Converting fish tank to plant tank, without moving fish...
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Planted Tank Forums > General Planted Tank Discussion


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-09-2004, 02:58 PM   #1
Mori
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,205
Default

Converting fish tank to plant tank, without moving fish...


Here I go again. I want to convert my tropical fish tank to a proper planted tank. I'm hoping for some advice on how to best accomplish it. I'll be mostly starting from scratch, except that I will have to work around a few things.

Some aspects I can't/won't change:
  • Fish: 2 angel fish, 1 Chinese algae eater, 6 zebra danios, 1 clown pleco
  • Tank: 29 gallon approximately 20"w x 20"h x 18"d "cube"
  • Filter: Eheim 2224 professionel
  • Tank kept around 83 degrees F.
Other aspects:
  • The substrate is poor--small aquarium gravel.
  • Heater: something cheap and functional.
  • Lighting is the 15w flourescent bulb that came with the tank. That will change.
  • Two nice rocks from Brazos Co. TX, about football sized. I'd prefer to keep these as the pleco lives in one and the CAE lives in under the other.

So, give me some ideas!

  • Can I mix in a better substrate gradually or do I need to replace it all?
  • What would be a good substrate that would complement black plastic-coated aquarium gravel?
  • The lighting needs to change and there's plenty of good info on that already here. The tank isn't deep enough to warrant anything special though, is it?
  • I can't really fit any more fish in here can I?
I guess I just don't know where to start. If I was starting from an empty tank, it would be easier.
Come on...design my tank for me! I'll put your name on it!





Mori is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-09-2004, 03:02 PM   #2
Mori
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,205
Default

Errr...how about some easy starter plants? I have Java fern and some other stuff I can't ID, but they don't look very nice. If I'm going to start fertilizing, and I guess I'll have to, is it better to ease into it instead of full dosing at once? I don't want green water, although, to be fair, I've never HAD green water and I might like it.
Mori is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 03:41 PM   #3
Georgiadawgger
Planted Tank Guru
 
Georgiadawgger's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Arlington, VA (Near the Pentagon)
Posts: 2,416
Default

As far as fish load, your two angels will probably start getting irritated at any more fish if you do get some. A possibility would be to get rid of the CAE (I can't stand them since they are so mean and worthless) and get three cory cats.

Lighting...with a deep tank like that you may need PC lighting. I have 108 watts of pc and 60 watts of NO on my 46 bowfront and that is enough light to get to the bottom so leaves don't rot off.

Substrate: I would just bite the bit and change it all at once. Do a search about adding fluorite. You can probably expect a cloudy mess for almost a week unless you REALLY clean out the flourite. The alternative that everyone else likes is Eco complete. My experience with it is it doesn't cloud the water so that may be the best option in your case since its black. If you can, I suggest you remove the fish and water into a large clean bucket or cooler. Just the water from the top half of the tank is fine...don't suck any of the gravel mulm.

Plants: wait until you have enough lighting. If you go the PC route you may be able to find a decent hood that puts out 65 watts. If you do that then you may need to fertilize and add other nutrients (co2?). However, with low lighting and fertilizers you'll get just a lot of algae.

Good luck and I'll let anyone else give some tips.
__________________
40g AGA Breeder: Pimp# 44: Eheim 2026; Anti- Filstar; CLTT UV; 3 wpg PC, pressurized CO2. GATA! FTD!!!
Georgiadawgger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 04:55 PM   #4
Mori
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,205
Default

No love for the CAEs huh?

I like mine. He's an adult so I know his mature personality. He keeps to himself, still eats algae, and rates REALLY high on the Cute Scale.
I know many CAEs end up on Fox's "Fish Gone Bad", but I bet most CAEs are just quiet types that don't do anything bad and must suffer with the reputation made by a few rogue fish!

Thanks for the tips. Gives me a bit of an idea as to what I'm getting myself into....hehehehe
Mori is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 05:32 PM   #5
amanda huggenkiss
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
amanda huggenkiss's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 955
Default

How long has this tank been running fish-only? You may not have to switch substrate at all if you have a heavy build-up of mulm in the gravel -- mmm, natural fertilizer! And you can supplement with root tabs.

If you've got coarse gravel, you may want to top it up with some finer-grained gravel with the same colour, as it will eventually get mixed together.

Of course this is the easy way to do it. If you'd prefer to break your tank down and swap the substrate completely, that's up to you. But the above is the method I used -- just for lack of knowing anything different (hadn't found this site yet and my LFS didn't know much plant-wise), but the plants are doing great.
__________________
29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

wannacomewith.com
amanda huggenkiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 05:53 PM   #6
Mori
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,205
Default

It's been running for about 18 months and there is alot of mulm built up (I'm not a very good vacuumer). I'd prefer to not break down the tank. I like the idea of blending in another substrate and not doing an out-and-out replacement (lazy).

Hmmm...I will check and see what these better substrates look like and see how they can blend in.
Mori is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 06:34 PM   #7
jbarone
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 149
Default

Maybe it's just me,
but I kept my gravel and mixed in some schulz's aquatic potting soil (about 50/50) (I bought it at yardbirds in the pond section) and my plants are doing awesome. The tank I tested it on was small, granted (5gal 8w eclipse "daylight" bulb) but they are doing well, nonetheless.

