What should I get? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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What should I get?

My question is what should I use as far as substrate goes for my first true planted tank? I have always gone low tech in the past. I haven't branched out from the cute little all inclusive aquarium kits that you can find at any pet store but I don't like plastic junk and have always had drift wood and live plants.

I will be setting up a 30 gal planted aquarium and haven't decided on specific plant types yet. I'd like to top whatever I get off with fine gravel, for aesthetic reasons.

I am also still shopping around for the right lighting and co2 system.

It seems like everybody on this forum uses different combinations and it's getting confusing.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 08:07 PM
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Any substrate in the 1mm-3mm size range will work well for you since your looking at doing the full trinity (light,C02,ferts). Flourite, Eco-Complete, Turface, Florabase, ADA will all give you good results if you can find them locally. I know the local PetCo's sell Eco pretty reasonably and the LFS's all sell Flourite so it just depends on what you want to look at. Even Pool Filter Sand (PFS) and Kitty Litter will work if you're willing to do your homework and test it allot.

I'd go with some type of pressurized C02 rig if I was you. I'm partial to a full 'pro' kit with a dual regulator, swagelok/ideal/fabco needle valve and a good solenoid like a Burkert or at least a Parker. Or if your willing to spend a bit more money for a finished kit Greenleaf and Sumo has nice full rigs for sale. I know the rabid fanboys will preach that a Milwaukee, Azoo, or a kegerator is perfect but you get what you pay for so it's up to you but I'd go with a pressurized of some sort.

As for lighting that's the hardest part of trinity, for the most part I'm happy with just a standard T5 fixture with a good reflector (I get mine from ahsupply and mod the fixture) that will grow just about everything I've tried without any problems. But if you want to go flat out crazy and grow plants like mad then a T5-HO or a HQI would be the way to go but you'll spend allot of money on the fixture and you will have to have near perfect tank specs.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. So I don't have to use a combination? I can just use about 3 inches of eco-complete?

For CO2 I am wondering if "Red Sea CO2 Pro System for Paintball CO2 Cylinders" on amazon for $156 would be good for a 30 gal. I am trying to find a nice middle ground between top of the line and affordable.

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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I am almost certain you guys are going to tell me that that's crap... I found this instead (on amazon), Milwaukee Instruments Solenoid Valve, CO2 Regulator with Bubble Counter. Sry can't post links yet.
If i get that milwaukee regulator am I just missing tubing, a co2 cylinder, and a reactor?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 07:29 PM
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Yep you'd just need the tubing and cylinder. And yes you would be much happier if you stay away from the Red Sea DIY kit.

For the kind of money your talking about have you seen Greenleaf's pre-built 'Choice' or "Nature Beast" or even Sumo's "Hallmark Line"?
Those are about the same price and about 50x the build quality.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 03:44 AM
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I myself am currently using the paintball co2 injection setup and I strongly recommend that if you want to go pressurized, spend the money once and do it right. I'm saving up for a green leaf system because mine is such a headache. The pressure slowly drops off over a few hours so you constantly have to adjust it and it's just more trouble than it's worth. Plus you run out of CO2 fast.

Just consider that you can get a good quality setup without the automation (selenoid, ph monitor, etc) but if you think you'll want to upgrade it would be cheaper to save up and buy it all as a combo. Although you can always upgrade later if you really want to get going and don't mind a bit more maintenance.

Anywho, I just personally recommend you get a setup of quality off the bat or your really wasting money. I'm kicking myself for essentially blowing 200 bucks on the paintball system.

-Justin


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 06:22 PM
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I am by no means a pro, (about 1 week into my first planted tank) but I went all ADA and have seen incredible results already. For a 17gal tank I used 3L of their power sand which is supposed to help with water flow within the deep bed along with add some long term additives to the tank. I then used about 7L of their regular Amazonia II substrate along with another 3L of the Amazonia Power (fine grain, easier to plant in and good for small roots). This was recommended to me by Jeff Senske of ADGShop. While he is a distributor of ADA supplies which I guess could make him biased, I am not sure you will find anyone on this board that disagrees that the ADA stuff is good, just a little pricey.
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