• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

The simple tank that wasn't...


10 Nov 2020
I started this tank as my daughter wanted one for her room. We mapped it out as a simple nature aquarium with sand, rocks, and wood - and plants that would be okay without co2. This tank is supposed to be my low-tech, low maintenance tank to compliment my other demanding high tech tank. To cut a long story short, things are not going well and this is proving to be a lot more work than setting up my high tech tank. I seem to have every variety of algae going, I had a HUGE amount of melting from the plants, and the diatoms seem to reappear overnight after a clean. I should have posted earlier - it's now 5 weeks old - but I didn't think I needed any help (hahahahaha). So here's the details with some photos - the full tank photos are from day 1 - the algae photos are where I am now. I have added a few more plants as I've gone along as I had so much melting. Just to note I am now going to go back to changing the water 3 x each week. Please do feel free to tell me where I can adjust things. THANK YOU.

Tank - 45 litres Superfish Scaper
Light - Came with the tank 24 watts, 269 PAR. Currently on 70% for 7 hours per day. This was increased over the weeks
Substrate - Tropica aquarium soil powder
Filter - Eheim Ecco Pro 130 external
Fertiliser - Tropica specialised nutrition (2 mils /1 pump after each w/c)
Water - RO cut with tap (80:20 ratio) - this is to do with the fish not plants
Water change - was at 2 x per week but going to 3 x per week. 50%
Livestock - Ruby tetras and cherry shrimp
Plants -
Cyperus helferi
Ludwigia super red
Lilaeopsis mauritiana
Bolbitis heteroclita
Bucephalandra pygmaea
Bucephalandra biblis
Bucephalandra sp red
Cryptocoryne hobbit
Cryptocoryne parva
Christmas and spiky moss


  • day 1 v2.jpg
    day 1 v2.jpg
    104.6 KB · Views: 400
  • day 1.jpg
    day 1.jpg
    108.9 KB · Views: 190
  • algae 3.jpg
    algae 3.jpg
    135.2 KB · Views: 190
  • algae 2.jpg
    algae 2.jpg
    160 KB · Views: 165
  • algae 1.jpg
    algae 1.jpg
    109.6 KB · Views: 164
Perversly maybe to many water changes as your not over fertilising ? also i'd up the light by 30 mins to encourage nutriennt uptake by the plants thereby denying algea the same nutrients ?
What clean up crew do you have in there? I had something similar and dosing micros, then less water changes whilst I waited for a tank to stabilise.
I would chuck in a bunch of ramshorns, ottos, amano and MTS just for the hell of it... as your clean up crew needs help :)
I'd suggest you have way too much light intensity for a low tech with immature plants. I would recommend reducing the intensity to 50% or even 40%, keeping 7 or 8 hours lighting time. Your floating plants seem pretty healthy so fertiliser may not be an issue at the moment.
Add ramshorn snails if you like them & want to see them wandering around as I believe getting rid of them is as bad as clearing BBA! (I'm a snail 🐌 fan by the way)
Ottos I'd be careful adding, yes you have algae but you may not have enough biofilm for them to feed off & your tank isn't yet stable & mature.
Thanks all. I don’t think any clean up crew could deal with this!! The water changes are pretty helpful - I can manually remove all the algae and take out the decaying plants. When I left it for a week it was sooooooo bad. I’ve never had a problem with ramping up the light to 70% after 5 weeks on other tanks - weird this one is throwing up so many issues. My last low tech tank was so easy. No algae at all (unless I forgot to clean or something) with the light on full blast. But yes I may well be in the high tech tank mode as this is what I’m used to dealing with now. I’ll wait and see if anyone else has any thoughts before changing the light. Thanks so far.
Oh and I’m not a snail fan. My other tank is over-run with them.
But the addition of the new clean up crew will do wonders. I recently helped a friend nurse an algaefied guppy tank with the addition of 3 ottos, a handful of ramshorns (courtesy of LondonDragon) and within 2-3 days the plants had no algae on it. The rocks were clean and substrate cleaner than ever. The downside.... the snails laid lots of eggs all over the plants. Which in turn means I will prob get around 200-300 ramshorns in the next few months time :D
Also a quick method. Do a trim of all the plants. Literally takes a few minutes. Go crazy and wait for the tanks to re reach maturity again. Else the plant is just wasting energy.
Thanks @mlgt but I guess I’m more curious about whether there is an issue with my set up or whether I just ride it out with water changes. I’m okay to do a clean up myself every 2/3 days for a bit. I might get some amano shrimps but they grow so big … Not sure they would like my soft water either. Might have to post in the algae section and link back to this. I am trimming my plants but I’m being careful as they aren’t really doing much at the moment. Seriously wondering if I need to inject co2. Really not keen on having two tanks where I do this but maybe it’s the only way to get the plants growing well and out competing the algae.
After digesting feedback here & reading the algae info on here too I’ve decided to do the following:

-change the total light time (including ramp up & down) to 6 hours
-decrease the intensity to 60%
-switch to ei dosing with dry salts (1 mil per day macro/micro on alternative days, 1 rest day)
-50% w/c every third day
-add more shrimps
-use liquid co2

I’ll report back after two weeks. If I’m not seeing a difference then I’ll take the light down to 50% at 5 hours per day.

Hopefully this is a good plan!
Try this tutorial below!
Depressing algae pics from today after another clean up. Hopefully I’ll be showing different photos soon…


  • B9F2B4C7-1019-439E-B89E-908E2BFB7B24.jpeg
    3.4 MB · Views: 109
  • 9E4BAB3E-0753-45FD-BABD-16AD637D639E.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 106
  • 639D2C97-2518-4AD4-822E-B9EE1EE8B1AF.jpeg
    1.8 MB · Views: 107
  • E9164165-E8B8-4416-A8F4-45D03B144E3C.jpeg
    3.1 MB · Views: 107
Thanks @GHNelson - I have been planting trimmings from the Ludwiga sp red. Growth seems b slow at the moment tho and leaves just dusted with algae. Do you think it’s worth introducing another stem plant? I find ludwigia sp red hard to grow even with co2 actually - no idea why I opted for it in this tank with my track record!
Amongst the algae hell, there is something positive - my ruby tetras! I was trying to get a shoal of chilli rasboras and discovered these incredible fish.


  • 8CA1374A-02ED-4457-A5A8-9B658002E2FF.jpeg
    2.3 MB · Views: 116
More plant mass the better, use some of those Ludwigia stems as per Tutorial.
Ludwigia red like higher lighting Ive found....but you want to get the algae under control, before increasing lighting levels!
Amongst the algae hell, there is something positive - my ruby tetras! I was trying to get a shoal of chilli rasboras and discovered these incredible fish.
Nice fish....:thumbup:
Okay will do @GHNelson thank you. I think the fact that I’ve got lots of slow growing plants in here has made this tank hard!
Yes, slower growers are fine but they need to be under a canopy of plant cover to stop GSA!
I have a lot of Bucephalandra in this tank...with no GSA.
Scapers Tank Surface Foreground  35 litre..jpg