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Old 05-25-2013, 01:53 AM   #16
acitydweller
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Hi posmlady,

Here are some thoughts for consideration.

darker finer substrates are easier for plants to establish their roots while also contrasting nicely against the plants.

consider having about 2.5-3" of substrate thickness at the most shallow point.

planted tanks always cope better when more densely planted. the nutrient uptake is higher and it generally makes for a more appealing aquascape.

consider getting a plant oriented florescent bulb for your current light fixture. something which gives off a 6500-7000k color temperature. this would make your plants very happy.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:08 AM   #17
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It's a normal 55 gallon, so what, 48"x13"x21""? Anything I can keep green and healthy and is good for fish.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
Hi posmlady,

Here are some thoughts for consideration.

darker finer substrates are easier for plants to establish their roots while also contrasting nicely against the plants.

consider having about 2.5-3" of substrate thickness at the most shallow point.

planted tanks always cope better when more densely planted. the nutrient uptake is higher and it generally makes for a more appealing aquascape.

consider getting a plant oriented florescent bulb for your current light fixture. something which gives off a 6500-7000k color temperature. this would make your plants very happy.

So I should take back the 5000 T8 one I got, and get a higher one? Will that fit in same hood? And the more plants the better? What about putting substrate on or mixed with gravel? Or should I remove gravel altogether?
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:37 AM   #19
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Can you use a soda stream canister for co2?
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:22 AM   #20
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Another question I just thought of if I replace all the gravel and use the finer substrate, will that not hinder my under gravel filter system I already have in place? I bought an over the top filter also the waterfall type, but not sure if that's good for plants or live breeders which is what I plan on having?
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by posmlady View Post
Another question I just thought of if I replace all the gravel and use the finer substrate, will that not hinder my under gravel filter system I already have in place? I bought an over the top filter also the waterfall type, but not sure if that's good for plants or live breeders which is what I plan on having?
An undergravel filter serves no real purpose in a well planted tank. A well planted tank should have 80% or more of the substrate covered in plants from the start to combat algae throughout the life of the tank. Look up the term guttation. This process also takes place in submerged aquatic plants [ see ole pederson's site]. It is an important process to understand because it has a direct impact within the substrate. Relating to the undergravel filter. Remember what I said. Start thinking in terms of aquatic horticulture. Not a fish tank with plants. A planted aquarium is an entirely different beast from a fish tank.

Last edited by Steve001; 05-25-2013 at 12:15 PM.. Reason: .
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:13 PM   #22
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suggestion....look around this site and others as well as U tube for some ideas on what you like :-)
If money was not an issue I would recommend aqua soil, get the right light for you tank size , get a cannister filter and you would be ready to dose frets and watch em grow :-)
Good Luck
Ask ..ask.. ask... that is how most of us learned...Ahhh and one last thing - welcome :-)
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:18 PM   #23
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I tried browsing around on some different sites and such..but found I need to learn the"jargon" to understand a lot of it. So I came here to learn. So, when doing water changes with plants, do I only vacuum the top now? I had goldfish, so I had to vacuum everything all the time.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:35 PM   #24
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Folks with planted tanks do not typically vacuum as you did with the goldfish. There's a very good reasons for this :-) and that is the root system for the plants get to damage every time you stick that plastic tube down into the substrate.
You will find opinions on just about everything.
I was somewhat lucky and meet a pro on a yahoo site. He got me going ( that SOB....lol) .So I am going to suggest that you find a teacher with experience that can guide you. Once you sort of get it, you can fine tune from there. In the mean time....read, read, read. Pick a subject and get educated. I suggested Aqua soil, the reason is that after it initially leaches the ammonia , your plants will grow like crazy....but...you HAVE to have the "right" light. This can get expensive. Buy the best you can afford. You have a tank. What do you think you should change first?

I will also say that I used river rock gravel for many years and was able to grow things like swords and the like...just not any of the more desirable species ( hair grass for instance). I had canister filters from raising turtles for 20 + years. I also had good Eheim heaters- I went for the lights and did a diy for lack of money. Since that time ...everything has been upgraded. That is why I say buy the best you can afford...it will give you better service. For many years being a cheap skate that I am I refused to buy any the best canister filter because it was so expensive. So instead over the next few years I bought a few cheap canisters. I should of bought Eheim canister to begin with.

I would expect that this post will get differing opinions that's why I said to find someone ,who ever it is and let them get you going.
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Last edited by Aquaticz; 05-25-2013 at 08:36 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:04 AM   #25
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So since I have some plants and some substrate, I'd have to read the name, but is a finer black material in like a 10 pound bag. I paid $33 for one bag! I'm guessing I need like for to five more? Haven't put it in tank yet how is that comparable to the aqua soil? How much a should I get for a 55? Right now with the T8 on for like 14 our so hours, the new plants I have seem to be enjoying it. So I think I need to start with substrate, then light. I'll wait for fish until I get it set up and running good.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:21 AM   #26
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OK, keep in mind I am trying to help you do this without trashing all of what you have. You can certainly re-use or re-purpose your equipment that you have now. That's part of the fun of it, coming up with ways you can do this within your budget and to best attain the results that you want.

