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Reviving the 30 Litre Low Tech Tank

Michael W

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Joined
13 May 2013
Messages
879
This is my 30L crystal shrimp tank. Its a low tech planted tank. Just a few days ago I ripped everything out and replanted it due to some annoying hair algae take over. I came to the conclusion that it was due to the lighting which I believe is pretty high for a low tech tank. To combat this I have floated Riccia Fluitans to block out some light and have the lights on for 5 hours a day. By posting a journal I hope to document this tank and also learn from you guys and get tips on improvement.

Plants:
Riccia Fluitans
Ludwigia Repens
Staurogyne Repens
Narrow Leaf Java Fern
Pogostemon Helferi
Dwarf Hairgrass <-- thinking about replacing it with Micro-swords from a different shrimp tank
Vallis

Substrate:
Ebi Gold shrimp soil <--- wanting to switch to pond soil capped with gravel

lighting:
11W PL Bulb <--- Being dimmed by Riccia Fluitans

Inhabitants:
Crytal red shrimps <-- giving to a friend, costs too much to keep in the long run
Pond snails <--- I believe they help maintain plant nutrients to an extent as they eat rotting matter and produce 'compost' so to say.

Now on to some pictures:
Full tank shot
ZF03pj2.jpg

666gS5p.jpg

A close up for the Hairgrass to show some of the algae which a failed to siphon up and settled on the leaves.
sUBq4RN.jpg

Thanks for taking some time to have a look at this, feel free to offer some of your experiences and tips in a low tech setup and I hope you enjoy this thread!

Michael W.
 

jimbo

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Joined
4 Oct 2009
Messages
33
Hows the tank doing now? I've got a tank the same size and measurements 30L that I'm hoping to get set up soon low tech. It will be my first real planted aquarium even though I've been idling on this site for years now checking out all the amazing aquascapes and hopefully learning in preparation. My tank came with an 18 watt PL Bulb which is to high for low tech set up of this size. I think I might just get a new LED hang on light instead. I'm having trouble deciding what LED light to get in terms of wattage, I'm not sure when it comes to LED's if the same applies. I could just get a 9 watt PL and use my existing fitting, or maybe try a PL led bulb instead I guess .
 

Michael W

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Joined
13 May 2013
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879
The tank has had some changes to it recently so I'll have to upload new pictures but plant wise its doing pretty well. The algae has now been under control without manual removal so I'm very pleased with that.

I have changed the substrate from the EBI Shrimp (No longer houses shrimps anymore) to a base layer of Osmocote then a layer of Peat Moss followed up by Cat Litter. The Ludwigia has been trimmed back due to the lower leaves melting away as they were grown out of water so it looks quite short now. It is still grow but very very slowly due to the low tech nature of my setup. The Staurogyne Repens has been removed as It was not doing as well as I hoped so I began growing what I salvaged emmersed. I have also removed the hairgrass due to the algae being very hard to clean off the plant back then and is replaced by Micro-Swords from my other shrimp tank. At the back left hand corner the Vallis has been removed for some Dwarf Sag which is doing very well. The only plant that is not doing too well after the change in substrate is the Pogostemon Helferi which is starting to get leggy but that due to poor levels of CO2 which is to be expected in a low tech tank so I'm not going to complain about that too much. I have also place an Anubias Nana Petite on the spot where the Riccia was tied to from the cherry shrimp tank as I could split the original plant into at least 5-6 different ones so I spread them across the tanks.

I'll see if I can post a few pictures of the tank later on today.Thanks for reading and replying :)

Michael.
 

jimbo

Member
Joined
4 Oct 2009
Messages
33
I don't seem to be getting notifications alerts on here? Be good to see some updated pics of the tank, see how the tank has matured and changed now. I've been thinking about what substrates to use in preparation of my nano, I'll probably go with some sort of clay based stuff in black. Going to take my awhile longer yet to get everything together.
 

Michael W

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Joined
13 May 2013
Messages
879
Hi Michael,Fantastic :) Your journal Is full of info too;) Exchanging ideas is what its all about :cool:


Thanks, I really have to update this tank it does look more dense now as time has passed.
 

Bufo Bill

Member
Joined
5 Feb 2009
Messages
114
Location
Wolverhampton
I'm always interested in a low tech tank, but especially a small one like this. Your plant list is much longer than I could manage, I'm not an experienced scaper really. Looking forward to seeing the plants grow in, so lots of lovely pictures please!
All the best from Bill. :D
 

Michael W

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Joined
13 May 2013
Messages
879
Any pics of this one now mate ?

And as promised here are some photos, sorry for posting this quite late as I had to wait until its quite dark due to glares from the window even with curtains up.

