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Old 11-23-2003, 04:10 AM   #1
hypsophrys
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Hi Folks,

I'm planning a low-tech 40g (30x16x18) with:

- 2 bags Eco-Complete + Tahitian Moon Sand to 3"
- 110w 9325K CF (All-Glass Strip)
- Lots of Fish

Since I hope to make this work without CO2 (initially, at least), I know it's going to be important to maximize filtration (lots of fish - worried about algae) while minimizing surface agitation. This is especially true because wpg=2.66.

So, I'm thinking of an Eheim or Fluval canister filter. I'd prefer to not spend $300, so I'm considering an Eheim 2213 (or 15?) instead of the newer "pro" models. What are the drawbacks? The Fluval 204/304 are also affordable...

Also, I am trying to figure out the best media combination for a planted tank. I have experience with large cichlids, so generally pack a canister full of EhfiMech and EhfiSubstrat. I don't know if this is still a sound policy.

What about placement of input/output stems?

Recommendations/opinions?

Thanks!
Ian
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Old 11-23-2003, 04:27 AM   #2
Sumpin'fishy
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Since I hope to make this work without CO2 (initially, at least), I know it's going to be important to maximize filtration (lots of fish - worried about algae) while minimizing surface agitation. This is especially true because wpg=2.66.

While I don't want to discourage you, things aren't sounding too good at the moment! You mentioned 2.66 wpg, a high fish load, and NO CO2. That recipe generally bakes disaster! Hoping to get by until later with CO2 is normally an effort in futility since with that type of setup CO2 will be MOST IMPORTANT in the beginning. Algae generally make a good attempt at getting a foothold in the tank until it gets VERY established. 5 top of the line filters won't stop algae! Your light almost requires CO2, especially in a more shallow tank (18" or less). Your high fish load (right in the beginning) is going to be the most difficult task to overcome, even with CO2 running full throttle. Trust me, if you are going to start a planted tank, it's much nicer to be patient in the beginning and make sure you have a good chance of success. Trying to deal with massive algae problems will widdle-away at your patience, enjoyment, and time!

DIY (two liter bottles) CO2 is VERY easy to make, although it may seem difficult if you've never done it before. You will have better odds with AT LEAST using that! I did DIY CO2 for almost 1 year, and went to pressurized when I upgraded to a 55 gallon (from a 20 gallon). If you can, though, probably the best thing you can do is to slow down and add fish slowly to your setup. Let things mature, and get established before it has to deal with that much of a fish load. It's not just the nitrate produced, but when you feed that many fish, you tend to add much more phosphate as well. It's also more to worry about with all those fish running around. The plants will keep your hands full enough for a while, till you get the hang of the tank. Even if you've had planted tanks before, each tank is different, and you have to figure out exactly how this one responds. Best of wishes.
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Old 11-23-2003, 05:17 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input!

However, I should have mentioned that I never add fish (nor will I add plants) rapidly. Usually it takes me 3-6 months to stock a tank.

From what I understand, weekly H20 changes will keep the nitrates/phosphates in check, and a good fish load should produce a decent amount of CO2, which would be retained in the water column longer because of minimal surface agitation, no?

Patience won't be my problem, having to add CO2 to a supposedly balanced system just rubs me the wrong way, so I'm more sympathetic with the low-tech approach. I do understand that the lighting is a little high, but I do want the best light, the 9325K, and a single 55w would be too little...

Thanks,
Ian
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Old 11-23-2003, 06:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypsophrys
I should have mentioned that I never add fish (nor will I add plants) rapidly. Usually it takes me 3-6 months to stock a tank.
Why not add plants rapidly? The more of them you add at startup, the faster the tank will reach some balance and win any algae battles. I think it is a mistake to add plants slowly one by one, and better to take out some when they take over the tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hypsophrys
From what I understand, weekly H20 changes will keep the nitrates/phosphates in check, and a good fish load should produce a decent amount of CO2, which would be retained in the water column longer because of minimal surface agitation, no?
IMO it's wishful thinking that a lot of fish will increase the CO2 level in the water. Nitrate... sure. O2 depletion... yep. CO2 levels so plants will flourish... don't think so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hypsophrys
Patience won't be my problem, having to add CO2 to a supposedly balanced system just rubs me the wrong way, so I'm more sympathetic with the low-tech approach. I do understand that the lighting is a little high, but I do want the best light, the 9325K, and a single 55w would be too little...
Don't understand your statement about having to add CO2 to a supposedly balanced system. Balance in a planted tank means a balance of Light and Nutrition, which includes CO2. Lots of light and no added CO2 (and fertilizer) calls for algae... Just repeating everything Sumpin has said already... but low tech and CO2 out of a plastic bottle are not mutually exclusive.
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Old 11-23-2003, 03:16 PM   #5
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For a shallow tank, the single 55 watt might be a better way to start. If you go with real soil, then you can skip the CO2 and the lower light will be better.

