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Old 07-19-2003, 02:53 PM   #1
mike_shanda
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Good morning.

I've been an aquarium hobbiest for some time now (5+ years) and my wife owns a saltwater and reef store / maintainence business. My problem is that all of my experience in high difficulty tanks is with Reef.

I got hooked on a planted tank, and now Im giving it a go. I have a 100G with 75lbs of Walmart special kitty with another 25lbs of standard gravel on top. Im injecting CO2. Im having good success, but Im ready to move up in the lighting world. I currently have 2 48" VHO's (120w) w/ a sunseeker ballast. From when I did reef, I have a dual 400W MH ballast. I was thinking from the reef point of view, that more light is better, but Im not sure if that applies on plants... I was planning on using the VHO on 12 hr cycle, and then the MH for 4-6 hrs in the middle... at least until the plants aclimate, and I can use them for 8-10. I was also thinking of using 10K.

How does this sound? I would love to hear pro's, con's, and just general wisecracks.

Thanks in advance!!

Mike & Shanda Cain
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Old 07-19-2003, 05:30 PM   #2
Rex Grigg
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Don't ramp your light up a lot unless you are prepared for some headaches. The range of light in planted tanks ranges from 1.5-2.0 watts per gallon up to 5-6 watts per gallon. Most people never go beyond 4 watts per gallon. And in large tanks like yours 4 watts per gallon is a bunch of light. The watt per gallon rule is just a rule of thumb. And it depends more on surface area than anything else. Take the standard 55 gallon tank. I have one and I have 220 watts of light over it. Now if you take the standard 90 gallon. You could use the same 220 watts of light over it and pretty much grow the same plants. There is a lot of light leakage in the 55 due to the narrow foot print of the tank.

Normally the K range for planted tanks is in the 5000k-8800k range. There are some exceptions to this but I would say that 85% of the tanks fall in that area.

Now, I have a couple of questions. How long have you had the cat piss absorbent in your tank? How it it doing? How are the plants doing?
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Old 07-19-2003, 05:54 PM   #3
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Now, I have a couple of questions. How long have you had the cat piss absorbent in your tank? How it it doing? How are the plants doing?
HAHAHAHA.... Well, we did some sample analysis of the florite vs. laterite vs. 'piss absorbent'. IT comes out higher in iron, magnesium, and other good things (I can send you the results if you REALLY like reading that sort of thing), and it came out lower in copper and other undesireables. Price is a no brainer as the KL is only 1.99/lbs.

The plants are growing well, I have to prune about every two weeks, but Im not adding any other ferts besides light and CO2. I feel once I get better light and do some fert sticks, I should see a vast improvement.

The only downside I have noticed is that the KL left a film on the surface for about 4 weeks. Through waterchanges and some skimming, I got rid ot that, though.

The water quality stays about perfect, great PH, GH/KH, etc. The only filtration I have is an oceanclear with 250sq yard cartidge pushed by a little giant 850gph....

Thanks for the info in the lights. I see the same principles apply to plants as corals, but with the exception that there is a limit to the amount...

I also have two 175 balasts, but Ill need bulbs. That would put me right at 4.5Wpg. better idea? The heat is a non issue since the canopy used to house 1100W for my reef system before I moved to hell (Memphis). Tank stays around 75.

Thanks or the help, and any other comments are still welcome.

Mike Cain
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Old 07-19-2003, 07:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_shanda
HAHAHAHA.... Well, we did some sample analysis of the florite vs. laterite vs. 'piss absorbent'. IT comes out higher in iron, magnesium, and other good things (I can send you the results if you REALLY like reading that sort of thing), and it came out lower in copper and other undesireables. Price is a no brainer as the KL is only 1.99/lbs.
From what I heard the Piss Absorbent :lol: is 100% laterite... and the pricing is $1.97/25lbs!
75lbs in your tank? That must be quite some thick layer!

Have you "uprooted" plants with extensive roots? For example, to rejuvenate stem plants, or to move one sword to another place? I would like to hear your experiences... does it make the tank look like there's been a blizzard? How long does it take to clear up?
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Old 07-19-2003, 08:00 PM   #5
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Sorry, I meant per 25lbs... 1.99 a pound wouldnt be too good of a deal would it?

Well, I removed two LARGE swords not too long ago, they both had root systems extending 20+"!!! quite a mess, but if you pull REEEEEEEALY slow, its not too bad. Again, with the 850gph and an oceanclear, I could dump sugarsand in the tank and it would be clear in hours...

75lbs is not as thick as you would think... The tank is 60x18, and the substrate (clay/KL/piss absorbent/gravel) is about 4" or so. Im from the reef school remember? And I also have done extensive DSB (deep sand bed) testing, so I have a theory about the micro-flora/fauna needing a semi anerobic area below the plant roots....

Here is a look at the tank if you would like it, Im attaching one of the whole thing, and another is a closeup of the substrate and filters (I just changed the filter dont worry about the water... ), current light....

MC
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Old 07-19-2003, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
From what I heard the Piss Absorbent :lol: is 100% laterite... and the pricing is $1.97/25lbs!
75lbs in your tank? That must be quite some thick layer!
Here's an analysis of what's in it. Some of the nicest tanks I've seen have used it.