My hornwort grew about 2 inches in a day!

As for lighting, I'm planning on going the Home Depot route for my 20gallon Long. The home depot guy and I estimated that the overall cost of the conversion would be about $50 for:

wood (for my new hood)
paint
fittings
bulbs
ballasts
fan
any accessories I missed

That's not too bad, as far as I'm concerned.
I plan on building a practice hood, just so I can figure out how
to cherry my hood out without screwing up the final product.

Can't think of anything else...

Good luck!
jbarone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 07:23 PM   #8
Mori
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,205
Default

Pond dirt! I mean aquatic potting soil! good idea!

waitaminute....FAN? I can't have a fan! I have an unspoken agreement with the spouse that this tank stays quiet and nice-looking. Spouse is not exactly an aquarium afficionado but indulges me so I don't want to push it. Of course I don't want the noise either... New question:

Can I have a nice planted tank without HEARING it?
Mori is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 07:36 PM   #9
amanda huggenkiss
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
amanda huggenkiss's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 955
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mori
Can I have a nice planted tank without HEARING it?
Of course! Well... actually, I can always hear the water trickling a bit, but other than that all three of mine (god, I can't believe I have three tanks now!) make no discernable noise, and they're all in the livingroom.

It all depends on the equipment you get. Some filters are noisier than others. And when you get into high light setups, you may have heat issues -- which is why some people need fans. Keep that in mind as you're looking at your new lighting options. Do you have anything in mind lighting-wise yet?
__________________
29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

wannacomewith.com
amanda huggenkiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 07:47 PM   #10
malkore
Planted Tank Guru
 
malkore's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 2,165
Default

My first comment is that no 'out of the box' PC strip is gonna fit perfectly...because 55/65 watt bulbs are 23" long, so the whole strip light is gonna be about 24"..the 2" overhang will look funny.

2nd comment, I built my own canopy from red oak, to house 4 55watt PC bulbs. I have no fans, no vents, and no heat issues inside the tank or otherwise. My ballasts are mounted inside the tank, and I simple wired the bulbs with a standard, polarized plug in between the ballast and the bulb. So i just un-plug the cords when I need to remove the canopy (which weighs a log more than I'd like)
__________________
Malkore
Filstar XP2 PIMP #3
Visit my aquarium pages - see specs on my tanks, and photos of how they've evolved
malkore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 07:54 PM   #11
amanda huggenkiss
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
amanda huggenkiss's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 955
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore
My first comment is that no 'out of the box' PC strip is gonna fit perfectly...because 55/65 watt bulbs are 23" long, so the whole strip light is gonna be about 24"..the 2" overhang will look funny.
Oh yeah, I didn't even notice the dimensions. Do you think a couple of the 36w PCs would fit in there?
__________________
29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

wannacomewith.com
amanda huggenkiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 08:02 PM   #12
jbarone
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 149
Default

Only reason why I suggested fans was that I assumed you were overdriving
your fluorecents. By ODing, you're heating up your bulbs, this shortening their life.
I figured extending the life of the bulb while making it brighter was a good option.
jbarone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 08:23 PM   #13
Mori
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,205
Default

This lighting thing is going to be work, isn't it? I'm not going to just be able to plug a better bulb into my existing bulb thing, am I? And being a funky size I can't buy one either huh?

It looks like this (I'm not endorsing this vendor. I know nothing about him! He just has a picture and the manufacturer's website is suprisingly unhelpful): http://www.elmersaquarium.com/k4030oc30ube.htm

It looks like I'll have to make my own lighting system and them somehow manage to make it look nice. Fortunately mine is in black so it'll be easy to do the exterior finish.

I had sort of hoped to use off-the-shelf lighting. Silly, huh?
Mori is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 08:26 PM   #14
amanda huggenkiss
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
amanda huggenkiss's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 955
Default

Not so silly. I can't understand why canopies aren't made with better lighting to begin with -- or at least with the option for better lighting. (sigh)

If you check out the link I posted above, they have some DIY canopy instructions with diagrams.
__________________
29g Eheim Classic 2213, community, heavily planted, 65W CF, 2x Hagen CO2
20g Fluval 3 Plus, nothin' but shrimp & snails, 65W CF, Hagen CO2

wannacomewith.com
amanda huggenkiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2004, 08:42 PM   #15
Mori
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,205
Default

Yep, they don't look too hard, as long as I don't try to get creative...would something like that 2x36 watt kit be what I'd want?
Mori is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Here's a great how to lorax Riparium/Terrarium/Vivarium 3 06-09-2009 12:24 AM
The Potential Importance of Tank Depth on Light Attenuation Splash Lighting 25 03-26-2004 07:41 PM
New planted tank not going well mitche8359 General Planted Tank Discussion 44 03-19-2003 04:59 PM
10 gallon fish and plant ideas... danpbmx General Planted Tank Discussion 12 02-09-2003 05:36 PM
Fish for 90g tank Flgatorguy General Planted Tank Discussion 33 11-12-2002 11:03 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012