IMO, you have to decide, low-tech or not. The tech part is not just the CO2, but includes the light input also.
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Old 11-23-2003, 03:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
I Don't understand your statement about having to add CO2 to a supposedly balanced system. Balance in a planted tank means a balance of Light and Nutrition, which includes CO2. Lots of light and no added CO2 (and fertilizer) calls for algae... Just repeating everything Sumpin has said already... but low tech and CO2 out of a plastic bottle are not mutually exclusive.
Balance, among other things, would mean that respiration in animals (i.e. the krebs cycle) produces CO2, photosynthesis in plants produces O2. With the correct balance of life-forms, there should be no need to add either gas. Of course, an aquarium isn't an entirely closed system, because of the need to add nutrients and the surface exchange of gasses, but it should be (and is, from what I've read) possible to do the bare minimum of intervention into these complementary cycles.

Anyway, I guess this thread is about attacking/defending a no-CO2 approach, rather than a discussion of the correct filtration. Oh well.

Ian
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Old 11-23-2003, 04:27 PM   #7
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i think an eheim would suit you better because the interior allows alot more customizability than the fluval. you can add or remove different media types with less hassle. unless fluvals have changed since i threw mine out, you can alter the media somewhat, but not quite as freeley as the eheims.

i'm not sure where to put the output, but of course that's not really filter-specific.
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Old 11-23-2003, 06:43 PM   #8
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I would go with a Rena XP-2. With the money you save you would be half way to a CO2 system.
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Old 11-23-2003, 09:10 PM   #9
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I don't know which canister filter to recommend, but you can get any really cheap at www.bigalsonline.com I recently saw a Fluval 404 at my LFS for about $280 and bigalsonline had in on sale for $85. yes, that's right my LFS was about $200 more
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Old 11-24-2003, 02:01 AM   #10
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Thanks all, this is good info.

Ian
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Old 11-24-2003, 02:12 AM   #11
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anonapersona, I just noticed your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonapersona
For a shallow tank, the single 55 watt might be a better way to start. If you go with real soil, then you can skip the CO2 and the lower light will be better.
What types of plants would I be able to grow with just 55w? Note that this isn't the typical 40g - at least, not what I thought they should be - It's 18" tall and 16" deep...

Also, at 18". would a ~24" strip (typical 55w?) spread enough light over the 36" tank?

Quote:
IMO, you have to decide, low-tech or not. The tech part is not just the CO2, but includes the light input also.
That's a good point.

Thanks,
Ian
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Old 11-24-2003, 02:42 AM   #12
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While the 18" tall is not an issue, based on my 29 gallon tank with 55 watts, I think the coverage will be. How about a pair of 36 watts bulbs? You could even out the coverage over the 36", perhaps (I don't know how long the 36 watt bulbs are).

On my 29 gallon tank, the light leaves a dim triangle at the surface along the rim, particularly at either end. Not a problem except where certain plants trail along the surface. The 3 inch gap at the end is tolerable, but any more would be an issue, so I think you'll want something else. The 96 wattCF is about 3'long, but you are into the range for requiring CO2 probably, maybe. You could maybe get enough from DIY CO2 though.

That's how I manage the 29 gallon, using a DIY power reactor and a gelatine CO2 mix that last about 3 weeks. It is rather light but steady production, though it seems rather insensitive now to running low on CO2. Maybe the gravel is making it's own CO2 like soil would, it is certainly dirty enough.

A 36" normal flourescent is 30 watts, 2 gives you 60 watts or 1.5 wpg. Have you considered that? Personally, when I ran double flourescents on a 20high I was not really pleased, it seemed awfully dim but maybe that was the bulbs. They have triple tube strips now, that would be 90 watts or just above 2wpg, maybe too high.

Tough call, I tried so hard to save money an just ended up up-grading several times. The costs add up.
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Old 11-24-2003, 03:51 AM   #13
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36 watt bulbs are 17" long as I recall. At least the reflector is.

It's a 40 breeder which is 36" long. The breeder series of tanks are very hard to light correctly. They have a lot of width but not a lot of height. Even a single 96 watt light which will go end to end and would give you a nominal 2.4 wpg is going to leave a lot of the tank unlit. For a tank such as this I would suggest running NO Fluorescent bulbs. A trio of them spaced out in a canopy would be just about right.
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Old 11-24-2003, 03:52 AM   #14
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Thanks, anona,

I'm considering trying the 96w approach. What's the best bulb? I was really looking forward to using the 9325K 55w...

The standard flourescent approach seems... I dunno, boring. 8)

Is it your opinion that 110w would be too much for a DIY CO2 system?
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Old 11-24-2003, 04:09 AM   #15
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Hmm... NO...

Most of the 36" bulbs at bigalsonline don't show wattages or color-temps. So, questions:

-Are all 36" bulbs 30w?
-What specific bulbs/brands would be best for this approach?
-With my low-tech approach, could I try two bulbs, as anonapersona suggested, spaced equidistant from eachother & from canopy edges?
-Are there any NO bulbs that compare to the excellent color-spectrum of the GE 9325K?

Thanks!

EDIT: What about the GE Aqua Rays 9325K? With similiar wattage, would these be comparable to the 55w PC version? Here's a link: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...;N=2004+113177
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