Converting a Reef Tank to planted - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 18
Converting a Reef Tank to planted

Hello everyone,

Huge fan of this site. I have finally came to the conclusion to switch my 65 gallon reef tank over to planted. This will be my first planted tank so i would like to do everything right the first time. I have many questions so please bare with me. I became very intereted in planted aquarium after a visit to AFA in San Francisco, so I would like to setup a Nature aquarium. So here come the questions.

Tank specs-65 Gallon 36"x18"x25"

Lighting-36" 4 bulb ATI T5

What filtration system would you recommend?

What bulbs should I switch to?

What Soil?

Co2 system?

Heater?

Best plants for a beginner to start with.

I'm on somewhat of a budget so I would like to purchase the items with the best value. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks
Andrew
OCREEFLOVER is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 12:34 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: las vegas
Posts: 1,195
I converted one of my reef tanks to planted tank as well. If your tank is reef ready with sump is probably not ideal because of Co2 dissipates at a faster rate with that much surface agitation, because of the sump. Although others use sump in a planted set up, but they compensate by injecting more Co2. If your tank doesn't have built in overflow, the recommended and most used filters are canisters which you can connect Co2 reactors for better diffusion and saturation, using of course a pressurized Co2 which a lot of them to choose from, anywhere from $100 aquatek to $200 GLA Co2 regulators, I like the GLA with 3 year warranty. For lighting, I used ATI bulbs as well which are not ideal for plants. I would say 6500 k to 10k, you probably have blue plus, coral plus, purple plus or aqualue special, unfortunately you need to replace them. For heater, whatever you have now is good enough. For substrate, I use Eco complete but a lot of substrate to choose from and type of set up, I'm sure someone will chime in on this part and for plants as well. Good luck with the project, you'll lve it.
HUNTER is offline  
post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 12:57 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Gone
Posts: 5,993
I know you (ex) reefers love your tech gadgets. I feel the approach of starting with all the tech goodies then figuring out what to plant is an @$$-backward approach.

I feel it's better to get a vision of what you want in your tank in your mind before you spend a penny. Once you decide that, 1st figure out if it's a feasible combination, then figure out what it will take to make it happen. In that metal cocktail, mix in how much maintenance time you are willing to invest each day/week.

Planning should always come before shopping.
DogFish is offline  
post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 18
Thanks for the reply. My plan is to get rid of the sump and cap off the overflow plumbing. Any canister filters in particular? Do I need to double my water amount with a canister filter? I was eye balling eco-complete soil as well. I'm really confused with the ADA aquasoil and all the additional stuff you need with it. I think I will go with the eco-complete, how many bags would I need?

Thanks
OCREEFLOVER is offline  
post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
I know you (ex) reefers love your tech gadgets. I feel the approach of starting with all the tech goodies then figuring out what to plant is an @$$-backward approach.

I feel it's better to get a vision of what you want in your tank in your mind before you spend a penny. Once you decide that, 1st figure out if it's a feasible combination, then figure out what it will take to make it happen. In that metal cocktail, mix in how much maintenance time you are willing to invest each day/week.

Planning should always come before shopping.
I completely agree with you. I would like to start off with hardy plants and fish. My main inspration comes from nature aquarium layouts and dutch style as well. I can afford to spend a couple hours time with maintenance as I did with my reef tank.

Thank you for your input.
OCREEFLOVER is offline  
post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 01:21 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Gone
Posts: 5,993
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCREEFLOVER View Post
.... My main inspration comes from nature aquarium layouts and dutch style as well. I can afford to spend a couple hours time with maintenance as I did with my reef tank....


You are already ahead of most new people.

Dutch ~ You can do it without CO2 but not to the extent that most want to achieve when they say Dutch. High light CO2 tanks require more trimming maintenance time. Dutch more than other styles as it's about constant perfection. Very structure & regimented. To me it's the ultimate display of skill in this hobby.

Nature in the sense of Mr. Amano's tanks, will also require a good bit of trim/prune time if you want prefect carpets.

I prefer the low tech approach which does not mean one can not have lush growth. Low tech tanks take advantage of less light demanding plants. Without insane growth rates, trimming/pruning time is greatly reduced. One sacrifice is plant selection.

This is my 40 from last year. I try to keep my hobby very simple. light, filter, heater, I seldom dose frets. I do believe in Water Changes min. weekly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFzsDlC2N8E
DogFish is offline  
post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post


You are already ahead of most new people.

