You have seen some aquarium where people take a tank and fill it with gravel and decorate it cheaply. They have zero knowledge about the substrate and how to set up an aquarium.
While an aquascaped aquarium, also called ‘planted aquarium’, is the one where plants are arranged beautifully to the aesthetic look. Moreover, these aquariums also need other elements like proper nutrients, minerals, CO2, and light.
These aquariums are incredible if set up correctly and appropriately. Before starting a guide on How to set up a low-tech jungle aquarium, you should know about low-tech. Aquarium set up has two categories, high-tech and low-tech, that are defined below:
What is a High-tech Aquarium
A high-tech aquarium refers to a high amount of nutrients, minerals, fertilizers, and light. This also includes pressurized CO2 that is directly injected into tank water and the proper time for maintenance.
What is Low-tech Aquarium
Low-tech aquarium refers to no or little maintenance, normal light, without CO2 injections, fewer fertilizers, and no or rarely water change. Moreover, you do not need to spend much time trimming plants as the plants in low-tech do not grow at a speedy rate.
For a true aquascape, a well-designed aquarium with fine texture and jungle style is worth-seeing. A well-designed aquarium with luscious green plants gives you a feeling like a real amazon river in your room or house.
In this guide, you will read step by step process of setting up a low-tech jungle aquarium. Do not worry if you are a beginner because you will find enough information to set up your beautiful aquarium. First of all, let me tell you the equipment for the low-tech aquarium.
The equipment needed for the low-tech jungle aquarium
If you want to set up a low-tech planted aquarium, you will need the following equipment.
A fine glass tank
First of all, you need a fine glass tank with a dimension of 36, 36, and 45H. This is an ideal size of the tank that is not too small or not too large. However, the size of the tank may vary according to the choice and place. We recommend using SeaClear’s Aquarium Tank. It comes in all sizes.
The selection of substrate is something that confuses people, and sometimes people make the wrong decision about the choice of substrate. However, an ideal substrate is ADA AquaSoil (if you need nutrient-rich substrate) or Eco-Complete (not many nutrients but a very high-quality substrate).
Water filtration system
A filter is needed in the tank to keep the fish healthy. For the low-tech aquarium, I recommend mostly two filter options. One is a hang-on-the-back power filter, and the other is a Canister filter. The description of both filters is given below:
1. Hang-on-the-back Power Filter
This filter is an excellent option as you can get it at a lower price. This filter is easy to install because you need to pull them out and stick them on the back of the aquarium. It is capable of filtering excessive waste from water. However, it needs more servicing than the canister.
Our recommended product is from AquaMax. It is super-efficient and easy to set up and maintains.
2. Canister Filter
If you are setting up usually a 40 gallon or larger tank, then you should choose a canister filter. It needs little maintenance, but its cost is higher than a hang-on-the-back power filter.
But it allows you to stock more fish in your tank. A multi-stage filter pump from Fluval is the best option out there.
For a healthy environment in a low-tech tank, you need a filter and a thermometer to keep the temperature regular. Here also I give you the following two best options of heaters for your tank.
1. Aqueon Bi-metal thermostat
This heater is an ideal choice for the 20-gallon tank. The 50-watt heater is suitable for the 20-gallon tank. Check out the heater on Amazon.
2. Cobalt Aquatic NeoTherm Heater
For a 40 gallon tank, a 100-watt heater is an ideal choice. The neo-therm is a resin or thermoplastic heater with a shatterproof outer casing. The plus point is it has a three-year warranty. The top-rated heater is available on Amazon.
As a low-tech tank does not need a high amount of light and plants can survive in low light so LED lights will work well. You do not need any fancy light and decoration for the low-tech tank.
Finnex Planted is automatically fixed LED lights and has four colors from red sunrise to blue starry night.
When you are planning to set up an aquarium, a test kit is also included in the equipment list. An API Freshwater Master Test Kit is suitable for low-tech aquarium.
