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Big Ol' Question from a Reassured Newbie
Well, first of all I'd like to say thanks for the very helpful responses
received about my last query about koi angels. The only other list i've ever
subscribed to (one about robotics) was not nearly as direct - this is great
So, on to my main question: I am setting up a 20 (english)/25(American)
gallon planted tank (Note I said planted tank and not plant tank. It has to
have fish in it as well.) It is 18" tall/ 12" deep/ 24" long. Thus far, using
info gained from thekrib.com and actwin.com, plus various fish books, I have
added the following:
1/2 inch of sharp red sand (sharp as in contains pieces of sharp gravel)
1/2 inch of garden soil, very rich, nearly black in colour, having had most
large stones, worms etc. removed from it (Except a slug which emerged only
when the tank was being filled! (see below))
1 1/2" of rounded aged aquarium gravel, mostly 5 - 8mm in diameter.
I filled the tank with this lot, then thought "Hmm my garden is pretty lush.
Maybe there's too much algae food in the soil! Erk!" So, I put 6 inches of
dechlorinated water in the tank, hoping that any nitrates/NPK fertilisers
would leach out from the soil into it. I could then drain this water and thus
remove these contaminants.
So, you now have all the info on my current tank. In this tank I plan to
-Vallisneria spp at the back
-Echinodorus quadricostatus at the front to provide a "lawn"
-Another Echinodorus species (bleheri?) somewhere about the middle
-A large red leaved feature plant , possibly Alternanthera sessilis
-Some Hydrocotyle leucopetala or Green Cabomba at the sides/back to provide
As for lighting, I plan to have 3 15" fluorescent tubes (no idea of wattage.
30 watts sound about right? or too high for small tubes? the only one I have
is ::sealed:: inside a fitting at present and the writing is turned away from
The budget won't run to a CO2 tank at present but I can at least use a yeast
bottle. I plan to use 2 '1ft tank size' internal power filters in a sump,
piping the water back to the aquarium to minimise the amount of equipment
visible (I have a 6 gall tank to use a sump so I can fit the heater in there
too.), therefore I can use some sort of reactor to dissolve the gas into the
No idea of my water hardness at present, but the water comes out of the tap
at pH ~7.1 and is 'Medium hard' compared to other water I have drunk/washed
in about the country.
The fish I have at present are: a pair of Blue gouramies, a Gold gourami and
two (probably not a pair) Speckled Corydoras cats. (Got a fish book open in
front of me ... my but those Diamond Tetras are cute....Ahem.) I would also
like to add a Ram cichlid pair (Not even going to try for the latin name :)
and a shoal of Cardinal tetras or Tiger barbs.
The tank's filters have cycled already, and are full to busting with bacteria
(Recycled them from my previous tanks.)
So, my main questions are:
1. Will this set-up, in its present form, cause me any great problems? Am I
doing anything REALLY wrong?
2. Will this set-up, with proper care, produce good plant growth? (Or, the 6
million dollar question!!)
Now I bet at this point some of the more seasoned aquarists are either
chuckling quietly to themselves or saying "Ye gods has this man read NONE of
the material out there on planted tanks?". Well, I have read quite
extensively (free school period = me sat at a net terminal.), and have come
to the conclusion that this set-up should do quite well. But, I have always
found it best when making something from instructions on the Net to check
with some actual human beings before putting in the batteries/plugging it
in/turning on the gas/putting 20 gallons of water on top of it!