Limli

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Hello, my name is Liam and I am semi experienced in the fish tank world, as I have a healthy 10 gallon tank with Dwarf Gouramis and White Mountain Minnows. That is a very basic tank that has fake plants and gravel substrate, but I am planning on making a 20 Gallon Long planted tank in the Iwagumi Style. I have bought some items and know the others I am going to buy but here is a list of my setup and after that I have a few questions I was hoping more experienced aquarists could answer.

20 Gallon Long Tank:
- Substrate: ADA Amazonia
- Filter: Hydor Canister Filter - 250
- Light: 30 Inch Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED
- Heater: Aqueon 100 Watt Pro Heater
- CO2 System: CO2 Regulator with Solenoid
                     CO2 Tubing - 10 Feet
                     Bubble Counter with Check Valve
                     Atomic Inline Co2 Diffuser 12/16mm

I am planning on housing a school of 14-16 Cardinal Tetras. It will be planted with a carpet of Dwarf Baby Tears and occasional spots of Dwarf Hairgrass around the rocks.

Questions:

1. Will the Hydor Canister Filter - 250 provide enough flow in the tank or should I invest in 240 GPH Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump?

2. Will the ADA Amazonia soil start the cycle without having to add fish?

3. Would I be able to house Crystal and Amano shrimp with the cardinals or will they be eaten?

4. Are there any dry ferts I should add to the tank under the substratre?

5. Will Mountain Minnows eat Crystal and Amano shrimp (Thinking of putting some in my other tank once I redo it with live plants and better equipment)?


I hope that I can get some answers for these questions as I want to have a really nice tank and make a good environment for the fish I get. Have a wonderful day everyone and I hope to hear back soon!
- Liam
 

StevenF

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2. Will the ADA Amazonia soil start the cycle without having to add fish?
 
No it will not start a cycle.  You need to add ammonia and cycle the tank BEFORE adding fish.
 
3. Would I be able to house Crystal and Amano shrimp with the cardinals or will they be eaten?

5. Will Mountain Minnows eat Crystal and Amano shrimp (Thinking of putting some in my other tank once I redo it with live plants and better equipment)?
 
Both fish are about the same size and there mouths are about the same size.  Fully grown 1" long shrimp will be OK.  However if you order the shrimp (many do because most fish stores don't carry them) you might get young shrimp1/2" or less in size.  These shrimp are vulnerable to being eaten.
 
4. Are there any dry ferts I should add to the tank under the substratre?
 
For a CO2 tank the rapid growth of plants will deplete the water of micro and macro nutrients.  To maintain growth you will need to fertilze. I haven't done a CO2 tank but I think Seachem Complete would be a good fertilizer to start with.
 

Byron

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I'm not going to give much detail, as you are going toward a fairly high-tech setup (diffused CO2) and I have low-tech or natural planted tanks.  But there are some parallels, so I will mention these.
 
First off, as this sounds like your first foray into planted tanks, some background may be helpful.  As StevenF said, you will need fertilizers.  The aim is to have a balance of light intensity and available nutrients that will be sufficient for the plants (and different species have different needs for both) but not beyond that, as this is a recipe for troublesome algae.  You intend CO2, so the first thing I would check into is the light; it needs to be bright enough to warrant CO2, and I've no experience with LED so I will leave it for others to offer advice on the light mentioned.  Once this is sorted out, fertilizers will likely need to be added daily, or at least fairly regularly; this will depend upon the light.  The light is what drives photosynthesis in plants, and once the light is sufficient to do this, the nutrients have to be available or the plants cannot photosynthesize fully, or at all depending.  Excess nutrients that the plants cannot use is yet another cause of algae problems.  The liquid fertilizer supplements like Flourish Comprehensive can work, but these are expensive and more suited to lower tech systems where they are only needed as supplements, as the name suggests.  But it can work, so this is your call.  I use Flourish Comprehensive, and Flourish Trace a bit, and Flourish Iron a very little, but I have no CO2 and moderate lighting, and very soft water (another source of some minerals).
 
