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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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first planted...nano?

Ok, so I've been running a 45 gallon reef for over 3 years now, and decided i want to do something a little different. One of my friends was throwing out a 2.5 gallon, and I decided I will do a nano. I was going to to a nano reef, but though about how I haven't touched anything freshwater in a few years. I have never had a planted tank ( always had aggressive freshwater fish). So basically I am looking for info on starting up a nano planted tank. I am used to cycling a saltwater tank, and keep seeing that you have to cycle a planted before adding any livestock. please let me know if there are any write-ups or threads that you think would help me to get an idea of what I'm in for. Thank you for your time.


Jon
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 08:09 AM
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There is a method of cycling FW called the planted cycle, which is very similar to cycling with live rock. Basically you stuff the tank to the max with healthy plants and add a fish, then work slowly on stocking from there, the plants will absorb some of the ammonia and also help seed the tank with their bacterial colonies. It's not as sure fire as LR, and might be really difficult in a 2.5, but is possible, especially if you start off with some shrimp and don't plan on over stocking anyway. I would just try to get all of the substrate, filter if you're going to use one, and plants from a well established tank.

I don't have any links on hand, but the FW nitrifyers take about 2 weeks for the ammonia eaters to populate fully, then roughly another two weeks for the nitrite eaters to fully populate, that's without any help from established media or plants. So, any nitrogen cycle graph will show you a month long time line with ammonia rising from day one (after stock is added), spiking through the first week, dropping the second week while nitrite spikes, then finally a nitrite fall and nitrate buildup the last week. I managed to get my last one down to 6 days with plants and by running it's filter on an established tank for a month before setting everything up, I also had the help of 3ppm ammonia in my tap water, so I didn't have to add fish right away, I watched the 3ppm turn to 0 then added a fish and watched nitrites disappear by the next day. I basically used the filter as the LR, but with LR you have die off that starts the cycle, where as in FW you need to add something to kick it in gear. Some people use household ammonia to do a fishless cycle, but it's not that complicated when you stuff the tank rim to rim with fast growing plants.

There's also the option of Bio-Spira from Marineland, if you don't feel like stressing it and have the money. It's the only quick start that actually works, it has to remain refrigerated because the nitrifyers are in suspended animation so to speak, ready to go as soon as they hit the water. You add dechlor, wait an hour, add biospira and fish at the same time, the cycle will be done in anywhere from a day to a week as long as the culture didn't thaw and starve in transit.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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thanks so much for all the info. Is the use of mechanical filtration i.e. filter flaws, and activated carbon necessary(or helpful) for a planted tank. In my reef, I have a sump, protein skimmer, and phosban reactor. is there any essentials, i see allot about the use of co2. any info on this will i need it for a 2.5 gallon?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 08:19 PM
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Fliter floss is good for polishing up water of plant debris, carbon isn't necessary and could possibly remove nutrients. Some people use filters on tanks that small, I don't, just tiny powerheads like a nano/pico reef, let the plants/rocks do the filtering.

CO2 would be easy enough with one DIY bottle of yeast and sugar. There are various threads online showing build instructions and yeast mixing recipes. One bottle charges a small tank with a lot of CO2, you could even cut out injection completely if the surface was calm enough, but some species might require some to look as good as they do in pictures. But if you refrain from interfering too much in the tank and are careful with light selection, you could probably get plant uptake to slow down for you, which would make fert dosing easier or non existent, including CO2 injection. It just depends if you want low tech or high tech, high tech in a tank this small and you'll be trimming plants constantly.

As far as essentials, I don't feel there really are any with a tank this small except for lighting. Some people would say slam a big HOB filter on it and a giant powerhead CO2 diffuser, but I'm more of a minimalist with tiny tanks, I'm the same way with reefs, my 8gl has 10lb LR and a powerhead, a weekly gallon changed out and nitrates are always at 0ppm. Small tanks are too easy with weekly WCs to need all the extra gadgets, plus you're going to have plants in this one and they are basically little biological universes in themselves like LR. The only thing I would add is, if you plan on over stocking a bit which is easy in 2gl, add a small canister filter filled with Aquaclear biomax beads to support more bio-load. I'd have a 2 liter yeast mix diffusing through a limestone block, a couple Tunez Mini powerheads, and a 20-30w 6700k compact pc bulb fit sideways into a nice shiny reflector. That's it, the light might even be pushing it, but plants have a minimum threshold of light they will thrive under, just like reefers don't follow watts per gallon, it doesn't apply to FW nanos either. I've never lit a tank that small but I grow things in buckets with a 15w t8. Hopefully someone will stop in with some suggestions or you could check some setups in the forum.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I'd have a 2 litre yeast mix diffusing through a limestone block
can you please elaborate on this, i was not aware that the use of yeast was necessary. I like the whole minimalist way of thinking as well. On a 45 gallon reef a good protein skimmer is essential, on an 8 gallon you can get away with not having one, although i would use a good carbon like black diamond(but I guess if your pulling 0ppm of nitrates your doing something right). Anyway, I am glad that i have had so much help so far, I'm surprised there isn't a "so you want to start a planted tank" thread like there is for starting a reef such as melevsreef.com, and reef centrals write ups on deciding to take the plunge. I am really appreciative of your commitment to this hobby and community, any other information you have will be greatly appreciated. Jon
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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should i use ro/di water? i use it for all my water changes and top offs with my reef, is it good to use with a planted tank?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 12:56 AM
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Yes, RO water is great for planted tanks, as it will not raise the hardness of the water. Most freshwater plants prefer soft water.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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alright I found some good threads on a diy yeast/co2 set up. I will most likely use one of those. I'm thnking my equipment list will be a 24watt lighting set up w/ a diy co2 and small canister filter. let me know what you guys think
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 02:39 AM
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Ha I guess I am in the same situation as you too as I am planning to start a 2.5G planted aquarium.

For a small canister filter, I am thinking either the ZooMed 501 or the Tom Rapid. I don't know which one is better, so I need advices too!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 02:53 AM
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I hear the 501 is better I think I'm going to get one myself.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 06:39 AM
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I have a 501 for my 60p which is 18gal. Its rated at up to 35gal, but i think 20gal is the max. No problems at all. IMO the 501 is better.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jong101 View Post
I guess if your pulling 0ppm of nitrates your doing something right
Part of it has to do with a goby as the only stock other than inverts and softies.

Quote:
I'm surprised there isn't a "so you want to start a planted tank" thread
Here you go. There's a lot more in depth stuff too through the articles link up on the right corner.



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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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thanks guys, you have made researching much easier.
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