Newb questions, after many years fishless. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Newb questions, after many years fishless.

Hi, I love this place, it's given me so much inspiration. Maybe too much. I can see how people end up with MT syndrome. I recently bought a used 90 gallon Allglass aquarium, fluval 404, dual T12 fluorescent light with a 40w 6500K and a 40w plant/aquarium 2500K bulb, one powerhead, 250 watt stealth heater and some other accessories for $250. I just couldn't pass it up, even though I'm a couple months away from being ready to set up. Should give me plenty of time to do it right.
I plan on a community planted tank, low tech as i don't have a ton of cash or time. I do have some questions for you knowledgeable people on here. My short list of fishes includes: Kuhli loaches. Cardinal tetras. Cherry barbs. Dwarf pencilfish. Espei rasboras. Maybe some danios. I've done my research and will be stocking appropriate numbers. Would like some german blue rams but am unsure about them with the rasboras, also it might be tough to find a temp that works with the GBR's.
As far as plants go, I'm not quite sure yet. Would like some hairgrass along the back wall, some swords, and....
1. What are the plants that Takashi Amano places on driftwood that makes them look like little trees?
2. I plan on going with mineralized topsoil capped with pool filter sand, will the loaches cause problems with the MTS?
3. I have a beautiful piece of what i believe is lava rock on my patio, how can i identify it, and what measures should i take to make sure it's safe?
4. Is there anyway to boost my wpg without adding another light?
5. Are moonlights purely aesthetic or do they help plants, fishes?
6. Has anyone actually read this entire post?
Any info, criticism, suggestions, moving thread by mods if needed is appreciated.
Thanks

Last edited by monkeyfish; 09-16-2010 at 08:25 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 12:27 AM
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I read it all! Hi, welcome.

Nice deal on the tank.

I would continue to lurk on CL to find more light but I am definitely a high light junkie. I don't know if your light is enough to grow the plants you like or not, suspect you would need more. An efficient reflector would help but you cannot increase wattage in your fixture without a lot of DIY stuff.

I wouldn't try loaches with a soil tank. No way, no how. I wouldn't trust *me* with a soil tank, I move stuff around too much and am messy enough already.

I think mosses are generally used to make trees. Different kinds would make for different looking trees.

Use vinegar or, even better, muriatic acid to test rock. Bubbles are bad. Or you could submerge the rock in one pail and have a control test pail of water, test the water in both over a period of time looking for the same water hardness in both.

I suspect moonlights are mostly just pretty.

I suggest reading every word here. Wonderful site lots of good info. Check out the journals forum especially for your size tank. Read the lighting forum to get wised up on lighting, it isn't getting any easier!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I guess i'll have to rethink the topsoil, though i have seen people here using it with loaches. CL is great, huge savings to be had if you don't mind stuff that might not be new and shiny. I'm not opposed to DIY as I'm handy with electronics and construction. I also found the ODNO thread about wiring in different ballasts to increase light intensity, might be the best option if i need more light. More research also leads me to believe the "leave it in a pail and check water parameters" is the most reliable test for rocks. I really like the idea of moonlights, but don't want to throw off my fish and/or plants with too much light. Reading every word here would take a lifetime, if not more, but I'm trying. It's become all consuming with me, starting to affect sleep cycles, etc.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 04:49 PM
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While the net has all the information you could possibly want, it's not very well organized, and in some cases, very tough to dig out. Get yourself a couple of good books on planted aquariums. Here are two I recommend -
Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants by Peter Hiscok
Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana Walstad

I'm not a big fan of "wiring in different ballasts to increase light intensity". What you are doing is over driving the ballasts and bulbs. While it's something a lot of people have done, and get away with it, I feel that there is a safety risk there.

You have a 90 gal tank. At one time I got a couple of shop lights and hug them over the tank. That gave me four 40w fluorescent over the take, which was decent light. In addition normal output bulbs are comparatively cheep.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 03:02 PM
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I think you're going to need to add more light if you want to keep more plants than just Anubias, Java ferns, Bolbitus, mosses, and perhaps some crypts and swords in your tank (those are the only plants I'd even try under your current light level).

Personally I'd either DIY a dual bulb T5NO fixture or buy this one from Big Als to add to your current setup: http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...lestriplight48

You probably won't have much luck keeping hairgrass without CO2. I'd suggest some Vals or perhaps Willow Leaf Hygro for the background instead.

If you skip the danios you should be OK keeping GBRs with the rest of those fish, just keep the tank around 80F.





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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-27-2010, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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I forgot about this thread, lol. Laura, you seem to have the answers to all of my questions. Thank you for making my research that much easier! I have decided to lose the danios, even though i really like the celestial pearls. Diana over on loaches.com gave me the thumbs up on kuhlis with the MTS - SWEET, I love kuhlis! The "lava rock" is actually a giant piece of coral that will not be going in my tank for several reasons. The Complete Aquarium and Ecology of the Planted Aquarium have helped enlighten me. I also have since made decisions on going with the MTS capped with PFS. (It's like the military with all these acronyms) Two coralife T5NO 48" fixtures, (thanks again laura) only $45 at petblvd.com. Guess I'll ditch the hairgrass as well. I've started really researching low light plants, and will be checking ebay for the aforementioned Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants. Thanks everyone for all your help sifting through the amazing wealth of info here!
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