Starting a new tank...Questions - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-04-2003, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 53

I appreciate all the help and I am getting my choices narrowed down. Here is what I have decided on:

75 gallon on black iron stand with felt between aquarium/stand (will be in cold basement)

Filstar XP2 or 3 (XP2 says will work up to 75 gallon...should I get the XP3?)

2 Ebo Jager 100W heaters

JBJ 4 x 55w Compact Fluorescent (I appreciate the DIY suggestions, but like the sreamlined look for the added cost)

Custom Aquatics CO2 injection

Here are my remaining questions:

1) Should I elevate my JBJ light on open water, or lay it flush with glass underneath (I don't plan on having plants grow out of the water...intentionally)

2) Substrate - still not sure whether to go gravel/laterite or fluorite. Would appreciate some pro's/cons. I would love to have a dark substrate if I could. If I do go fluorite, what percentage?

Also, If I lay my substrate in an irregular fashion and use laterite in the bottom third(the back corners may rise quite a bit with driftwood "walls"), do I still use laterite in the bottom third, or keep the same thickness of the top non-laterite layer and have everything below the laterite mixture?)
If fluorite, best online source?

Can't wait to get started.

When I begin my diary and include pictures, which forum would be most appropriate? Will still be a couple weeks... Will include before photos with equipment laid out on ground and will continue from my algae farm to hopefully some semblance of planted art.

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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-04-2003, 04:00 PM
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You want to keep your laterite/flourite/whatever layer of substrate about the same depth from the top of the layer of gravel (so keep your 1-1.5" of gravel/sand uniform across the tank and just have a thicker layer of laterite). The Laterite is asking like a "nutrient sponge" holding the food that the plants need, where its needed most; the roots. If you make your top layer of gravel too thick, then the plant roots will have to extended deeper into the substrate to get what they need.
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 01:17 AM
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Get the XP3. I have one on my 55 and still have a power-head in there for water movement. Also I would get much larger heaters. You only have 200 watts there and you say the basement is cool. You should have at least 5w gallon if the tank is going to be in a cool area. And there is less chance of failure if the heaters are not running all the time. I would get at least 2 x 200 watt or maybe even 2 x 250 watts. I love open top tanks. I took the glass off my 55 because of light loss and the pain of keeping the glass clean. So use the legs that come with it and you should be fine. I would go with Flourite every time. You can mix it with gravel if you want. I did in my 55 and it looks great and the plants are growing like gang busters. One hint, if you go with a Flourite or Flourite mix put some peat moss on the very bottom of the tank. About 3-4 handfuls will be enough. As for ordering the Flourite it depends on where you live. Big Al's has a great price on it but shipping can kill you. It's like $12 or more a bag out here to the left coast.
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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 03:52 AM
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I've never really understood mixing substrates, ESPECIALLY layering substrates. Flourite, Laterite, Dolomite, Hermaphrodite, Stalactite...I get all the -ite ending words confused. I mean, I don't know about other people, but my fish poop enough (particularly the plecos) that I have to do rather frequent gravel vacs. Not just PWCs, but gravel vacs. And if you layer different kinds of gravel, gravel vacuuming is going to mess that all up and IMO make it look odd. So I'd just go with 100% Flourite and be done with it. However, I don't know what I'll do about all this poop on the floor when I go 100% planted (obviously won't be ABLE to do gravel vacs). :?

STAT 007
Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2004

37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 53
Ok, I decided to go 100% Fluorite with possibly some peat on the bottom....but wait, now I am reading about Eco Complete and am having second thoughts....any opinions between these two? I love the look of a dark substrate and thought about using some Tahitian Moon Sand as a top layer if I use Fluorite, but Eco Complete is a dark color anyway.

One more thing...for a 75 gallon with 6" in back substrate height, 3" in front (4.5" average), how many pounds would I need?

I am getting have to research Fertilization and then will place orders.