On the cycling, as you intend a planted tank, I would not do a "cycle" per say.  With live plants this is unnecessary, and sometimes creates problems.  We can discuss this more later if you're interested.  I have been in this hobby for 25 years, and set up dozens if not hundreds of tanks with plants, and never have I "cycled" deliberately.
 
On the filter, I am not familiar with the one mentioned, but I would point out that if you are intending plants, you need a gentle but not much current.  And currents affect fish too, and those mentioned so far are still water species.  In a 20g I personally would use a dual sponge filter, or the Eheim mini internal which is just a sponge and small motor (this is a dandy little filter, and avoids an air pump).
 
Byron.
 

StevenF

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On the cycling, as you intend a planted tank, I would not do a "cycle" per say.  With live plants this is unnecessary, and sometimes creates problems. 
 
 
Growing plants will consume Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate.   However if your plants are not growing well they nay not do enough to keep the water clean.  Since you are going from a basic unplanted tank to a planted CO2 tank my recommendation is to cycle the tank and then plant it to insure the tank can handle fish even if the plants initially do  not do well.
 
/Also for a planted tank with CO2 you want good bright light.  The lamp you have looks good but the manufacture doesn't say how bright it (lumens or PAR) so I don't know how well it will work.
 

Far_King

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I'll answer on the shrimp if I may.
 
Crystal shrimp tend to be very small.  It's likely you will get young shrimp and they may not survive the fish or the filtration.
 
Amano shrimp are generally larger.  Mine are anywhere from half an inch to nearly two inches long and will be fine with Cardinals.  Just make sure there are plenty of places for the shrimp to hide away and they'll be fine.  This is necessary for when they shed as their exoskeletons can be soft for a few days when this occurs.
 
A low pH may not be suitable for Amano shrimp - 7-7.5 would be recommended.
 
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Limli

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Far_King said:
Crystal shrimp tend to be very small.  It's likely you will get young shrimp and they may not survive the fish or the filtration.
 
Amano shrimp are generally larger.  Mine are anywhere from half an inch to nearly two inches long and will be fine with Cardinals.
 
The person I am buying the shrimp from said they would be 1/2" to 3/4" upon purchase. I am not sure if this will be big enough. I was also thinking if neon tetras would be a better choice as they are a lot smaller, what do you think? I would like to get Cardinals as they are much better looking in my opinion, but if it gives my shrimp a safer place to live I will get neons!
StevenF said:
 
On the cycling, as you intend a planted tank, I would not do a "cycle" per say.  With live plants this is unnecessary, and sometimes creates problems. 
 
 
Growing plants will consume Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate.   However if your plants are not growing well they nay not do enough to keep the water clean.  Since you are going from a basic unplanted tank to a planted CO2 tank my recommendation is to cycle the tank and then plant it to insure the tank can handle fish even if the plants initially do  not do well.
 
I was thinking of dry starting my tank to help the plants root, but I was only planning on doing it for a week or two just so they can become more stable before I flood the tank. You said to cycle without plants though and add them later. What are the advantages of cycling before planting?
Byron said:
On the filter, I am not familiar with the one mentioned, but I would point out that if you are intending plants, you need a gentle but not much current.  And currents affect fish too, and those mentioned so far are still water species.  In a 20g I personally would use a dual sponge filter, or the Eheim mini internal which is just a sponge and small motor (this is a dandy little filter, and avoids an air pump).
 
I have already purchased the filter and seen many use it with their planted tanks and say it was one of the best they have every had. There is a way I could have less current with the spray bar attachment as that would create little water disturbance and I could also get the 240gph circulation pump as mentioned earlier by me. Also do you or anyone have suggestions for how to cover the intake of the filter without depleting the flow rate into my filter (to help protect shrimp from getting sucked in). I did some research and people said they put these little foam things over the intake but it really depleted their flow rate and gph of filtering.
 

jag51186

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Limli said:
Hello, my name is Liam and I am semi experienced in the fish tank world, as I have a healthy 10 gallon tank with Dwarf Gouramis and White Mountain Minnows. That is a very basic tank that has fake plants and gravel substrate, but I am planning on making a 20 Gallon Long planted tank in the Iwagumi Style. I have bought some items and know the others I am going to buy but here is a list of my setup and after that I have a few questions I was hoping more experienced aquarists could answer.

