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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just setup my second tank, a 20 gallon long - el natural of course.
Contains a few plants, half of which I don't know the names.

Got some Pennywort, Anubius, Amazon sword, Red Nessen, Anacharis, Java moss,duckweed and a few others.

Feel free to identify them. The names weren't written on the bags for all of them.

Did the six month water change on the 2.5G and took some Ana., Java Moss and duckweed from it to place in the tank. Free plants :D .

The first two pictures are with the tank with no water.
The tank was a special at Petco, so the family thought it was time for a whole family tank. We may try and breed a Betta pair, we'll see. We also bought the stand etc.

The last picture is the tank planted.
We also put in one female betta and 6 glow tetras (I think that is what they are).

The tank is near a window, but I am planning to get a light for it. A two tube All-glass aquarium. Want to put two 5500K tubes in.

That maybe too much light, but we'll see. Can't be any worse than the 2.5G with 4Watts/gallon.

No filter is planned so we'll see how it goes.


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134 Posts
Looks nice. I like the way a 20G long has a LxW ratio similar to a big 120G.

Seems like there's a thick layer of soil for a tank that size deep is the soil? As a preventative measure you might want to duct tape (or something similar) the back of the tank to shade the soil layer from the sun.

I envy folks who have the floorspace (and spousal approval) to set up their tanks by a window - I rely on fluorescent for 90% of my light.


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4,118 Posts
Yeah the 20L has 25% more surface area over the 20W.
The soil is only about an 1.25".

I might tape the soil.
Depends on the amount of sunlight I'm going to use.

Probably cheaper to use flourescent then use sunlight and have cool the house, at least in the summer. :rolleyes:
Nice setup! I've always liked the 20L-- so much surface area for fish and plants.

I'd go easy on the sunlight until I got more plant growth in this tank. Two 20 watt fluorescent lights over such a shallow tank are probably enough for now.

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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the complements and comments.
I also like the way the tank looks, doesn't look so high.

At this point I don't know how much sunlight I really get since our windows are treated.

I checked the ammonia level it was 0.5-1 ppm.
I didn't think the bio-load was that high. Maybe the drift wood is a little bit of an issue.

I look forward to the hood coming in so I can boast the plant production.
2x18W is 36W a little less than the 2-3 W/gallon, but again it is near a window.

I'm also hoping the light hood will help in keeping the tank warm in the winter (such as it is in Sacramento :)).

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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Almost 3 week update.
Lots of Algae (slimy long and green). Maybe a little too much sunlight, but one thing is I didn't like were the 2x8000k lights that came with the hood. So here's what I'm doing about the algae.

  • At about week 1, I glued black paper on the soil line to stop iron from being released.
  • Yesterday, replaced both bulbs with 4200k. This should be equivalent to cool white and should reduce the iron from being released from the DOC.The one concern about the 4200k lights is that I don't see an real oxygen bubbles forming on the plants. The sunlight the tank will see will be with the blinds horizontal, so this means diffused and not direct.
  • Today bought a top fin 20 filter and turned that on. It has adjustable flow so not bad for $20. I'm hoping to turn this off in the future. The tank is already looking clear and the shrimp and crayfish seem to be more visible. Don't know if it's due to less algae and can see them or they are just more active with more oxygen in the tank. Although the tetras didn't seem oxygen deprived.
  • Over the course of the last weeks have been taking the algae out by hand. And doing water changes.

The ammonia level is a little high. After my water change today is looks like 1ppm but a pH of 7.0 so that might be okay.

Inventory of animals:
  • 5 glow-light tetras (1 died)
  • No Female Betta (died within 3 days).
  • 10 Cherry Shrimp - in tank last Wed.
  • 2 Dward CrayFish -
in tank last Thurs.

Comments are appreciate. Trying to do all the recommendations from the book on controlling algae. Hope I can stop using the filter.

