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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-19-2012 07:43 PM
DogFish
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
55 gallon: Too narrow front to back. If you can handle the 4' long, then look for the widest (front to back) tank you can fit in that space. The wider the tank the better the layout.

Filter: If you want a Hang On Back style, go with the Aquaclear product line. These have the best arrangement of media.
...


Yes, the more front to back depth the better if you space will allow.

I like the Aquaclear for the large Media box. I also like that the AC 20 to AC 70 Impeller are interchangeable to offer additional flow speed options (per an email from AquaClear)

The simpler you can run design the system the more time you'll have to enjoy your tank.
07-19-2012 07:33 PM
LAKE Right on wendyjo!

Many children start with a basic small tank with no heater or light, stocked with White Cloud Mountain Minnows and Hornwort or other non demanding floating plants and easy to clean ornaments.

This hobby is as simple or complicated as you choose to make it.
07-19-2012 02:46 PM
wendyjo One option for lighting is to get a dual/quad bulb set up on separate switches - if you start out low tech/low light use one or 2 bulbs and if you decide to go with higher lighting later on use them all. This way you don't have to replace the entire fixture later on as your needs/wants change.

Personally I think it's much easier and less frustrating oeverall to start out low tech if you are unsure about what you really want and how much time and money you are willing to put into the hobby.
07-19-2012 10:52 AM
LAKE The more you define what you want to yourself the better prepared you can be to get it close to right the first time without unnecessary expenditure. (It's never really right)

There is such a wide range of directions to go with a new set up.

Some other types of considerations...

Black or tea water, stone enhanced, wood enhanced, themed, large center piece (living or non), terraced, various substrate areas, riverscape, partially emerged/waterfall, geographically authentic, near natural, organic, rapid plant growth, cold water, max color (fish, plants, lights), still water (not exactly, just the surface), bubble paradise, high metabolism (biofilter), brackish water, automated, solar/wind powered, greenhouse water supply, community, single species, single fish, fish/plant breeding, others I would hesitate to suggest, and on and on...
07-19-2012 06:07 AM
LAKE
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liacon View Post
This is really helping me, so thank you. Just to address a few things:
1. I like the look of discus (they're my favorite fish), but after researching a bit about them, I have to agree with you guys that they're too much work for me.
2. I'm really struggling about canister vs. Hang-on. My stand would be better with hang-on's because its empty under-neath, so if I got the canister, I would also have to buy a different stand which would cost much more $. The flip side is that, as you've pointed out, canister's are better in pretty much every regard.
3. Thank you Diana for the width idea- what does everyone else think? Does it make for better scapes?
4. In the end, I still don't know about lights or substrate. A few more opinions and I think I'll be ready to choose some out.
5. I'll get a suction cup thermometer, I just already had a stick on from my bettas tank
6. Thank you all again. With the things I learned from you guys, I think I could write a book.
1. Great.
2. I'd go either way. Hanging a dark (black?) sheet under the aquarium can hide underneath discretely and provide opportunity for storage.
3. Right on Diana. The smallest dimension is usually the most limiting factor.
4. Anything is possible if planned properly. Suit these to the plants you are interested in keeping.
07-19-2012 05:08 AM
jcgd I'm with Diana on the tank. If you want 55 gallons, get a 54 breeder. I think they are 36"x18"x16" tall. Perfect planted tank dimensions. I have a 45 (just shorter than a 55) and it's a pain. Way to narrow to have get depth in the scape, especially for a beginner.

I'd wait a few years for discus, just to figure out if you are a natural, or someone who fumbles a bit more. A fumble with Discus usually doesn't end well so it's a good idea to keep fish for a bit and see how it goes.

A canister is superior to the HOB. If you do it clean and tidy, you can have the cannister out in the open. I'd go with the cannister.
07-19-2012 04:40 AM
jeremyTR I use a Marineland Penguin 200 and it works great. Tanks are crystal clear.
07-19-2012 04:22 AM
Liacon This is really helping me, so thank you. Just to address a few things:
1. I like the look of discus (they're my favorite fish), but after researching a bit about them, I have to agree with you guys that they're too much work for me.
2. I'm really struggling about canister vs. Hang-on. My stand would be better with hang-on's because its empty under-neath, so if I got the canister, I would also have to buy a different stand which would cost much more $. The flip side is that, as you've pointed out, canister's are better in pretty much every regard.
3. Thank you Diana for the width idea- what does everyone else think? Does it make for better scapes?
4. In the end, I still don't know about lights or substrate. A few more opinions and I think I'll be ready to choose some out.
5. I'll get a suction cup thermometer, I just already had a stick on from my bettas tank
6. Thank you all again. With the things I learned from you guys, I think I could write a book.
07-19-2012 02:23 AM
Diana 55 gallon: Too narrow front to back. If you can handle the 4' long, then look for the widest (front to back) tank you can fit in that space. The wider the tank the better the layout.

Filter: If you want a Hang On Back style, go with the Aquaclear product line. These have the best arrangement of media. I have run the Aquaclear 110 on a 50 gallon tank (4' x 16" x 16") and that is just right for the way I run my tanks. For your 55 I think that would be a good filter.

