How to convert to Low Tech aquarium?


Prolific Poster
Oct 17, 2007
South Florida
Have a 125gal for four months and would like to return to low tech. It has been an almost full time job for two adults without satisfactory results.
I had one around 10 years ago and was easier to take care of but don't remember how I made it work .
Before I go for artificial (plastic) I'd like to try an easier way.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Use a simple flow chart:

Light= CO2= nutrients.

So you need less light, this also works well in CO2 enriched systems.
Simply switching out the fast growers, and moving to slower growing species and adding low light works great.

Adding a sediment rich in nutrients also makes life easy.
Less need to dose the water, but you still get good results if you do.
No CO2 helps, it slows things way down, sometimes too much for many folks.

Then your nutrient demand is lower with low light and less CO2.

So then you no longer need to dose much(weekly at the most, if that)

1. Chose smart with the plants
2. Try ADA As for a low tech sediment(or some soil + sand etc, or old mulmy flourite etc)
3. Add a balanced fish load and feed appropriately, add lots of herbivores
4. Low light, 1.5 W/gal is good
5. CO2 or not, you can do both, but the CO2 will grow the plants faster and you'll want to do water changes and dosing weekly.
6. Non CO2: no water changes, lighter fish loading available, dosing maybe once every 1-3 weeks etc if that.

I'd opt for CO2 and low light.

I can simply turn the HQI's off if I want less growth/light, and/or raise up the lights from the tank's surface.

Easy way to control growth.

Tom Barr