200 gallon Reef to Planted journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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200 gallon Reef to Planted journal

So it took me two years to break down my reef and start the conversion.

I am trying to reuse as much of my equipment as possible to save on cost. I am starting with:

ATI HO T5 60" fixture
Sump
filter using pads, charcoal and ceramic bio media

I am torn between making it a dirtied tank or going with the high-end stuff like ADA or similar.

Anyway here is a pic of me getting the tank ready. Trying to remove all the Coraline Algae from when it was a reef tank.

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Last edited by Miller; 06-20-2019 at 10:34 PM. Reason: image
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 06:52 PM
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Tank dimensions, # of bulbs in the ATI unit? Which bulbs are you planning on running?

I would stick to an inert substrate... for a tank that size for maintenance sake.

Sump won't require charcoal, although it won't hurt anything, it won't be "usable" after a week or two... (pores will be full).

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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Tank is 72x26x24
6 bulbs in the fixture
right now thinking of using Giesemann SUPER FLORA T5 80W


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Tank dimensions, # of bulbs in the ATI unit? Which bulbs are you planning on running?

I would stick to an inert substrate... for a tank that size for maintenance sake.

Sump won't require charcoal, although it won't hurt anything, it won't be "usable" after a week or two... (pores will be full).
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:13 PM
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@greggs @burr740 @Hendy8888 are few members that come to mind when it comes to bulb combos.

With 6 slots to chose from, I would lean slightly on their shoulders for some rec's on which combos are worth experimenting with.

Looks like a good mix of cool white, warm white, pink flora style, red and purple / blues bring out the most color for plants / fish in a T5 array while providing good PAR and PUR.
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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I ASSumed with freshwater I only had daylight option! Good to know color combos are still an option.
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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Update:

Purchased a couple of pieces of wood today (pics included), not sure about placement at the moment. I also picked up a few plants form a couple of local stores today. The ones I have names for are; Rotala Macrandroi Mini and Rotundifolia "red". I also picked up twenty more at another store but I don't have names. I have them in an outdoor "pond" until I am ready to plant the tank.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/KkCLAWSUcYyNMevQ7
https://photos.app.goo.gl/zKFFWfoaJAx4YTKb6
https://photos.app.goo.gl/UDd6W7yTryryXzUY9
https://photos.app.goo.gl/jSNZujJL4omn16Ap6

Tried the insert using the image option but it doesn't show the photos to just pasting the links

Last edited by Miller; 06-23-2019 at 11:28 PM. Reason: links not working
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 06:51 AM
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Hey there Miller. I'd suggest taking a trip down to the Aquarium Design Group store and getting help from them. They're some of the best professional planted tank keepers in the country and have tons of experience with larger tanks. If anyone local to you can get you going in the right direction it's them.
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, @Phil Edwards. I actually purchased my wood and the named plants from them yesterday. They were also the builder of the aquarium I have if I remember correctly from the person I bought it from. I had a long conversation with Jeff Sensky about my plans as well.
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks, @Phil Edwards. I actually purchased my wood and the named plants from them yesterday. They were also the builder of the aquarium I have if I remember correctly from the person I bought it from. I had a long conversation with Jeff Sensky about my plans as well.
You're one of the lucky few. I wish I had them close enough to consult regularly.

I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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I just purchased my substrate but after reading someone's thread I am wondering if I should use all inert substrate to avoid having to re-soil the tank in a year or two. Almost $500 is a lot for something that it appears I will have to trash in a year.
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post #11 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:03 PM
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I just purchased my substrate but after reading someone's thread I am wondering if I should use all inert substrate to avoid having to re-soil the tank in a year or two. Almost $500 is a lot for something that it appears I will have to trash in a year.
Inert will be worse. As in, high probability of failure-to-launch. It'd kind of be like "well, buying RO is expensive since I have to keep doing water changes on my reef, I'll just use tap water" learning curve difference. Stick to the nutrient rich stuff.

Not that you can't possibly make a working tank with an inert substrate, just your chances of totally botching the whole thing and needing to restart and respend go through the roof instantly.

$500 is incredibly cheap to get it right the first time. Trust me.

You can 'revitalize' soil with root tabs / root fertilization to give it a big boost after a while if you notice your plants growing in slower or yellowing when the time comes in a year or two, you do not need to replace the soil. If your plants are already all grown in by that time (which they well should be) and you aren't doing a massive rescape, then you will be fine and won't have to worry about redoing the soil.

