Starting New 30 Gallon Classroom Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Starting New 30 Gallon Classroom Tank

HI!
I'm a student at my local community college and my secondary Biology class is planning a planted tank. We are planning on having two medium size peices of driftwood and TONS of plants in the aquascape. The intended fish are small community fish i.e. zebra danios, rosy barbs, dwarf gouramis, and oto cats. Suggestions on plant species?

I donated my old 30 gallon tank to the project as well as a H.O.T. Magnum canister filter (rated 250gallons per hour) and a 100w heater.
From what I've gathered, we still need to invest in a glass canopy, a light fixture with bulbs suitable for a plants to thrive, planting substrate, and possibly a CO2 system. Also, since we're going "no-holds-barred" I was considering a substrate heater as well. Is this worth the hassle?

I found a light fixture but I honestly don't know if that is overkill for a tank with 30x12 surface area. Is 130 watts too much? Not enough? If anyone has suggestions on a better lighting option and what bulbs would be good, PLEASE feel free to share.

CO2? or NO? Is it necessary in this case? The tank is supposed to be heavily planted, and have a full bioload of fish.

ANY and ALL help is appreciated!!! My class is really excited about this project and the wisdom of more experienced aquarists is appreciated in making this tank as successful as possible!!!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 10:52 PM
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since your doing a class room project, i would go low-tech. Use mineralized top soil as a subtrate and use this as a fixture. I think your tank is actually a 29 gallon since its 30x12. Use this as lighting- http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...lestriplight30 Go on forums and research mineralized top soil and low tech aquariums. That would be better for a class room tank. High tech would cost way to much for a class room tank.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 10:53 PM
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I wouldn't bother with a substrate heater.

Low Light= No CO2 needed, but would benefit from it
Medium Light= CO2, Glutaraldehyde, or both
Hight Light= Pressurized CO2

The WPG rule no longer applies. Check the lighting section for how intense different lights you are looking at are. You can achieve various intensities by choosing the right bulb, it's distance from the substrate, and the type of reflectors.

If you want a heavily planted tank with different types of plants (like stem plants), I would suggest a med-high light tank with pressurized CO2. You will most likely be able to study algae with this setup as well.

If you want to limit your plant selection slightly, but save a ton of headache, I would recommend a low light setup.

The best advice is waiting for you in all the threads people have already provided. A majority of questions a beginner wants to ask have already been posted. If you have little time or interest in doing research, https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/PlantedTankGuide.html. Do your homework before buying something. Most of us learn that the hard way.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-14-2010, 11:01 PM
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Why not let the students do the planning and make recommendations?

It would be a good chance for them to think about a problem. Sure everyone here could tell you what they would do, and I'm sure the ideas would be good, but by having the students do the research and figure out where to spend the money, and what they might be able to build as a diy project, will do a lot more bith for them and the project. The could even plan a low tech system and a high tech system and then pick a design.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 03:08 AM
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Assuming that the light you referred to is a 2 - 65 watt PC bulb fixture, it probably doesn't have a good reflector. So, I think you will likely have low medium light with that fixture on the tank. You won't have to use CO2, but if you do use it, you could grow almost any of the plants commonly used in aquariums.

I really like DaveK's suggestion about having the students research this and arrive at the tank setup that way. This site has separate forums about fertilizing, substrates, lighting, and equipment in general, as well as plants and fish. One could spend weeks researching the subject right here.

Hoppy
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 04:02 AM
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Welcome to TPT!

If this is also your own first planted aquarium then my advice also would be to go low tech with it so you can get the basics down and have a better chance of being successful the first time around.

Or- go low light, but also add CO2- sticking with low light would help keep growth rates at a more managable level (ie- algae shouldn't take over as quickly and it gives you more time to figure out how to address any problems that crop up) but the addition of the CO2 would both encourage great plant growth and allow you to keep additional species over a regular low tech setup. This would give the students a little more time/leeway to do research if it will be their job to maintain the tank.

IMO the Coralife T5NO would be a great fixture for this purpose.

I run the same over my own 29gal low tech (my setup is w/out CO2), so you have the option of going either way.





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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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ALL my questions.

This is not my first-first planted tank. This is just the largest scale I've done. I've been around fish my whole life. I grew up helping my mom with her 150 gallon tank and two monstrous oscars. From the time I was old enough to help, I've had water changes drilled into my weekly schedule. The tank I'm donating now is one that for the last 2 years I maintained myself with a brackish environment with two 6" Mono sebaes. I sold my fish to The Fish Store **weeeeppp*** and I'm donating the tank now, because in a few months I'm going to be moving into a dorm room at the University of Montevallo.

Anyway,
DaveK,
I've pretty much been assigned the "duty" of figuring out what we need, since this whole thing is my idea. The group part of the project is assembling the pieces and maintaining the tank once it's set up.

VadimShevchuk,
That will be enough light to support a heavily planted tank? For substrate, I was thinking Red Flourite. Red because I was thinking of creating an Indian river biotype and all my research says the substrate is reddish? Also, if I use a substrate heater, a sand layer under the flourite to cover the coils and distribute the heat evenly.

Hyzer,
Why should I not bother with a substrate heater? I've been doing research specifically for this tank for the last two weeks, but there are so many "aficionados" that post contradicting articles, it's a lot to sort through and make sense of. I figured the best way to get reliable information is from a forum of experience individuals that I can ask questions from and get feedback from.

lauraleellbp
I was thinking if I used a CO2 system, I would get a simple non-pressurized one. Petsmart has a $12 one. Is that a waste of time/money?

Hoppy,
I think my instructor may have already order the light fixture. Is there any way to work around a shoddy reflector?
The site listed the specifications:
Fixture is 30" long x 7" wide x 2.5" high
2 65 watt, 6700K compact fluorescent lamps (Straight pin) included
2 cooling fans
Install over covered tanks only
130 watts total
The darn thing was $180 so I would have thought.... but then, idk lighting.

Thank you ALLL!!!! I am soooo excited to see people so willing to offer help. I'm anxious to see the looks on all faces of the people in class once it's cycled and we get to start adding FISH!!!!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 06:04 AM
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I found
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...te-heater.html

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...te-heater.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/eq...te-heater.html

My favorite quote which made me laugh:
Quote:
They do not hurt the tank, but netiher does sending me 50$ either
The Planted Tank search bar and Google yielded some good results. Granted the sources are not scholarly, but neither is most of the good advice I have received in my lifetime. You are correct in assuming this forum is an excellent source for info. Have fun setting up your new tank. It will be a blast.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 08:14 AM
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DO NOT even bother the petsmart co2, they are sux!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 05:46 PM
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IMO you got fleeced on that light fixture. Is it too late to send it back so you can use that $ elsewhere on the setup?





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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 06:08 PM
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I think Laura summed it up pretty well IMO. Keep it simple as possible.

Unfortunately she's also right about the light fixture. If there's any way to return it I would definitely look into doing so.


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