help a planted tank newbie out - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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help a planted tank newbie out

Okay so, I originally asked what book I should buy to help me out and that didn't go so well.I think there's probably more experts on here that could help me without the whole book idea so I'm just starting over and this is what I have/want~
What I would like to have is this:I want a beautiful tank with beautiful fish.It's a 40 gallon tank,would love to make it for discus or angels with some cardinals etc,and use what I already have.
I have a T5 HI-GLO light I think 20,000 k totally-BRIGHT! imo anyway. I have amazon sword,and java fern,wisteria and anubius barteri so far.

Current inhabitants now are a few small gymnogeophagus who have no interest in the plants,just sifting and making a mess.Needless to say,they can all be moved out which I am sure will need to be done anyway.I have plenty of tanks for this.

There's a mixture of black sand and flourite gravel in there as substrate and I dose the tank with Kens freshwater plant and pro plant about once a week or 2 weeks.

I was thinking of ripping the tank apart and packing the bottom with an inch or 2 of soil and then putting all the substrate I do have back on top of it.
Questions are : Is the above substrate enough and light okay?Any other plant suggestions or any other suggestions on better ferts etc would help as well.Also should I rip the tank apart and start over with soil?

I want low light,less maintenance,no c02 and have no problem trimming and adding the ferts I need to.I guess,I kind of want to do it in an old school sorta way but make it beautiful none the less.I don't need to own or grow exotic species,just nice easy growing beautiful plants.
Thank you in advance,
John
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 03:40 AM
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A T5HO single tube light will have to be about 24 inches above the substrate in order to do without CO2. If that is a 40 Breeder tank, it is 36L x 18D x 16H, and lighting an 18 inch front to back deep tank with a single tube light isn't the best idea, but with that light raised that high above the tank, it should work well enough. 20,000K is really more for reef tanks than for planted tanks, but it might look all right to you.

I think the tank is a bit small for Discus, but it should work for angel fish, until they grow too big.

If you decide to put dirt under the existing substrate, read the sticky in the substrate forum about mineralized topsoil first. This is the wrong time of year to try to mineralize topsoil in your state by the conventional method, but if you don't mind the smell, you can bake it in the oven to mineralize it. (That means to get rid of the organic nitrogen compounds in the soil, by oxidizing them, ending up with nitrates, which the plants need for food anyway.)

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 03:57 AM
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Check out our planted tank guide.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/PlantedTankGuide.html


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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A T5HO single tube light will have to be about 24 inches above the substrate in order to do without CO2. If that is a 40 Breeder tank, it is 36L x 18D x 16H, and lighting an 18 inch front to back deep tank with a single tube light isn't the best idea, but with that light raised that high above the tank, it should work well enough. 20,000K is really more for reef tanks than for planted tanks, but it might look all right to you.

I think the tank is a bit small for Discus, but it should work for angel fish, until they grow too big.

If you decide to put dirt under the existing substrate, read the sticky in the substrate forum about mineralized topsoil first. This is the wrong time of year to try to mineralize topsoil in your state by the conventional method, but if you don't mind the smell, you can bake it in the oven to mineralize it. (That means to get rid of the organic nitrogen compounds in the soil, by oxidizing them, ending up with nitrates, which the plants need for food anyway.)
It's 36"X12.25"X 23.75 (measuring the trim) It is also a double tube light 10,000 K each tube.
To the top of the gravel would be roughly 22" or less from the light and of course plants already have height-another 6" at least so the leaves are really only about 16" from the light. Or are you saying its too much light?

I think maybe just a single pair of discus with some cardinals as mentioned should be okay.If not,the discus and plants will be moved to a 55 etc in the future.I have plenty of tanks to move around fish if needed.

Do you think I should definitely add soil or no? If I do,I did read up on the soil process already and since I cannot dry it outside etc I can bake it.I'll have to read up on the baking process though unless its the same and I keep wetting and drying in the oven etc. until there's no smell~ to mineralize it.
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thank you.I will check out the link.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 03:33 PM
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We characterize the lighting by what it is at the substrate level, since there is no way to adjust the lighting at different levels independently. At 22 inches, if the lights are T5HO, high output lights, 39 watts each, two of them give you high light. So, you need pressurized CO2 to be successful with that much light. If you can't run the light with just one bulb, you can raise it to about 30 inches from the substrate and get low light, where CO2 isn't needed. Or, you can put a layer of window screen, Home Depot fiberglass "insect screen" between the lights and the tank, to reduce it to low medium light, which might work without CO2.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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We characterize the lighting by what it is at the substrate level, since there is no way to adjust the lighting at different levels independently. At 22 inches, if the lights are T5HO, high output lights, 39 watts each, two of them give you high light. So, you need pressurized CO2 to be successful with that much light. If you can't run the light with just one bulb, you can raise it to about 30 inches from the substrate and get low light, where CO2 isn't needed. Or, you can put a layer of window screen, Home Depot fiberglass "insect screen" between the lights and the tank, to reduce it to low medium light, which might work without CO2.
Thank you! That explains alot. I always thought the more light the better.OOPS So,I have raised it to the highest level on the clips and it's still only 24.5" away from the top of the substrate.I am pretty sure it will not work with just one bulb but i do believe I may have a burnt out one some place and I am sure it would work that way.I also have a lot of egg crate but I think that would look pretty bad sitting on top of the tank so what I'll do is hang it from the ceiling with eye hooks etc.Then I'll be exactly 30" off the substrate.What I am assuming is if it is too close,as it is, then it would cause algae out breaks/plant death?Just out of curiosity,why is 30" recommended?Too much light I understand but what is the outcome of it?
Thanks
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 07:36 PM
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Just out of curiosity,why is 30" recommended?Too much light I understand but what is the outcome of it?
Thanks
Algae. Lots of it. Basically, with too much light, your CO2 and fertilizers can't keep up, so your plants can't take advantage of the excess light. Since algae needs minimal CO2 and ferts, it will take advantage of all the extra light not being used by your plants. With a whole lot of light, that means a massive algae bloom.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 07:40 PM
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why is 30" recommended?Too much light I understand but what is the outcome of it?
Thanks
Hoppy used these fancy shmancy light meter (PAR meter) to measure the light intensity.

Outcome? Algae and plants dying from not getting enough nutrients and CO2 for that amount of light.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
Algae. Lots of it. Basically, with too much light, your CO2 and fertilizers can't keep up, so your plants can't take advantage of the excess light. Since algae needs minimal CO2 and ferts, it will take advantage of all the extra light not being used by your plants. With a whole lot of light, that means a massive algae bloom.
I don't use c02 so I guess that's even more of a problem. I have a c02 bottle and regulator but its only got 1 guage on it.A friend gave it all to me to run my kegger.I guess I could use it but as I said,it's all foreign to me and seems like its too much of a pain to get it all correct.I have a paint ball place down the street also that I could get what I need but looking at prices on line for the whole c02 set up-components etc its a ton of cash I dont have this close to Christmas.

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Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Hoppy used these fancy shmancy light meter (PAR meter) to measure the light intensity.

Outcome? Algae and plants dying from not getting enough nutrients and CO2 for that amount of light.
Ugh...that's not good at all.Is the 'Kens Pro Plant' and 'Kens freshwater plant' nutrients/ferts all I need?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-05-2010, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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