Here is a sort of FTS you can clearly see there are more plant mass compared to the previous setup
19eDoz4.jpg

Here are the dwarf sags which replaced the vallis in the original look. This is such an easy plant, I planted 5 in this tank and 5 in my 80L, you can clearly see there are way more than 5 plants now.
txzVeNa.jpg

Runners from the dwarf sag going everywhere
84v5L2d.jpg

I really do love Staurogyne Repens so I gave them another shot, this time they're doing pretty well, had them for a month or so and there is definitely new growth!
QpYtFky.jpg

I have also added some Rotala Rotundifolia and thats doing well too, Its been in the tank for a long time about 3-4 months. I do love its leaf shape.
nU45qia.jpg

And the tank's boss, a half moon betta, he wasn't flaring at the time so it was hard to get a good shot.
djGSMUB.jpg

There is algae on the glass so if some of the images look hazy then its due to that. The tank is on for 5 hours, I'm finding this is doing great in terms of limiting algae although, up close you can see some spot algae but I can live with that. The spray bar is facing the side wall due to the fighting fish's swimming abilities, I don't suffer from leggy growth from the stems without the flow, I put this down to the 5 hour photo period.

The dwarf sag is amazingly easy to keep and grow, It's truly a beginner's plant. The downside is that it doesn't stay low, but that is fine for me as its replacing the vallis and that its hard to control where it grows.

Hope you guys enjoy this!

Michael.
 

Michael W

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13 May 2013
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879
It's looking well Michael, love the betta, he must be happy in his home. Keep the updates coming mate

Here sure enjoys patrolling the tank! I do love Bettas hes the 3rd I've every kept. They are long lived if cared for properly and exhibit amazing personalities. This particular betta loves staring down Ramshorn snails in the tank and when he was first introduced he would sit and flare at them.
 

Michael W

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13 May 2013
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Hi Roy, this tank is doing quite well actually even though it suffered from some neglect which resulted in an outbreak of diatoms, but it is now fine. I will post some pics sometime soon, I have three essays to type up for uni so I've been less active around the forums until yesterday. So for the mean time I shall explain the tank's condition.

The sag is on drugs and has taken over quite a bit, I have since given up on trying to remove the runners because the peat would make a mess, but the sag is not really aesthetically unpleasant so that is fine. The S. Repens has become leggy I put that down to me not cleaning the filter often enough so the flow has been quite poor. At some point the internal filter's suction cups were losing it's suction so it fell onto the bunch of java ferns, it has since remained in this position. This has not killed the Java ferns but instead it is still spreading. However, the growth of the java fern under the filter has been minimal so I assume if I left the filter up there will be an odd patch on the driftwood with little growth. The Rotala is still hanging in there surprisingly and it still looks odd because I had placed it in there just for the sake of it as I had no where else to put it back when I set the tank up.

This tank right now is only lit up by natural daylight because algae was still forming with a 5 hour photo period, I place this down to a combination of the tank receiving a lot of indirect sunlight for a long period of time prior to lights on, perhaps making a fluctuation of CO2. Also, because my maintenance of the filter was poor therefore, making the flow lacking :banghead:.

A part from the above I'm actually really pleased with this tank, if I remove the filter all together it will be a maintenance free aquarium and a top up is only needed and the occasional water change. I think I could remove the heater too but my Betta is in there so that is a no no, although I plan to place him in my 80L and convert this to a shrimp tank, or perhaps the 80L but we shall see.

I must remind myself to take pictures though. But uni is stressing me out :dead: so I came back on here to get some inspirations for my aquariums as tonic :p
 

Michael W

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13 May 2013
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Guys, I would like to say sorry because today I have took this tank down without taking a full tank shot! :banghead:

However, once I remembered I did take pictures of the driftwood with plants and the insane amount of dwarf sag. So here they are:

First up the DW, notice that I started this driftwood with 3 java ferns and I have not added anymore.
I love this plant! There are some Rotala Rotundifolia, not the best looking but I'll see what I can do. Man I can't express how much I appreciate the growth of the Java Fern!
15565857730_04b90a1432_c.jpg


Next up the dwarf sag, when I pulled the plants up they were all linked by runners so the tank went cloudy instantly, it was mad.
15752217232_2a590262ff_c.jpg


Well, this shows that you can achieve great growths from plants in a low tech environment providing you choose suitable plants form the start. As a reminder, I used cat litter, peat and osmocote for the substrate.

Thanks for looking at this thread, much appreciated!

Now my next up coming project will be me reviving an 80L aquarium! This aquarium is the second oldest aquarium I own, I've had it since I was in primary school, it was a guppy tank and it gave me by far the greatest memories. I'll be using these plants in the tank, don't expect it to be aquascaped, I'm just trying to achieve a healthy environment for the tank's livestock. I will possibly choose endlers or guppies. However, I have a strong leaning to get either yellow shrimps or orange sakura shrimps but I'm worried about their success in a dirted aquarium. I have success in my cherry shrimp tank but yellows or oranges maybe less hardy in comparison so we shall see. There will be a new journal for that tank.

Again sorry for the lack of a FTS I can't believe I forgot that. I really appreciated the views from everyone so thank you all and I hope you all enjoyed this!

Michael.
 

Michael W

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13 May 2013
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879
I forgot to add, I am not a person to waste things so the substrate from this tank will be used to start my emersed projects. I will be using the substrate to grow out some plants emersed and then hopefully use them to make a Wabi Kusa after being deeply inspired by Roy (Greenfinger2). So out of this project, there will be at least 2 coming out from it. This project will be posted on the emersed section of the forums.
 

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