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Low tech first past advice welcome

Discussion in 'El Natural & Low Tech' started by Steve Hatcher, 10 Feb 2017.

  1. Steve Hatcher

    Steve Hatcher Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Hi All,

    Noob here looking to set up a low tech planted tank. I would like it to house some danios and guppys, and some workers to keep it clean (algae eaters). This is what I have come up with:

    Tank: ADA Cube Garden 60-H
    Light: ADA Aquasky 601
    Filter: AquaClear 70
    Heater: Aquael Unbreakable Easy Heater 75w
    Substrate: ADA-Aqua Soil Powder Amazonia

    Carpet Plant: Lileopsis brisbanica
    Plant: Anubias barteri, bacopa caroliniana, brazilian pennywort, Cryptocoryne wendtii
    ... or whatever I can find local

    I want a piece of driftwood in the middle and some rocks.

    I have a few questions:
    1. Is the tank and gear combination looking okay?
    2. I am very confused as to substrate. Do I just use the amazonia? Or do I put rocks below it? And do I need to put anything on top of it to add nutrients? Do I put sand on top of the amazonia?
    3. Once its up and running with fish, what kind of maintenance is required?

    Thank you for your time.
     
  2. ian_m

    ian_m Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,737
    Looks good.

    Couple of points, mainly about the light choice.

    - Make sure you have a way of dimming the lights and most LED's can be too bright, especially at startup and you end up turning your plants to algae food.
    - Shame the 601 is 110V power. Seems a shame to have to spend yet even more money on a bulky unsightly 230V to 110V transformer.
    - Ensure your carpeting plant is suitable for low tech, as quite a few (most ?) carpeting plants are medium to high tech and require CO2 supplement in some form or other.
    - We need pictures. :)
    - Any substrate will do, even sand, if you are dosing ferts into the water. Amazonia is fine, but expensive, is nutrient loaded but will leach loads of ammonia for first couple of weeks, do no fish until tank is cycled. Is a very nice substrate to plant into.
    - If low tech (ie low light) then very little maintenance needed. Water changes either small weekly say 10% or a bucket worth for maybe bigger % monthly. See what works for you. I used to change 2 buckets (4 gallons) out of 180l every two weeks or so when low tech. Just vacuumed out 2 buckets worth of water and detritus and replaced. Done. Pre-warmed water by using pouring a kettle load between the two buckets. Remember dechlorinator.
    - Remember to place you tank so viewable from a comfy seat. :pompus:
     
  3. john dory

    john dory Member

    Messages:
    237
    Hi.
    Not sure of the properties of your chosen substrate...so can't help there,i'm afraid.
    I use tropica soil in one tank and sand in another.
    As for maintenance.
    I do weekly 20% water changes and clean the filter out about 6 times a year.
    Glass is cleaned as and when needed.
    Give your plants a swish around at w/c time,and remove any tatty leaves.
     
  4. Steve Hatcher

    Steve Hatcher Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks a lot for your replies, I am getting the confidence to order everything now...

    I have a question regarding the lighting. I am reading that dimming the 601 is not trivial... Are there any other lights that work well with this tank? (Also here in Melbourne the 601's I am looking at are 110 / 240V).

    I read this carpet is good for low tech but have only started research... so will check out some others. But at some point I want to buy some things and just give it a go.

    Thanks all!
     
  5. ian_m

    ian_m Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,737
    You also might find the filter a tad small and will require frequent cleaning, possibly weekly. It has a high flow rate, but has a really small amount of filter media so will block quite quickly. Though until you try, hard to say.

    Did you consider an external filter ? These have (can have) masses of filter media in them, so will only need cleaning monthly or even longer. Ehiem do external filters (at $$$) that include heaters, so you can have one less item in the tank.

    Not sure what the lighting solution is, but I would certainly not buy an LED light fixture without the ability do dim it. Though you can of course lower the light level by raising the light up (not always possible) or block some of the LED's off using black tape/foil etc, but then this could look naff on such a sexy light fixture. :arghh:
     
  6. john dory

    john dory Member

    Messages:
    237
    The fluval aqualife led works well.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
     
  7. AlbaAquarist

    AlbaAquarist Newly Registered

    Messages:
    22
    The Chihiros Aquasky is similar in style to the ADA Aquasky but I believe it comes with a built in dimmer. If you not bothered about aesthetics the A-Series is cheaper and also comes with a dimmer. I've never used the Aquasky but I use the A-Series on my own low-techs.
     
