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45P very low tech setup/planting suggestions

Andrew Butler

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After shutting all my aquariums down my young nephews (and mum) missed things as much as I did so my mum is keeping a 45P going.
Looking for some suggestions for the most simple setup out there to give something interesting enough, without the effort.
Mainly with regards to planting ideas, I've had a look over the Tropica inspiration but unsure I'm seeing what mum's looking for. I've my own ideas but is always interesting to hear other people's ideas and think this is likely the best place for the right input to create a lasting setup that's also stable.
  • Lighting is a Twinstar E with controller
  • Filtration is a Seachem Tidal HOB
  • Substrate is most likely a fine gravel (something like Unipac Nordic/Arctic 2-5mm or thereabouts) - keen to avoid a soil substrate due to the mess that would be made.
  • Option to add some wood/stone if needed but hopefully with the right plants this won't be needed
  • Fertilisation will be premixed like Tropica Specialised
  • Liquid Carbon can be added easily enough
  • Livestock will likely be a small school of Ember Tetra, a few Dwarf Ottos, a blue shrimp breeding colony and a few Amano shrimp.
  • Planting??????????
Remember this isn't an aquascape in the context most people would describe, it's to give the livestock something they feel happy enough in and create maximum enjoyment with minimal effort.
 

Andrew Butler

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Probably easiest option would be Java fern attached to rock and some anubias


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Thanks for the input.
Java ferns don't seem to like the very hard water we have around here, in particular the smaller needle or trident which are the only ones she likes.
(Hard water is the assumed reason after input from others over the years)
 

Karmicnull

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I'd put something like Tropica substrate under the gravel - in my limited experience it makes a big difference in low tech tanks. If you want low maintenance then definitely go for crypts, anubias and buces. Also Schismaglottis, pogostamon helferi, and dwarf chain swords.
 

Andrew Butler

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How about vallisneria spiralis tiger, I know it grows big but it's fairly easy to control. Other options would be cryptocoryne sp.

If you decide you want any vallis I'd be happy to send you some plantlets.
Thanks for the very kind offer John, I'm assuming the Vallisneria spiralis tiger reacts the same way to liquid carbon as the other Vallisneria and would like to leave that as an option.
I found that Cryptocoryne Crispatula (including Var. Balansae) gives a similar effect.
I'd put something like Tropica substrate under the gravel - in my limited experience it makes a big difference in low tech tanks. If you want low maintenance then definitely go for crypts, anubias and buces. Also Schismaglottis, pogostamon helferi, and dwarf chain swords.
If you'd seen my mum doing a water change you would likely revoke your suggestion of substrate under the gravel, it would become a mixture very quickly! Root tabs are probably the next best thing which could be used to try and supplement, where needed..

She has infact got one running at the moment that includes most of the obvious choices such as Anubias, Buces, Crypts and a Trident Java fern.
The Java fern has just failed to take and I'm beginning to see more clearly where the benefits of things like better filtration, CO2 and the likes help keep on top of things etc as algae has been a bit of an issue for her also. It's gotten to a point that I think the most sensible thing is to revisit things and simplify them further than they already are so would involve emptying it out and planting fresh, with new gravel for what it's worth.

People talk about the balance being important, the option to use a floating plant is out down to the way in which the filter operates which would leave me with the option of a stem plant as I see things - something a little too complicated maybe? This is why I thought I'd toss this one into the ring and hear what people had to say.

I had to walk away from the hobby for my own reasons so this aquarium is on the understanding that she takes care of it, not me.
 

John q

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Thanks for the very kind offer John, I'm assuming the Vallisneria spiralis tiger reacts the same way to liquid carbon as the other Vallisneria and would like to leave that as an option.
I found that Cryptocoryne Crispatula (including Var. Balansae) gives a similar effect.
No worries.
I used liquid carbon for about 6 weeks at the prescribed dosage and it didn't seem to harm the vallisneria, couldn't say how it would react to overdosing though.

Yes plus one for balansae, also have it in low tech and grows perfectly well in gravel.
 
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Andrew Butler

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I used liquid carbon for about 6 weeks at the prescribed dosage and it didn't seem to harm the vallisneria, couldn't say how it would react to overdosing though.
I wouldn't dream of or recommend intentionally overdosing liquid carbon, especially with livestock in.
I think if you were to have a chat with someone like Aquarium Gardens they would tell you that liquid carbon + vallisneria don't get on the best.
 

Garuf

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Depends on the sp to some extent but I think it’s largely anecdotal that it works long term.
I would use as many crypts as I could get my hands on if I were you and have a really rich substrate. When I look at my low tech tanks it’s always the crypts that don’t seem too bothered by the lower co2. They don’t colour up in the same way and they don’t stay as small but they also don’t bolt along.
 

Andrew Butler

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if I were you and have a really rich substrate.
Gravel doesn't give you that is the problem and very keen not to use an soil type substrate - root tabs would be the only option but wouldn't make gravel rich.
Crypts alone with a small HOB filter don't give you a balanced system to my knowledge is the worry, floating plants are a no because of the filter also.
 

tam

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I'd set up a nice woody hardscape that looked good with no plants. That will give it basic structure that the fish will like and some height without using stems plants that need maintenance. Then use bolbitis and anubias on the wood - you can get a few different anubias varieties for interest even if it's just regular nana and golden. They are very tough, but also give good hiding places for shrimp.

If vallis doesn't like your set up, I would go for crypt wendti - again easy and tough and it will grow a reasonable size low tech. Go for a couple of clumps of it and use root tabs underneath.
 
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