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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-08-2008, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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planning, advice needed

First of all, forgive me for my inexperience/ignorance. I'm doing a lot of researching and reading, but there is soooo much to learn about planted tanks! I have a largish tank set up to grow anacharis to feed to my turtle, and it's got me wanting to set up a really nice planted tank. I can't afford to do it right on a big tank (nor do i have the space for yet another big aquairum) so i was thinking about trying a nano tank, as i have always been charmed by tiny things. So, before i jump in on it and start buying things, i thought it might be wise to run everything by the experienced and knowledgeable folks here. This is what i was thinking of getting:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...uctnum=0027365
A 3 gallon acrylic tank with a 3 stage 80 gph filter and 18w CF lighting fixture
It says "18W compact fluorescent perch-light fixture with 50/50 14,000K actinic and 7,400K daylight lamp" I'm thinking i could replace the 14,000 bulb with a more appropriate one, as i don't think this is quite right for a planted tank (am i right on this?)

A 25 W submersible heater

A box of "First Layer Pure Laterite"

An attractive little piece of driftwood

Now for the CO2 issue...i'm finding the whole injected CO2 concept quite intimidating, but from what i'm reading i feel like i need CO2, and a DIY fermentation type setup seems like it would just frustrate me more. I was thinking about the ADA CO2 system, as the website says "perfect for nano tanks". Do i need CO2 injection, or can i be sucessful without it? I really want to do this right!

As for plants, i was thinking (but not comitted to):
A few potted "micro sword" Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae
Either a Ludwigia inclinata or Ludwigia repens
Java Fern

I'm unsure about the fauna still, i am thinking of a dwarf puffer but have a lot more reading to do.

Again, i apologize for my newness to this, and i really appreciate your help. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. I feel like if i get a lot of advice beforehand i won't spend as much money and time on stupid mistakes.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-09-2008, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm starting to think that i can't afford a CO2 setup, would i be better off with a little lower light as in this tank: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...3&pcatid=15493
It's another 3 gallon, but with a 9w light and a 40 gph filter.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-09-2008, 07:28 PM
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(You're off to a great start! You will find many helpful people here on plantedtanks.net to answer many of your questions here!)

The 50/50 lighting you have now is designed for saltwater reef set-ups, they do no good for planted tanks. Most planted tank users have bulbs between 5000k and 10000k.

With your current 18w of lighting, you will probably need co2 injection.
CO2 supplementation is depenedent on the amount of lighting you use on the tank. High light means co2 is a must. Think of light as the gas pedal to a car, and the faster you go, the faster the plants grow.

Think of co2/nutrients as the fuel. With more light, you step on the gas pedal more, so you need more fuel (co2/nutrients) to supply the faster uptake rate of the plants.

With less light, you can get away with co2/fertilizer supplemention as the plants' uptake rate of nutrients is slow.

You do not need an ADA co2 system if it's too expensive for you. It's just well-marketed, it does do the job but you end up paying more than you have too. I think their system is basically a pressurized system all set up for you.

With a small tank like yours, DIY CO2 would be a great option--you will get sufficient co2 and distribution with good filtration and water current like yours.

DIY yeast fermentation co2 is really easy to do, the only thing you have to mind is to redo the solution every few weeks as the co2 production slows down.

Basically mix together (you can vary in quantities):
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1/4 to 2 tsp yeast
- 1/4 to 2 tsp baking soda
- warm water
- shake and you get co2!

Drill a hole in the bottle cap to fit an airline tube through, direct the co2 line to some sort of diffuser to introduce co2 into your tank.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-09-2008, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your reply! I haven't made any purchases yet; i'm still trying to figure out what i need before i go jumping into things. If i went with the kit that comes with a 9w light (it's also one of theose 50/50 deals so i'd have to change the bulb on that one too) could i go without the CO2? The more i learn about it the more i feel like i'm not ready for all that. I'm away for a couple of days every week, and my schedule can be crazy sometimes (i'm in college and have 2 jobs) so i rely heavily on timers for my aquatic endeavours. From what i've read (again, i'm still confused about some things!) CO2 shouldn't be run at night to avoid PH fluctuations, so if that's true i wouldn't be able to do a DIY CO2 setup since i'm not always going to be there to turn it on/off. Am i understanding that correctly? Thank you again for helping me out with this, and for being patient with my questions and confusion!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-09-2008, 09:19 PM
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A co2 alternative is Seachem Flourish Excel.
Also You could try the 18 watt fixture, but try and fit a 13 watt bulb (i've seen them around) in there.
Also if you're that busy, than ideally a low light, low tech would be better for you, as it requires less maintenance.
My tank is a low tech tank, it's a 2.5 gallon with a 15 watt spiral over it.
I do weekly 50% water changes, and i dose some liquid ferts once a week during hte water changes. Otherwise aside from feeding the fish that's it, however, i will be getting excel soon, so once i get that i'll be dosing that daily.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-09-2008, 10:05 PM
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Excel could be an option, it is basically a carbon supplement but not the real thing.


If you go to the SeaChem website, they say if CO2 is a 10, excel is a 6.

I think with your busy schedule, it's easier to run low light and non-co2. Saves you the maintanence effort by a lot compared to higher light where you will need to do more frequent water changes, pruning, daily dosing etc.

As for the DIY CO2 running at night, you can easily gas it out by running an airstone via air pump on a separate timer that runs when the lights are out. This gases out the excess CO2 during the night time when plants revert their o2/co2 process and begin releasing co2.

All the more reason to just go w/o co2 as you have one less thing to worry about--many examples here of great tanks that run w/o co2 injection.

Basically w/ non-co2, you don't need to do water changes and little maintenance as long as you keep the light low and keep lots of plants that do well in low light.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2008, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks a lot, both of you, that was very helpful!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-11-2008, 12:00 AM
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Also, many of the lowlight plants are slower growing plants, so they don't need as much trimming.
Also to prevent algae i'd have some floating plants, a good nutrient sponge is duckweed.
An alternative to your microsword, but requires less light would be pygmy chain sword (e. tenellus-wrong spelling maybe?)
I'm unsure about ludwiga but it's good to have a few quick growing stem plants, such as rotala or hygro, as they will also help prevent algae by using up the nutrients.
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