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Hello, new member here. I wanted to post my idea for a new tank setup and as I am using Diana Walstad's book (had it for 5 years now) as a guide, I figured, this is the appropriate spot to post.
I have been caring for freshwater - cichlids mainly for 10 years, dabbled in planted aquaria but never successfully long term.
I have kept saltwater aquaria for 6 years now, growing corals and such, but would really love to add a nice planted aquarium to my fish room.

I have a 20gallon biocube. Here is my plan for it.

I plan to place a seedling warm mat under the tank.
1/2" sand, 1" topsoil (plan on getting from store), crushed seashells for buffering capacity,1/2-1" fine-medium gravel on top.

My plan is for a variety of plants to start with to start tank up, depending on what is available locally. My hope is valasaria (?sp), columba in back and substrate a little deeper in back for depth, ludwigia, echinod. in midground and some small ground cover in front.

If readings are ok, will put in fish - plan is simple - tetras, perhaps a corydora cat., dwarf gourami; ultimately some shrimp/snails. (still researching small fish as choices)

the tank will not be in direct sunlight but has 4x24w t5's which should be adequate for moderate -bright light requiring, as this was adequate for high light requiring corals.

temp will be maintained 74-78
I plan to use ro/di water (readings: tds = 0, pH = 7.0, gH = <20mg/L, KH = <10mg/L ) and buffer as tap water is pH 7.9, tds = 25-80 depending on day, gH = 60mg/L, KH = 50mg/L

I figure will be easier to buffer than worrying about treating water while adding, and i wont have to worry about contaminants in tap water

the biocube has a small sponge for biofiltration - but the main plan is to use the pump and overflow for water movement - i was never satisfied with the movement for corals, but it is good for planted tanks i think ~600-800 gph.


I would love to hear constructive criticism and advice for plant /fish choices. (i would rather get locally than order and i have 2 good lfs' with nice healthy plants and fish) so depends on what is available.
thanks :)
 

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I hope someone can chime in on the one possible problem I see.
I don't have any personal experience with RO water, but thought I remembered reading that RO water also removes beneficial metals from the water.
What are your tap water parameters?

Just thought I would throw this in. I will be selling/shipping out some Dwarf Sag., Hygro 'Sunset', Hygro 'Tiger', Bacopa, & Water Lettuce this weekend.
 

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I was going to say you need fertilizers and CO2, but then noticed this was El Natural.

Anyway, I'm thinking that may be too much light (since they are t-5's). You might be better starting off with just two of the bulbs and then add as the plants get large and create shade.

-Dave
 

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.

I have a 20gallon biocube.
1/2" sand, 1" topsoil (plan on getting from store), crushed seashells for buffering capacity,1/2-1" fine-medium gravel on top.

My plan is for a variety of plants to start with to start tank up, depending on what is available locally. My hope is valasaria (?sp), columba in back and substrate a little deeper in back for depth, ludwigia, echinod. in midground and some small ground cover in front.

If readings are ok, will put in fish - plan is simple - tetras, perhaps a corydora cat., dwarf gourami; ultimately some shrimp/snails. (still researching small fish as choices)

the tank will not be in direct sunlight but has 4x24w t5's
I plan to use ro/di water (readings: tds = 0, pH = 7.0, gH = <20mg/L, KH = <10mg/L ) and buffer as tap water is pH 7.9, tds = 25-80 depending on day, gH = 60mg/L, KH = 50mg/L
Your plan sounds good.

You have more than enough light. Make sure that you pack this tank with plants!

Your tapwater sound very soft. I would add a calcium source to your soil- see my book, p. 87. You might even have to add calcium chloride to the water. I would not dilute tapwater with R.O./distilled water, as all that does is make the aquarium water even softer.

My advice is to try to work with your tapwater, unless you know that your tapwater has a contaminant.
 
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