Starting my first planted tank, need help... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Starting my first planted tank, need help...

Hello, I've done a lot of reading here and I'm reading so many different things that I think it'd be best if I explain what I'm hoping to do and hopefully you guys and point me in the right direction

I have 10+ years of experience in Saltwater aquariums but I'm getting out of that hobby and I'd like to keep a small planted nano. That said I have an empty 29 gallon biocube all in one with the filtration area in the back. I figure instead of having a canister I can just add a couple trays back there so the water can pass through the media that way. Here's the tank, it obviously needs a little more cleaning...



I found this tank, it's pretty appealing to me and I"m thinking I'll go a little towards this direction... I like that he uses both dark and light substrate for the exposed part. It's really cool when the exposed white gravel looks like a path leading to the back of the tank but that's usually done on large aquariums.



I like the spread out minimalist 'scapes but you seem to need a lot of open area to accomplish that look...




I found this group of rock on eBay that I might get to start playing with the aquascape, its all about $40 shipped...



there's some cool pieces with some nice crevices to plant stuff. I'm just looking to do some low maintenance stuff, hopefully I won't need to run a co2 bottle or a crazy light.

I'd like a simple light, simple filtration set up, low demand plants- I'm not looking for rare or challenging at this point, I just want a nice looking display. That said can I get a little help with a shopping list? Maybe some suggestions on a light? If I get substrate should I go with that Eco-Complete? I can get a good deal with one of my distributers... What is the light substrate? Is there a name/brand on that stuff? Whatever you suggest, if Marine Depot carries it, even better!

Any help is appreciated from what to get for substrate, a light, plants and fish. I'm a total noob and I want to do it right the first time!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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how's this light for $50 shipped??

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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82 views and no one has any suggestions for me?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:15 PM
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Do you want a high tech tank? If so you want at least 2 watts of light per gallon. This will ensure you get a nice thick, lush carpet in the pictures above! You may also want to add CO2 and ferts to get a nice carpet and make you stem plants are nice and thick. Your substrate needs to be good with nutrient enrichment. I don't think a colour of substrate matter but its a personal preference I guess. You also want to slope your substrate to the back to create field and depth . I don't know if you've ever heard of a dirted tank but you could also try that (basically you add dirt like eco complete and cap it of with gravel or something like this).
The rocks you've got look really nice!! I would like you to set up like an Iwagumi style tank. You could almost do an Iwagumi and Dutch style hybrid, with lots of bunches of stem plant with the simple contours from the rocks, you also want a carpet plant! You definitely want to add colourful plants rather than just green if your just have stones and no driftwood but its your choice!
For plants you need to section it up into background, middle ground and foreground or carpet plants.
Plants for background that are easy to care for are:
Any type of vall's
Amazon swords
ludwigia repens rubin
rotala
Crypt wendtii
anachris
chain swords

For middle ground I would have:
Most crypts
anubias
small types of ludwiga and most stem plants

for carpet plants I would have:
Dwarf aby tears
dwarf hair grass
java moss
HC

Some fish tanks you may want to take inspiration form are:
Any of these tanks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquascaping
Also: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...t.php?sid=4627
And:http://www.aquariumdesigngroup.com/i...7&p=2&a=0&at=0

For fish I would have smaller shoals to emphasise the tank. Most small tetras are fine (neon's etc...) You could also have a pair of German blue rams after your tank has matures (6 months or more is classed as mature IMO) You also definitely want a clean up crew consisting of Shrimp, maybe snails, Otto cats, SAE, flying foxes etc....

Good luck with you planted tank adventure! Sorry if I rambled on!

Good luck...


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:25 PM
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With the Biocube tank you can do any scape you want. Do you have the hood? The 2x 36 watt PC light bulbs would work well on it. If you don't have the hood I would suggest something bigger than the Aquatop light. That light is designed for smaller tanks. If you want to go for LED you could hang a Par30 LED bulb directly above the tank or do an LED retro into an old hood. Beyond that you'd need to clamp on lamps either PC bulbs or a couple of Finnex Ray2's over the tank to give you good lighting. Really, it's up to you.

