe is NO [normal output], it will be fine with one tube. Or a full-length regular T8 tube/fixture. Either will provide adequate light, just ensure the fixture will take the longest tube that will cover the length of the tank as close as possible. I have one T8 over my 33g (which is 25watts) and it is plenty for the plants you mention, maybe except the hairgrass. On this I also read that it is higher light, but of course different things in different tanks make all such generalities nothing more than possibilities.
On the substrate an enriched would be OK for swords if you want to spend the money. Given that they do wear out at some point, though it may be a few years, and the initial considerable cost compared to small gravel/sand...I usually suggest you go with the latter. For 20 years I have maintained swords and crypts in plain gravel; this past year I tried substrate fertilizer, and in 1996 I experimented with laterite under the gravel. All of the plants will grow very well in regular inert gravel with regular liquid fertilizer; the swords and crypts will grow faster and perhaps larger (sooner at least) with root fertilizer as well, but it is not essential for healthy plant growth. I see you've been reading the stickies at the top, the Part 1 and 2 of the series on a basic planted aquarium covers nutrients and substrates.
Part 3 covers filtration, and as I mention therein I do not recommend a hang-on-back filter. The sponge will be adequate with all your plants. A question on water parameters, is your tap water slightly basic/alkaline (pH in the 7's, with moderate hardness)? This is essential for mollies, and most corydoras will adapt fine, as will the plants.
Thank you for the information, Byron. I read all of your stickies at the top of the forum and enjoyed them. In the past I have used laterite (if I remeber correctly is a reddish brown substrate) with gravel and had a decent outcome. The hairgrass is just a dream, I think it's gorgeous. Do you reccomend something that looks like the hairgrass? My water is naturally a little on the hard side. Currently I have 4 mollies in my 55 gallon tank, but plants have not fared well in there because a I have 3 young koi that destroy everything except for some mondo grass and java fern. I have some decent daylight bulbs in there, and the two species are surviving so far.
20 LONG sounds mucchhh better with the fish selection now :-)
Just make sure when you set it up for the cory's that you either use fine gravel with no sharp edges or sand rather. And then I'd def recommend a group of 8 cories not only 2-3; they not only need to live in groups, but their behavior will also then change which will make it much more interesting for you from the outside looking in.
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