New to f/w plants, Ex-Reefer - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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New to f/w plants, Ex-Reefer

Hello! My name is Dan. I have recently taken down my reef tank, as I acquired a nuisance algae and lost most of my corals.

Wanting to get into the Live plants!!
A little history:
My wife bought me the tank a few years ago now. I set it up as a reef, as I wasnt new to the hobby by any means. Took my Biocube 29 gallon and did some simple mods, pump upgrade, got rid of stock hood, new lighting etc etc.

THE PRESENT:


29 Gallon Biocube
Return: maxi jet 1200 (295gph)
Lighting: T5-HO - 4x24w- with one reflector)
Filter floss inserted in old gutted B.C. cartridge for filtration of solids.
Chemi Pure(1 full unit) for carbon/phosphates (don't know anything better)

Its been running with flourite 20lbs (going to add more) since 3/23/10 after I cleaned and took down my saltwater. I have some driftwood still soaking, but a piece that has already sunk and leeched all it will.

I will not clutter the "Main Discussion" forum with my questions, but they do relate to more specifics than what I could find during my searches here and there. So I guess I can just post individual ?'s in the appropriate Sub Forums.

Thanks, I hope to begin planted aquaria as a step down from my old Reef days, hopefully swapping for less maintenance

Thanks!!!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamoCustom View Post
Hello! My name is Dan. I have recently taken down my reef tank, as I acquired a nuisance algae and lost most of my corals.

Wanting to get into the Live plants!!
A little history:
My wife bought me the tank a few years ago now. I set it up as a reef, as I wasnt new to the hobby by any means. Took my Biocube 29 gallon and did some simple mods, pump upgrade, got rid of stock hood, new lighting etc etc.

THE PRESENT:


29 Gallon Biocube
Return: maxi jet 1200 (295gph)
Lighting: T5-HO - 4x24w- with one reflector)
Filter floss inserted in old gutted B.C. cartridge for filtration of solids.
Chemi Pure(1 full unit) for carbon/phosphates (don't know anything better)

Its been running with flourite 20lbs (going to add more) since 3/23/10 after I cleaned and took down my saltwater. I have some driftwood still soaking, but a piece that has already sunk and leeched all it will.

I will not clutter the "Main Discussion" forum with my questions, but they do relate to more specifics than what I could find during my searches here and there. So I guess I can just post individual ?'s in the appropriate Sub Forums.

Thanks, I hope to begin planted aquaria as a step down from my old Reef days, hopefully swapping for less maintenance

Thanks!!!

Welcome to the forum! Lots of good info and helpful people to be found here.

One of the biggest mistakes ex-reefers tend to make when setting up a planted tank is using too much light. I hope your fixture allows you to turn some of the bulbs off separately. The lack of individual reflectors for each bulb will help to diminish intensity a bit but 4x24 T5HO over a 29 gallon tank is way more light than you need. Even if you can cut the light intensity back by turning off some bulbs or hanging the fixture you are going to need to run pressurized CO2 and use a comprehensive fertilization routine if you want healthy, algae free plants. There is a sticky at the top of the Fertilizers and Water Parameters forum that discusses various dosing regimes.

You haven't indicated what type of plants you wish to grow but if your goal is a low-maintenance tank give some consideration to keeping the tank as low light as possible.

Good luck with the new tank!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by captain_bu View Post
One of the biggest mistakes ex-reefers tend to make when setting up a planted tank is using too much light. I hope your fixture allows you to turn some of the bulbs off separately. The lack of individual reflectors for each bulb will help to diminish intensity a bit but 4x24 T5HO over a 29 gallon tank is way more light than you need. Even if you can cut the light intensity back by turning off some bulbs or hanging the fixture you are going to need to run pressurized CO2 and use a comprehensive fertilization routine if you want healthy, algae free plants. There is a sticky at the top of the Fertilizers and Water Parameters forum that discusses various dosing regimes.

You haven't indicated what type of plants you wish to grow but if your goal is a low-maintenance tank give some consideration to keeping the tank as low light as possible.

Good luck with the new tank!
That was the one thing I was worried about. TOO MUCH LIGHT. Does it matter though the height over the tank? it does sit a few inches above, and its not a normal 29 gallon tank.

I dont even know what plants are low/high maintenance , I know basic plant, I used to work in LFS growing up....but really havent been keeping up with it, so right now, I know what Amazon/Argentinian/Radican swords are, anacaris, things like that , I love to learn though!!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 04:49 PM
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Because of their filter design, the BioCubes aren't really ideal for high tech planted tank setup- the waterfall in the filter will end up outgassing a high percentage of the CO2 you'd need to inject into the water.

