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What is low-tech and high-tech in aquascape aquarium?

Are you a lover of the planted aquarium? Do you want a beautiful aquascape aquarium in your house? Do you want to make your aquascape aquarium more beautiful and worth-seeing? Do you want to set up your aquascape aquarium with colorful plants?

If yes, then this article will help you a lot to set up your aquascape aquarium. People usually become very selective when they buy a new tank. But when it comes to choosing plants, they make wrong decisions. To set up a perfect aquascape aquarium, you need to know the primary two terms, ‘Low-Tech’ and ‘High-Tech’.

With the knowledge of these two terms, you can set up your aquarium on your own with the right choice of plants. Both have some pros and cons as well you can choose which best suits you. So let have a detailed view of these terms.

Low-tech Tank

Low-tech doesn’t mean planting cheap or low-quality plants as the name gives the first impression. A low-tech tank means the aquarium with normal light and without CO2 injections. The Low-tech tank does not need any technicality, thus easy to set up and affordable due to non-injecting CO2.

Pros of Low-tech tank


The low-tech tank does not need much maintenance, and sometimes it does not even need a little maintenance. Changing the water of the tank is also a problem, but the low-tech tank does not need to change its water frequently.

No CO2 injections:

In the low-tech tank, there is no need for CO2 injected into the water due to its low light. There are specific plants for a low-tech tank that do not need a high amount of CO2.

Less Fertilization:

The Low-tech tank does not need much fertilization. The Less but regular dose of fertilization will be helpful for low-tech. Most of the time, low-tech tanks use fish wastes as fertilizer, but if you provide fertilizer, it will help plants to do much better.

Cheap and affordable:

To set up a low-tech tank is also less expensive and affordable as there is no need to inject CO2 into the tank. Normal light is used in low-tech that lower down the cost of energy.

Cons of Low-tech aquarium:

Slower Plant Growth:

The Low-tech tank is easy in terms of maintenance, but plant growth will be slowed down in the low-tech tank. There are few nutrients, fewer water changes, and no CO2 in the tank; that is why you can now understand slower growth.

Specification of plants:

You need to be very careful while choosing plants for low-tech. There are specific plants that can grow in low-tech due to limited light, nutrients, and water changes.

Some Necessary Steps to Maintain a Perfect Low-Tech Tank:

If you want to set up a low-tech tank, you need to follow these steps.

Selection of Substrates:

You can choose the substrate which best suits you. There are three best substrates for the low-tech are as described below:

  • If you need a source of fertilization, then you need to choose the Walstad Method. In this method, mineralized topsoil, red sea flora base, and ADA Aquasoil are used.
  • If you want to set up a cheaper low-tech tank, then you can use pool filter sand, gravel, black beauty sandblasting media, or gravel, etc.
  • If you want a high CEC (Cation Exchange Capability) that is used to store minerals, then you can use fluorite, surface (soil conditioner), kitty litter, potting soil, etc.

Selection of Plants:

You need to be very careful if you want to maintain a perfect low-tech tank. The selection of plants is also a very important matter for a low-tech tank.

Choose those plants that can survive with low CO2. Those plants will best fit in the tank that can survive in limited minerals, fertilizers, and light. Here are some examples of those plants that make low-tech more beautiful.

  1. Java Moss
  2. Pearlweed
  3. Java Fern
  4. Sword Plants
  5. Water wisteria
  6. Anubias Nana Petite
  7. Nymphaea Tiger Lotus
  8. Marsilea Species
  9. Red/green lotuses
  10. Dwarf Sagittaria

There are many other different kinds of plants like those plants that stay short and form the ground covers. Some red plants to give a more beautiful look to your tank. Mostly Red plants need CO2 to show their full coloration; however, some red plants can grow well in low-tech.

Selection of Tank

If you are going to maintain a low-tech aquarium, then choose a shallower tank as shallower tanks are easy to manage.

A shallower tank normally ranges from 20 gallons in length, and 40 gallon in breadth works well.  Do not choose tall tanks as they are difficult to manage in terms of light and Aquascape.

Our best recommendation is to go with SeClears 30 Gal tank.

