Newbie (sort of) to planted - advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie (sort of) to planted - advice


Long time reefer and coming back to fresh. Been running saltwater tanks from 3 gallons to 150 gallons but want to start a nice nano (22 gallon planted). See pics.

Couple general questions/suggestions for a relatively low tech tank.
For now no co2. Will be using the leds that I currently have - whites only.

The tank also has a built in overflow.
Should I run it with filter floss or anything else.
The flow rate is pretty low but do I need/want it?
Do I need an additional filter?

What substrate do you suggest? Prefer dark?
Easy plants? Would like lots of ground coverage.
Any suggested additives?

First 2 pics are the tank. Painting back black.
Last pic is the look I'm going for.

Thank you
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 05:38 PM
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If you want carpeting CO2 will certainly speed that up a ton. Eco Complete only comes in black but works well for my needs, Flourite is similar with more colors but needs to be rinsed a lot. Active substrates have their advantages, but most buffer water to quite acidic. As ferts go, I'm using these:

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. Always amazes me how similar and different reef-keeping is compared to planted.

As you can see in the picture, there is a black overflow box where I currently keep some carbon, floss, etc.

Can this alone serve as the "filter" in my planted or do I need to get a hob/canister? I guess I'm worried about good bacteria.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 10:59 PM
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How many gallons is tank? How many gph is pump? I only see one output nozzle, that would need to be fixed in my opinion. You need more outputs but lower flow and good coverage in a planted tank.

If you set up good circulation and flow patterns in tank the plants themselves and bacteria in substrate can provide all the biofilter you need with a modest fish load as long as you don’t overfeed.

Edit: Missed 22gallon part. Dimensions and gph of pump are big factor.

Last edited by DaveKS; 08-25-2019 at 11:07 PM. Reason: Edit
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 11:55 PM
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You will not be able to recreate the tank in the picture you provided without co2. You do not need co2 to make a planted tank work, but it speeds plant growth... like 10 times as fast. Additionally there are plants that will only grow with co2 and others that will grow without co2 but their behavior is drastically different. Some red plants won't really "redden" up till they have co2. I am going to assume your light will work fine since its a reef light. You will want to be careful you don't blast too hard when starting up. Planted tanks are all about balance. If you have too much light your plants will need more fertilizer and more co2. If you do not have all 3 in equal quantities then you get algae.

I am not clear on your substrate preference. Do you prefer dark substrates? Or are you asking if that is what planted tank folks prefer?

If the former there are a LOT of options. Eco-Complete is very popular and you will find the reviews of it very polarizing. Some like myself hate it because its jagged, difficult to plant into, and (in my opinion) is not aesthetically pleasing. Others love it and use it in all their tanks. There is a gradient between the two views as well. If you live near a Tractor Supply store you could buy a bag of black diamond blasting sand. Its inert like eco-complete but a lot cheaper. Pretty popular as a diy option for black substrate. If you want darker colors that aren't black there is a range of gravel options as well. etc etc. The list of substrates that could work for you is quite long. But they break down into active substrates (substrates that release nutrients into the water) and inert substrates. Active substrates tend to be blackish in color. They are things like ada aquasoil, control soil, etc.

If you are looking to keep fertilizers simple then something like Thrive is a good option. If you decide to go with no co2 then ThriveC is the way to go since it has liquid carbon in the formula.

If you are bound and determined not to use co2 and you want a carpet then you are most likely looking at either dwarf hairgrass or crypt parva. Both can grow without co2 but carpeting.... well you either plant super heavy to start (5 times more expensive on plants at least) or you wait years for it to grow in. A kind of middle ground is doing a dwarf hairgrass carpet using the dry start method. Basically you grow the grass while there is almost no water in the tank. Assuming you do it right you could have a carpet in a couple of months. Lots of options you can look into.

Whether you need to screen off an overflow depends on what stock you put in the tank. If you are planning to breed shrimp then taking some silicone and attaching a piece of stainless steel mesh over the inside of an overflow may be a good idea. Similar issue if you have fish small enough to fit into the overflow.

Generally planted tanks want 4 to 8 times an hour turn over of water. Whether your pump can do that will determine if you can just use the existing filter.

I will say that planted tanks pretty much never run carbon. The reason being that it will suck the fertilizers out of the water the same way it would other water contaminants. Sponges, ceramic bio media, pot scrubbers, whatever you want but typically not carbon.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks for replies ... you guys rock !!!

The pump is a rio 600+, which is 200 gph but there is an elbow to the outlet so it's definitely a little less.
What do you think? If I did keep it, could I put a sponge in there for bacteria and then floss on top to catch some nasties?

I know this is a planted forum but also playing with the idea of just a hard scape. How would the filter issue affect that, since there would be no plants?

Thanks again for all your help.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 01:17 PM
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The pump is perfectly fine for a planted tank, possibly even too strong at close to 10 times turn over (call it 9 with an elbow). Sponge and floss is fine. You may find yourself wishing for something reusable in which case you could replace the floss with a finer sponge. You could also put some ceramic rings or lava rock in there if you feel you have a heavy enough bioload to need it. /shrug its a bit of a guess game but your plan will definitely work. As you go you will get a feel for what works best for your regular maintenance routine.

If just hardscape you will need be really good about water changes. The plants do a lot of filtering for you and the water changes will be essential for the removal of nitrate.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome, that clears up a lot.

Thanks again for the help.
Will be updated with pics soon - once I make some decisions.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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New question:

Any issues moving the overflow box to the back center?
I don't like the "balance", having the box on one end.

I don't know how it was attached but assuming just silicone.
What's the best way to remove and replace?
It does have a backplate.

Thanks for all your support.
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