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Old 03-06-2004, 05:23 PM   #1
siskiou
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Hi,

I just signed up, after being told at our LFS to change from gravel to sand.

Before I follow any suggestions, I always like to do some research, first

The tank is a 29G, has been set up for 7 years, with just the regular light strip it came with (full spectrum daylight bulb).
The only type of plant surviving with this light has been Java Fern, but we'd like to expand a bit, and upgrade the lighting (any advice on that would be appreciated, too).

Current inhabitants are: one pleco, 4 zebra danios, 3 rummy noses, 2 cory cats and one african frog.

The pleco and frog are have both been with us for close to 7 years, the others not quite as long.

I've read a bit and am wondering, which type of substrate would be equally good for the plants *and* the fish. It sounds like the corys, especially, could be harmed by the wrong substrate...

I'm glad to have found this forum!

Susanne
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Old 03-06-2004, 05:35 PM   #2
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Hi Susanne and welcome to the planted tank.

How many watts is the current bulb/fixture you are using?

As for substrate you can never go wrong with flourite or eco-complete, though it is a tad bit pricy. I know that some people use a combination of eco-complete/flourite and playsand to help eleveate the cost.

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Old 03-06-2004, 05:41 PM   #3
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http://www.plantedtank.net/sandsubstrate.html

that is from the articles section. i would recommend that for a planted tank with corys.
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Old 03-06-2004, 05:52 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums Suzanne

I love what you wrote here...
Quote:
Before I follow any suggestions, I always like to do some research, first
To give yourself the best start and maybe even save you some money on the upgrade of your tank thats the best thing to do.
Listed on this forum are thousands of ideas and setups, the best way to go about it is to find a tank you like and duplicate the equiptment... we have them as simple as you like or as demanding :roll: as you like... hehe

By the way... your LFS is all wet... you do not have to change from gravel to sand, if the tank is established I would leave it alone, after 7 years you must have a great substrate for plants. If it is coarse gravel you could simply "add" some sand into the tank. By slowly adding it in, it will settle between the gravel without losing any of the precious bacteria or fish mulm for the plants to utilize. Sand eventually finds its way to the bottom anyhow.
I would just rinse enough to add a 1" layer to the top of the entire substrate and then slowly mix it into the gravel with my fingers. If you do this carefully you will have minimal mess and a great base for the plants.
7 years is a lot of good nutrients through fish waste... it may surprise you.

Spend on the lights instead.

Any photos of this tank ? I would like to see what you have for gravel... you want about 3 inch depth for plants.
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Old 03-06-2004, 10:49 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies!

Here are some answers to the questions asked:

the current light is a 24" 2Ow bulb.

Regarding the Java fern that's growing in the tank, currently, it's not rooted in the gravel, but onto the bogwood roots that are in the tank.

It's regular, fairly large sized gravel, about 1 1/2 to two inches.

What type of lights would you recommend? I don't want to get into CO2, so I should stay below a certain number of watts per Gallon, as far as I've read.

No digital camera, unfortunately. We seem to be spending most of our money on tanks

We have two nano-reef tanks (a 20H, and a 10G) in addition to the freshwater tank.

Susanne
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siskiou
It's regular, fairly large sized gravel, about 1 1/2 to two inches.
Uhm... maybe your LFS was right... there are not many plants that you can grow in 2 inch "gravel". The gravel that some (me for ex) use for planted tanks is about pea sized :mrgreen:
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:25 PM   #7
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Uh, sorry <g>.
I meant to say the gravel is 1 1/2 to 2 inches *deep*

By the way, are you from Germany, by any chance (just because of your screen name)?

Susanne
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Old 03-07-2004, 01:04 AM   #8
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:cry:
If its large then it should be changed... I was kinda hoping it was medium sized at least... oh well, it was worth a shot I guess.

Back to Plan *A :lol:
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Old 03-07-2004, 01:32 AM   #9
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http://www.plantedtank.net/forum/vie...?p=51412#51412

Trying to find out about this substrate, enigma has some very nice healthy looking plants in some rather large looking gravel... interesting. Take a look.
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Old 03-07-2004, 08:45 PM   #10
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Ahh, 2" deep and I thought they were 2" boulders... Well, then I agree to what Buck said about your LFS, it should work fine as it is. Look at the 100 gal in my sig, I use pretty coarse gravel too.
Although you could add sand as suggested, but it is not really really necessary if 7 years worth of mulm has found its way down to the bottom. You aren't using an undergravel filter, right?
Lights... that strip isn't enough, as a minimum solution you could get another light strip like this, but a 55W PC light would be much better, and still not really require CO2.
Regarding your question... yes I am.
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Old 03-08-2004, 05:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
Although you could add sand as suggested, but it is not really really necessary if 7 years worth of mulm has found its way down to the bottom. You aren't using an undergravel filter, right?
Right! I'm running a HOB filter.
So, would adding sand help any plants root easier, once I add more lights?
The java fern is happy to hang onto the roots, but I remember having a hard time getting plants to stay where I wanted them to, the last time I tried.

And If I decide to add sand, which type is good for the cory cats? I've read about them losing their barbels, or even dying slowly, on the wrong substrate...

Quote:
Regarding your question... yes I am.
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Old 03-08-2004, 04:50 PM   #12
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The coarser the gravel, the more beneficial will be the addition of sand. I don't like using sand too much, I prefer a fired clay substrate like profile underneath the gravel, for a better nutrient binding and exchange capability. But there are many ways...

Corydoras will definitely enjoy some sand. It is not quite clear if barbel loss results from sharp substrates, or bad water conditions... I would not worry too much about the exact type of sand, as long as it is inert (doesn't change water chemistry).
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Old 03-08-2004, 05:10 PM   #13
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In response to your light, If you wanna go for a stock look without having to make/buy a new hood, my suggstion is to go with the AH Supply 55W Bright Kit. I too have a 29G and used this and converted it into my stock light hood.
You can see the pics HERE.
It only took me an hour or two, as the directions that came with it are quite useful, and I even used the stock hood on/off switch.
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:43 AM   #14
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Okay, it's a month later, and the new light (55W pc 6500k) is installed in the stock hood (thanks for the tip!).

It's been on the tank for a couple of weeks, and since I didn't want to shock the fish/plants, I started out with a shorter lighting period, working up to 12 hrs. of light over the last two weeks.

Now, it's time to look at buying plants and maybe add some sand to the current gravel...
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Old 04-13-2004, 08:10 PM   #15
eds
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You might want to consider adding some laterite to your gravel, instead of - or in addition to - sand. Laterite seems to be pretty readily available.

And you could consider going with a fine gravel instead of sand.

Just consider all of the options. I don't think there is any single BEST solution.

You will be very happy with that AH fixture. I have the same light on my 30 gal. When I improved my plain gravel substrate, I added 1 box of laterite, and 5# of fine gravel. My plants really started to take off when I began DIY CO2 and changed my fert/nutrient - started adding bulk NO3 and PO4 in addition to commercial bottles (no more difficult, and much cheaper.)

These plants are all thriving in my 30gal, 55W tank with the substrate I described.

anubias -
1 nana
2 congensis
3 frazerii
4 java fern
5 small-leafed sag
6 crypt wendtii bronze
7 crypt balansae
8 red hygro
9 corkscrew val
10 ludwigia brevipes
11 ludwigia palustris
12 parrot’s feather
13 giant hygro
14 bacopa
15 marselia quadrifolia
16 pennywort
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