Light for Low-tech tank

As in low-tech tanks, plants can survive with limited light, so a medium-light level of 30 to 50 umol (micromole per joule) will work well. A simple aquarium LED lights will also work well in the low-tech tank.

Our best-recommended product is from Koval available on Amazon.

Selection of Filter

The selection of filters is also a very important factor in maintaining a low-tech tank. A filter with 5X to 10X turnover of tank volume will be good and work well.

Consider buying the best filter from Fluval to produce a fluent operation that is up to 25% quieter than other filters.

High-tech Tank

A High-Tech Tank means Lots of CO2 (CO2 injections), high intensity of light, and a high amount of nutrients.

High-tech tanks usually need proper maintenance and water changes. A high-tech tank needs more light and more fertilizers as compare to a low-tech tank.

Pros of High-tech Tank:

If you are choosing to set up a High-tech tank, you will be more happy and interested in growing many different types of plants and more demanding plants. The high-tech tank has many advantages which are described below:

Variety of Plants

There are many types of plants that need CO2, light, and fertilizers to grow. The main advantage of maintaining a High-tech is you can grow a variety of plants in your tank.

The high amount of CO2, light, fertilizers, and water-changing make it possible to grow the plants of your choice.

Faster Plants Growth

In a High-tech tank, you will see the rapid growth of plants due to CO2 and fertilizers. Some plants need more light to grow fast; that is why in the high-tech tank due to the availability of light, plants grow faster than a low-tech tank.

Vibrant colors of Plants

Red color plants are mostly grown in High-tech tanks because these plants require CO2 injection to show their full potential and coloration. Moreover, colorful plants give your tank an attractive and soothing look. A high-tech tank looks like a set of crayons due to the vibrant color of plants.

Cons of High-tech Tank

High-tech tanks give a more beautiful look than low-tech ones. However, there are some cons of high-tech that are described below.

Maintenance of high-tech

Maintenance of a high-tech tank is the main problem. It requires your attention daily, and you need to change water weekly or bi-weekly. CO2 injections are compulsory for the plants’ growth, so you need to inject them frequently. As the plants grow faster in high-tech, the proper amount of nutrients will need to provide.

The high cost of maintenance

A high-tech is most expensive due to the injections of CO2, high amount of light, and nutrients. The plants that grow in high-tech are also expensive. Without proper levels of CO2 and a high amount of light, the tank will look like an algae farm.

Some Necessary Steps to Maintain a High-tech Tank

Set a Budget for High-tech

The first step to setting up a high-tech tank is to set a budget. As described above, high-tech needs a proper budget for CO2, nutrients, and light. So, first, you need to make a budget for these additional necessities like

These all add up to a high budget.


The high-tech tank needs proper maintenance. Extra time needs to spend on the maintenance of a high-tech tank. Maintenance of a high-tech includes the following steps:

Change water timely

High-tech requires water changing schedule weekly or biweekly. Approximately 25 to 50% of the water should be changed weekly or two times a week to maintain nutrients levels.

Regular Trimming of Plants

Plants grow faster in high-tech, and they need regular trimming to maintain your tank. Add more time to your maintenance schedule for the trimming.


The Plants need fertilizers to grow quickly, unlike the low-tech ones that need little or no fertilizers. If you do not provide much fertilizer to plants, It may slow down the growth of plants.

CO2 Injections

In the high-tech tank, plants need plenty of CO2 to grow and spread well. Therefore, Without CO2, it is not called a high-tech tank. The definition of high-tech defines the importance of CO2 availability in the tank. If you want to grow carpet plants in your tank, then CO2 is the most important factor for their growth.

Some important reasons for injecting CO2 in tanks are :

  • Increase the growth speed 5 to 10 times more.
  • Improves plant growth quality and coloration.
  • Allows any type of plant growth
  • Reduce algae issues

Both types of tanks can be made beautiful if we manage them well. High-tech tanks are not for everyone as it costs high, and not everyone can afford it. Low-tech tanks are also very beautiful and easy to manage and affordable for everyone.

It is suggested for beginners to set up a low-tech tank as it does not need much maintenance once you learn how to manage and can afford high-tech, then you can move to high-tech tanks.