Advice for first set up ? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Advice for first set up ?

I am studying now for my first planted tank set up. I am going to turn my saltwater tank into a planted freshwater system. I had the saltwater reef setup for the past 7 years and before that I have had many freshwater systems but never with live plants. I'm seeking any advice for a rookie.
I heard planting everything at once in the begining is best
My equipment;
125 gallon display tank-predrilled
two 35 gallon refugiums / sumps connected
( I know those are typically salterwater filters but I use 100 micron filter pads in one and 200 micron filter sock in the other ) I have a chamber that can be used for media in the sump too. I am willing if needed to swap my filteration system. I would go with a high tech large canister. I had a lot of experience with them but i can easily change out the filters every few days with the other system. )
three 175 watt metal halides with four seperate 96 watt accent lights.
I know I will need to stick with high light plants.
Any suggestions ?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 09:09 PM
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I'd recommend to revamp your light setup. For reefs, more = better. Not so for planted tanks. Especially if you are starting out with plants (and algae) you don't really want to go overboard with lights. Even the 4x 96W "accent lights" would be too much really.

I'd sell the lights and go with a T5 HO setup, perhaps a 4 bulb one where you can start initially with two bulbs, and after a few months when things are balanced out you can add the other bulbs.

You will need to read up on fertilizer dosing (NPK & micros) and CO2 injection...

Good luck and welcome to the Planted Tank!


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Wasserpest for the reply. I forgot to mention that I plan on getting a top of the line CO2 unit. The fish store thats buying all my live rock and fish are giving me store credit but not cash. It's about a thousand dollars so I'll have the abiltity to get some nice stuff. I have a automatic doser too and have been reading about fertilizers. I really don't want to get rid of the light system. I have a 15" canopy on the tank and the light system was about $ 1200. All of the light units can be controlled individually. the 96 watt double bulb units currently have blue accentic lights. I was thinking if I plant the whole tank at one time and give a bit of growing time before I add the fish so I don't have to feed the tank then I won't have much of an algea problem. The RO/DI unit I have makes water 99.9 % pure so I won't have a phosphate problem. I do have a phosphate unit I could hook up too if needed.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 02:20 AM
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I keep both reef and planted tanks. You need to keep in mind that while the goal of having a fantastic looking tank is the same in a reef and a planted tank, the way you get there is completely different.

You have to learn a new methodology if you want the planted tank to work. Lighting was one area that was mentioned. Filtration is another. For example, you have a refugium and sump. Fantastic for a reef, but not quite what you want for a planted tank. Canister filters are looked down upon in the reef area, but are highly desirable in a planted tank. This is because a sump and refugium are very good at gas exchange (CO2 out, O2 in). In a reef you want that to happen. In a planted tank it's a disadvantage, because you want that CO2 for the plants.

You also mention phosphate problems. Again, they are a big issue in a reef, as long as not over done, it is desirable in a planted tank. A reef keeper would cringe at the idea of adding phosphated to a reef, but it's often done on a planted tank.

I also recommend that you get a couple of good books on planted tanks. Then read and understand them, so you know what is done differently. Yea, you'll end up redoing most of what you have on a reef to convert it over to a planted tank.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 02:22 AM
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welcome to ptf the people here are great very helpfull and smart as hell. read, search and ask questions and you'll do fine
Ok you have the money to do this right so now you need to do the research. There is a sticky in the Fertilizers and Water Parameters section https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...-regimes_.html thats a good place to start. The atinic blue light are not really what you need for plants. something in 5000k - 10000k range works best. The experts will be better at telling you how much. Now for the big one the one that gives all ex-reefers nightmares most people add phosphates. Plants need them to grow.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 03:27 AM
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I'd follow Wasserpests advice and go with a lighting setup more suited to planted tanks. High light is probably the #1 mistake people make when starting a planted tank. The myriad of algae problems caused by high light often times can ruin the experience for you. Your existing fixture is sweet but would create an algae farm for all but the most experienced planted tankers. If you want suggestions on a fixture for you setup just ask, I'm sure you can get something effective for $250 or less.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 06:15 AM
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I like sumps on big tanks. Just have the water coming in at lower than the water's surface to minimize agitation and keep the thing well covered. You can put the heaters and CO2 reactor in it, water level in the tank stays the same, surface skimming and you have more water in the system.

I would change out the CF accent bulbs for plant friendly bulbs and use those, not the MH. If you can use just 2 of the CFs that would be even better. Possibly once the plants have settled in and you get the hang of fertilizing the tank with CO2, phosphate and nitrate you can try using one MH as an accent for a short period of time. Using all of them for even a short period of time is not a good idea. Up to you whether using a small part of your terrific lighting is worth it to you.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 03:13 PM
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You'll only need to run 2-3 of your 96 watt bulbs if you want to keep your old fixture.

The plants themselves provide the majority of the biological and chemical filtration for your tank, so what you'll need to plan for the most is mechanical filtration. Coming from a reef system you're going to be amazed how messy planted tanks are when it comes to producing debris!

I'm a big fan of sponges when it comes to filtering planted tanks, since they're great for both mechanical and biofiltration, come in so many different pore sizes and textures, and so easy to clean and re-use.

You'll probably want a lot of disposable media, too- I use big rolls of bonded pond filter media and cut it to size. You can use quilt batting and loose polyester fiber, too.

Purigen is the only chemical media I use- I love that stuff as it does such a fantastic job polishing water, and you can regenerate and re-use it repeatedly, also.

So those are things I'd keep in mind while you re-vamp your sump setups.





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