Substrate is also a nice challenge in itself. Eco-complete is a good one to use, also if you want lots of growth and are interested in using C02 try using dirt with a nice sand cap over it. I personally have done dirted tanks and it's a good way to go. Keep looking at different tanks and see how the owners were able to accomplish the look. Read read and read some more. Hope I've helped some!

~B



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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the response, so for substrate am I good with just a couple bags of eco-complete?

What should I get to fertilize the substrate before I fill the tank with water?

Is that thin LED light above good for my 29 gallon nano?
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basil View Post
With the Biocube tank you can do any scape you want. Do you have the hood? The 2x 36 watt PC light bulbs would work well on it. If you don't have the hood I would suggest something bigger than the Aquatop light. That light is designed for smaller tanks. If you want to go for LED you could hang a Par30 LED bulb directly above the tank or do an LED retro into an old hood. Beyond that you'd need to clamp on lamps either PC bulbs or a couple of Finnex Ray2's over the tank to give you good lighting. Really, it's up to you.

Substrate is also a nice challenge in itself. Eco-complete is a good one to use, also if you want lots of growth and are interested in using C02 try using dirt with a nice sand cap over it. I personally have done dirted tanks and it's a good way to go. Keep looking at different tanks and see how the owners were able to accomplish the look. Read read and read some more. Hope I've helped some!
I don't have the original top unfortunately, I'll see if I might be able to find one for sale, that would be the cleanest way to go. I want something that'll look super clean hanging off the back of the tank, I'd rather not hang anything from the ceiling since it'd be a long drop.

What kind of dirt should I get? Something from Home Depot? Should I mix it with the eco-complete?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:53 PM
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I have a 10g using eco complete... it works well.
I fertilized in the beginning using pellets, now i just use liquid from here....
http://www.aquariumplants.com/AquaFe...TEM_p/fert.htm
I also use flourish excel and flourish comprehensive for additional fertilizers. and DIY CO2.
I have the same type style as you and i feel i was able to accomplish an "open minimalist space" on my 10g


I wanted to do some kind of secondary sand substrate that went under the bridge and towards the back - but i never got to do it but im still happy with what i got.

goodluck and have fun!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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thanks! Can someone tell me what filter media I'll need? I'd like to place this order...
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 07:16 PM
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if you want to do several types of substrate you will want to do layers. Mixing dirt with another substrate will only lead to a very murky tank. Dirt is basically the affordable substrate that has plenty of nutrients in it for plants to grow. Dirt when mixed with water forms mud and if you were to have dirt mixed with another substrate you would have one muddy mess of a tank. So we layer the dirt on the bottom, where the plants will root and have sand or another substrate on top of the dirt so that we keep the dirt in it's place. Plus, having a second substrate will allow a different look to the tank. I personally use dirt then have Seachem's Flourite as my top layer. It looks good and has other nutrients in it that the dirt may lack.

For dirt I use Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix. There are no added chemicals or added fertilizers that could harm fish or plants. It's basically dirt and wood chips. If you go this route it's best to sift the dirt through a screen and remove as much of the wood particles as possible. Less stuff floating to the surface when you have your tank up and running.

As for plants, dirt will give them LOTS of food so they will also want lots of light and lots of C02. I do not currently run C02 in my Biocube 14 so my plants grow more slowly but they do grow since they have 2x 24watt bulbs in the hood only a few inches above the waters surface. I love their growth and I need to get more plants and more fish!

~B



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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 07:19 PM
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Really you'll want lots of filter floss in the beginning when cycling. Next you want ceramic rings for your beneficial bacteria to grow on/in. With dirt you'll have lots of tannins staining the water a nice amber color so Purigen is your friend when removing organics from your water column. DO you have the inTank Media Basket for your Biocube? it makes organizing your filter media much easier.

~B



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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basil View Post
DO you have the inTank Media Basket for your Biocube? it makes organizing your filter media much easier.
I don''t but I'm on the hunt for one...
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