Another Attempt At My 28 Litre Tank


New Member
Sep 10, 2018
Hi All,

I'm having another go at my small low tech tank and putting a bit more effort into understanding the plant requirements and causes of algae.
I've read through the Non-CO2 Methods sticky with great interest and am basically using that as my guide for now.
My aim is to have a lush non co2 tank that does not require much maintenance.

I believe I've interpreted the content correctly and I've summarised my understanding below.
  • Avoid Excel if possible as it will cause unstable carbon levels which can cause algae blooms. This is because algae have a much quicker response to fluctuations in carbon levels than plants.
  • If you do add Excel, you can increase the fert schedule by 2-3 times as the increased carbon will allow them to uptake more ferts.
  • Keep water changes to a bare minimum as this will upset the CO2 levels and again cause algae blooms
  • A large % of healthy plant mass is key (75% of tank space)
  • Ammonia spikes will cause algae blooms (like my dead snail for example...)
  • Inorganic nutrients do not cause algae blooms so do not worry about adding them and ensure they do not become limited for the plants as healthy plants are key to a stable system without algae.
  • Feed fish daily... This adds organic ferts. do not overfeed. If they have not finished all the food in 2 minutes you are feeding too much

I'm dosing as per the thread.
I have dry KNO3/KH2PO4 1:4 mix. I diluted 1 1\4 teaspoons of this into 1 litre of water which gives me ~21 doses of 46ml for my 28 litre tank. This is the same as the 1\8th teaspoon/ 1\32 teaspoon per 75 litre ratio in the thread.
I'm also dosing SeaChem Equilibrium in the same way.. diluted into 1 litre of water.
I'm dosing both of these once per week and not doing water changes. (maybe every couple of months)

I have my lights on for two periods of 5 hours each day. I've done this for years as I read somewhere some time ago that this was better for keeping algae at bay than one 10 hour photo period.. ?

I have just put 2 young Siamese Algae Eaters in there which will be eventually transitioned into my larger 210 litre tank. They are doing a great job at the moment of nibbling on all the algae. I watched them for a while and sometimes they get really vigorous and rip clumps of BBA off. It's great!
Also have two serpai tetra's in there.

My tank is lit with LED light built into the canopy (no idea what PAR, but the specs say 6.5 watts) and has Amazonia substrate which is ~6 months old, well cycled and heaps of mulm.
I've just planted some new crypts which are taking root well and a bunch of java ferns, some anubias, some dwarf pongol and some mauve stricta (not sure how that will go).
I've put root tabs in as well to help the root plants.

I've replaced the crap internal filter it came with, with a hang on back filter that is way more powerful. There is no additional filtrations but it turns the water over a lot more and creates better flow within the tank.

I would love to hear any advice that anyone has that may help me, or anything regarding what I am doing that may need review?



Article Editor
Staff member
Lifetime Member
Article Editor
Sep 16, 2015
Hillsboro, OR
Plant heavy with plants that are some what weedy.
This ensures any instability is quickly dealt with. Keep an eye on TDS, don’t let it creep too high. You will see correlation between high TDS and plant/tank health.
For me if my water starts to look yellowish, it’s time for WC. You will ususee that after WC water looks almost clean but as the organics build it tends to become yellow.
Add shrimps.