Redoing 20g tall tank, help and opinions

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AC Members
Apr 14, 2019
I will be redoing my 20g tank to a high tech planted tank. I want to add CO2, plant substrate and all that fun stuff. I will list everything below and I want to hear any criticism and need a little help.

Tank: 20g tall
I think it might be a bit overkill for a 20g but I chose it because of the spray bar and I didn't want to see the HOB filter intake.
Any suggestions on what light I should use? I found this one because of the high watts it has.
Substrate I wasn't too sure on what to use. I read that I should have a separate substrate beneath this one with high levels of iron, etc. What should I use for the levels and change the substrate? Also, do I need to top it off with something like sand for the plants I chose? Should I also add root tabs beneath any of the plants with your selected choice of substrate?
Ferts: For ferts I went with a simple bottle of seachem flourish. Is there a different bottle(s) you recommend? Along with root tabs (if necessary?)
This took me a long time to find one I can use, and in my price range as well. I was thinking about the DIY kit with plastic bottles but didn't think it would last very long, and I needed a timer. I also didn't feel too comfortable with the plastic bottles holding up, especially it next to my bed. I chose this kit for the solenoid valve and because It will be a bit harder to blow up lol. (I also picked out a CO2 drop checker)
Dwarf Hairgrass
Isoetes Japonica
Ludwigia Natans Super Red
Myriophyllum Aquaticum (Parrots Feather)
Bucephalandra Black Pearl
Lagenandra Meeboldii 'Red'
Rotala Rotundifolia Red
Ludwigia Repens
Echinodorus Ozelot
I found all these plants on BucePlant


Mar 29, 2005
Watts are not a good unit of measure for lights, it shows how much power it used, not how much light it uses, you need to know par values at various depths, or just look for reviews. But I think the lights ok.

Eco complete will not do anything for your plants, it doesn't hold any nutrients out of the bag.. I would look for maybe Fluval Stratum to get something that will benefit your plants.

For ferts, I would ignore the flourish line, maybe look at thrive or thrive+ as an all in one. And maybe consider their root tabs too..

For CO2, in my experience it's always better and cheaper in the long run to go for pressurised in a regular co2 tank..

Hope that helps.


AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
SF Bay area, CA
I don't have co2 yet but I'm not sure what that amazon thing is...I didn't see a number I could relate to. But buy as large a tank as you can afford & house is what I've been told. It cost almost as much to fill a 10lb tank as a 20lb, etc. Paintball cylinders are small & cute but only for very small aquaria as I understand it. Also expensive to fill for the size. Do you have a local-ish source for co2? Home brew beer place tend to be pricey I hear...

For plants, I think an Ozelot sword will grow too large & take up most of your 20g tank. I belong to a plant club & have never seen or heard of Lagenandra Meeboldii 'Red', it looks interesting in a crypt-like way (I love crypts!). I have seen Isoetes Japonica as a plant species but don't know anyone who keeps it...makes me wonder why.

Just in a general way it seems like a lot of green grassy plants & red or reddish stems & rosettes...& well, a lot of plants for a smaller tank!

I have no opinion on the lights, the filter seems a bit of overkill as you said...the price is nice...10x GPH is what us loach nuts like for oxygenation they like but might blow other fish around...Will you have fish? Hardscape to break up the flow? Less room for plants maybe...

I have used Eco for 12-15+ years, I like it ok for color but in a small tank like yours I think I'd go with a true plant substrate like ADA etc. It won't be much more $$ than Eco & much more beneficial. But some break down into mud, I would hate that! So do some more research...