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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I had a previous planted tank that didn't end super well but I am ready to try again. I have been doing some more research but would like all your expert opinions before I start! I'll try to give as much info as possible. First a few questions. All research says start out with a plant substrate. Last tank I used Carib-Sea plant substrate, and it was like black gravel/sludge and make the tank cloudy even after a good initial wash and water changes. So I know many of you use plant substrate that is very fine gravel, what is it? Also do you put any root tabs or pellets mixed in with the gravel? Also I had good lighting but plants didn't do awesome, so research tells me use a CO2. On this website most of you have beautiful planted tanks without CO2, how do you do it? Also what kind of filtration is needed or water flow is needed for plants? Okay I think that's all my questions at the moment. Here is the plan:

20 gallon long, divided 2 male bettas, 3 ADF's, ghost shrimp

2 tubes
daylight 6,700K T5 120V 18W
colormax T5 120V 18W
Low on watts per gallon?

2 anubis
5 amazon sword
2 large moss balls
5 nano moss balls
1 large hornwort
2 cryptocoryne wendtii tropica
What are other "colorful" and easy plants?

Other info:
Unsure filtration?

Liquid Flourish

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5,475 Posts
Well, in my current tank I can tell you I have no plant special substrate (in fact, I have fairly terrible susbtrate - really large-grained gravel). I have no CO2, either. Just over 1.5 wpg of lighting. I don't use root tabs, though I do dose with Flourish, Flourish Iron (for my red plants) and Flourish Posphorous. Because I have bettas, naturally I have very little water movement.

The reason it works in my tank? I chose low-light plants that don't need CO2 and don't feed from the substrate - mine are all water-column feeders. I have, or had have successfully in the past:
- a small kind of Amazon sword
- hornwort
- elodea/anacharis
- lacefern
- rotala wallachi (red)
- luwigia repens (red)
- anubias
- HEAPS of java fern (I love this plant)
- dwarf hairgrass (grew tall but didn't form a carpet due to my lighting)
- Brazillian microsword (ditto)
- java moss, heaps of
- ambulia
- duckweed
- some crypts (not entirely sure what species)

I hope this helps. :) It is totally possible for a low-light, low-tech tank to be extremely beautiful with virbrant, healthy growth and colour.

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934 Posts
I just use the generic aquarium gravel and my plants are growing like mad. I have anacharis, java fern, banana lily and anubias.

I would like to know if you have hard or soft water, because that may play a factor for a couple of your plants.This is what I have used as a reference for the basic needs of plants and once you know what you like you can do some extra research on the web. I personally love my anacharis, they grow about an inch or two a day and provide lots of cover for my sorority.

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1,169 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Since my daylight tube is only 18W and my tank is 20 gallons, for 1.5WPG I would need about 30W, how do I get more light? Should I use 2 daylight tubes instead of one daylight and one colormax?

I have this light fixture:
With this tube light:

I believe my hardness is average, city water, which probably isn't very helpful. But I'm out of test strips and will probably get more friday.
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