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Coltonorr 07-15-2008 08:52 PM

54g Corner Bow...long overdue update
Hi Everyone,
I am looking to kick off a new thread...
I have never had a "real" planted tank. Yup, I've dabbled for sure, generally leading to a spiraling algaerial disaster...however this time is for real...I hope. I am on a budget but I think I could make this work with your help.
The tank will be in my office which I am at Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Does that pose a problem? Should the tank be monitered daily?
I have a plan... please tweek and suggest where you feel necessary.

Here is where I am...and what I have so far.
I have a 54 corner bowfront.
I want to keep various Anubias, Java Fern, Crypts, Narrow leaf chain sword and whatever you can suggest.
The tank will be filtered by an Eheim 2620 pro. II
I don't want to use CO2...yet...I would rather save and get a good system.
Lights 24 or 30" fixture...
or could I get away with something cheaper.

Today I bought Schultz Aquatic Soil...3 bags and some peat. I am going to cover the peat with the soil then cover the soil with pool filter sand. I have various pieces of Swahala wood and pieces of puddingstone.

As far as inhabitants that also is in the air...
I like discus...but want to keep shrimp so one or the other is out.
I like German blue rams and Appistogrammas. What are you all keeping?
Please throw thoughts...
Thanks Drew

lauraleellbp 07-15-2008 10:53 PM

Discus are definitely out for your tank (besides just the shrimp issue) they've got pretty high metabolisms so need to be fed pretty frequently, plus the weekly water changes, etc etc etc... IMO they just wouldn't be a good choice for a tank where you'll only be around 4 days a week. Most other fish should be fine being fed only 4 times a week, but you'll need to put your lights on a timer for the plants.

Rams and/or Apistos would probably work, and these fish tend to get along fine with other community fish. Just need to be careful about your stocking ratios with conspecifics, especially gender ratios. In a 54 corner you MIGHT be OK with 2 pairs of rams, but personally I'd probably try a pair of rams and a pair of Apistos to hopefully cut down on territorial and spawning aggression. I've got 6 GBRs in my 90gal tank, but only 2 are males. There's quite a bit of skirmishing between them all, but so far nothing serious (they've only been in there 2 weeks). Using decorations/hardscape/plantings to define small territories and break up lines of sight is key. Mine do well with a very large swordplant; they can chase each other all around the big leaves and duck out of sight when they want to get away LOL

If I were to go with a CF fixture for your tank I'd go with one from Much higher quality than the 2 you linked. Personally, I prefer T5HO fixtures, however. They're pricier up front, but the bulbs are much more efficient, put out much more light per watt, and the bulbs last much longer- so in the long run they're more cost-effective.

Be super careful with your peat. You need to make sure that there are NO additives in the peat, and you also only use a slight DUSTING (you should be able to clearly see through to the bottom of the tank) underneath the rest of your substrate. Be prepared for an algae bloom if it gets stirred up into the water column, and also be prepared for tannins.

Coltonorr 07-15-2008 11:29 PM

Thanks for the response lauraleellbp.
so if you were going to by a T5HO fixture which would you go with? I would like to avoid too much light so I don't have to use CO2.
As far as the peat goes I got "Premier Sphagnum Peat Moss" I doesn't look like there are additives...
I'm trying to post pictures but I can't seem to get them on the thread.

lauraleellbp 07-15-2008 11:34 PM

Corner tanks are difficult to buy light fixtures for. What dimension fixture would you need, and what's your budget for lighting?

I upload all my pics into a free account, then I copy and paste the link into the img box (the yellow one with the mountain on it) at the top of the edit text box.

Coltonorr 07-16-2008 12:06 AM

Ok here is my Tank, soil and peat

My budget is...
I really don't wan't to spend more than 125-150 on a fixture...the more money I save on a fixture the more plants I can get.
I can do 24" or 30" fixtures...

lauraleellbp 07-16-2008 12:26 AM

I'd probably run a test on that peat. Soak some in water for 24 hours and then test for ammonia, nitrItes and nitrAtes.

I suppose you might as well stick with 24" fixtures. Most 30" fixtures come with 24" bulbs, anyways. Have you priced out Amanda (forddna, another forum member) also has a 54 corner tank like yours, you might see what lighting solutions she came to (I know she went with AHS but I don't remember which bulbs/fixtures she chose). She's got a tank journal in the photo album forum that was updated within the past few days, though.

Coltonorr 07-16-2008 12:44 AM

Thanks lauraleellbp
Amanda has a beautiful hood with 3 fixtures mounted inside...I have to lay my fixture(s) across a glass top.
I'm gonna have to figure out something else. I really don't want to go over 2 WPG so I can avoid CO2.
I think I'm gonna look at a T5HO fixture.

as far as the peat doesn't look like there is anything added...
the first stuff I found did have additives...but I'll do the test to be sure.

Coltonorr 07-16-2008 01:27 AM

If I went with the Coralife CF 24" fixture, I'd have 130 watts on a 54 gal tank, just over 2 watts per gal. without CO2 I'd think that would be too much light. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Coltonorr 07-17-2008 03:26 AM

Would it have been better to go with laterite and cover it with sand? What is the difference between the aquatic soil and laterite? I'm now wondering if I made the right decision. Some people use aquatic soil and others use Laterite...

lauraleellbp 07-17-2008 03:39 AM


Originally Posted by Coltonorr (Post 645392)
If I went with the Coralife CF 24" fixture, I'd have 130 watts on a 54 gal tank, just over 2 watts per gal. without CO2 I'd think that would be too much light. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Given your tank dimensions, I think you'll have too much light and algae in the areas closest to the light, and not much light in the corners of the tank. I think it will take some creative aquascaping on your part to make it work, but I certainly think it's doable. You can always play with your photoperiod and/or dose Excel if you want to keep algae in check w/out going the CO2 route.

As far as substrates go... there's positives and negatives with all of them. I don't think there's a big enough difference between the Schultz and laterite, I wouldn't worry about it.

Coltonorr 07-17-2008 03:47 AM

Thanks for the response again...:)

So maybe I should look at a single light fixture? or at least a double strip that keeps me just under 2 wpg. I'm going to update as I go and continue looking for input and advice.
Thanks again...I'm sure I'll be back soon.

lauraleellbp 07-17-2008 03:53 AM

You want to think about how the light will spread through your tank. Shadowing can be a big problem with only one bulb... You might even want to consider going with two separate fixtures of different lengths, placing one near the front and one more towards the back to try and spread out the lighting coming from the top of the tank, IYKWIM?

Coltonorr 07-17-2008 04:22 AM

What do you think of this fixture? I'd go with the 20" fixture...The plan is actually to upgrade the tank either in November or right after Christmas to include more light and a CO2 system from either Rex or Green Leaf...
Right now I just want to get another tank up and running...:icon_lol:

Coltonorr 07-17-2008 04:33 AM

I did think about going with 2 fixtures.
I'd really like to stick around or just under 2 wpg, and I can't seem to get the watts to add up. If I go over 2 wpg I'm afraid I'd end up with a mess, unless I add CO2 which is out for now.
I thought of also building a hood but a 55 is one thing...I'm not motivated enough to be involved in bending and flexing wood to fit the curve of the tank. LOL

Coltonorr 07-17-2008 05:05 AM

I may have found the solution. 4 bulbs should provide a spread out source of light. And I could add more later 96 watts should be perfect and keeps me just out of CO2 range if I understand correctly...

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