A little help on the substrate and some other stuff - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 05:28 AM Thread Starter
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Smile A little help on the substrate and some other stuff

I was reading posts on the eco-complete and saw that the site has a substrate calculator... SWEET!!! I still need a hand figuring it out because i have a 50 gallon pentagon Here is a link to the tank http://www.myfishtank.com/default.as...nks&tankdesc=5
The dimentions are 24X24X24. I want to have between 2-3 inches i believe.. lemme know if you think different. THANKS IN ADVANCE.
Also I am going with a low light tank. I have a jebo 110w compact. I plan on keeping the 10,000k bulb and have ordered a 6700k bulb to replace the actinic. I have gotten some ideas on plants from this site..
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/People/opsomer.html
Without CO2 do i need to worry about the kh, gh, and ph freaking out?
also SOME IDEAS on the layout would be GREAT!!
I have 5 discus, 5 cory cats and a couple of ottos in the tank currently. Ive also got an Anubias Barteri, 2 small swords of some sort... Not Amazon swords, (but planning on putting some in, and a clump of micro sword.I also have a smaller barteri and 2 little clumps pf christmas tree moss waiting for me in another tank. I just recieved a rena filstar xp2 and will be starting it up tomorrow and letting it run for a couple weeks to establish the canister biologically. The tank is currently running on a UGF with 2 Aquaclear 402 powerheads. Im a little worried about pulling out the UGF and all the gravel and starting over with the eco-complete. Will running the cannister for a couple weeks be suffiscient? My HOPE is to put the fish in a barrel with a powerhead, scoop out all the gravel, add the eco-cpmplete and all the plants and put back the fish all on the same day.... maybe some bio spira? ANY AND ALL SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME!!!!

well now that ive asked a million things THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!! This site has already been a TRAMENDOUS HELP
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2005, 05:21 PM
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Welcome to the board.

The way I would work out a pentagon tank is to divide it up like so...


You can then work out the amount of substrate for each area separately and then add the figures together for the total amount. (A+B+C=x)

A and B are simple rectangles to work out, then work out the rectangle shown by the dotted line and then divide by two to get the figure for C.

What is your kh value in your tank? If it is extremely low, then you will notice larger fluctuations in pH as you wont have enough carbonate buffers in solution for stability. If your kh is alright, then you wouldn't expect to see much fluctuation in ph IMO.

Many people have ripped out an undergravel filter for a new substrate but it's still not a nice, risk-free job to do.
The extent of disruption depends on how long the UGF has been in place, how often it was cleaned (underneath as well) and the amount of waste your system produces.
There could be a lot of mess under the plates, or there could be relatively little.

How many gallons is that tank? That will give an idea of it's stocking levels at present and thus, whether the filter would be sufficiently matured in time.

If it were me, as you are laying a brand new substrate that will be lacking in rich detritus, I would put a thin layer of peat in the substrate to kick start it quickly.

Personally I have never tried any type of cycle aid product, these may be of help in getting the filter ready, or they may be useless... hopefully someone else will advise on this.

Make sure you have Ammonia, Nitrite and nitrate test kits when you change over to keep a close eye on happenings, just as you would when starting a normal new tank.

HTH

Last edited by Stu; 02-09-2005 at 05:28 PM. Reason: edit to advise test kits..
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 05:55 AM Thread Starter
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Ok back to eco-complete...
First of all thank you so much stu... i dont know why i didnt think to split up the tank that way to get my measurements. I think that i am going to buy 4 bags of the stuff. That will put me between 3 1/4 and 3 1/2 inches deep in the stuff. Good? Like i said i was hoping to go with a low tech tank. I just recieved my 55 watt 6700k bulb to replace the actinic bulb. That leaves me with the 6700k and a 10,000k, both being 55watts. How am i looking here? The plants i would like to have in the tank are some of those mentioned in the article. I have been looking on aquariumplants.com and have come accross some beautiful looking plants and they seem cheap too!! I would love to put one of the mother amazon swords, some red rubin, oriental sword, sag, a crinium calimistratum, some green temple, java fern and an anubias nana... (just some ideas) The tank is 24 inches tall and i thought that the mother amazon would give me a great start on some background. I am looking for a lot of full lush height in the tank. I am really new to this and would love some help. Again thanks to stu and who ever else can give me a hand on this. Again this is for a Discus tank. 5 discus, 5 cory cats, 1 otto, and 2 small plecos. The temp is around 82 and the ph is at 7.2

Also i was wondering with having a nutrient rich substrate like this; is it necessary to add liquid "whatever" on a regular basis? If so how much benefit is the eco-complete vs. me just getting some sand and putting fert sticks in it every little while? SORRY TO BE SO IGNORANT ON THIS SUBJECT!!!

By the way, the cheapest i have found eco-complete is on aquariumplants.com. bought and shipped is $87.00 for 4 bags!!! Is this about right? The shipping is more than the substrate itself. Lemme know if anyone knows any different.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 09:52 AM
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It is still necessary to have nutrients for the plants in the water column. Whilst they will benefit from a nutrient rich substrate, it is actually far more important to have sufficient nutrients readily available to the plants in the water first.
Therefore, you will want to be dosing some sort of liquid fertiliser into the tank first and foremost.

