Hello all, new to the forum, I have been involved with aquaria for nearly 50 years and have done multiple setups both fresh and marine over the years but have always been interested in a planted freshwater tank. I have been doing marine and reef tanks for the last 30 years exclusively so its been a while since I've done a freshwater tank. I currently have a 180 euro braced standard reef tank with a central overflow and returns on each side that I will be breaking down and putting into storage until I move. Is this tank, setup with a wet dry/sump a good choice for an planted tank or should I be looking at an entirely new system? Is anybody still using wet dry filtration? Is UV sterilization beneficial on planted tanks? Are powerheads needed or would return pumps give enough flow? I'm running LED lighting in the reef, does this work well for plants as well?
I'm looking at a plant heavy aquascape with CO2 injection and a mix of South American fish; tetras, apistos, and maybe an angelfish pair and some dwarf corys and otos. Any advise would be helpful as I am just seeking information and learning all I can about these setups. Thanks in advance. -Mike
There is a lot of questions in there, I'll do my best to answer them all.
Yes, a 180 with overflow is perfectly fine for a planted tank.
Yes, a wet dry filter would work very well. The reason you don't hear of them more often in planted tank is when CO2 is being used. The "Dry" in wet dry filter offgasses CO2 back into the atmosphere where as a closed system like a canister filter does not off-gas our CO2 we worked so hard to get in the water. That being said you can still run CO2, you just might need a higher rate to achieve sufficient CO2 levels.
A UV unit will work great, but a properly tuned planted tank would have very low algae levels in the tank, and low risk of algae outbreaks. I would keep the UV unit as a "quick" fix if you find yourself in an algae bloom, but it is not a long term solution to why the algae is occurring.
LED lights are great but only if they provide enough usable radiation in the form of total amount and proper spectrum for plants. Ideally planted tank lights should be anywhere from 6000k - 10000k (basically the color spectrum of the emitted light) often described as "cool white" or "daylight white". Some blues, reds and greens also help, but the many of us (myself included) only run lights in the 6500k-10000k range.
Which light model do you have? I assume its powerful enough for plant growth because you had a reef setup, I'm more concerned over the color spectrum.
Your fish selection sounds great for a planted tank.
Have you researched fertilizers? Liquid/Dry/Rot tabs?
Do you have an idea on which substrate/plants you would like?
I hope I answered all your questions.
That sounds like a fun tank to set up, I wish you luck.