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!

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

  1. Hi Sudeep,
    Great article! I am an aquarium enthusiast and until now I was into keeping Discus. I always thought that it was very difficult to maintain planted aquarium but now thanks to your article that I have managed to start up a planted aquarium with much ease. Thanks again for the great info put together.

  2. Thanks for the low tech planted tank article, it was great!

    I’m a reef guy switching to a low tech planted tank. It’s 150g (72″Longx18Widex26″Tall). Because it’s 26″ tall, what would be the recommended lighting setup? I already have 3x 175w 13K halides installed and would love to use them, but will replace them if needed. I could even use them in sequence (one one at a time for 2hrs each, then all three on the last 4hrs?).

    What do you think?



  3. First I’d like to thank you for your description on setting up a low tech aquarium. But I’m a little unsure on wether or not I have the correct lighting for mine. Here’s my info..

    I currently have a 40gal tank 36Lx15dx17t
    Lights: duel T5 39w 6700k per.
    Can you tell me if this is to much or to little?
    And thank you in advance

  4. I am very interested in starting up a low tech tank, but I don’t want to be disturbing the substrate and plants very often. You mentioned that you should start out with fast growing plants then phase them out as you get going. I don’t really want to do that (buying plants I’m just going to get rid of anyway, and disturbing the substrate are my main issues) Are there any plants you would reccomend that I could start with and keep? I don’t mind starting slow.
    Also, what is the smallest tank you would reccomend for a planted tank?

  5. How much substrate do i need? And how deep should I have my sand or gravel bed on top of the substrate in a 36 gallon tank. I’m new at aquariums. Thanks for the help.

  6. Love the article, guess you get that a lot, lol. I’ve basically setup a 55gal with a sump and worried about it not getting enough light because of the height of the tank. I think it’s about 22 inches high, I have 2x20W T8′s and 2xT5′s.

  7. Many thanks your articles, very helpful. I have a problem and seek your advice.
    Tank is a fluval edge 23l to which I have added two 5w 6500k LED lights,(13.5in total). Lights on timer 10 hrs / day and planted with java fern broad and small leaf and three small Anubis.
    One male beta, 5 cherry barbs and three ottos inhabit.
    Weekly 25% water changes at which time I add 0.25 of tetramin plant food. Also keep indian almond leaf in tank but change When starts to breakdown.
    Started tank 11 months ago and water conditions never change, 0 ammonia and nitrite, nitrate 0.25 to trace but tap water shows 20. Only tested for phosphate recently and tank between 0.5 and 1. Tap water 0.5.
    Plant was doing great, multiplying and thickenning and I was growing baccoppa Carolina profusely and having to cut back regularly.
    Suddenly I had BBA and feather algea on plants and the broadleaf java fern suffered and started showing brown patches.
    nothing has changed accept I think I overdone the pruning on the baccoppa and that is when the algea started to show. I replanted but it has all died back.
    That when I added the Anubis.
    I have been dosing seachem excel and upped the dosing of the tetramin for the last week.
    I really am at a loss and would welcome any advise. I have tried to maintain a natural tank and avoid adding chemicals. I guess I am asking a lot of such a small tank. The only advise I get from shops is add chemicals to get rid of algea but this is not the route I want to go down and in all honesty I am unhappy adding the seachem.
    Anyhow, if you have any wonder cures l would welcome.
    If you tell me how to post them I can send some photos.
    Thank you for your kind attention

  8. Hey! I’m just looking into possibly changing my tank over to a planted tank, I have a 36G bow front tank. It came with a 17W T8 24 inch light and some say that that’s not enough lighting. I would like a carpet plant, and I have no idea what else right now. Just trying to figure out the cost to switch over. Thanks!

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