How to setup Low-tech Planted Aquariums

Click Here if you are looking for my guide on Low Tech Planted Tanks.  If you are looking for my article on Low Tech+Excel tanks, click here. I hope you found my article on setting up a low-tech planted tank to be helpful. If you have any questions/comments/thoughts or suggestions, please leave me a comment on this page and I can get back to you. Don't feel intimidated by the massive wall of text in the article. Planted tanks really aren't all that complicated. The hardest part is putting all the information together, reading it and understanding the basics and science of planted tanks. That hard works been done by me 😉 so read the article and go setup your Planted masterpiece!

Lastly, it might give you more confidence to know that the tank pictured above is my very first planted tank (and only my second attempt at keeping an aquarium ever)! Good luck!

177 thoughts on “How to setup Low-tech Planted Aquariums

  1. Sudeep,

    I would like to thank you for helping me get off to a great start on my planted aquarium. This is something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but I was afraid that I would be wasting my money on a potential disaster. Without your article, I would have never attempted this as C02 was just too expensive for me and I really wanted a planted tank. I followed your outline and almost two months later I am enjoying watching new plant growth. I am still learning to make minor adjustments, but my tank looks awesome.

    My particulars are 70 gallon (yes, 70… I know it is not the normal 75, but I confirmed with actual dimensions), Fluorite substrate, Finnex 24/7 Planted Aquarium LED, an AquaClear 110, and fertilizing as recommended using dry components. As for the plants, I have Anubias, Java ferns, and two varieties of Cryptos. As for the fish, Zebra danios, bristlenose pleco, and otocinclus.

    Although the plants are doing quite well, I started with; twelve danios and now only have two, 5 otocinclus and now only have three, and three bristlenose and now only have one. In hindsight, I think I overdid it on the algae eaters, but I am at a loss with the danios knowing that they are fairly hardy. I’ve tested my water and nothing seems out of line. I will be taking a water sample to my LFS to see if they have different results. The fish that remain appear quite healthy, but I am wondering why the initial fish die-off if the plants are doing so well. Any thoughts?

    I still have a corner or two to fill-in with some plants, but that is a minor tweak to the overall appearance. Again, thank you for such a great “recipe” for success. It is so relaxing to just sit back and watch my own aquatic world.

  2. Sundeep
    Thanks for your knowledge of planted aquariums.Very easy to comprehend.I have a question about substrate.If I already have gravel only,how should I go about changing over to what you suggest to use?I really hate the thought of moving crypts because it shocks them so much.Thanks

  3. I setup a low tech (non-co2) using your guide. My tank is doing great! Thank you. I have been using Excel but would like to switch to your fert recommendations using KNO3 and KH2PO4 and Equilibrium. I can purchase Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Mono Phosphate from the site you recommended and other sites. You have the ppm for each element listed separately which is a little confusing. Can’t I just buy KNO3 and KH2PO4 and multiple the teaspoon recommendation for a 65 gallon tank or do I need to worry about the ppm for each element.

  4. Sudeep,
    I’am planning for a 5G nano planted aquarium & was going through a lot of stuff online & getting confused,ran into your article by chance & it is a God sent .
    I have most of your recommended components to setup the tank, a 5G tank, 15W of T4 lighting, 340L/h HOB filter, Seachem flourish. Just some clarifications though, i intend using ADA aquasoil with pea gravel on top (budget constraints, plus i already have the gravel), would that be ok?
    I plan on keeping about 7-9 neon tetras without any algae eaters, would that be fine?
    Also what kind of media would be ideal for the HOB,what would you suggest.

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