Food: I get food from Almost Natural Tropical Fish Food, top quality ingredients, very reasonable pricing, top quality service.
http://www.almostnaturaltropicalfishfood.us/store/
07-19-2012 02:06 AM
LAKE
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liacon View Post
Hi. I'm new to planted tanks, and so I could use a little advice about anything and everything. I've done some research and kept a betta before, but other than that I have no experience so I'd like to draw on your expertise. For my first tank, this is what I'm thinking of getting hardware wise (its still up in the air):

55 Gallon Black Rim Aqueon Tank
Penguin350B Biowheel Hang-on Filter
Lighting Hood (No ideas- please help)
Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate 40 lbs.
Stick on thermometer
Heater (No ideas- please help)
Fish Food (No ideas- please help)
Petco Manhattan Metal Stand 55 gal size

I have no idea about which heater or lighting to get. I also would like suggestions on fish and plants (can you keep Discus in a 55 gal?) and anything that comes to mind.
I would suggest that you clarify your intentions for the tank before selecting equipment unless you are trying to use what is already available to you.

I have some older Penguin stuff. Not a big fan of their cartridges or biowheel systems but a great pump for DIY filter media. The advantages are/were:
-the input is/was on the opposite side as other brands (different brand each corner),
-they work reliably for a really long time but may get noisy if a snail or grain of sand get near the magnet or if the impeller rod gets bent,
-the absolute most surprising thing about them for me is, if the tank is properly filled and the power goes out briefly they almost always prime themselves and restart on their own, likely due to the slightly smaller diameter intake.

Maybe skip the stick on thermometer? They are not that accurate. A good floating or suction cup thermometer is not a great expense.

Unless you live someplace consistently warm I generally advocate for the Heater being the one item you do not chince on. That brand on the next shelf for only a few dollars more is often far superior. Dealing with a faulty heater is not as thrifty as it seems.

Food: I think knowing what you are buying here has the most observable difference over the long term in your aquarium. You are feeding the fish, the plants and the cleaners. Feed them like you feed your family, look at the labels and understand them. Don't rely on one food. Great foods are not always easy to find so get a few good ones and seek the great ones at a good price. Eventually you will have a buffet of great foods to feed. Variety helps in so many ways.

I would strongly encourage you to gain as much knowledge and experience as you can before venturing into Discus. That's a little delicate, complicated and expensive for most people just starting out.

Lighting, Substrate, Fertilizer or CO2 are all wide areas of debate affected by each other. Clarifying your intentions before selecting any one piece would help get the most suitable combination for your purpose. Generally starting out I would suggest a simple low light, nutritious substrate, air bubbles instead of CO2 and minimal fertilizer combination. A simple light timer is a few dollars well spent. This is the area where the most recurring costs of your tank will likely be, plan for your long term budget. I'm sure there are a variety of opinions in this area.

Maybe read posts 3 and 6 a couple more times too.

Enjoy!
07-19-2012 01:58 AM
wendyjo I use eco complete mixed with plain old black gravel, with no ferts and no co2 - I have low light and low light plants and they've grown slowly but nicely. I have alot of java fern, anubias, a big sword plant, and dwarf sag. Remember that some plants, such as mosses, java ferns and anubias can be tied or glued to rocks, driftwood, and store bought decor so that you can have plants at any level of the tank you desire. This can add alot of visual interest to a tank and can help hide equipment. If you go with a canister filter you could also use an inline heater - this is a heater that plumbs right into the hoses of the filter and heats the water as it runs into the tank. They are nice because they are outside of the tank instead of inside and are not visible.

Canister filters are great, but a pain to set up if you're a newbie. Having said that, it's what I use and what I first started with, and I think I made the right choice. If you don't overstock the tank maintenance on it should be low. If you go with a canister be prepared to pay more than for other filters - they aren't cheap. Then read the instructions carefully and maybe watch a vid or two on youtube on setup.

Familiarize yourself with the nitrogen cycle - it's very important to a healthy tank. And be sure to get a master drop test kit. I would also suggest doing a fishless cycle.

Research fish now - decide what you like, see if they are available locally or if you can find a good online source for them, and then research them to see what kind of conditions they need as far as temp, tank mates, aggression, their size at maturity, what size tank they need, if they need to be kept in a school, etc.
07-19-2012 01:22 AM
mitchfish9 how about using dirt as substrate? miracle grow organic potting mix capped with eco complete would be very easy. Trust me, you do not want to do just eco complete with no fertilization and CO2. You will see great growth, just not crazy fast growth.
07-19-2012 12:00 AM
Trickerie I just like canisters. HOB are not as efficient, make a ton of noise and are an eye sore.. To me at least. If you want a low maintenance, easy growin tank you will want to stick with low light, like a corallife t5 dual bulb and then easy low light plants. The growth will be slow, but they will grow.
07-18-2012 11:59 PM
WestHaven The Petco Manhattan stand is great. I have one for my 29 gallon.
07-18-2012 11:46 PM
pejerrey The less light, less maintenance. Low light to avoid rapid plant growth and the need for ferts and co2.

The more filtration you have, your water quality and visibility will be better. Therefore less fretting with the water. In my opinion canisters can be hidden but HoBs can't, unless you plant them. Also less noise.

Bigger tanks are more stable than smaller tanks. Therefore less maintenance.
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