Will my reef setup work for a planted tank?
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:53 PM   #1
Ntraina1986
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Will my reef setup work for a planted tank?


Hey all. Just got into the planted tank thing not too long ago, and now I'm considering converting my old (empty) 45 Gal cube into a planted tank. Though I'm not sure if all the equipment will be compatible. So here is the equipment manifest.

Tank: Marineland 45 G Cube with overflow box 24x24x18
Filter: 15 G 2 chamber sump filter, with in-sump JBJ UV sterilizer
Lighting: Coralife 250watt double ended 10k HQI
Pump: 1x EcoTech MP10

This set up is a few years old. I know the lamp and pump are discontinued. I was thinking of doing an Amazonian thing with Discus and Tetras. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-05-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
Cthulhu
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A sump is mostly useless, and will be problematic if you decide to add CO2 (which you will need if you keep yout current lighting because it's really strong) because all that water movement will make CO2 escape from the water. I suggest you plug the overflow's drain and place equipment there, like your heater and filter's intake. Or better yet, if you have access to your house's plumbing, you could connect your overflow's drain directly on your house's drain, with a solenoid valve controling it, so you can have automated water change. That's what I did, I could give you more details if you want to do this.

If I understand, you don't really have a filter, only the sump? I suggest you get a Eheim 2217.

Your lighting should be good to grow plants, but there is probably too much blue and that doesn't look good with plants. I know because I am using my old reef's LED lighting, and it really looks bad with the actinics on so I just never use them. But the plants grow extremely well. But as I said, reef lighting is very strong so the use of CO2 is necessary.

Also, from what I know discus don't appreciate strong lights.

You probably have a RO/DI unit, that will be very usefull to replace evaporated water. I use it for my 20g which I almost never do water changes, if I used tap water for topoff that would increase the hardness. So, tap water for water changes and RO water for topoff. And you won't need the DI stage anymore.
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Old 07-05-2013, 04:33 PM   #3
Ntraina1986
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Well I have a 1200 GPH pump to circulate water back into the system. The overflow drain gets filtered through a micron sock and a 5 liter chamber where I can could stuff any filter media I would need. I also have an in-sump protein skimmer (forgot to mention that) and I have the UV sterilizer. Other than that, I have no other means of filtration. Nothing else was needed for the reef setup.

I no longer have an RO/DI system or an ATO. Not sure if I would go for an RO/DI again, it can be a pita, I'd rather just get 2 extra 5 Gal bottles of poland spring water delivered monthly. I'd definitely consider getting another ATO system again.

I'm also open to changing the lighting system.
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Last edited by Ntraina1986; 07-05-2013 at 05:27 PM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:35 PM   #4
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The lighting will depend on what type of planted tank you wish to have. If you want a high-tech high-light planted tank you will need CO2. Which means your sump may become an issue because typical wet dries will "gas off" your CO2 faster than wanted. A canister filter would be of more efficiency bio-filtering and CO2-wise.

For a low-light setup your sump would serve as a nice bio filter. Bioballs/rings/sponges/etc., in the appropriate quantity for your setup, are all you will need in the sump. The UV could be used but probably not necessary. The protien skimmer will be of no use whatsoever for a freshwater planted tank of your size.

Regardless of your type of tank desired, your 250w MH is far far far to powerful for your 45 cube set up as a planted tank. Yes you could use it for a high-light solution but you will want to change the bulb to a 10000K or maybe even a 6700K and (most important) hang it about three and a half to four feet above your tank. This would put you at high light for most the tank and the surrounding area. Read up on this thread for some insight about the kinds of lights available for planted freshwater aquaria.

What I have found (mainly a reefer here) is that you will need about a 1/3 of the light (or less), pressurized CO2 and about half the water circulation for a freshwater planted as compared to a typical reef setup. I use RO/DI for my own planted discus tank and heartily recommend it for salt and fresh.

Last edited by Paxx; 07-05-2013 at 06:53 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:58 PM   #5
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Sumps are good, especially for discus, although your aquarium is too small to keep a group of them. You can reduce the CO2 outgassing by adjusting your sump to have less turbulence.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:07 PM   #6
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A canister filter is a sump in a box. You'll be fine just need a little less light, and CO2 going directly into your return pipe.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:12 PM   #7
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You will probably need more than 10 gal delivered monthly. If you plan on EI dosing ferts then you should do a 50% water change WEEKLY. There are different variations of this method but I bet you will still need more water.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:27 PM   #8
Ntraina1986
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Seems like I will have to make some changes. Looks like I'll need a new lamp, and a canister filter. This wont be as easy it sounds since the tank is built into a partition wall. The lamp is mounted directly to the ceiling. When I get home I'll post up some pictures of the system.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:49 PM   #9
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Keep your sump man. First chamber add filter floss or polyfill and a sponge to catch all the big debri. Second chamber add bio balls, then third chamber your pump heater or whatever. It'll be a basic fish only setup as you reefers call it :p except no skimmer or refugium
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:54 PM   #10
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Definitely keep the sump, it is great not having the heater and all in the tank and the constant topping off you would need if you switch to a canister could get annoying fast.

A 250 watt MH is definitely over kill but what if you grew bog plants behind or in the back of the tank especially if your light is really high up already? In that case all that extra PAR could work and make for a very interesting display. If the tank is boxed in that would mean some modifications to the wall though. See the riparium subforum here for ideas.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:36 PM   #11
isellcars
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Keep the sump. You will regret it if you get rid of it and the size tank you have you won't lose that much co2.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:32 AM   #12
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X6 on keeping the sump. I've used wet/dry filters on 3 CO2 injected aquariums now. Easy maintenance!
Why on Earth anyone would want to run a canister is beyond me.
Tank is too small for Discus. Two or three would work, but may not get along. Starting with at least 6 is always a good idea, less aggression.
I kept a large group of Discus under 2X96watt PC lighting, it didn't bother them, but it sounds like you are a bit brighter than that
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