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post #21 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 12:52 PM
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Here's a handy little link for you.

This will help you figure out how much you need. I have never used the Eco Complete. I was aghast at the price of it over the Flourite.
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post #22 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 11:09 PM
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I am using the Eco-Complete and Tahitan Moon sand in a tank I just started so I dont know of the quality yet of the Eco-Complete verses Flourite.
I am having problems with this tank's water clarity and I am still not convinced about the sand's hand in it. Though Tim says he has no problems with water clarity so I am thinking I have other problems... :roll:
If you like dark then that is the stuff to looks beautiful as a substrate... there are photos of it at my website if you want to see it...its the 56 Gallon Angel Tank
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post #23 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-16-2003, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 53

At the moment, everything is ordered and being delivered to my house. I will start the photo diary as soon as I have everything. Here is what I ordered:

1) 8 bags of Eco Complete substrate for $16.99/20 lb bag. I thought the price was fairly reasonable when compared to flourite, especially when you consider flourite comes in 15 lb bags (to be honest, I don't know if the difference in mass is from density or volume). S & H for the 8 bags was ~$30. Flourite at my LFS is $28/bag

2) 220 watt JBL compact flourescent w/ bulbs - $270 + stands $25

3) 2 250 watt ebo-Jager heaters - ~$16.99 each

4) Custom Aquatics CO2 Regulator/solenoid setup - $89

5) Non Flowhead CO2 Reactor from Florida Driftwood - don't remember model or price.

6) Filstar XP-3 canister filter $94.99

7) 75 gallon aquarium $129 and stand (local purchase)

I will be soon ordering some fast growing stem plants to control the algae before I get the "good-uns". I am out of town until Saturday on business....hopefully everything will be there then and I can begin to take pics and setup. Will definitely let you know, both by pictures and by prose, how it goes.

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post #24 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-16-2003, 10:01 PM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 18
hey, moebius,

i'm starting a new tank, too, and will be ordering flourite from big al's. although shipping to chicago brings the price up to about $18/bag for me, it's still a lot less than what the LFS in chicago want. i've seen them sold for anywhere from $25 to $35 per 7kg bag. and the eco-complete is never less than $35. if you're in california, i used to shop for supplies at pet kingdom on sports arena blvd. and got the bags for $15, probably the best deal in town.

have you started a photo diary? i'm going to set up a 38-gallon tank (mostly because my loft is very "modern" and aesthically clean so i didn't want to throw a huge tank in the middle of it). can't wait until i can own a house with a basement! anyway, i've settled on the following equipment and will be getting most of it from big al's--the tank and stand are from LFS, of course:

AGA 38-gallon tank (36x12x20)

AGA triple-tube fluorescent fixture with (3) 36" T-8 bulbs
(i really agonized about this one. a PC ficture would've cost the same but i wanted the flexibility of removing bulbs if i had an algae problem, or just in case i got tired of brewing CO2)

3 bags of flourite (for 3-inch depth)

200-watt titanium heater with LCD display

Nutrafin CO2 system (or DIY system)

Emperor 280 (i'm concerned about CO2 loss but decided to get this filter anyway because i think it will support more fish than a fluval 204 and would be easier to clean--i haven't had a tank without some kind of wet/dry filtration in a long time and wouldn't want to regress technologically)

as you can see, my system will be much cheaper than yours--i am saving my money for discus and altum angelfish. good luck with your system; it'd be nice to hear any suggestions you have for me. i've kept fish off and on since i was 7, but haven't done so for 3 years. when i was in junior high (1988) in the SF Bay Area, you could buy quarter-sized discus for $2.99 or 2 for $5. now i have to anticipate on giving $30-40 per young discus to chicagoland breeders.

anyway, lots of luck. i'll be posting pics of mine soon. hope to see yours.
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post #25 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-16-2003, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 53
Now how did that happen...replied to Jay's message, but it appeared before his did with an earlier time stamp.


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