Setting up my first planted aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2006, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Setting up my first planted aquarium

Hi, this is my first post so I'll make a little introduction. First of all, I've been keeping tropical fish for several years as a bit of a hobby, keeping mainly community fish such as various platies, mollies, tetras, barbs, etc. My current tank is a 20g tank which is rather high than wide. I've tried keeping live plants before with limited success and until recently, I hadn't realized that such intricate variables come into play when keeping a healthy planted tank. Originally I had thought that all I needed was some gravel and sunshine but as I read more into it is how I realized my blunders. Which brings me to where I'm at now; trying to create a healthy planted aquarium on a limited budget.

I have two aquariums; one 20g (mentioned above) and a 10g. With both, I pretty much have the same setup of filter, heater, light. However, for my current project, I wish to move my current fish into a newly planted 10g tank. Although, I hear bigger tanks are easier to maintain, either way I'll be pretty much starting from scratch as it seems I started on the wrong foot: insufficient lighting, large pebble gravel, etc. Now, I have a couple of questions regarding my new setup. Both aquariums have hoods that support one fluorescent tube. I went to a local pet store and walmart and it seems pretty hard to fill the 2wpg rule as most 15" fluorescent tubes (which my 10g supports) are only 14w. After some reading here, it seems as though most people use compact fluorescent screw in bulbs which brings me to my question. Would I need a whole new hood for my tank that supports screw-in bulbs for higher wattage? Next question is how long do I need to cycle for if I use 100% of the water from my 20g and swapping filters with the established one?

Finally, any suggestions as to a substrate (i'm hoping to get away with a black or darker colour) and anything else I may need for my new setup? What are some good plants to start off with (trying to create an Amazon-style aquarium)? Sorry for the lengthy post, however, I'm glad to find a quality forum with a wealth of new information.

EDIT: btw, the filter is an AquaClear 150 and the heater is a Rena Cal Top Light 50W.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2006, 03:20 PM
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For an inexpensive lighting option on a 10 Gallon Tank you could get ahold of a incadescent light fixture. Then instead of using incadescent bulbs (which are pretty much useless for plants) you could use a couple of screw in compact flourescents. Some common options are 2x10watts, 2x15watts, and 2x20watts. You might even be able to fit a pair of 25watt bulbs in there. Which configuration of bulbs you select will depend in large part on what kinds of plants you want to try growing.

A not so inexpensive substrate option would be to go with EcoComplete. This seems to be one of the top recommended substrates right now and is a very nice black color. One bag would be plenty for your tank so the expense shouldn't be too bad. For an inexpensive option you could try Turface MVP which is a nice dark charcoal color. At only $10 for 50lbs it's a great price and would allow you to change out the substrate in several of you tanks. It requires minimal rinsing and has a very high CEC value. The biggest drawback is that it's a bit light and can be easy to accidently uproot a plant when doing tank maintenance. I'm sure others will chime in with recommendations for some of the other really popular substrates right now which I'm not as familiar with.

As far as cycling, I would skip the water from your other tank and just use the used filter which is where most of the beneficial bacteria lives. If handled properly you could have an instant cycle, although it could take a week or two if your tank goes through a mini cycle. I'd recommend testing for a few days to ensure that your NH4 & NO2 stay at zero. Heavily planting from the start will also help ensure that your tank is instantly cycled.

BTW - If you go for one of the higher light options, you could use your AC Filter as a very efficient CO2 diffuser.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2006, 06:32 PM
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Go Aquasoil.

I use Onyx, but only because I like the look, ease of planting, and hard water isn't a problem.

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2006, 08:11 PM
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If you like Onyx, you'd probably like Turface MVP as well. The appearance is nearly identicle between it and Onyx Sand.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2006, 09:40 PM
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The watts per gallon rule doesn't work for a ten gallon tank. My 10g has a 40w light which would be considered high lighting, but 4wpg on a 50g would be way to much. have you read Rex Grigs guide? That is a great help to planted tank newcomers. Do you plan to dose ferts or co2? good luck.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2006, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.gaboozlebag
The watts per gallon rule doesn't work for a ten gallon tank. My 10g has a 40w light which would be considered high lighting, but 4wpg on a 50g would be way to much. have you read Rex Grigs guide? That is a great help to planted tank newcomers. Do you plan to dose ferts or co2? good luck.
no i haven't read that guide but through here, i've heard many mentions of it. where can i read it? Regarding ferts and co2: I only plan on using those if I absolutely need to. This my my very first planted tank so I'm trying to learn as much as can and get started soon. At this point, I have a pretty good idea for what substrate and lighting to use. I'm still deciding which plants to pick up but i guess that'd somewhat depend on what I see at the LFS and their maintenance requirements. Thanks for the insight fellas... any more suggestions are helpful.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-25-2006, 10:35 PM
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http://www.rexgrigg.com/

Also, consider buying plants here in the swap and shop section - you'll get bigger portions, better quality, better service, and a MUCH lower price.


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