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I have been wanting a planted aquarium for a while. I like the Igwamie style. I have never had planted aquariums before so I set this one up as a test before I commit to buying a edit load of stuff the set up my big tank. Im using stuff I have laying around.
The tank is a 4ft 33g with a 65w x 4 pc setup. I have a 10 lbs co2 set up but not quite sure how to use it. LOL I have a hang on back Rena smart filter that's rated for 55g and SMS substrate. The only fish will be about 25 cardinal tetras. I only want a thick carpet across the bottom.

How hard are cardinal tetras to keep? I have heard hard and easy.

What would be a great beginner plant that will quickly take over the ground?

Do I need to use the co2?

I have a fluval FX5 laying around? would that be two much flow for a 33g?

 

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Cardinals are like any other fish.

If you have Co2 go ahead and use it.

Have you looked into fertilizing? You will need to fertilize along with Co2 to help keep algae at bay.

Good plants would be dwarf hair grass and glosso.

I recommend taking the big rock on the right side and turn it to the other direction. It's not ideal in these set ups to have all rocks facing the same directions. Also it would be nice to see some more smaller ones on the left so the smaller rock doesn't seem so lonely.
Another good thing would be to break the big one into two rocks and have one facing the left. Then taking the other big one and put it on the left side with the smaller rock. Just my $.02
 

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The setup you plan with the lighting & C02 you have will be consider high tech, not low tech. A 4x65 watt fixture is going to give you way too much light for a 33G tank. The first thing I would do is reduce the amount of light by using only 2 of the bulbs, however you will still need to use the C02 since you will still have around 4wpg. If you truely want a low tech tank then I would reconsider drastically reducing the amount of light & not using C02.

As far as plants you will want to plant heavily with lots of fast growing plants like: Hygro, Wisteria, Watersprite, Hornwort, Rotala, Ludwigia repens, Egeria densa, Bocopa, Sagittaria, Vallisneria. All these plants should be easily found at your LFS.

Also make sure to put your lights on a timer so they are on for only 8 hours daily. Make sure your bulbs have a k rating of 5500-10000k. Also make sure you start a regular fertilization routine as soon as you plant, which should be sooner the later. You will need to dose a micro nutrient, nitrates, potassium, phosphates & maybe some extra iron.
 
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