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertil...ate-jamie.html
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Old 07-19-2003, 10:27 PM   #7
m.lemay
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Thats a beatiful tank setup. I think you'd be better off with the dual 175 watt Mh setup. That'd give you 350 watts over your tank which is plenty. With the increased light you'll have to start fertilizing or your plants will starve. I think you got the beginnings of a beautiful planted tank.

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Old 07-20-2003, 04:37 AM   #8
Rex Grigg
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The only problem with KL is that it is not the same everywhere in the US. What you buy in Texas is not the same as we get here in Oregon. Wal-Mart is not going to ship cheap KL any further than they have too. And neither is anyone else. At least with Flourite or Laterite you know what you are getting. I would rather use Profile than KL. And even then it's not always the same.
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Old 07-20-2003, 03:10 PM   #9
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The only problem with KL is that it is not the same everywhere in the US. What you buy in Texas is not the same as we get here in Oregon. Wal-Mart is not going to ship cheap KL any further than they have too
Not true. All of Wally-World's inventory is shipped from the same warehouse in AR. To everywhere. Thats one of the nice things of shopping there, as opposed to HD, or lowes, since they all dont stock the same mechandise. I lived in PDX for 4 years, and the same stuff thats in the PDX walmart, is in the MEM walmart, as well as the NYC walmart... Just FYI...

And if you enjoy paying more and getting less, well, its a free country...

I agree though, that every bag is not identicle. Thats with anything that mass produced. But I feel better getting 25lbs for 2$ that might be off a little, than 25lbs for 30+$ that might be off a little...

MC
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Old 07-20-2003, 07:24 PM   #10
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It might be in the same bag but it comes from a different source. There are two Wal-Mart warehouses here in Oregon alone. I can buy a Coke in NYC and buy one in San Diego. The will look and taste the same even though they come from different places. That's because Coke has standards and does ship the syrup to the distributors. But no one is going to ship KL any further than they have too. The just ship the bags to the manufacturer and then pick up the pallets.

As a test I bought a bag of the Wal-Mart KL here. After about three days in water it was mush.
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Old 07-20-2003, 10:06 PM   #11
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Well, how they do shipping and distribution I dont really care to be honest with you.. The KL will become mush, or really more of a mud... and thats really what it should be. You dont use it as a surface substrate, you use it as a deep substrate. I have (see above) an inch or two of gravel over the kl.

The KL is just for nutrient release to the roots, but it also anchors the plants down pretty well. Whether or not it becomes mush under 2 inches of gravel is a non issue.

Overall point being, Id rather get better element release substrate cheap, and spend the money on lights and plants.

MC
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Old 07-20-2003, 11:11 PM   #12
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Heh heh.. thats exactly why I started my Dirt/mud tank :-)
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Old 07-23-2003, 09:24 AM   #13
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If your like me, the type of guy who likes to move plants and rock around alot, your dirt or KL tank will end in disater. I had a KL and dirt substrate covered with gravel and after doing a huge change (pulling up an moving 2 swords) the tank was overrun by algae. I had to eventually tear the tank down and rebuild with just plain gravel. IMO you can acheive the same results with plain gravel as u can with any other DIY or expensive "plant tank" gravel--its just with the plain gravel u have to add fert stricks around the root plants. I had a plain gravel tank and was swayed by the DIY dirt gravel and KL setup, so I tried it. Now I can say that I didnt see a big difference in growth--but I did see a HUGE difference in mess and algae. I say, go for the plain gravel and just add fert stricks. Its not worth the headeache.
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Old 07-23-2003, 05:50 PM   #14
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You'd be surprised how easy some dirt is. I am running a, get this... DIRT ONLY substrate in one of my tanks now :-) No algae to speak of (with the exception of the occassional green spot on the glass).

I replant frequently, and I have digging fish as well. they love it.
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Old 07-23-2003, 10:53 PM   #15
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Gdominy,

Wow...do you have any pics of that tank? I'd love to see them.

Just speaking from a Marine Reef aspect, which I have done for well over 15 years, substrate is important to a point. I have kept many tanks with NO substrate and just used live rock as filtration for my inverts and fish...works great...HOWEVER...when I have set up deep substrates with "live sand" they work MUCH better and the inverts do much better...to the point of having some coral spawning and snail spawning.

Now with that being said....if you choose to go the KL route. From all my (be it short) research over the past couple of weeks...some people have GREAT success with KL. Others dont. Some people have great success with sand/gravel..NO KL...and their tanks do well. I think you have to take the whole picture into account.

If there are NO pesticides, chemicals, etc in the KL and you use it as a bottom substrate there should be no problem right? You still have to follow a fertilizer regimen, water regimen, and general observation of your inhabitants to ensure they are healty.

Bottom line...if you want to go with it DO SO. But be advised there are quirks with it..aka..cloudy tank when moving things, algae growth, etc. I am sure these can occur in other tanks too.

Just be diligent and record everything...keep a log...dont do too many changes at once.

I have chosen to NOT do the KL thing just for the plain fact that there are too many people that have had probs with it. Not saying its correct or incorrect just not the route I chose to take.

My 3.5 cents...LOL


Mike
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