As you are going for a low tech tank, you could just use sand and the additional fert sticks. Eco-complete would be better, but there is a large difference in cost!
Heavy rooting plants, such as swords would take better advantage of the extra substrate additives.

Your lighting seems ok for basic plant growth. You wanted a low tech tank, so you do not really need more lighting, as this would require CO2 injection and a more complicated fert plan.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Wow!! Thanks again stu for answering so quickly. Thank you for the info on the liquid fertilizer. What do you personally recomend? I really want to make sure that my plants stay alive and totally healthy. When you said that the swords and others would appreciate the extra nutrients; was that refering in favor to the eco-complete? I want to be successful in my quest for the perfect planted tank. (well, perfect in my mind ) I am willing to pay the extra price upfront if it really will make a difference. Is it worth it? Will I have less stress with the eco? will it make my plants flourish? Otherwise it seems from what you have said, that the sand would not be a be a totally shot idea.... What do you have in your tank(s)? HAS ANYONE SEEN A DIFFERNCE!!!

Also do you think the plants mentioned are a good choice? Do you have any other suggestions? THANKS AGAIN in advance!!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-15-2005, 07:06 PM
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If you to get a headstart take out the UGF, and leave all the mulm(the black stuff) behind. Don't vaccum it out. This will age your substrate from the start. It would also be useful to sprinkle some peat above this mulm, and then lay down the Eco-Complete ontop. Peat will provide carbon source for the bacteria to feed off so they can help reduce all the nutrients into a form easily taken up by plants. This would make the ideal substrate situation. Cheap and simple!

As for ferts, since this is a low light tank you won't need to dose macros as the fish will provide enough N and P for the slow plant uptake. For traces and Fe, people have always found the best results using both TMG(Tropica Master Grow)/Flourish together.

Swords are somewhat "overpowering" in smaller tanks. I know your tank isn't that small, but Swords can grow to enormous sizes(more than 2 feet easily). I would recommend Java fern instead, same Sword-look but stays smaller. A mix of the regular and the narrow leaf would look nice. Anubias in the foreground. Crypts in the midground, which would also give some color.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Well I ordered it today. 80 lbs of eco-complete will soon be sitting on my doorstep. The cheapest I found it was $87.00 for 4 bags. Not bad if you look at it for what your getting right? And if you look at it as just over $1 a lb it makes me feel a little better about the purchase So i figure that I am gonna wait until the eco gets here before I order my plants. I would hate to be stuck with a bunch of plants with nowhere for them to go. I am going to put an exact list of what I hope to put in my tank, and where I want to put it. Hopefully you all can give me a little guidence on it and lemme know how you think things will play out on it. ANY AND ALL SUGGESTIONS OR IDEAS WELCOME!!!!!!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Alright,
I just put in my plant order last night with aquariumplants.com. If everything goes according to plan I will have them tomorrow and plant that night. I am going to be doing the WHOLE switch at this time, (temporarily removing fish for the process, removing UGF, swapping gravel for eco-complete, planting the tank and gently adding its residents back in). HOPEFULLY I can get this done in a reasonable amount of time.
Here is my plant list:

4 Ludwigia, Broad Leaf (Ludwigia repens) (LARGE size 9"-11", 6-8 stems)

1 Nana (Anubias barteri v. Nana’) (medium size 4"-5")

2 Green Temple Narrow (Hygro Corombosa)

2 Retrospiralis (Cryptocoryne retrospiralis) (LARGE size 6"-8")

6 Wendtii, Red (Cryptocoryne wendtii)

4 Wendtii, Green (Cryptocoryne wendtii)
(LARGE size 6"-7")

3 Balansae (Cryptocoryne crisptula) (LARGE size 5"-6")

5 LL016 Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus)
(medium size 6"-7", 3-4 stems)

again I have a large a. barteri and a medium sided a. barteri, a ton of SAG donated by buck a couple of MISC small swords, a green wendtii, and some narrowleaf java fern on its way thanks to gw11ucb

QUESTION: When should I start fertilizing? What should I use and how much? There will be no added CO2. I am willing to try Excel....
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 05:39 PM
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Without adding CO2, I think you wont need to dose much in the way of fertiliser.

I would just go with a commercial liquid fertiliser (like flourish)(and excel if you want) as per the instructions on the bottles. If you have/can test tank parameters, this will be the best way to see if you are lacking a macro nutrient between water changes.

I have started using Excel myself on my low light tanks and have noticed an improvement in plant growth.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 09:47 PM
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Am I correct in understanding that you'll have 110w of light on this tank (50g)?

If so, you're just over the 2wpg mark and definitely in the area where no CO2 could cause you problems!

By all means give it a try without CO2 but if you run into big algae problems, then probably the first thing you need to look at is getting CO2 into your tank.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2005, 05:35 PM
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I'm new to the planted tank hobby and I'm just wondering, Laith, how the does amount of WPG coincide with CO2? I just noticed that you mention that if you have over 2WPG no CO2 will be a problem and I don't quite understand why.
I hope that's not a silly question but again I'm new to the hobby.
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