Since raising the lights higher isn't an option with this setup either, will the light fixture work running only 1 bulb? 2 bulbs will definitely be too much light for the tank w/out also running pressurized CO2, but you MIGHT be able to set it up as a low tech tank if you can run just 1 bulb...

I really love the footprint of these tanks, but honestly- they're not designed well for a FW plant setup.

There's another member on here who's currently trying to modify their BioCube to a better planted tank setup- I believe there's a thread or 2 about it over in the Equipment forum.





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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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@ lauraleellbp:

I can run 2 bulbs at a time, also, the water level can be raised to eliminate the water fall. Can I add a canister and just fill the back chambers to the max....How would this work?
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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I do want this to work. And I will try to do what I can to make it work, Just need the guidance. Would it be best if I just ditch the 4x24w and bought a new fixture?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:11 PM
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If you can run a canister on the tank and eliminate the waterfall in the back chamber, you should then be able to put a pressurized CO2 setup on the tank AND keep your fixture running 2 bulbs.

(If you're doing all that, can you remove that back chamber all together to just add that section to the main tank? I haven't owned one of these so IDK if that's possible or not...)





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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
If you can run a canister on the tank and eliminate the waterfall in the back chamber, you should then be able to put a pressurized CO2 setup on the tank AND keep your fixture running 2 bulbs.

(If you're doing all that, can you remove that back chamber all together to just add that section to the main tank? I haven't owned one of these so IDK if that's possible or not...)
Adding the canister is totally do-able. Removing the back wall, not so much. Filling it all the way up though to make no more waterfall is not a problem. And I can also make a cover for these chambers. I was researching about these paintball co2 systems....My wife and I play paintball and have a 20 oz tank or two laying around. How do they work out?

After plumbing large tanks for Skimmers--> reactors---> refugiums, A simple co2 system shouldn't be that hard right? LOL
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:20 PM
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I don't run pressurized CO2 on any of my tanks so can't give you any firsthand feedback, but most of the reports I've read found the paintball setups aren't accurate enough and tend to fail over time.

Several of the forum sponsors sell top-notch CO2 equipment- and I think if you're going to invest in it you might as well start off with nice stuff rather than gas out your fish; www.GreenLeafAquariums.com is one of them.





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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Well, from the looks of your 29 gallon tank, that is about what I want to achieve, so what do you do for CO2?
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:46 PM
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I'm running low light- 2x18 watts of T5NO- over that tank so it's doing fine without any CO2 or ferts. I picked slow-growing and low-light tolerant plants and have the tank well stocked, so the need for supplemental nutrients is minimal.

Light is what drives plant growth, and therefore how much you need to supplement nutrients depends on how much light you're running and what plants you pick (slow growing vs fast growing, like stems).





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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
I'm running low light- 2x18 watts of T5NO- over that tank so it's doing fine without any CO2 or ferts. I picked slow-growing and low-light tolerant plants and have the tank well stocked, so the need for supplemental nutrients is minimal.

Light is what drives plant growth, and therefore how much you need to supplement nutrients depends on how much light you're running and what plants you pick (slow growing vs fast growing, like stems).
So if I chose easier, lower light plants and ran 2x24w t5s I should be getting in more of the range of what I want.

If it was possible I wanted to avoid the whole super CO2 system and all the hoses and stuff.

So from reading a bit now in the past few hours, I see that the more light you have is the reason you need to inject more CO2....right?
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 06:52 PM
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No, 2x24 of T5HO puts you in a whole different ballpark than my T5NO fixture. That's "high light" and you'll definitely need CO2 plus ferts with that much light.

If you could run just one of those bulbs you'd be on the high end of "low light," and might be able to make do dosing Excel instead of CO2.

And yes- the more light, the more you need CO2 and ferts.





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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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I didnt even realize the post on your lights said NORMAL OUTPUT lol.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 07:13 PM
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Whoops I guess I should have stressed that.

I should also point out that the reflector design can make a huge difference in actual light output between fixtures- and the Coralife have "poor" reflectors (a single white reflector that holds both bulbs close together, rather than highly polished reflectors wrapped individually around each bulb). This design actually is what makes the Coralife fixtures good for low tech tanks...

Something to keep in mind if you decide to change out your light fixture.





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