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Old 01-19-2012, 05:52 PM   #1
YukonCaper
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Setting up my first Planted Tank


Hello everyone.

First off, this is a fantastic forum. I am so glad to have found it. I am an avid aquarium hobbyist but have never setup a true planted tank. I have so many questions I dont know where to begin. If someone could kindly guide me to the best startup guide I would greatly appreciate it. Before I do that though, I have some basic questions that I would love some input on.

I have a 20g tank I want to setup as a planted tank. It is not setup yet as I have some questions for you people in the know first.

1) Gravel or substrait. I have typically had the standard gravel but I understand it is best to get a gravel that promotes plant life. What is the recommended thing to do so that once the tank is setup I dont have to be concerned with tablets etc to keep the plants alive. I am not afraid of maitenance but would like to get it right in the beginning.

2) I typically use the AquaClear external filters. I am interested in looking at the upgrade to the bigger external pump system. What should I be looking at? I would like to get a system that provides the functionality to add a CO2 system to the external pump.

3) CO2 system- I am totally in the dark where to start.

4) Lighting - Going with a planted tank, I suspect I may have to do away with my typical black canopy with the single flourestent light to a better light and possibly a glass top. Can someone advise me more on this? I have read that many people do not use a canopy at all, but as I live in the Yukon, the dry climate causes significant water evaloporation, so I have tried to reduce the evaporation with canopies?

My first discussion with someone who is an expert on planted tanks, was a bit overwhelming as I could not keep up with some of the lingo. The one point I did take from that conversation was the question of how much am I willing to spend. My answer is less about cost and more about doing it right with the right equipment. I am looking for a mid range solution and not the best of the best type solution. I do see me spending 3 to 5 hundred dollars in getting this setup correctly though.

If this is not the correct place to post these questions, please let me know where I should place it. Thank you in advance for any help etc.

YukonCaper
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:46 PM   #2
YukonCaper
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Ok, I guess I had way too many questions for people to actually take the time to respond to my newb questions. Please forgive me.

Can someone answer this questions for me.

I have a 20 gallon tank I want to setup with a good quality canister filter. Can someone recommend one to me that I can get. I am looking for one that has potentially the functionality to connect a CO2 contraption to, if that is even possible. I am so new, I am not even sure that is possible. I am making the move from the AquaClear filter systems I have been using.

If its ok, I will post questions one at a time to keep things simple.
YukonCaper.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:18 PM   #3
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I am a big fan of the Eheim classic lines. They last forever it seems. My buddy has had the same one for 10+ years. My 2217 on my 55g has been going strong for quite some time now also. It's a simple workhorse. There are multiple ones you can choose from, as well as "mini" ones. My LFS do not carry them, I had to purchase them off Ken's fish as he seemed to be the best priced option.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
YukonCaper
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Thanks so much for the reply. Can I ask if these canister filters are capable of integrating a COČ system into them or does that need to be a separate system completely?

Does the Eheim systems also have a standard UV light component as well?
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YukonCaper View Post
Thanks so much for the reply. Can I ask if these canister filters are capable of integrating a CO² system into them or does that need to be a separate system completely?

Does the Eheim systems also have a standard UV light component as well?
YukonCaper
I would recommend having a separate c02 system. Eheim filters do not have built in C02. It would be DIY style if you wanted to give it a try. Like I said I wouldn't recommend it. As this is your first planted tank I would recommend an Eheim 2213. It's a classic workhorse and will do a great job on your 20 gallon. I would also invite you to take a look at the low tech forum on this site. All low tech tanks are run without c02 injection and in most cases low light as well. You will be pleasantly surprised at how nice it can be. Here is a picture of my show tank. I have neither c02 or anything more than those stock T12 strip lights.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:25 PM   #6
YukonCaper
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msharper.

Thank you so much. So it is possible to get a planted tank without all the high tech COČ systems? That is great to hear. Thanks for the direction to low tech forum. As I am new to this forum, I have soo much to read.

much appreciated. I will look into the Eheim 2213. Now to figute out the lighting as you indicated a T12 light strip is capable of doing the job. I need to fiqure out the lingo around T12 lights etc. I am learning fast.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-21-2012, 03:07 AM   #7
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The best lights for plant growth seem to be T5HO lights. If you are not using co2 chances are you will have to play around with the height the light above the tank. The options are endless but like I said earlier you will be really surprised out of what you can get out of not much light at all!
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:11 PM   #8
YukonCaper
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Ok I just ordered Flurite for the tank base, and I ordered a T5HO light for the tank as well. Its a big investment but but I know I will be happy with the results.

The next issue will be to decide if I need a glass top for the tank or if I can go with no top at all. How much will it affect the lighting for plant growth to add a glass top?

On a totally different topic, I just bought two freshwater lobster for my other tank. This tank is full of Guppy's and I am wondering if the lobster will prey on the guppies. I have Krill pellets for the lobster, but I am unsure how much I should be feeding them to avoid overfeeding. It seems that the guppies are getting to the krill pellets before the lobster are.

Within 1 hour of adding the lobster to the community tank, one of them grabbed the fin of my Betta and a fight ensued. I removed the betta to another tank for now. I need to obser the lobster for a while as I am not sure how they behave or how much I need to feed them yet.

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Old 01-23-2012, 04:14 PM   #9
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Feed the lobsters before lights out at night. They will get to the food and be well feed enough to leave your guppies alone. It's no surprise that incident happened with your betta. long tails are a real temptation for most tank creatures.
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:23 PM   #10
YukonCaper
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Thanks for the reply.

In truth if a guppy or two went missing, I likely would never notice.

Can you suggest an amount of food for the lobster? I have Krill pellets now, and have been adding 5 or 6 pellets per feeding. I have no idea if that is sufficient or not. The lobster are about two inches long. I saw the parents and they are about 5 inches long. I am assuming they will grow in proportion to the size of the tank correct? Also, is there anything like a lettice leave etc that they will eat? My fear is if I dont feed them enough, they will prey on the guppy's.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:08 PM   #11
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What kind of lobsters are they? Mexican dwarf lobsters?
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:38 PM   #12
YukonCaper
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I really dont know what kind they are. I will post a thread with a picture or two and see if people can help me identify them. The sure seem to grow fast as i think they have doubled in size since I brought them home.

Cheers
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