back into the hobby, advice for initial planting/cycling - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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back into the hobby, advice for initial planting/cycling

Howdy

Been several years since I kept a planted tank but I'm excited to get back into the hobby. Setting up my new tank and could use some pointers about initial planting/cycling and ferts since its been awhile. Kept most of my old gear so it was fun pulling it out and getting it setup again.

Setup:
50 gallon acrylic (36x15x20)
96 watts PC. Also have a 65 watt PC I could use later on if needed.
pressurized c02
eco complete

I am going to be filling my new aquatop canister full of ceramic rings from the canister filter of an established larger nonplanted tank that I am parting with.

Questions for the initial planting and cycle. I'll be light-medium planting at the start and hoping to grow into heavy.
How much light per day should I be running while the tank establishes and cycles?
Should I start fertilizing immediately? Recommendations for a simple and reasonably priced product? Rootmedic seems like it has a nice all in one product.
Fishless cycle, or should I go ahead bring over a few fish right at the start since my filter will be loaded with established biomedia?

Thanks for any advice! Cheers.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-18-2012, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Well after some thought and research I think I am going to go with a 7-8 hour photo period and just micro ferts to start.

I won't have much planting at start, so as it grows in I will increase the light time plus maybe dose macro later.

Will have a pretty big fish load so that will cover my macros naturally i think until stuff grows in and requires supplementation?

Hoping to stay fairly low maintenance so I won't use my 2nd fixture to avoid too much light.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 08:11 AM
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Your photoperiod sounds good. I suggest planting as heavily as possible from the start. Plants love ammonia and also are great substrates for good bacteria.

IMO using established media is a waste. In all my research I have found that the bacteria already on the media will be starved from lack of 'food' long before your tank starts to produce any. It won't hurt I just don't believe it helps any. But it dies make you feel better!

Are you going to be using tap water and if so what are the parameters? Do you have dry ferts ou are you planning on using only root tabs ( again IMO rootmedic is the best quality at a great price plus service is very good too). Do you have a solenoid fist your co2 or do you plan on running it 24/7?


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 02:16 PM
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"Fishless cycle, or should I go ahead bring over a few fish right at the start since my filter will be loaded with established biomedia?"

Keep in mind you have to feed that filter to maintain the bacterial culture. That could be Fish, Fish food, Ammonia, Urea based Fert like Fish Emulsion for terrestrial plants.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback folks, appreciated.

Will try to plant as heavy as I can afford. Start with all the cheap fast growers I can find.

If I move over my ceramic rings to my new filter and immediately put in some of my fish then I wouldn't lose the bacteria on the media is what I was thinking. The question I am still pondering is can I move my whole fish load over or should I parse it out over a period of a week or two. I suppose I'll move some and test water daily and if I'm not getting ammonia/nitrite I can move over the rest.

Was going to use root tabs for rooted plants, and order some of the liquid ferts that rootmedic also sells. Definitely want to get into dry ferts for cost savings eventually.

pH 7.4-7.6 (hard to pick between on color kit)
KH 6
GH test wasn't working, but water report for my neighborhood converts to 5 degrees

No solonoid, running 24/7 with possibly an airstone at night. When I used to keep planted tanks solonoids weren't very common, I see they are more so now. I need to do some good research on them as I'm not familiar with the brands and any safety risks they may have.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 03:25 PM
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I would move over no more than 10% of your fish load at first. Then after 5-7 days add another 10%. After a few weeks of doing that or after a month has passed you should be able to add all the remaining fish.

If you could get an air pump/air stone set on a timer to turn on 30m-1h before your lights go off.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonamav View Post
Thanks for the feedback folks, appreciated.

Will try to plant as heavy as I can afford. Start with all the cheap fast growers I can find...
Planting heavy does have to be the most expensive plants or even the plants you intend to keep. Hornwort is the perfect nutrient mop and I've read it inhibits algae growth (may affect mosses too).

Hornwort is inexpensive you can find it at most garden centers that care pond supplies/fish.

When I get an excess I usually sell enough to cover a 10gl tank for $6.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:32 PM
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Don't do any of this "medium-light" stuff, just go buy a TON of plants and plant them everywhere. It will give you an immediate head-start on the algae, and the detritus from some of the inevitably melting leaves will cycle your tank.
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