Hey planted tank community! I have always been fishkeeping (reef tank, fancy goldfish, and mostly cichlids) but want to set up my first freshwater community planted tank setup. My tank is currently housing Mbuna cichlids, but I am selling them and starting my planted tank right from there. I have a 65 gallon aquarium with a fluval fx5 and a eheim 2215. My light is a 36” current USA orbit marine ic but I also have a 36” aquaticlife dual T5HO with a 6500K bulb and roseate 650nm bulb. I have 115lbs of Black sand for about a 2-2.5” sand bed.
Basically my questions here...
1. Can I go directly from my cichlid tank to starting my planted tank with the same water, substrate and equipment?
2. Should I use one light or the other, OR use both lights together? The tank is 24” tall which I’m not sure how good the lights are at that distance for growing plants. If I use both, will I need to add CO2 to the tank? I’d prefer less algae and problems so I’ve read low tech seems to be the way to go.
3. Is just sand substrate ok? I know I will have to add fertilizer/root tabs. Should I mix the sand and another substrate or will that not make a difference?
No idea about my plants yet, but looking at keeping barbs, a school of corys, my bristlenose pleco, a couple ottos, and maybe another few fish. Open to suggestions. Just want a lively fun friendly tank. Tired of my cichlids being nasty.
Really just want to get the ball rolling here. Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks in advance everyone!