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Discussion Starter #1
So for my 20 gallon tank with plants, my filter is old and making noises, I think I'll just buy a new one. However I know that my current one, a hang off the back carbon filter, isn't good for plants. So what would be the best choice? A canister filter? Also do I need to have bubbles? My pump broke -_- and I have sand substrate, black titanium moon sand, and four types of plants currently, might add to it. Do I need to give them plant food? I'm running out. And lastly I'm not 100% sure what my light is, but once it gives out ill but a plant light.

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for that size i don't think canister is needed yet they are great. An easy switch would go to a fluval(I love their filters) rated for a little above what you have. The flow is adjustable if thats a worry you have
 

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You don't need to use the carbon on a HOB filter. You can cut open the cartridge and rinse out the carbon. You don't need bubbles. As a matter of fact, most of our plant experts advise against them. You can't go wrong with a weekly dose of comprehensive plant food, especially if your plants have become accustomed to it. You can usually get pretty much info about the lighting from the bulb itself. What are the notations on yours ?
 

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Just replace the carbon with more filter floss.

For the bubbles, they creature gas exchange which removed CO2 from your water. You would be better off turning the bubbles off, but you could also find a carbon supplement to add to your water such as seachem florish excel (DOSE VERY VERY CAREFULLY) or add a soil layer that will break down and add carbon to your water (use only organic soil with no additives and it will add tannins to your water).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just replace the carbon with more filter floss.

For the bubbles, they creature gas exchange which removed CO2 from your water. You would be better off turning the bubbles off, but you could also find a carbon supplement to add to your water such as seachem florish excel (DOSE VERY VERY CAREFULLY) or add a soil layer that will break down and add carbon to your water (use only organic soil with no additives and it will add tannins to your water).
Where can I get filter floss? And for this particular filter I buy the ones that you Make yourself, so I guess I could just not put the carbon in, but wouldn't that worsen filteration?


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Where can I get filter floss? And for this particular filter I buy the ones that you Make yourself, so I guess I could just not put the carbon in, but wouldn't that worsen filteration?


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No.. it should be fine. I buy sheets of it at petco or petmart. You should be abl to find it easily. I added that to every one of my non fluval filters...no actually I even added that to my fluval 110. very useful to keep on hand.
 

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On a 20g tank with plants, I would go simple, with a sponge filter. Either a single sponge like the Elite connected to a small air pump; or at more cost the internal Fluval U1 filter which is just a sponge with a motorhead. The latter will likely be much quieter, if that is a concern.

Seeing the fish you have, I would not go for so much water movement as from a HOB. Add some floating plants, and you're set.

Byron.
 

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Pretty much repeating here... drop the carbon, drop the bubbles, you can use polyester pillow stuffing for filter media or just buy the floss at the LFS... I've tried both and I like the pillow stuffing.

If you are adding more plants I would consider changing the bulb sooner than later.

Oh yah, like Byron said, sponge filter and power head... If it were me I would go that way.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do want to add more plants, I might wait onit for a little bit first. I'd really like some java fern, but I herd they're fragile. I mean... My bulb is pretty old.. I'd think it'll give out eventually..

Btw, do you see the pictures? I tried putting those in there...




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I do want to add more plants, I might wait onit for a little bit first. I'd really like some java fern, but I herd they're fragile. I mean... My bulb is pretty old.. I'd think it'll give out eventually..

Btw, do you see the pictures? I tried putting those in there...
I saw the photos. But I missed a couple things from your initial post, sorry about that.

I still say a sponge filter or the Fluval U1 is sufficient, no powerhead; with those fish you do not want strong water currents. Nor for the plants either.

On the light. Do yo have a fluorescent tube, or is it incandescent (screw-in bulb sockets)? We can suggest adequate lighting when we know what we're dealing with, either will work fine with the right tube/bulbs. Tubes must be replaced regularly, usually 12 or so months is it, as they weaken considerably as they age.

On the plant food, the first fertilizer to add to any planted tank is a complete liquid. Most of us here use Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. Brightwell Aquatics makes a similar, called FlorinMulti. Both are basically complete, and you use very little so long-term they are much less expensive than the cheaper brands which are not complete anyway. Liquid fert is first because some nutrients are only taken up via the leaves from the water. Second fert in some situation can be substrate tabs, but this is only necessary with larger swords, aponogeton, tiger lotus and such which are heavier feeders.

Byron.
 

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Java fern are low light, but I wouldn't call them fragile. As for the light, I agree with JDM that you should change it sooner rather than later. Many members suggest changing bulbs every 6 months. While bulbs might still produce plenty of light, they gradually degrade to the point where their output is not nearly as beneficial for the plants. You said that this is a 20 gallon tank, right ? There are sponge filters that will handle a 20 and more; however, I would stick with a simple HOB. Marineland makes a slim line of HOBs that have flow control and are very reasonable. Saw your pics and they are very nice
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My filter doesn't really shift anything because the output is a little lower, so if I fill my tank up enough, it touches it and it doesn't disturb anything that way. Ill try posting pictures, but they don't show up for me... And I'm not sure if I want a sponge filter, especially if I later decide to get a larger tank, currently have an20 and a 29. My bulbs are the long kind... Ya... I'm trying to put pics on.





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My filter doesn't really shift anything because the output is a little lower, so if I fill my tank up enough, it touches it and it doesn't disturb anything that way. Ill try posting pictures, but they don't show up for me... And I'm not sure if I want a sponge filter, especially if I later decide to get a larger tank, currently have an20 and a 29. My bulbs are the long kind... Ya... I'm trying to put pics on.
Good tubes for plants are those with a Kelvin from 5000K to 7000K. The Life-Glo is ideal, but the ZooMed UltraSun is much the same and a bit less expensive.

The so-called "plant" and "aquarium" tubes are much less viable, as these will have about half the intensity.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good tubes for plants are those with a Kelvin from 5000K to 7000K. The Life-Glo is ideal, but the ZooMed UltraSun is much the same and a bit less expensive.

The so-called "plant" and "aquarium" tubes are much less viable, as these will have about half the intensity.

Byron.
Ok, do they sell those in pet stores or do I gave to buy them somewhere else?


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Ok, do they sell those in pet stores or do I gave to buy them somewhere else?
Some fish stores sell one or both I mentioned, and you can get them online.
 
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