Considering first planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Considering first planted tank

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
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by altummagnus View Post
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.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 03:41 PM
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Hi Mike, and welcome to the community!

1.) That tank should be absolutely fine for a planted tank.

2.) For filtration, thereís nothing wrong with a sump per se. The problem is with the offgassing of CO2 as Quag pointed out. You can get around this by changing the dry side / trickle into another wet compartment by adding downpipes to the sump. If the water flows into the sump below the waterline, there will be less turbulence and less offgassing. You can also look into sealing portions of the sump, even if itís only a temporary seal like weather stripping. This should help to keep any offgassed CO2 inside the sump, and should reduce the amount of CO2 lost.
3.) UV isnít usually used with planted tanks, but it certainly wouldnít hurt. IF you already have one, then by all means use it. If you donít have one yet, then donít bother buying one. The only thing a UV filter will help with is Green Water algae, and that can be fixed in other ways that donít have the cost of a UV filter.
4.) Return pumps should provide enough flow, but the trick is making sure that you have at least some flow in all the nooks and crannies of the tank. Iím battle an algae problem in my tank right now, and I have plenty of flow overall. The problem is that I have dead spots in the tank, and the plants are starved of nutrients in localized places. Itís better to have more flow than less, so youíll have to see how things work out once youíre set up. Normally, 10x volume is a good target to shoot for.
5.) Lighting for a reef tank is completely different than a planted tank. Reef utilize a lot more blues, violets, and ultraviolets, and usually completely ignore reds. Please use a lot of red light, and will struggle under the spectrum of a reef LED. I would google plant photosynthesis spectrum to get an idea of what Iím talking about. Overall the quantity of light youíll be giving the plants with your reef lighting will be overkill, the plants will still struggle because they wonít be getting the right kind of light.
6.) For fish, the only thing I might do is suggest against the Angels. You may want to add shrimp at a later time, especially for algae control, and an adult Angel will eat anything he can fit in his mouth. I found out the hard way that this included 2Ē long adult Amano Shrimp.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altummagnus View Post
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
your tanks good enough for reef are good enough for fresh water. UV sterilization is not common in freshwater, but it does add benefit. powerheads are not required and are not common, but it will help. lighting for reef will be different than freshwater set up.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the replies, that was very helpful indeed. My lights are AI LEDs and honestly are in pretty bad shape, I'm assuming LEDs are still the way to go for planted, I have noticed a lot of LEDs purpose built for planted tanks and will likely go with new lighting. I have a crazy amount of flow with my current setup so I'm guessing if anything I will need to ramp it down. I had heard UV helps with green water and I have a unit so that's why I asked, sounds like a backup piece of equipment for sure.

Thanks again, I have been researching everything from fertilizers, livestock, CO2, lighting, substrate, and plants. Freshwater has certainly come a long way in the last three decades
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-22-2017, 06:43 AM
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My tank is a 35g dirt bottom hex tank with a 5g wet/dry sump. I even run an air stone under the bioballs to provide a constant supply of fresh air. It works great! After having a sump I can't imagine going back to canisters! As I am sure you know sumps are so much easier to maintain!

I do not inject CO2, fertilizer or Prime Excel.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, just like reefkeeping, lots of ways to skin the cat with these planted tanks. Been looking at a lot of videos, lots of sump setups in planted tanks and many of the same benefits as having a sump in a reef. I really like shrimp so maybe the angels are not a good idea. Thanks again for the replies
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 08:00 PM
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In my opinion, the "off gassing" of CO2 mentioned, with a wet/dry filter is a non issue. I inject CO2 into a sumped 65 and 125 gallon aquarium, my 20 lb. cylinder lasts me 3 to 4 months. That comes out to $0.28 to $0.37 cents a day. FWIW.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 10:59 PM
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In my opinion, the "off gassing" of CO2 mentioned, with a wet/dry filter is a non issue. I inject CO2 into a sumped 65 and 125 gallon aquarium, my 20 lb. cylinder lasts me 3 to 4 months. That comes out to $0.28 to $0.37 cents a day. FWIW.
I guess everyone's opinion on how long CO2 lasts will always be up for debate. My 24 ounce CO2 tank will last me 2 years, a 20 pound would last my lifetime.

I'm not saying it can't be done, I was just saying there will be some additional off-gassing of CO2 compared to a canister filter set up.
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