• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up

Advice please - First planted tank very soon


14 May 2012
Whitworth, Lancs
I will be setting up my first planted tank in the next few weeks (fingers crossed). :)

This is a tank is 180l and the project is very much on a low budget and at the moment only has one 25w T8 tube with a reflector. I'm not too worried about that at the moment, although I will up date the lighting at some point in the future. I have a fluval U4, is this sufficent? would the tank benefit from a powerhead?

I've got some JBL aquabasis and jbl manado for the substrate and am planning on ordering low light crypts, java fern and mosses. I thinking that I'll use easycarbo, but what about ferts? What would you recommend? Would EI be appropriate?

Thanks :?
I'll leave the more knowledgeable to advise on EI or reduced EI but you aren't far from me and if your water is ultra-soft like mine, I'd recommend supplementing your ferts with GH booster and magnesium sulphate (epsom salts). I also add KH with bicarbonate of soda -- 1 tsp of ordinary bicarb to each 50 litres of change water which raises KH by about 4dKH. KH and GH are very, very low in my tap water. It's like rainwater.

Have a look in the bottom of your kettle. Mine's like new and never been cleaned.
Thanks for your reply Richard, yes my water is super soft too.

I think that's a good thing :?
Hi Dexie !!! :wave:

A warm welcome into the planted tanks hobby. Hope you have a wonderful journey ahead.

Okay lets see what we have here:

1) tank = 180 litres ( 180 L) = 47 US gallons

2) Lights= Single T8 25 watts ( 0.5 WPG)

3) Filter : fluval U4 that should be okay for now. Better if you could fix a spraybar to it because you are planning on adding easycarbo so i would think a good uniform circulation would be beneficial. Should you encounter any co2 related problems,..then yeah a powerhead or better still 2 large hang on back filters placed at either ends of the tank well help but for now I think the U4 alone should be okay.

4) Since you are adding easycarbo it automatically turns this tank into HIGH TECH,...well not super duper lamborgini kind of high tech but maybe a second hand toyota kind of high tech :D ,...so the dosing regime that Tom barr suggests for a 20 US gallon liquid carbon supplemented tank is:

1/8 th teaspoon KNO3 twice a week
1/16th teaspoon KH2PO4 twice a week
2ml Floush Comprehensive also twice a week
and finally,....1/8th teaspoon Seachem Equilibrium (which also increases the GH of the water) once a week after a 50% water change

So for your tank's size simply mutiply those figures by 2
1/4 KNO3 twice a week
1/8 KH2PO4 twice a week
4 ml Flourish twice a week
1/4 Equilibrium once a week

Dexie you are probably already aware of this but I think you could increase the lighting by adding another 25 watts T8 tube. It would then give you about 1 WPG. My son's non co2 tank has 1.3 WPG worth of T8 lighting over it.

I hope you have a wonderful start ahead.

all the best :thumbup:
Thanks guys

Iain, the U4 output is 1000 lph, which although that sounded good when I bought it, seems to a bit on the low side from what I've read on here for my size tank.

I off to look for the Barr Report now.
Yeah Dexie,...it isn't a big issue really,..as suggested by getthejist,...all you need is really some ( 2 powerheads) . Place them at equidistance along the rear wall of the tank facing straight forward towards the front glass,..no need to angle them. place your internal at midpoint between the 2 powerheads.

Any cheap Hangon back filters with a High GPH rating also give very good circulation in the tank,...my son's 15 gallon tank has just one. You could also place them INSTEAD of the powerheads at equidistance along the rear wall of the tank. The Hang on Backs will also have an added advantage of having extra biological media for your micro-organisms. The are also so easy to use & clean when it comes to maintanence.

Since you are adding easy carbo,..as i mentioned earlier,..I think you can increase the lighting to 2 T8-tubes of 25 watts each (50 watts in total) . You are still running at 1 WPG. Algae kept at bay,...nice & easy growth rates. Lots of time to learn & have fun with the tank. :D

Your choice of plants are also excellent for a beginner (Ferns, mosses & crypts). Other nice plants that have done well for me in a non co2 set up are cabombas, hygrophila polysperma rosanervig, Assortment of anubias like anubias lanceolata,anubias petite nana, etc . Nymphae rubra is great as a red colored focus plant in a non co2 set up because it's been surviving for months in my tank. IMHO ( but very limited experience :oops: ) you can't go wrong with lighting as a beginner if you stick to T8 tubes (1.3 - 1.5 WPG) especially when you use a soil based substrate in a non co2 tank.

Have fun. :D
Thanks for you advice guys, I feel encouraged again :thumbup:

So so much to learn :oops:

I think initially I might look at powerheads and look at upgrading the filter at some point in the future, I'll see how things go. I'll upgrade the lighting as well (although need to prioritise as finances won't stretch to both all at once lol).

I like you plant suggestions Faizal especially the Nymphae rubra, that will look fantastic a focal point.

Thanks again