My First High Tech Planted Aquarium

It Wasn’t That Hard

I think a lot of people get the idea that these kinds of aquariums are really hard to do and maintain. What surprised me the most was really how easy it all was. Honestly I think its almost easier to set up a high tech (Co2) than a low tech (No added CO2).

The idea of adding CO2 to a aquarium for me seemed really hard and high maintenance to maintain. Once I got the right Regulator for the pressurized CO2 tank. It was really simple. All you really need to add CO2 to a planted aquarium is as follows

  1. Regulator: This is what attaches to the CO2 tank to allow CO2 to flow through the air line tubing. Make sure you get a regulator that has a plug! this will allow you to set it up with a timer which makes it really easy to maintain.
  2. Air Line Tubing: This really is just air line tubing. Its cheap, comes in some different colors, and really one size fits all.
  3. Check Valve: This will go after the regulator and will simply keep water from flowing back into the regulator if something happens
  4. Bubble Counter: This is really optional. It does look pretty cool and is a decent way to see how much CO2 you are adding. Some diffusers come with these built in.
  5. Diffuser: This is what diffuses the CO2 into the water.


There are other ways

This is the only way I have done it. I have had lots of success using this setup but I know that other ways work just as well. I wont talk too much about those because I don’t have any experience with them and I don’t want to try and explain something I haven’t done.

The Results!

The big moment! Setting it all up is really the fun part and you can get really creative with this step. You can create all different types of layouts with basically any plants you want to grow. Here was my first set up. I had kept other planted tanks prior to this so I did have some experience.


High Tech Planted Aquariums “Intro”

High tech planted aquariums have become very popular in recent years. These styles of aquariums are very popular in Europe and Asia. thanks to Takahi Amano and the amazing work he did creating this style of aquarium keeping. His work set the high standard that all aquascpaers try to meet.

aquascpae photo 1

The tank in the picture above is just an example of what people can create using this style of aquarium.



Recently I have started to create my own pieces of work. I have used several different pieces of equipment and at times finding equipment that works effectively can be difficult. Most of these issues arise from the fact that most good brands that manufacture goods and equipment for these tanks currently don’t sell there products in the US. despite this I have found some very good products and in the future I will talk more about these tanks as well as finish up some posts about planted aquarium lights.

This is one of the two high tech aquariums I have set up. I have several videos on these tanks on my youtube channel. So if this interests you or want to see more of what I do check out my videos here:


Forests Underwater

Forests Underwater is an amazing aquarium creation. This was the final big project of Takashi Amano before he passed away in late 2015. This tank is absolutely breath taking and not just because of its incredible size. A lot of work went into the setup and design of this massive piece of art.


I have also begun creating my own pieces of art on my youtube channel. My tanks are not even close to comparing to the art Amano has crafted.

That is the link for my channel.

DIY Planted Aquarium Lights

There are many different options for lighting a planted aquarium. Especially now that LED’s are becoming popular lights for aquariums in general. However most of these lights will not be able to grow plants effectively and can be a waste of money. In the long run it is better to buy the lights you want and need at the beginning. Now you can upgrade your lights later but expect to run into a few simple algae problems. To avoid this however you need to know about the four types of lighting available.


DIY Lights

DIY (Do It Yourself) lights are a good cheap option for growing plants. Especially if you do not have access to a pet store with the right kinds of lights. These lights do however have there advantages and disadvantages.


  1. Cheap. DIY lights can save you a lot of money. Especially since most planted aquarium lights are a bit expensive.
  2. Effective. They are great way of growing most basic aquarium plants rather rapidly.


  1. They do not look “pretty”. These lights do not look very appealing in a home. The system can be kinda big and wont come in many colors. So you may have to come up with a way to hid them. Some people do not like to color of light they give off. As it tends to have a yellow tint.
  2. Not water proof. These lights normally are not water resistant or over long periods of time can be damaged by the moisture or water splashes. So if you want them to last you need to get a glass or acrylic lid.
  3. Not very bright. These lights can grow plants just not all plants. If you want a professional looking tank with a lot of foreground plants then you will need to invest in a better light.
These are just some of the cons and pros that I have experienced. I have used two different DIY lighting systems to grow plants. One was a plant grow bulb you can but at any home depot. The lights go with the clip on metal light fixture. The other is on my 55 gallon aquarium. And it has 2 T8 bulbs with the highest brightness I could find.
This is what the fixture on my 55 looks like.
So this a very brief look at some different DIY lights. There are also so many different combinations and ways to make them. So if this is something your interested in, then i would go and see what other people have made.
Make sure to check out my blog again to see the next post about lighting planted aquariums!
Also check out my YouTube channel Here: for more awesome fish information and detailed descriptions of my tanks.

Dirted Aquariums Introduction

The use of dirt in aquariums is not a common thing. However it can be a very effective method for growing plants. Dirt is the most natural plant growing substrate you can use. However if you do something wrong there can be frustrating results. There are some simple tips that can keep this from happening.

1. Use organic potting soil. Make sure it has very few additives, the more there are, the harder it is to cycle the tank successfully.

2. Only use about an inch of dirt in the bottom of your tank.

3. Make sure you put the same amount of a cap substrate on top of the dirt.

4. Use a small substrate for a cap, but not too small. bigger than play sand, but small enough so the plants can move it out the way to grow. (Pool filter sand is very good at this.)

5. Do weekly water changes until the dirt stops leeching a tea color in the water.

6. Wait about a month before adding fish. The fish will make cycling the tank much harder.

7. Add a lot of plants initially, this will help reduce the amount of nutrients for algae to use.

Follow these simple steps to make sure your dirted planted tank is a success. WP_20150107_08_13_48_ProThis is a picture of one of my newest dirted aquariums. Notice all the plants in the tank, this will help reduce algae. You can also see the pool filter sand on the right of the tank with the dirt beneath the sand.

let me introduce myself

WP_20140305_16_02_36_Pro My name is Drew Young and I am an “enthusiastic marine biologist to be”.  I have spent the last 5+ years immersing myself into this fascinating world.  I have been to the ocean many times and there got a taste of the experience but it has been my hobbies at home that has engulfed me.  In this blog I hope to express my passion and also provide some insight into the care, feeding, and establishment of various aquatic ecosystems.  I will be posting articles, video demonstrations, and updates of the various environments I have created. 

I hope you will find this information of educational value but in a fun way and also share with me in this passion for aquatic life.

I look forward to making this journey with you!