Dutch ~ You can do it without CO2 but not to the extent that most want to achieve when they say Dutch. High light CO2 tanks require more trimming maintenance time. Dutch more than other styles as it's about constant perfection. Very structure & regimented. To me it's the ultimate display of skill in this hobby.

Nature in the sense of Mr. Amano's tanks, will also require a good bit of trim/prune time if you want prefect carpets.

I prefer the low tech approach which does not mean one can not have lush growth. Low tech tanks take advantage of less light demanding plants. Without insane growth rates, trimming/pruning time is greatly reduced. One sacrifice is plant selection.

This is my 40 from last year. I try to keep my hobby very simple. light, filter, heater, I seldom dose frets. I do believe in Water Changes min. weekly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFzsDlC2N8E
Wow nice tank. Thanks for all the valuable information. What soil are you using in your tank?
OCREEFLOVER is offline  
post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 01:44 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Gone
Posts: 5,993
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCREEFLOVER View Post
Wow nice tank. Thanks for all the valuable information. What soil are you using in your tank?
Thank you.

I make my own MTS. I use 2" of MTS(Dirt) capped with 1.5" of sand. i curently use PFS (Pool Filter sand). I've used Play sand, Construction sand and Black Diamond blasting grit in the past. I find PFS the easiest to to use and I like the look the best.

Spend some time on the Substrate sub forum BEFORE you finalize your choice of substrate. While everything can & will work. It's a matter of what fits best with your vision of what you want to end up with.

BEST advice...An Aquarium is a system...NOT a collection of parts.

Last edited by DogFish; 01-12-2014 at 02:52 AM. Reason: sp
DogFish is offline  
post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 02:49 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
ua hua's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 2,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCREEFLOVER View Post
Thanks for the reply. My plan is to get rid of the sump and cap off the overflow plumbing. Any canister filters in particular? Do I need to double my water amount with a canister filter? I was eye balling eco-complete soil as well. I'm really confused with the ADA aquasoil and all the additional stuff you need with it. I think I will go with the eco-complete, how many bags would I need?

Thanks
I would keep your sump in place and not seal up your overflow. While it's true you may lose some CO2 the added O2 and the superior biological filtration is a huge benefit to any tank, even a planted tank. Not to mention the overflow helps remove any protein buildup on the surface which helps with gas exchange. Many people use an overflow and wet/dry or sump including myself. I wouldn't have a tank without one.

As for substrate that is a matter of goals, budget, and personal taste. While it's true that you can grow plants in any type of substrate there is pros and cons to them all. I have personally used a few different kinds including flourite, soil, and most recently Aquasoil. The flourite worked well but there is some things that I didn't care for about it. It has sharp edges and some plants were hard to get to stay planted especially finer stem plants and plants that have smaller root systems. The mineralized top soil is great for plants but not a good option if you will be moving and uprooting plants a lot. The Aquasoil has been nothing but good for me. The only con that I have to say about it is the initial cost but it has grown plants far better than previous tanks. There has been some people that have had their Aquasoil break down after some years of use but I haven't experienced that yet. The additives are a waste of money in my opinion. If you feel like spending a bunch of extra money on stuff that may or may not help that is a personal choice but myself have had great results without any of them. You can see some pictures of my tank in my journal that's linked in my signature. Some of the first few pages are my tank with Flourite and the last pages are new scape using Aquasoil. I have no experience with Eco Complete but assume it to be the same as Flourite meaning it has high CEC but lacks any beneficial nutrients in the substrate so you will have to provide some substrate ferts for the plants.

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death life is only a dream which is an imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ua hua's 90 gal. high tech
ua hua's 5,000 gal. water garden
ua hua is offline  
post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 18
Wow, thanks for the detailed reply. You have a amazing tank. Are you saying to keep my sump and run a canister filter? That's good to know about the aquasoil and not needing all the additional supplements.
OCREEFLOVER is offline  
post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 03:26 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
ua hua's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 2,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCREEFLOVER View Post
Wow, thanks for the detailed reply. You have a amazing tank. Are you saying to keep my sump and run a canister filter? That's good to know about the aquasoil and not needing all the additional supplements.
If you already have a tank with a built in overflow and a sump filter I would just use those. It's a good idea to seal up you sump to minimize co2 loss but that's an easy fix using duct tape, glass or acrylic top. There is no need to buy a canister filter if you already have a sump unless you feel like you need more filtration or additional mechanical filtration. Do you have any pictures of your tank and filter setup that you can share to see what your working with. If you plan on running all 4 of the bulbs on your ATI fixture I would look into a CO2 system or you will be inviting algae in. Is your ATI the dimmable fixture? Many people have different preferences with regards to bulb spectrum but just as an example I use a combination of Geismann midday and Aquaflora bulbs along with ATI blue special and purple plus and a UVL Red sun. I love the looks all the different spectrums give to the plants and fish. You may be able to use some of your existing bulbs depending on what you have.