The other alternative, if you DO take the plants out and rescape in that time is simply add a new top layer of soil, which will give the plants the extra needed punch.
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post #12 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:13 PM
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Inert will be worse. As in, high probability of failure-to-launch. It'd kind of be like "well, buying RO is expensive since I have to keep doing water changes on my reef, I'll just use tap water" learning curve difference. Stick to the nutrient rich stuff.
How so? Not arguing, but I have set up quite a few planted tanks with inert substrates and have yet had a bad experience (well, substrate-related, can't blame Flourite for Columnaris etc.). Is there a nutrient soil that doesn't bottom out KH? The biggest reason I seldom use them is I don't want my water softened and pH to be 6.0 expect in a few applications.
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post #13 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:23 PM
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Inert will be worse. As in, high probability of failure-to-launch
Huh?? Based on what?

With either one you need to understand what you are dealing with, and I have seen both disasters and spectacular tanks with both.

My preference is inert. But to each his own.
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post #14 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:51 PM
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How so? Not arguing, but I have set up quite a few planted tanks with inert substrates and have yet had a bad experience (well, substrate-related, can't blame Flourite for Columnaris etc.). Is there a nutrient soil that doesn't bottom out KH? The biggest reason I seldom use them is I don't want my water softened and pH to be 6.0 expect in a few applications.
You must have some pretty soft water (which i'd be totally jealous of) coming out of the tap if yours is consistently going that low in pH. Typically with a nutrient rich substrate my pH hovers around 6.8 and KH around 40-80 ppm depending on a few things - out of the tap my water is ph 7.2 and KH 180ppm. About 'how so,' I have more in the quote from Greggz.



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Huh?? Based on what?

With either one you need to understand what you are dealing with, and I have seen both disasters and spectacular tanks with both.

My preference is inert. But to each his own.
It's simple: a nutrient rich substrate (any of them) is much more plug and play in it's application and much more 'plop it in, plant, fertilize done.'

Inert substrates require a higher skill set to pull off the same level of consistent growth as a manufactured and tested nutrient rich substrate. Sure there are guides out there, and some mixes you can buy, but it's kind of like "Here, follow this guide to put together an engine and go drive your car now" when someone just needs to learn how to drive first.

So it isn't that an inert substrate is impossible to make a great scape with, and it's not that you can't do it (I mean, hell, we made some pretty awesome 'mud tanks' pre Aqua soil days, but I gotta say, they never came anywhere near the predictability and reliability of a nutrient-rich manufactured soil), but for the average joe it's going to be a lot less consistent, a lot more difficult to get the right mix going and going to result in a lot higher of a learning curve and, likely, more time and/or money spent fixing totally avoidable problems.

So if the primary concern is price, just buy the stuff that you have a pretty much consistent guaranteed result with, again $500 is nothing for a pretty much guaranteed outcome. If the primary concern is flexing your skill, then do inert.

Plus, not to mention there's a higher percentage of people who can accurately diagnose aqua soil / nutrient rich soil related issues on a community board, and suggest accurate feedback and a much smaller pool of successful inert substrate tank owners (which goes back to, it requires a higher skill set to pull off an inert tank to the same level of quality as a nutrient rich substrate).

In the case of it being a new person, I'm always, always, going to err on the side of suggesting the advice that has the least amount of variables to go wrong with and lets them just try to get some success first before doing the geeky stuff.
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post #15 of 57 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. I was wondering if I could do exactly what you are saying by just adding soil and water-based fert. Good to know that is an option.

Bump: Thanks for the feedback. I was wondering if I could do exactly what you are saying by just adding soil and water-based fert. Good to know that is an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Xavier View Post
Inert will be worse. As in, high probability of failure-to-launch. It'd kind of be like "well, buying RO is expensive since I have to keep doing water changes on my reef, I'll just use tap water" learning curve difference. Stick to the nutrient rich stuff.

Not that you can't possibly make a working tank with an inert substrate, just your chances of totally botching the whole thing and needing to restart and respend go through the roof instantly.

$500 is incredibly cheap to get it right the first time. Trust me.

You can 'revitalize' soil with root tabs / root fertilization to give it a big boost after a while if you notice your plants growing in slower or yellowing when the time comes in a year or two, you do not need to replace the soil. If your plants are already all grown in by that time (which they well should be) and you aren't doing a massive rescape, then you will be fine and won't have to worry about redoing the soil.

The other alternative, if you DO take the plants out and rescape in that time is simply add a new top layer of soil, which will give the plants the extra needed punch.

Last edited by Miller; 06-25-2019 at 04:03 AM. Reason: Quoted wrong response
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