Starting a low tech 20 gallon long tank. What ferts to use?

rs18alpha

Subscriber
Feb 3, 2017
240
26
28
Pennsylvania
I'm setting up a 20 gal long low tech tank.
I'll be using Manzanita wood and the only plants that will be used are Anubias and brown Crypts.

The fish will be Dario Dario scarlet gem badis, Bumble bee gobie and a few Oto cats and maybe some shrimp? I'm sure what kind of shrimp I'll try??

I'm going to try the 2 hrs on and 2 hrs off lighting schedule.

Would using Flourish excel and Flourish Iron be enough for the plants??
 

fablau

rotalabutterfly.com
Staff member
Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
2,949
642
113
50
Laguna Niguel, CA
www.fablauplants.com
Nice! For shrimp I'd add some Amanos and maybe cherries?

Why are you doing the 2 on - 2 off light schedule?

About ferts, even if the tank is low tech, I'd some some more than Excel and Iron, unless you are using ADA AS or similar. I'd dose at least 7ppm NO3 and 0.7ppm PO4 per week (even just that amount once a week) and on a different way, a trace mix such as Flourish Comprehensive and Flourish Trace at their recommended dose. I have a 20gl low-tech tank and plants are thriving with that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tim Harrison

rs18alpha

Subscriber
Feb 3, 2017
240
26
28
Pennsylvania
Are you saying to dose just once a week NO3 and PO4 at those levels?
If I get the Comprehensive and the trace should I dose that once a week as well?

As far as the lights go, I heard that would cut down on algae in a low tech set up.
But, I have no problem running the lights for 7 or 8 hrs a day.

I have a high tech tank and that's doing well. I dose EI so I can dose the 20gal with the NO3 and PO4 that I already have mixed up.
As far as micro, could I just use the CSM+B that I use on my high tech tank?
If so, what ppm do I need to reach per week?
 

ForTheHalibut

Member
Oct 12, 2017
44
10
8
31
New York, NY
If you are going low tech, you might as well go dirted. Dirt reduces the need to worry about fert regimes and adds a much needed CO2 source that would be sorely lacking in an inert low tech tank.
 

fablau

rotalabutterfly.com
Staff member
Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
2,949
642
113
50
Laguna Niguel, CA
www.fablauplants.com
Are you saying to dose just once a week NO3 and PO4 at those levels?
If I get the Comprehensive and the trace should I dose that once a week as well?

As far as the lights go, I heard that would cut down on algae in a low tech set up.
But, I have no problem running the lights for 7 or 8 hrs a day.

I have a high tech tank and that's doing well. I dose EI so I can dose the 20gal with the NO3 and PO4 that I already have mixed up.
As far as micro, could I just use the CSM+B that I use on my high tech tank?
If so, what ppm do I need to reach per week?

Yes, I'd dose macros and micros once a week, on alternate days (i.e. Monday macros, Tuesday micros). You can of course use CSM instead than the flourish line, I'd dose just the amount to reach a Fe target of 0.02 ppm.
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
745
113
ADA AS works excellent in low tech methods. In lieu of of garden soil etc. More consistent, less mess and layering required.
Start up is key with non CO2, then not pestering things there after.
And minimizing water changes. Light: 8-11 hours works. No need to on/off every 2-4 hours.
 

ForTheHalibut

Member
Oct 12, 2017
44
10
8
31
New York, NY
ADA AS works excellent in low tech methods. In lieu of of garden soil etc. More consistent, less mess and layering required.
Start up is key with non CO2, then not pestering things there after.
And minimizing water changes. Light: 8-11 hours works. No need to on/off every 2-4 hours.

Is aquasoil a true replacement for soil? I've never been able to figure out if plants that are capable of sedimentary CO2 uptake can use aquasoil as a carbon source.
 

Rodgie_III

New Member
Nov 17, 2017
25
5
3
29
NY
Hi everyone, sorry I'll jump in.
Regarding ADA AS, which one (specifically) is best for low energy tank? Because there's Amazonia, I see some like light. They have other varieties. It'll be best for me and others to know what you guys prefer. Thank you
 

hn5624

New Member
Aug 4, 2017
16
2
3
26
North carolina, USA
Be careful with ADA aquasoil, it turned into literally mud when I placed it inside my aquarium also it turns the tank into a mud storm if you move a plant around.
Try Controsoil instead, It doesnt seem to break down and you can re-use if you ever decide to tear that tank down, also makes replanting much less of a mess.
 

Tim Harrison

Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member
Jul 7, 2017
386
340
63
UK
Wow, you must have had a bad batch, I've never had any problems with it. And I've dried it and reused it as well, again with out incident.
 

slipfinger

Article Editor
Staff member
Lifetime Member
Article Editor
Jul 23, 2016
355
470
63
49
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Be careful with ADA aquasoil, it turned into literally mud when I placed it inside my aquarium also it turns the tank into a mud storm if you move a plant around.
Try Controsoil instead, It doesnt seem to break down and you can re-use if you ever decide to tear that tank down, also makes replanting much less of a mess.

Ya, this is not normal. Did you use regular or powder?

I do know some batches are a little 'dustier' than other but I believe that was corrected a while ago.

Yes it does get messy when you start moving things around but if you are kicking up a mud storm you probably should be doing a water change after anyways. Water change plus good filtration, tank should be clear within a couple hours.
 

ForTheHalibut

Member
Oct 12, 2017
44
10
8
31
New York, NY
Aquasoil seems an excessively expensive option given OP only wants to keep anubias and crypts. After all, these plants would probably do fine in inert gravel with mulm. Using aquasoil seems unnecessary and wasteful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VaughnH