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death life is only a dream which is an imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ua hua's 90 gal. high tech
ua hua's 5,000 gal. water garden
ua hua is offline  
post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ua hua View Post
If you already have a tank with a built in overflow and a sump filter I would just use those. It's a good idea to seal up you sump to minimize co2 loss but that's an easy fix using duct tape, glass or acrylic top. There is no need to buy a canister filter if you already have a sump unless you feel like you need more filtration or additional mechanical filtration. Do you have any pictures of your tank and filter setup that you can share to see what your working with. If you plan on running all 4 of the bulbs on your ATI fixture I would look into a CO2 system or you will be inviting algae in. Is your ATI the dimmable fixture? Many people have different preferences with regards to bulb spectrum but just as an example I use a combination of Geismann midday and Aquaflora bulbs along with ATI blue special and purple plus and a UVL Red sun. I love the looks all the different spectrums give to the plants and fish. You may be able to use some of your existing bulbs depending on what you have.
Here are some pics of my tank.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...ight=65+gallon

Unfortunately I'm do for a bulb Change and will need to replace my bulbs. The fixture is a ATI sunpower non dimmable.
OCREEFLOVER is offline  
post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 04:31 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
ua hua's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 2,460
Wow. Very beautiful reef and the the way you built it into the wall looks really nice. You definitely have the experience but there is a learning curve coming from the reef side to the planted tanks. I was in the same situation as you after coming from keeping a reef tank for many years and had a lot of new things to learn but it was enjoyable doing something new. It got to be too time consuming with kids and running a business so thought the planted tank side would give me a break and still fill my urge to have a tank. I still have a great appreciation for reefers and will some day have another reef tank(maybe when the kids are all grown up).

I think you would be just fine running that sump with a little modification such as a glass top to combat co2 loss. I don't think you will need to run both of your mp10's or you will be blowing plants everywhere. What kind of overflow is on your tank. It's hard to tell from the pictures. Is the tank drilled at the top?

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death life is only a dream which is an imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ua hua's 90 gal. high tech
ua hua's 5,000 gal. water garden
ua hua is offline  
post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ua hua View Post
Wow. Very beautiful reef and the the way you built it into the wall looks really nice. You definitely have the experience but there is a learning curve coming from the reef side to the planted tanks. I was in the same situation as you after coming from keeping a reef tank for many years and had a lot of new things to learn but it was enjoyable doing something new. It got to be too time consuming with kids and running a business so thought the planted tank side would give me a break and still fill my urge to have a tank. I still have a great appreciation for reefers and will some day have another reef tank(maybe when the kids are all grown up).

I think you would be just fine running that sump with a little modification such as a glass top to combat co2 loss. I don't think you will need to run both of your mp10's or you will be blowing plants everywhere. What kind of overflow is on your tank. It's hard to tell from the pictures. Is the tank drilled at the top?
Thanks for the compliment. The overflow is just a 90 angled with a strainer. I've used this style for a long time with no issues. Can you tell me what else I would need to run in the sump for filtration? My reasoning for the switch to planted is similar to yours in regards to the children. I just don't have as much time on my hands as before. Also seeing a nature aquarium in person was the real deal breaker. Thanks for all your help.
OCREEFLOVER is offline  
post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2014, 05:07 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
ua hua's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 2,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCREEFLOVER View Post
Thanks for the compliment. The overflow is just a 90 angled with a strainer. I've used this style for a long time with no issues. Can you tell me what else I would need to run in the sump for filtration? My reasoning for the switch to planted is similar to yours in regards to the children. I just don't have as much time on my hands as before. Also seeing a nature aquarium in person was the real deal breaker. Thanks for all your help.
You don't need anything special in the sump itself other than whatever you decide to use for media and of course a return pump. You should take look at the co2 primer sticky and decide what your goals are but I'm sure after seeing the tanks at AFA you would want to run co2 to get the results that you see in their tanks especially if you plan to use your ATI fixture.

Pressurized CO2...Just thought I'd share.

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death life is only a dream which is an imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ua hua's 90 gal. high tech
ua hua's 5,000 gal. water garden
ua hua is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome