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Thread: Reef Tank Conversion - Concerns and Questions Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-04-2004 01:14 PM
jmiz16 Hi Silent ,
join the club
Anyone that tells you a planted tank isn't cheap HAS NOT HAD A REEF DONE THE RIGHT WAY. COMPARATIVLEY SPEAKING.
I just converted my 250 reef to a planted tank about a year ago. WAY CHEAPER.
I had dual 250 MH + 6*96 watt pc on the reef. I lost the MH's and just kept the PC's. I suggest you do the same. The only thing you will have to do is change the VHO tubes from actinic to a noce combo of 5000k, 6700k, 8800k, and maybe a 10000k for a nice visual. The 10000k is for your eyes not the plants. If you just have the others the tank will appear yellow.
You can disconnect the Protien skimmer( there is a waste of 700 bucks) and the UV sterilizer is 100% optional, no harm no foul. No Calc reactor. Remove the bio balls from the wet dry and try to have the water cycle with no splash. I did that instead of buying a Fluval wich is the better can. filter from what I hear. I also had my tank "reef ready" so the overflow was built in.
I have 3 inches of flourite and no sand on top. Seems like the sand will eventually settle to the bottom anyway, especially when moving plants around and planting in the begining.
10-04-2004 02:45 AM
Ngaio If you still have reef animals in need of homes you could try I know that there are a number of members in the Seattle area.
10-03-2004 03:59 AM
gnatster You can always post your livestock on Reef Central. If it's reasonaly priced it will move VERY fast.
10-03-2004 03:44 AM
Silent Running I hear you co2 about the more natural look. I was talking to my wife about it the other day and we agreed that the reef tank has a much more harsh look to it than the planted tanks we've been looking at.

I think I have decided to go with Eco-Complete. I'm probably going to order it this week.

I've started the tear down process of my reef at this point and have about 30% of the animals removed already. If you know someone in the Seattle area who's looking for some livestock, send 'em my way .

The ball is rolling
10-03-2004 01:57 AM
co2 I have a 50 gal reef and a 50 gal planted... I and I am seriously considering converting the reef into another planted tank. Like you Silent Running, they are both in my living room, so they have to look good. It's not really maintenance that is the issue... it's just the fact that I feel that planted tanks are more "natural". I think that the plants and animals that we put into planted tanks are happier and more "at home" than those in reefs. There is less electricity involved and it just seems more "right". They are very "refreshing" looking if that makes any sense. I think that the pruning of plants actually makes planted tanks more maintenance intensive(especially since you had a Ca reactor and didn't have to dose Ca each day), definately more than a soft coral reef. If you are into SPS corals though, there is definately less stress and potential for catostrophic failures if you go with plants.

As far as your setup, have you considered Eco Complete instead of Flourite? It is completely black, and it seems like people regret the red color of Flourite after a while. If you mix Flourite with gravel you will still see it after a while once you start pulling plants out. You also don't have to wash it at all. I am not sure what advantage it has over normal gravel chemically, but it seems to give great results. I have yet to hear anything bad about it other than the price, and I think it is about the same price as Flourite. Just my $.02...
09-16-2004 10:00 PM
Silent Running Thanks again for all the great info and links everyone! I'm getting really excited about making the move!
09-16-2004 06:44 PM
Mothi Years ago I had a planted 150g community tank and it was cheaper and easier to upkeep than my nano reefs I have now. The set-up for anything is what costs the most money. But you already have most of the equipment. As far as maintance, on my 150g planted tank, all I remember doing is monthly pruning and filter cleaning. I never did any water changes (I was lazy) and don't recall how frequently I dosed the tank with fertz. Of course I had to feed the fish twice a day, but that is easy. Only problem was the plants grew fast and I couldn't count all the fish I had... I don't recall what lighting I had, but replacing the bulb never broke my bank. I never dosed co2 back then neither since I didn't know about it. There are many plants that are easy to care for... so the work depends on the difficulty of the plants or their sensitivity.
09-16-2004 06:26 PM
Silent Running Cool, do you go to GSAS meetings? Which local shops do you like best?
09-14-2004 05:18 PM
LaserJock Silent Running:

Plants and livestock for freshwater are MUCH less expensive. The most I paid for a fish was $15 (red rainbow). For plants $8 is steep. I sell some of my prunings too.
09-14-2004 04:37 PM
Ibn I think that you should be fine with what you're planning to do. I did the same thing awhile back and it's been very rewarding so far.

While a reef tank requires a substantial investment, the planted tank can be set up with less expense (especially with the equipment that you already have). As for maintenance, I'd have to say they're pretty close. In a reef tank, once things have settled and you're in the rhythm of things, it's pretty easy. Everything becomes automated to a degree (calcium reactor, lighting, dosing), and you just have to deal with the usual maintenance (removing coralline from the glass/acrylic, moving corals around, water changes, fragging, etc.).

In a planted tank, you have to deal with similar issues with regards to maintenance (removing algae from the glass/acrylic, water changes, pruning, redoing the aquascape occasionally). It's automated to a degree also, with CO2 setup, lighting, dosing (autodoser, which I'm sure you're familiar with).
09-14-2004 03:31 PM
malkore calcium reactor is for a reef tank, not planted.
I dunno tho Gulf..I find I have to dose ferts and prune plants several times a week. Reef tank takes lots of testing, but if it stays stable it's easy. the planted tank seems to need more hands-on work.

either way, I like em both!
09-14-2004 03:28 PM
oldfarmhouse The best advice anyone can give is to bookmark this site and read.
09-14-2004 03:19 PM
aychamo What's the calcium reactor for the CO2? I would have just used pressurized, I think.
09-14-2004 02:37 PM
IUnknown Once things balance out you could do something like this,
Just more money you don't really need to spend. You can design a planted tank however you want to. Low light/ low maintenance.
09-14-2004 03:39 AM
Silent Running Hey, thanks for the insight folks!

I'll go with either 2 or 3 of the 48" VHO driven tubes then. I'm curious to see how the GE Daylight Ultras will look off of a VHO ballast. I may have to set that up in the next day or two just to run a test...

Good point about the sand as well. I've found the same thing when mixing sand sizes in my salt water setups.

Sounds like I've got my work cut out for me regarding researching the appropriate fert regimen.

I guess the work (i.e., time dedicated) to maintenance is the least of the concerns that I have regarding the switch. My main beef with my reef tank is that every time I turn around, I need to spend another couple hundred bucks on something that stops working right. The lighting alone, with two $80 MH bulbs and two $25 VHO tubes is enought to nearly break my laid-off-guy's aquarium budget.

Thanks again for the responses!
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