New to the planted world. Need help/ advice - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 3
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!
RyOcz is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 03:09 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Outside Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,845
I would do a complete tear down and setup of the tank. The water you want for a planted tank is ideally fairly soft, much different than what you want for cichlids. This will also give you a chance to clean out the substrate.

The lighting is easily adjusted. I'd start with one and see how you make out. You may want to change the T5 bulbs your using, since you might want a different spectrum or color temp.

CO2 is certainly great to have but not an absolute requirement. It depends on what plants you want and the type of planted tank you want. CO2 can have a high initial investment, but is cheep to use after that. Make sure your really into planted tanks before you invest a lot into CO2.

Sand is just fine, but many people use a lot of other materials also. Since this is your first planted tank I'd say just use the sand. Then on the second tank, you can get fancy.

As for fish suggestions, I very much like tetras. The trick is choosing ones that are colorful and stand out. I also like rasbora species, as they tend to swim closer to the surface. My personal preference is to have maybe 4 or 5 species, not counting the catfish species, and get a fairly large school of them. If your using a 65 gal tank, you'll be amazed at how many fish you can put in there.
DaveK is offline  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
I would do a complete tear down and setup of the tank. The water you want for a planted tank is ideally fairly soft, much different than what you want for cichlids. This will also give you a chance to clean out the substrate.

The lighting is easily adjusted. I'd start with one and see how you make out. You may want to change the T5 bulbs your using, since you might want a different spectrum or color temp.

CO2 is certainly great to have but not an absolute requirement. It depends on what plants you want and the type of planted tank you want. CO2 can have a high initial investment, but is cheep to use after that. Make sure your really into planted tanks before you invest a lot into CO2.

Sand is just fine, but many people use a lot of other materials also. Since this is your first planted tank I'd say just use the sand. Then on the second tank, you can get fancy.

As for fish suggestions, I very much like tetras. The trick is choosing ones that are colorful and stand out. I also like rasbora species, as they tend to swim closer to the surface. My personal preference is to have maybe 4 or 5 species, not counting the catfish species, and get a fairly large school of them. If your using a 65 gal tank, you'll be amazed at how many fish you can put in there.
Thanks for the response! I’m going to break down the old tank and sift the sand real good, clean out my filters and change all my media, and possibly strip and reseal the tank while it’s empty. Then fill it back up and maybe have to run through cycling the tank again. Should I start with the T5HO or the LED light. I know my LED light is really for reefs. Just worried my 2 bulb T5HO won’t have enough light, but I could be completely wrong. Any suggestions on good starter plants that grow well in lower light? Also, I always see people with like 12 different seachem products. How do you know what to dose and when? I’ve read a lot of stuff, but reading isn’t helping me figure out all the dosing
RyOcz is offline  
 
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 09:21 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Outside Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,845
With lighting on a planted tank, start with the 2 bulb T5 fixture or the LED fixture. Generally I prefer LED lighting, but if you have a fixture geared to reef keeping, it may have way too much blue in the spectrum. However, if you have a fixture where you can easily adjust the spectrum, you can dial the blue way back.

You want a whole lot less light for a planted tank compared to a reef. Two T5 bulbs on a reef would be considered really poor lighting for corals and so on. It would be considered about right for a medium light planted tank.

Note how "simple and easy" the subject of lighting is (grin).

For plants that grow easily in these conditions and are generally available consider java fern, java moss, anubias (smaller types like nana preffered), cryptocorynes ane all good. Most of the stem plants can also be used and they grow quickly.

Plants do best when you fertilize them. You can use the "12 different seachem products" but most of the people really into planted system use dry fertilizers. This can be a fairly complex subject because there are quite a few ways to administer fertilizers. Here is a link (offsite) to one place that sells a lot of dry ferts, and they have a lot of background information on the subject. https://aquariumfertilizer.com/
DaveK is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
With lighting on a planted tank, start with the 2 bulb T5 fixture or the LED fixture. Generally I prefer LED lighting, but if you have a fixture geared to reef keeping, it may have way too much blue in the spectrum. However, if you have a fixture where you can easily adjust the spectrum, you can dial the blue way back.

You want a whole lot less light for a planted tank compared to a reef. Two T5 bulbs on a reef would be considered really poor lighting for corals and so on. It would be considered about right for a medium light planted tank.

Note how "simple and easy" the subject of lighting is (grin).

For plants that grow easily in these conditions and are generally available consider java fern, java moss, anubias (smaller types like nana preffered), cryptocorynes ane all good. Most of the stem plants can also be used and they grow quickly.

Plants do best when you fertilize them. You can use the "12 different seachem products" but most of the people really into planted system use dry fertilizers. This can be a fairly complex subject because there are quite a few ways to administer fertilizers. Here is a link (offsite) to one place that sells a lot of dry ferts, and they have a lot of background information on the subject. https://aquariumfertilizer.com/
Thanks so much for taking the time to give me some info and get me closer to being on my way. Got some planning ahead of me and then build time!
RyOcz is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 01:13 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,035
I was in Africans when moving into plants and I have a far different view than many on what it takes to grow plants. One is the idea that plants need soft or acidic, or any "special" water. A quick look around the world will show plants grow in almost all the water of all the types, so I come down to the thought that some plants like soft acidic while some like hard alkaline! Plants in both Texas and Florida grow in water coming straight out of the limestone, so I first decide what water I have (mine is hard/alkaline) and go the easy route by first trying the plants which like what I give them. The folly may have started due to the vast amount of written info coming primarily from both coasts where water does tend to be soft and acidic. So the folks who wrote the books had trouble when they tried working with hard alkaline water as they were not ready to adapt, perhaps?
But since you are on the East end, I might favor moving to what water you have if it feels right. Not due being required as there certainly are plenty of plants that will work in your cichlid water if you choose to stay with it. If you have learned to do mbuna in your water, plants are not any harder. I do not go to the trouble of cleaning the substrate out and starting over. Unless there is something terrible in the tank, dirt is not a biggie to clear out as many do plants in DIRT!! Any dirt will have bothered the mbuna far more than it will bother plants? Change it if you want or just add more if you want to go for less stress.
What you have learned on dealing with ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate makes dealing with plants much easier as many of the same rules/methods apply only now we don't want to totally remove the nitrate as it is plant food! Instead of doing as many massive water changes to clear nitrate for African cichlids, we now may just add more plants or a type which sucks up the nitrate and then we may need to add potassium nitrate as ferts to keep the plants growing.
If you like the chiclids, try keeping them and adapt to make the plants work also. An interesting process but it is totally doable.
PlantedRich is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Going to start a 29g planted, would like some advice! Duff0712 General Planted Tank Discussion 10 06-25-2013 08:42 PM
First time planted tank advice VetTechNova Low Tech Forum 5 06-06-2013 12:34 PM
Advice stocking a planted 75g needed Mog Fish 14 04-07-2011 06:16 PM
New Planted Tank. Could use your advice (Pics inside). EQUINOX General Planted Tank Discussion 19 04-03-2009 05:09 PM
Advice on turning a 90 gallon fish-only tank into a planted tank Berndogger General Planted Tank Discussion 9 11-21-2006 03:58 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome