advice for school tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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advice for school tank

Hi All,
I want to setup a low maintenance planted tank for my son's CAtholic grammar school. I was hoping to get your advice. I have run a cichlid tank and saltwater tank for a few years. I have some experience but not much with planted tanks as my cichlids would eat them. The challenge is that I cannot maintain the tank more than once a week. Also, the tank will be set up a hallway. There isn't much natural light, but fluorescent lights are on from 7 am to 7 pm every day. Also, it is in a high traffic area (hallway where kids will pass it every 45 minutes 8 hours a day).

This is my gear:[LIST][*]55 gallon tank
[*]heater
[*]powerhead (200gph)
[*]fluval canister filter (probably use ceramic media)
[*]HOB 75 gallon Aqueon filter (filter floss and carbon)
[*]peice of drift wood
[*]bubbler
[*] Led lighting fisture for one half of the tank
[*] T5 bulb and hood for the 2nd half of the tank
[*] fertilizer root tabs (introduce when i put plants into the sand)

I have 50 lbs of pool sand (I will probably need 50 lbs more)

The goal is to set up a planted tank that will look nice and survive in this environment. I can do a water change once a week, but daily dosing with fertilizer is not possible.

The tank will also have a pirate ship and some other fun things for the kids to see. i will also set up an automatic feeder once I have fish (tetras).

I plan on using Anubia, amazon swords, and Java fern.

I plan to cycle the tank first and then introduce plants and fish.

I really prefer not to use soil since I cannot afford aquatic soil to fill the tank and I am not confident enough to try cheaper soil.

What are your thoughts on my setup? I really would like to be able to set the tank up and leave it alone besides top-offs, water changes and feedings. I am not concerned if the growth is minimal. Any advice is welcomed!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 03:31 PM
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I would plant the tank day one of setup. The plants will help with the cycle and after 2 weeks ish any parasites that would harm fish will have died with no hosts. You might consider a thin layer of potting soil under the sand to supplement the root tabs. Why not do one LED fixture the length of the tank?

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Unfortunately, I am on a budget (reusing most of my old marine and cichilid stuff). I do like the idea of a thin layer of soil...

Bump: also, if I use plants during the cycle, how do I keep the plants alive? Do I need to dose with fertilizer?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 12:13 PM
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As a teacher, I would question the wisdom of putting a tank in a hallway. Kids will bump it, bang on it, throw things in it, harass the fish. Is there a place where it can be better supervised.

I would do mollies and Cory cats. With dangling pothos plants and anubias tied to driftwood.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 02:29 PM
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I am assuming that this aquarium has already been in the hallway, so I won't address that. I think you could do a pretty good low tech setup with inert substrate. Val and ludwigia would grow fast enough and tall enough to look good in a 55. I'd probably stock with a bristlenose pleco, some live bearers (guppies) and maybe some corys. In my experience, kids like fry. You could fertilize on an EI low light/weekly regimen. This would mean that you just need to dose after your weekly water change.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, and it is across the hall from the principal, so it is well supervised. Also, for fertilizer, what is El?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish1hrcac View Post
Yes, and it is across the hall from the principal, so it is well supervised. Also, for fertilizer, what is El?
EI is Estimative Index, which is a fert dosing approach/regimen. I use the rotala butterfly calculator and select EI low light/weekly.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 05:57 PM
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IMHO, it is probably advisable to dial in your plant growing experience before doing the school tank, especially since you wouldn’t be able to give it much attention.

A nice rock filled African cichlids tank is something you have experience with and I think the kids would love to see all the interaction And movement of the lively, colorful fish!

Just my thoughts...

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