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Slowtech - My take on the planted tank

Hendre

Member
Joined
28 Aug 2018
Messages
135
Location
South Africa
Hi all!

I have noticed in my limited time researching aquascaping that high tech and low tech are the predominant thought camps when it comes to aquascaping/planted tanks. I have a tank that's currently sitting somewhere in the middle. Initially a full on aquascape, it has sort of descended into a chaotic regular planted tank after I had to pull out my carpet and went to university, leaving it under family care for weeks at a time. Every time I come back though, the tank is overflowing with H pinnitafida, mosses, crypts, and my buces are simply ginormous:
IMG_20210830_110154.jpg

This is after removing about 2 fists full of moss, loads of duckweed, a bunch of crypts and some micro swords
(Note the giant wavy green buces, only 18 months of growth)

Now the weird thing is, I run Co2 and decent lighting but the tank is unheated and running on almost no fertiliser at all. Some NPK about once every 6 weeks, and shrimp food. There is some deficiency here and there, but almost no algae and the plants look genuinely fantastic. Much like braising meat, this "low and slow" method seems to make delicious growth. Has anyone else done something like this? I think it holds promise for nice planted tanks if you're not in a rush. Can't wait to properly rescape this one day and see how it grows.
To sum up the slowtech:
-Medium light (12W LED on 60l)
-Co2 running
-Unheated (South Africa so mild to warm)
-Low macro dosing
-Fill and forget really

Has anyone else experienced similar things with similar methods? What are your thoughts?
 
Last edited:

MichaelJ

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Joined
9 Feb 2021
Messages
875
Location
Minnesota, USA
This is after removing about 2 fists full of moss, loads of duckweed, a bunch of crypts and some micro swords
(Note the giant wavy green buces, only 18 months of growth)
Hi @Hendre The tank picture is not showing - try and upload it again.

Has anyone else experienced similar things with similar methods? What are your thoughts?
My prior planted tanks, back in the old days, always went well for a while, but always hit a wall at some point due to lack of consistent fertilization (almost non existing), proper maintenance etc. The plants won't survive forever without food. The NPK have to come from somewhere. If you don't dose it (consistently) your basically relying on what your getting from fish, food and plant waste and the tap water you add to the tank (Nitrate levels can be surprisingly high in some tap water). But its definitely an interesting observation.

Cheers,
Michael
 
Last edited:

MichaelJ

Member
Joined
9 Feb 2021
Messages
875
Location
Minnesota, USA
That worked. Nice tank. Always surprised how little light plants can get by on... Your low light (and temperature presumably) definitely makes life easier for the plants if they are low of ferts. My crypts are basically growing in the dark as well - well, almost :)
 

ScareCrow

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
337
Location
South west
Nice tank, as Michael says I imagine the low lighting is allowing you to get away with low fert dosing and your tap water has enough in it to make up the rest.
I've been wanting to move over to a similar system as currently my tank is entirely low tech. Can I ask how you are adding CO² and roughly how much you get through?
 

Hendre

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Thread starter
Joined
28 Aug 2018
Messages
135
Location
South Africa
Nice tank, as Michael says I imagine the low lighting is allowing you to get away with low fert dosing and your tap water has enough in it to make up the rest.
I've been wanting to move over to a similar system as currently my tank is entirely low tech. Can I ask how you are adding CO² and roughly how much you get through?
Yeah the moderate lighting definitely helps! My tap water is very soft so doubt it has much of value

In terms of Co2 I run 1bps on a 60l with a pretty standard diffuser. I don't have an indicator so no idea what the levels are :)
 

ScareCrow

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
337
Location
South west
Yeah the moderate lighting definitely helps! My tap water is very soft so doubt it has much of value

In terms of Co2 I run 1bps on a 60l with a pretty standard diffuser. I don't have an indicator so no idea what the levels are :)
Oh that is odd. My water is soft and my plants show signs of deficiencies after about a week of no ferts.

Is that a pressurised system you are using? How many days/weeks/months do you get from your supply? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to decide what the best solution is for my situation.
 

Hendre

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Thread starter
Joined
28 Aug 2018
Messages
135
Location
South Africa
Oh that is odd. My water is soft and my plants show signs of deficiencies after about a week of no ferts.

Is that a pressurised system you are using? How many days/weeks/months do you get from your supply? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to decide what the best solution is for my situation.
Yes with a dual stage regulator and solenoid (Max aqua). I think it has been running from almost 2 years now? Looking closer it's more like 0.8 BPS
 

ScareCrow

Member
Joined
28 Jan 2019
Messages
337
Location
South west
That sounds exactly what I'm hoping to do. Great to see that it works well. Sorry last question. What size CO² bottle do you use? I know there's no standard 2kg = 2months at 1bps type equation but just trying to get an idea.
 
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