  8. Steve Hatcher

    Steve Hatcher Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Hey guys, thanks a lot for your replies. Based on the feedback my final setup is:

    Tank: ADA Cube Garden 60-P
    Light: A160WE Tuna Sun (probably overkill.. but I fell in love with it when I saw it...)
    Filter: AquaClear 70
    Heater: Eheim Jager 75W
    Substrate: ADA-Aqua Soil Powder - Amazonia

    @john_dory thanks for the insight, very first tank so any and all advice is welcome. Definitely learning there is no one correct answer, just general techniques to maximize success!

    @iam_m, my current setup does not allow for a canister filter to be placed below the tank. I think if I were to use a canister I would want a proper tank + cabinet. My friend has an ADA cabinet cube garden with a eheim canister and it looks fantastic. I also like the 'flow' of the aquaclear. I will watch the filter medium...

    Everything will soon be on the way, so I have a question about how to plant.

    I will be getting a piece of driftwood and some rocks. I have a rough plan of the setup but would like to run it past you guys.

    - Place down the driftwood and rocks.
    - Ontop of that a generous coat of Amazonia (at least 5cm deep).
    - Fill water a few inches above the top of the soil
    - Generously plant the carpet plant, and any other plants.
    - Fill up rest of tank, setup light and filter timers, and wait...?

    Thanks again everyone for being so helpful!
     
  9. tim

    tim Forum Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,776
    Hi Steve I would add to your list above, pre soak the driftwood or place large rocks on it or it may float once filled, once planted as your planning to use Amazonia substrate you will need to carry out large water changes for the first few weeks, around 50% every two or three days to remove the ammonia released by the substrate, if the light intensity can be lowered start the scape around 50% intensity and start increasing after week two, enjoy your scape :)
     
  10. xim

    xim Member

    Messages:
    377
    BexHaystack likes this.
  11. Steve Hatcher

    Steve Hatcher Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    @tim thanks, will do!

    @xim yes seems its fine here too in Australia

    Thanks guys.. I think I have one last question!

    Once I have planted into the Amazonia and filled up the tank, should the filter be on straight away (8 hours a day?) Or wait a few days before turning it on
     
  12. BexHaystack

    BexHaystack Member

    Messages:
    157
    Straight away, the sooner you get it running the sooner it will start to 'mature' and help out with the large amounts of ammonia released by the substrate. Don't forget - lots of water changes for the first few weeks

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk
     
  13. xim

    xim Member

    Messages:
    377
    What BexHaystack said. And the filter is always on, only turn off to clean it or when doing a water change and the inflow pipe is above the water or when taking photo of the tank.
     
  14. Steve Hatcher

    Steve Hatcher Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Hey everyone! So most of the stuff has arrived (forgot the damn ADA garden Mat haha... probably not necessary but would rather have it there.)

    I have a few more questions

    Do I need to treat tap water (With something like API tap water treatment?)
    What sort of lighting routine should I use? 8 hrs a day? 12 hrs a day? The Kessil recommends 50% intensity early on so I will do that.

    Thanks all.
     
  15. xim

    xim Member

    Messages:
    377
    If you don't have animals in the tank yet. You can use untreated tap water. But you "should" treat it because no living organism likes chlorine. Plants and good bacteria will do better if you use treated water. For the light, I would start with 6 hours and extend it to 8 hours later.

    I think this guide section is well written even though you don't add CO2: http://tropica.com/en/guide/
     
    Last edited: 20 Feb 2017
  16. doylecolmdoyle

    doylecolmdoyle Member

    Messages:
    157
    I would start with only 5 or 6 hrs light, as others have said the filter needs to run 24/7 and yes treat your tap water with de-chlorinator. You also need to let the tank cycle before adding fish or shrimp, this will take a few weeks up to a few months. ADA soil provides a ammonia source to get the cycle started, you probably will need to buy a API test kit to see when your tank has cycled. Seeing you are also from Australia, you should join our local forum - www.aquariumlife.com.au
     
  17. Steve Hatcher

    Steve Hatcher Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Hey Guys,

    Fantastic, thanks a lot! Finally got the garden Mat and planning to setup this weekend!

    Is it okay to put the soil in the tank a few days before I have any plants? If I add just the soil, should it be left dry or with some water?

    Thanks
     

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