20 Gallon Long Tank:
- Substrate: ADA Amazonia
- Filter: Hydor Canister Filter - 250
- Light: 30 Inch Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED
- Heater: Aqueon 100 Watt Pro Heater
- CO2 System: CO2 Regulator with Solenoid
                     CO2 Tubing - 10 Feet
                     Bubble Counter with Check Valve
                     Atomic Inline Co2 Diffuser 12/16mm

I am planning on housing a school of 14-16 Cardinal Tetras. It will be planted with a carpet of Dwarf Baby Tears and occasional spots of Dwarf Hairgrass around the rocks.

Questions:

1. Will the Hydor Canister Filter - 250 provide enough flow in the tank or should I invest in 240 GPH Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump?

2. Will the ADA Amazonia soil start the cycle without having to add fish?

3. Would I be able to house Crystal and Amano shrimp with the cardinals or will they be eaten?

4. Are there any dry ferts I should add to the tank under the substratre?

5. Will Mountain Minnows eat Crystal and Amano shrimp (Thinking of putting some in my other tank once I redo it with live plants and better equipment)?


I hope that I can get some answers for these questions as I want to have a really nice tank and make a good environment for the fish I get. Have a wonderful day everyone and I hope to hear back soon!
- Liam
 
So, I am going to weigh in because I've been doing a ton of research into high tech setups because I plan on starting one in the near future.
 
1. I think in the case of a 20 gallon long, you will probably get enough flow from a canister filter by itself because it is a fairly narrow tank. You want a decent bit of flow to disperse the CO2 well, and to keep your carpet healthy, but you don't want a lot of surface disturbance because this releases your CO2 as well. I would try it with just the canister to start, and you can always add the pump later if needed.
 
2. The ADA Aquasoil doesn't technically "start" the cycle, but being that it is enriched for plants, it leeches ammonia into your water column initially. Most people report that ammonia actually hits a pretty high level when using this substrate, which should help kickstart your plants a bit. Having said this, I wouldn't add any livestock until the tank has really settled in. From what I have seen of high tech setups, most people don't actually cycle their tanks and just focus on plants for the first month or two. By then, your plants should really be taking off and you can do the "silent cycle" method that Byron advocates. You will have such lush plant growth by this point, that it should be no problem to add fish and shrimp.
 
3. I would say yes, but I have no real experience in this area. I feel like cardinals have small enough mouths that you shouldn't have to worry too much about them eating shrimp except very young babies, but honestly I have zero experience here.
 
4. I think under-substrate ferts are very helpful in the setup you are going for. I haven't researched a ton into these yet, but if you can afford them, I would add them. I know ADA makes their own line as well, that work splendidly. You can also do Osmokote+, which are pretty easy...and you can make DIY root tabs using this and capsules that dissolve over time for later supplementation. But, as Byron stated, you will need to be dosing ferts daily in the water column as well to get proper growth from your carpet.
 
5. Once again, not really sure.
 
As to your lighting, here is the PAR data for you. This was not done by me, nor do I take credit...found it on another forum.
 
Quick PAR reading below 24 inch fixture:

3": 185
6": 117
9": 88
12": 61
15": 45

 
So, depending on how how you mount the light, and how high your substrate ends up being...you will get decent light out of it, but I wouldn't call it high lighting really, I think this leans more towards the moderate range. Also, that's the 24 inch fixture and not the 30", so yours may be brighter.
 
As far as the guard for the canister filter intake, they make stainless steel ones that you can retrofit I believe. But, a lot of people just use sponges...but like you said, it may slow down your flow.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Aquarium-Filter-Shrimp/dp/B00WQ36TOU
 
Hope this all helps!

 
 
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Limli

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Thank you a lot jag! Really helped answer some of my questions! Is that stainless steal guard you linked good quality or do you know anyone who has it, cause I like the look at price, just want to make sure it is good! And for the lights I may purchase another one if I find a need more light! Also for the substrate level it will prob end up with about 9" of open tank space. 
 

jag51186

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I don't know anything about the guards because I've never used one, just have seen them around.
 

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