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Old 10-14-2003, 05:27 PM   #1
Reefraff
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As an FYI, my tank at home is a SW reef tank and I have kept fish for over 25 yrs. Thus I am familiar with the basics of keeping fish in general and now I am interested in the planted tank.

The tank is a glass 55 gal currently using a UGF with a coarse gravel substrate. Ebo Jagger heater and an external cannister filter. This is a tank located at my work and so I am not going to go hog wild on the absolute best setup. So what are the basics needed to have some decent success with a planted tank? If you asked me at this point I would shoot for low to medium light plants that are fairly easy.

Areas I need input on include:

Lights - I assume as with reef tanks many measure in wattage per gal - how much. I will not use a metal halide, PCs are an option, what type/combination of bulbs seem to give good results (i.e. Daylight, growlights etc.)?

Co2 Dosing - is it absolutly necessary? If not what other options are there?

Substrate - what is a good basic substrate? How deep?

Biological filtration - I assume I would remove my UGF, so are most using the biowheels or what?

Dosing - other than Co2, I assume you need to dose iron? what else?

Tank Parameters - What is an optimal Ph level? Temp level?

Plants - any suggested names of plants to try would be appreciated

Any other advice would be great, in particular if you can recommend a good BASIC book on planted tanks.

Thanks in advance

Jeff
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Old 10-14-2003, 05:50 PM   #2
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How much light depends on a few things. Types of plants you want to grow; how much maintenance you want to do; how much money you want to spend.
More light means, in general, more of everything else. More plants, more fertilization, more maintenance and IMO, with more light you begin to need CO2 to enable the plants to grow fast and out-compete algae.
In general, 2.5 watts/gal. is the cut off for the need for CO2. CO2 will enhance any planted tank, but becomes necessary when you start to get much over 2.5. An alternative to CO2 is Seachem's Flourish Excel which supplies carbon. However it is an expensive option in larger tanks(30gal. and up) as it requires frequent dosing.
6500K is considered the closest to 'daylight'. Therefore I like it for my tanks and it works well. You will get other opinions on this.
Plants need N,P,K and Traces for growth. The more light you supply the more of the ferts you need to dose. Fe is usually included in most Trace mixes, but can be dosed separately if desired or needed.
A good reference:
http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/articles.htm

Here you will find answers to many questions regarding planted tanks.

Len
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Old 10-14-2003, 06:04 PM   #3
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I think I am about to shoot down a lot of possibilities for you.

an UGF is the worst you can have for a planted tank. THis is because the roots will get into the grid and plug things up. The plants also get hard to remove when the get in there.

This does not mean you can't have a very nice aquascape. It does mean that you don't want to use gravel rooted plants. If you can find some nice rock and or driftwood to work with, you can have some really nice aquascapes with Riccia, Xmas moss, java moss, anubias and java fern.
These plants can be grown without gravel. Also, with the exception of the riccia (which needs 3+ wpg IME) the rest can grow easily with 2wpg...which is nice on the pocket book

Here is an example using the ideas mentioned above that show how you can have awesome tanks dispite the rooting limitations.
http://www.pbase.com/plantella/160cm_tank
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Old 10-14-2003, 06:13 PM   #4
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Gomer

I have no problem ditching the UGF (or anything else for that matter) and swapping out substrates. Just looking for a fairly simple setup to switch to.

Jeff
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Old 10-14-2003, 08:19 PM   #5
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That being the case, I would lose the UGF and pull the substrate in favor of Flourite. It's expensive but complete. Will last virtually forever.

Len
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Old 10-14-2003, 08:31 PM   #6
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Most of us are using canaster filtration. Eheims or Filstars seem to be most recommended around here. The reason for canaster filtration is to minimise the loss of co2 through power filters/bio wheels or wet-dry filters. Since you don't want to do CO2, a power filter with a biowheel should work great. A canaster filter might be a good investment in case you decide you do want to inject co2.
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