“Aquarium keeping used to be much easier. And everything just grew well. No algae, no CO2, low maintenance.” Have you heard this phrase before? I have. I read it a lot on my blog, especially from veteran aquarists who have been in the hobby for many years. And frankly: they do have a point. Keeping an aquarum used to be much simpler.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep a simple aquarium today.
The woes of “high tech”
Do you know why we used to suffer much less from algae and poor plant growth? Because “back then” we mainly used weak aquarium lighting and easy aquarium plants. Most aquariums used T8 lighting and often only a few bulbs. Today, if you go to the store and buy a new aquarium, it comes standard with pretty strong LED lights.
Not a good thing in my personal opinion.
Why? More or stronger lighting on top of your aquarium means faster plant growth. That’s great, but plants that grow fast also need more nutrients and CO2. And that’s where often the problems start to emerge.
Many beginning aquarists do not have the budget for a CO2 system or prefer to work without one. In other words, they use a lot of light but do not add CO2 and fertilizers. The result? The plants first make a growth spurt, then stall due to a nutrient deficiency and start to “wear out”. And then the algae trouble begins.
The “low tech aquarium”: a nice compromise
What if … you just want a low-maintenance aquarium?
Where you don’t need a complete CO2 kit?
Where you only have to do occasional changes and prune aquarium plants?
Where you need to add less fertilizer?
You can. It’s called a “low tech aquarium.” The term actually speaks for itself: you just use simple technology without too much fuss. Not only does this save you a lot of money but because of the low light you use with these tanks everything grows slower. As a result you have less risk of algae as well as less maintenance work.
Some features of a low tech aquarium
What does such a low tech aquarium entail? There are different opinions, but in my opinion the following:
- Weak lighting or strongly dimmed LEDs
- Simple, but good filter
- Small amounts of fertilizers, for example the small dose of my All-in-One aquarium fertilizer
- An aquasoil or bottom fertilizer (e.g. Crypto) is useful
- Easy aquarium plants
Particularly weak lighting plays a key role in the low tech tank. Thanks to the weaker aquarium light, the plants grow more slowly. Slower growing plants need less nutrients and CO2, which in turn reduces the chance of a nutrient deficiency. No nutrient deficiency, no algae. No algae, healthy aquarium plants.
Example of a “low tech” aquarium
Pictures say so much more 😉
Below you will find an aquascape set up on the principles of a low tech aquarium.
What about you? Have you already set up a low tech aquarium? Or do you still prefer an aquarium with strong lighting & CO2? Let me know below!