The purpose of the freshwater test kit is to monitor water quality and prevent water from polluting and becoming invisible.
The test kit monitors the following five most crucial parameter levels in the aquarium.
- High range pH
How to set up a low-tech Jungle Aquarium (step by step)
After collecting all the equipment for the aquarium, Let’s turn to set up the perfect low-tech aquarium. Here you will find step by step guide to the low-tech jungle aquarium.
1. Selecting a Tank
First of all, you need to select the size of the tank which you want to set up. You need to choose the aquarium according to your room size. If your room is not spacious,
However, the size of the tank also depends on how many plants and fish you want to add to your aquarium including root plants and tall plants.
2. Put a layer of substrate in the tank
After the selection of the tank, add the substrate that you have chosen for your low-tank at the bottom of your tank. The base of the aquarium (substrate) matters a lot in the growth of plants.
The substrate provides nutrients to plants, so make a proper base of the substrate in your tank.
You can make your substrate at your home, or you can buy it from the market.
Manufacturers prepared different types of substrates having different characteristics, and you can choose that best suits you. If you will not fill the substrate properly, it causes dirty water even if you select the best and expensive substrate.
3. Planting Plants into the tank
After layering the substrate, arrange the plants in the tank. You need to choose those plants for low-tech that can survive in low light and requires fewer fertilizers. Some common low-tech plants are named below:
This plant grows very quickly and can survive in low light. It does not need any special care; however, it needs trimming sometimes. It creates a thick blanket like a carpet in a tank where fish love wandering.
Anubias Nana does not require any substrate to grow. It can grow better when you attach it with wood. It is a strange plant from Africa. This plant can also survive in low light. The growth of this plant is slightly slower.
This plant gives an attractive look to the tank and survives in medium to low-level light. This plant needs a deep base of a substrate to grow. The growth of this plant is slower, but it is also inexpensive. If you grow this plant in a shallow substrate, it may die.
This plant is easy to grow and does not need any substrate or wood to stick with. This is a floating plant and float nearly rich light. Here you need to keep in your mind that it looks attractive, but floating plants may block the light to reach the bottom.
The stem-based plant has an average rate of growth and grows branches quickly. The plant is found from reddish-brown to purple and easy to grow.
This plant does not require high lighting; however, it demands good CO2. It does not require any substrate to grow and can stick with wood.
4. Fill the tank with water
After layering substrate and planting low-tech plants, slowly fill the aquarium with water. Regular tap water may be hard for the plants, but the substrate helps in softening and acidifying the water. Initially, you will see the cloudiness in the water, but when you add a filter, it will become clear.
5. Add Lighting System
After arranging the plants in the tank, you have to fix the light in the tank. No fancy light is needed for low-tech. You can add simple aquatic LED light in your aquarium. Keep in mind that you need to decide the number of bulbs according to the size of the tank. A larger tank demands more light than the smaller one.
6. Add filtration System
Add a filter in your aquarium as I have told you the best filters in the equipment list. You can choose anyone remaining in your budget. Both are easy to install and help in water purification.
7. Add Heater
If you are living in colder places and the room temperature is cold enough, then a heater is required to keep the water temperature healthy. I have given the options above; you can choose anyone.
8. Add Fish in your Aquarium
If you want your aquarium to look real and lively, then you should add fish in your tank. It will also help in plant growth, and fish wastes provide nutrients to the plants. Fish will add life to your tank. Here is some name of fish which you can add to your aquarium.
- Swordtail Fish
- Angel Fish
- Neon Tetra
9. Maintenance of Aquarium
Here are some steps that you need to follow to maintain your aquarium.
- Give a dose of fertilizers once a week
- Check to function of the filter
- Feed fish with frozen or dry food daily
- Clean filter in old aquarium water monthly
You can check out this aquarium tool kit from Persuper.
You have read a detailed article on Planting a low-tech aquarium. If you follow this guide, you will surely get the best results. Just keep patience after setting up an aquarium because plants need time to grow.