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39 Posts
why not add some rosy barbs, SAEs and otocinclus to take care of algae just in case it decides to show up. :D

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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah I need to update and get some pictures.
The quick:
No more algae. So much so I needed to buy shrimp food :D

Now no filter.
Bought heater to keep tank 77-78oF.

Live forms:
4 glow-light tetras
10 - red cherry shrimp (have counted only 8 max - hard to find)
2 - C. Puer (drawf crayfish)
100+ snails
100+ hydras
100+ cyclops
? - planairas, worms, tiny tiny speced creatures.

Of course lots of plants. Need to clean duckweed and do some trimming.

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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
New picture: 20 Gallon Long - El Natural

Here's a new picture of my tank.
Fortunately nobody got to see the in-between where I had the algae.

All the effort paid off. No filter anymore. Just 40W light 4100k and 100W heater.

I do believe one of the snail species is a real algae eater. At one time I saw them clean my Pennywort clean.
They look like the pond snails but have quite elongated bodies/foot.

The water looks crystal clear. I don't have really any direct sunlight due to winter and the house next door cutting off the light (low angle of the sun).
I still open the blinds to give some indirect light. Some reflected light from the window sill does get there.

Anyway enjoy. Here's hoping for baby shrimp and dwarf crayfish.


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194 Posts
Funny you should ask.
My brother-in-law just visited and took some pictures of the tank since his camera has higher resolution and an aquarium mode.
I'll have to update. Much to talk about.
Quick and dirty
3 glo-light tetras left
cherry shrimp multiplying
female dwarf crayfish died.​
Why does all your glow's die? It the crayfish isnt it!;)

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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The dwarf crayfish is docile (doesn't eat plants, attack (although this one does try and get the RCS).
The tetras were swimming sideways or upside down.
I euthinized them.
Maybe just diseases from the store.
Only the strong will survive and then I assume no more virus/bacteria will be added. Assuming I don't add anything.
Like ummm...
10 Tiger shrimp
and 2 more dwarf crayfish (C. Puer).

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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Here's an update.
No tiger shrimp since my pH was wrong.
The cherry shrimp are now at 40+ (started with 10).
  • 6 more tetras (2 died).
  • 5 baby dwarf crayfish (C. Puer).
  • 2 otos
Did my first water change since I started (6months).

Total population:
  • 7 glo-light tetras
  • 40+ red cherry shrimp
  • 1 adult C. Puer (dwarf crayfish)
  • 5 baby C. Puers.
  • 2 otos
  • 100+ snails (pond and ramshorn)
It's been 2 weeks and we now have seen 3 baby C. Puers.​

Here is a picture I took a little over 2 weeks ago (3/29) just after a pruning session. (I pruned again last weekend and took good plants to place in the new El Natural (#3) aquarium)

This is a panorama of 3 pictures (which is why the right side is yellow).
It's a link and is about 300k in size.


P.S. I need more hiding spots for the crayfish. Any opinions on adding the driftwood again (where the eggshell is, since that is slowly being disolved and eaten). I worry about ammonia spikes. I was thinking of breaking the drift wood in further pieces and maybe drilling holes to off lots of hiding spaces.

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18 Posts
I love your tank! Maybe some more flat rocks stacked on top of each other would provide the hiding places you are wanting. My grandfather has a farm just outside of town. Every summer my dad would have to walk the fields and gather stones out of it and take them to the woods to dump them. When I got older that became my job. Now I go out to the rock pile and steal the nice flat rocks for my aquariums. How times change. Again I love the tank and what you have done with it. I am getting a 20 gallon tank tomorrow but its the tall one. I sure wish it was the wide though. They look so nice and give everything more room to roam. Thank you for sharing. What was your substrate? Just top soil with a layer of gravel?

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458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the complement.

I'm using generic top soil from Lowes (comes in a red bag) and aquarium gravel. I like the color, light brown.

I do have the rocks on the left. I guess I could do more rocks. Funny is I did use half an eggshell but nobody wanted to hang out there.

I'm think small pieces with hollows maybe, and definately a few small holes to stop any bad air getting traped from the soil.
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