I know it is overwhelming to try to figure all this out. It was for me just recently when I got back into the hobby. Just keep in mind this is a fantastic opportunity to create your own beautiful world. Is there a tank here in the tank journal section that inspires you, maybe catches your eye? Something you would like to emulate? Link it so we know what direction you would like to go. Do you have a budget in mind to get all this done? That helps us put a frame of reference so we can recommend things that would work best all the while keeping you in your comfort zone.

People are gonna recommend that you go and purchase all new stuff because what you have is "wrong" in their opinion. You CAN use an UG filter with a planted tank, in fact I am doing it right now if you you would like to look at my journal (I need to update it). I also had a very successful planted 55g years ago with the same type of filter setup that I use now. Here is how I set mine up:

I mixed flourite "red" substrate with my regular (medium sized) aquarium gravel, about 60% gravel and 40% flourite. You could also use Eco-Complete instead of flourite. I used "natural" colored gravel to better blend in. When you look at gravel at your local fish store (LFS as it is called here) you will notice there are many different sizes. Think about your UG filter and get something that will in no way impede or fall through it. Honestly that gravel you have is...well...ugly. Plain gravel is cheap so I would recommend getting something that looks more natural to your eye and mix it. This will help you save money and provide a nice substrate for your plants to root in and they will draw some of the nutrients from the flourite/eco-complete and fish waste/plant matter and help them grow. I then "capped" in another words, put a top layer of the fine substrate (eco-complete) on top of the mixed gravel/flourite. It has been working very well.

If you look at my setup, you will see I connected where the updraft tubes are supposed to be on the UG filter to the intakes of my hang-on-back filters (referred to as HOB here). This allows the flow of water through your UG filter over the bed of beneficial bacteria that will form there and into your hang on back filters where you can add your choice of: carbon to clean/polish the water, BioBalls to foster even more beneficial bacteria, or other filter medium. There are many. Some like Seachem Purigen that does the same job as carbon, only better and can be "recharged". You could add bags of Cuprisorb which removes copper to ensure the health of your livestock, etc. The choices are endless.

I have two HOB filters drawing from my UG filter full time, another comes on only at night with an airstone to help the plants/livestock get their oxygen at night. During the day plants use CO2 and nutrients and make O2 and grow. At night, plants use O2 to sustain them until the next light cycle. This is why it is important in my mind to run an airstone at night. Some people prefer to do it all day, I don't. That's the beauty of it, as long as what you are doing is working, and making you, your fish and plants healthy and happy then go for it.

Whew that was a long write up for me. Anyway, next onto lighting. I will ask a question to get it started, what is your budget? If you are not going to go pressurized CO2, I would stay far away from the "high light"(high par) fixtures. You would want to stick to medium light. Way back when, on my 55g I had two double light fixtures running (4) 40 watt lights as a reference. I didn't use CO2 back then just liquid fertilizers as I do now and it worked very well.
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:12 AM   #27
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One question I'd add to Enginechauffer post is where is your tank located? If it happens to get decent natural light from a window, you may be able to set up a natural planted tank. For me, minimal setup, DIY substrate, not filter or lighting...minimal maintenance. Take a quick search on Diana Walstad planted tanks, natural planted, or Dutch style tanks. Maybe this route would work for you.
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:49 AM   #28
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Engine chauffeur, my tank is about 22 feet away from a large bay window. Used to be right next to it, but way roi much algae growth so I moved it. I know gravel is ugly, was thinking adding the black might make it look good, but haven't done it yet to see. I did put favorites up.quickly as I'm on my break at work. I'm not sure how to view your tanks,I did try though. My budget is kind of up in the air,I don't want to spend tons, but enough to have a nice tank to try breeding some small live breeders? Or? Not really positive on that yet.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:05 PM   #29
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I don't know what to say to your reply posm, I browsed back over this thread and didn't see where you linked to OTHER peoples tanks you like. You kinda put the cart before the horse going and buying plants before getting the tank setup to how you would like it. If I were you I would put the plants in a 5gal bucket with a couple of cheap clip on lights with some screw-in ccfl lights to keep them alive when you do decide to redo the tank. I would empty the tank, scoop out all of the substrate and replace it with a mix and cap or whatever you choose to do. This would be the time to hook your filter intake to your UG filter. Get your hardscape the way you want it (rocks/driftwood etc.), then fill and plant the tank. It will have to cycle for a bit then you can add livestock later. It is most important to plant heavily from the beginning so I would focus on that first as well as addressing your light issue at the same time. Start dosing ferts after a day or two of the plants settling in. Look at the Seachem line to get started...Flourish, Flourish Excel, Iron and Potassium.

As far as lights go, what would you like to do? Retrofit your stock hoods? Buy a solution such as LED? What?

You can see my tank (I only have one at the moment) if you click on the link down below my replies in my signature (A signature is a forum feature where you can "sign" your posts with info....most use this area to share their tank journals)
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:10 PM   #30
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Oh duh,I just saw the link to your journal! If you look at favorites I put on mine, they look similar to yours. I like it
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