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In 7 Step Build your Low Tech Planted Tank | Beginners Guide

If you love aqua-scaping and you do not have much time to spend on what you love. This may not be good because owning a tank means you need to take care of fish, so you need to adjust your time to accommodate time for your fish and tank in general. If this does not still suit you, then you may want to set up a low tech planted tank.

Setting up a low-tech planted tank may seem to be a changeling task to you. There is lots of information streaming on the net, and you may find it tough to make a decision or which guide to follow.

However, while you are seeking valid information on setting up a low tech planted tank, and you just stumbled on this article, read through, and see for yourself a lot of information to grab.

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What is Low Tech Planted Tank?

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This is the first question to answer here because not everyone knows the actual definition of what a low tech planted tank is; these planted tanks are typically tanks that are not infused with a gas known as Carbon dioxide (CO2). Because of the absence of Carbon dioxide (CO2), these tanks, however, do not need all the expensive and complicated equipment that CO2 tanks require.

They make use of low light levels; plants that grow in low tech plants grow 5-10 times slower compared to plants in CO2 infused or high-tech tanks.

The setup tank method you want to keep depends on some factors such as your effort, time, goals, and the cost of resources on budget. Each of these setups still has its upsides and downsides.

Let us sail through the advantages and disadvantages of setting up a low tech planted tank.

Advantages of Low Tech Planted Tank

  • This tank does not require changing or testing the tank water more often. This means that you can leave your tank for weeks, and it will still be as you left it.
  • Due to the slow growth of plants, they require low pruning.
  • Low tech planted tanks do not need many doses of fertilizer.
  • There is no risk for asphyxiating (Depriving Air) fish no overdosing of CO2.

Disadvantages of Low Tech Planted Tank

  • Due to the slow growth of your live plants, you might find it boring and annoying; this is worse if you love planting and pruning. You will have to wait for a longer period, which may be boring for you.
  • Because of the absence of CO2, you will not be able to grow some type of plants that require high levels of CO2.
  • However, there are plants you can grow in your low-tech planted tank they include; HC and glossostigma; these plants are referred to as ‘High-light” plants.

How to Setup A Low Tech Planted Tank for Beginners

Setting up a Low Tech Planted Tank is simple in a sense compared to the High Tech Planted Tank.

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The following step will explain in brief how a Low Tech Planted tank is setup from start to finish and the things you need from substrate, lighting, plant, filter, fish, etc.

Substrate for Low Tech Planted Tank

An aquarium substrate is essential, and the first to consider in any type of aquarium you are setting up.

For this technique, you need a preamble substrate with increased cation exchange capacity. Examples of substrates are Eco-completes, ADA soil, fluorite, onyx- sand, and other substrates. These substrates are ideal because they are rich in granules and nutrients that will make your live plants thrive.

However, people with a low budget, prefer to use soil and gravel as a layer in the low tech aquarium. While doing things, you should be careful because things can get messy and out of control. If I, during the long run, need to uproot/ remove a matured plant during the long run, the soil will be pulled out and raised to the top of your tank, leaving your tank muddy.

Instead of using topsoil, it is advised to use aqua soil, this soil is durable and welcomes re-using even if you want to upgrade or change your tank. This helps you save enough money and avoid the complications that come with using topsoil.

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While choosing a substrate, ammonia is an issue to be considered. Increased vapor can lead to the harmful growth of algae that can damage your plants.

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Lighting for Low Tech Planted Tank

Light has a huge role to play in any planted tank you are setting up. Lights are essential to plants because they are one of the vital factors involved in photosynthesis. This is quite different from in high planted tanks because of the presence of CO2, and you will not need to introduce much light.

While choosing the type of light for your low tech planted tank, picking a fancy light is not required. All that counts is you use strong, powerful lights. If you do so, you may find out in a short while that there is already a growth of algae in no time.

The lights should be kept below 2 watts per water gallon, for some species of fish; you may need to turn off the light for some hours daily.

Examples of lights to use are LED light and fluorescent bulbs, which need less energy to power.

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Plants for Low Tech Tanks

Plants are the main element of this tank; they are a planted tank, so plants are inevitably involved. While setting up this tank, you should pay close attention to the type of plant you are selecting. However, the plants you need are low light plants; they need a limited amount of light to grow. That is why they are recommended.

After introducing the plants, watch them grow carefully and take off the plants that grow easily because they can turn into a problem at the wrong run. These plants need a high level of biomass to thrive, avoid the growth of algae that can cause your plants harm; these algae will take on the essential nutrients required.

