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
- 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.
- Air Line Tubing: This really is just air line tubing. Its cheap, comes in some different colors, and really one size fits all.
- Check Valve: This will go after the regulator and will simply keep water from flowing back into the regulator if something happens
- 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.
- 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 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.
I recently had the opportunity to attend Reef-A-Palooza 2017 in Orlando. This was an awesome convention for anyone in the aquarium hobby. There was A lot of coral to purchase as well as a lot of other companies selling and displaying their products. If you are a reef enthusiast Reef-A-Palooza is for you.
I did edit together a video of some of the highlights and I talk a little about the convention and what I really got out of it. Reef-A-Palooza Orlando 2017
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.
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: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd5AYUnXQu4I1QDZC91cSew
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.
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 (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.
- Cheap. DIY lights can save you a lot of money. Especially since most planted aquarium lights are a bit expensive.
- Effective. They are great way of growing most basic aquarium plants rather rapidly.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
The 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.
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. This 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.