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.

Basics to Keeping Freshwater Shrimp

Freshwater shrimp are very easy to keep and can be kept in smaller aquariums without worry. However there are some essential things you need to keep them happy and healthy.

1. The filer intake must have a cover on it.

This is necessary so small shrimp or baby shrimp don’t get sucked up in your filter. I like to use filter sponge block for this. Normally you wont find a hollowed out block of it but you can by any shape block and cut it out.

2. You must have plants!

This is a must in my opinion! These animals thrive by eating bacteria and other organisms like algae off of your plants. Often times when you add new plants to a preexisting tank the shrimp will all swarm to it looking for food. Plants also provide shelter for the shrimp as well as their young. An excellent plant for this is any kind of moss.

WP_20150308_16_42_44_ProThe string like plants at the bottom of the tank is a type of moss.

3. Provide a lot of surface area for the shrimp to crawl on.

Usually plants help with this but having some driftwood or rocks in your tank will help you get the most out of your shrimp. They also will allow them to do more than just move along the bottom of your tank. So for example you could add a piece of drift wood that sticks up in the middle of your tank that way the shrimp can comfortably crawl along it as well.

If you follow these simple steps you should enjoy keeping shrimp without worry. Also your shrimp should be able to live, breed, and stay very healthy for a long time.

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.

Saltwater Aquarium Introduction

Recent History

Very recently I had an ick outbreak in the tank which killed all but 2 fish. Since then I have experienced an algae bloom. basically the tank is in a state of recovery, which could take a few weeks to come back up to par.

Watch this video to see my tank before this outbreak:

Current Status

The filtration on the tank has stayed very similar, although I have organized it a bit more. Some of the corals have also started to not look so good. While others that were not doing as good are surprisingly doing better. I will post more updates in the future about how things improve as well as things that go wrong.

WP_20150201_16_23_00_ProThis is a current picture of the tank.

Check out my Youtube channel for more videos.

Also leave a comment of things you would like me to cover

Benefits of a Freshwater Shrimp Aquarium

My personal 5 gallon shrimp aquarium is a very calm and relaxing desk ornament. There are many pros to owning one of these types of aquariums



  • Easy to maintain

I do very little in the way of maintenance on my aquarium. The plants manage to consume most of the nitrates and ammonia the shrimp produce. The shrimp will help the plants by eating algae and other organisms that grow on the plants or in the tank. The Fluval shrimp substrate promotes a healthy substrate for the shrimp and also provides nutrients for the plants. So the aquarium it self is almost self sustaining. The only thing I do is top off with freshwater ( which I also add some shrimp mineral solution too). Also I occasionally throw some shrimp food in, just in case the eat everything else.

  • Small

These aquariums are usually very small. My personal aquarium is only five gallons and fits on my desk next to my computer. I have seen these aquariums in sizes around 2.5 gallons.

  • Always looks good

Because I have good equipment and the tank is so self sustaining the plants always look green and healthy without any added fertilizers. So if you want to set up your own, I would advise looking for a shrimp aquarium kit which is what I used.

  • Relaxing

The shrimp are very interesting to watch as they crawl along the surface of plants searching for food. Combine this with their cool personality, color, and small size and you have a very unique compact ecosystem.



Make sure to check out my youtube channel for more videos of my aquariums –