You should go for plants that don’t require much maintenance, make your substrate filled will plant, cover at more than 75-80% of the substrate; this gives room for the right about CO2 to enable your fish to thrive. Although this may cost you more than your budget, it is worth the money.

Firstly, select a lot of cheap and fast-growing plant stems and introduce them into your tank. Start this plant selection and introduction with at least 60% of fast-growing plants.

The reason is that fast-growing plants will absorb the nutrients in the tank and help the faster cycling of your tank; they will also use up the waste and matter that has been deposited by the fish. After this is done and the plants are healthy and doing well, you can now replace them with low-growing plants and discard the ones you choose.

Taking up the outlined guidelines will help you secure an algae-free tank.

Here a list of suitable and best plants for low-tech planted tanks.

  • Java Fern
  • Marimo Balls
  • Floating Moss
  • Amazon Sword
  • Water Hyssop
  • Round Bella
  • Cabomba
  • Madagascar Lace
  • Red Repens
  • Hornwort
  • Amazon Frogbit
  • Java Moss
  • Eelgrass
  • Brazilian Pennywort
  • Red Root Floater

Filter for Low Tech Planted Tank

A filter is essential for the purification of your tank. A filter with a constant flow will do good work of maintaining your tank by purification. Ensure you install the filter perfectly and avoid using a filter with activated charcoal but instead foam, especially if you want to add fertilizer into your planted tank. - For all your creative needs!

Maintaining a filter is not as difficult as all, so make sure you keep it clean. Ensure you clean it every once in a while.

A good filter should have a constant flow of at least 10-15 times the tank’s volume per hour. Ensure that the water then flows out of the filter flows without interruption; this will help create a balanced circulation in the tank, and nutrients will flow evenly through the plant’s uneven distribution of filtered water in the tank and will cause death in the plants. There will be an increase in algae.

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Fish for Low Tech Planted Tank

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Your tank is ready at this stage, and you may be excited to put in your fish. Watch your tank and see if all the plants are growing and doing well, also check out the water parameters to know if they are balanced.

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If your tank is an overstocked planted tank, you can introduce some algae eaters into the tank. Algae eaters help keep your tank clean by feeding on the algae, which will go a long way toward limiting algae growth.

An excellent example of algae-eating fish in the Otos. The Otos good algae eaters, so trust them to take on those algae.

People may have a bad feeling about adding their fish to the tank because it is uncycled, and yes, adding your fish to an uncycled tank will result in the growth of toxic ammonia.

However, if you have an overstocked tank and healthy and blooming plants, the plants will cycle the tank by absorbing all the ammonia present in the tank.

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After about three weeks, your plants are healthy and growing as it should, you can now add the other fish. Fish will bring more life to your aquarium and will also promote the development of your plants.

Below are some fish that great for a planted tank:

  • Rainbow Fish
  • Tetras
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Pygmy
  • Panda Cory
  • Swordtail fish
  • Angelfish
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp

Dosing Fertilizers for Low Tech Planted Tank

Don’t forget that your tank is a low planted tank, so you will need high-quality fertilizer to replenish the absence of co2. You should introduce the fertilizer depending on the size of your tank.

With that, you can easily tell the dosage of fertilizer for your aquarium. You can find fertilizers in every fish store. They are also available online, and you can always order them.

Plants need to absorb excess nutrients from their substrate; this will help limit the growth of algae. To achieve this, you should take off fertilizer from your plants to welcome natural growth.

Maintenance for Low Tech Planted Tank

Maintenance of any tank is essential, but a low tech planted tank may not need much of your attention. Below are a few guidelines to take

  • Give you plants doze fertilizers a maximum of once per week.
  • Skipping the fertilizer dose can adjust the nutrient levels in the ecosystem.
  • Always practice occasional pruning of plants to ensure healthy circulation.
  • Occasional clean the substrate to take off the excess waste and matter waste.
  • Always feed your fish every day.
  • When you do a great pruning that has to involve the uprooting of plants and taking off the substrate, ensure you change the tank water.

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Setting up a low-tech planted tank is easier for anyone to try out. This is because it does not require much maintenance, so you need a lot of equipment or a complex combination of plants, once you have your lights, substrate, plants, and other essentials, you are good to go!

If you got to the endpoint of this article, rest assured that you have almost all the information you require to set up a low-tech planted tank.

Don’t forget that you should keep your fish away from the tank a few weeks before the introduction. As soon as you have everything prepared, you can now relax and watch your fish and plants thrive.