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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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pointers and suggestions

Hi new here...just setting up my 90 gallon.Going for a fish tank with lots of plants as opposed to a plant tank with fish...but want to do it right.Have two penguin 330's on there but want to go with a xp3 or eheim 2128 in the future.Have two twin tube coralife with a 6700k and colormax in each.I dont want to do Co2 unless absolutely neccessary.Tank gets good but not strong sun through the window first half of the day.1/2 inch of flourite under 1 to 1 1/2 inces of wallieworld gravel all well rinsed.Added water and aquasafe last night and planning on getting some plants today(a few large swords,hygro,ludwigia,java fern,cabomba, and hornwort) and then next weekend adding fish and bio-spira.Fish will be 5-6 angels,couple of severums,two rams,polypterus,dwarf gouramis,pair of curviceps and a gibbiceps and farlowella.I kept large SA cichlids for ten years before I got bored and now three years later decided I needed fish again.Any comments or suggestions would be most welcome.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 01:25 PM
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I'm not familiar with the different brands of lights. How many watts is that over your 90-gallon?

My best advice is don't skimp on the plants. Plant heavily from the beginning and you'll have fewer problems.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherylRogers
I'm not familiar with the different brands of lights. How many watts is that over your 90-gallon?

My best advice is don't skimp on the plants. Plant heavily from the beginning and you'll have fewer problems.

Cheryl
This is good advice. To get things right from the start, go to rexgrigg.com. It sounds like you're off to a good start; just make sure you have enough light. I am not sure at what point the watts per gallon rule breaks down over a larger tank; maybe someone can chime in as to whether this is a "larger" tank.

There is a significant up front cost to setting up a CO2 system; however you will likely find it makes life so much easier. Don't bother with DIY on a tank this size. Rex's site will let you know what you need for ferts. Also check to see if sevs will eat your plants.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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56 watts per twin tube so 112 total...supposedly these are higher lumens according to my buddy at the lfs.They are t5's if that helps.I may add another pair of twins to bring it up to 224 but didnt want to overdo the light...I understand that the more light the more I will need to go co2?It does get a substantial amount of light from the window...I have a pic but cant attach.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 01:47 PM
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CO2 is highly recommended, if you don't want to do it run an air pump otherwise CO2 will be a limiting factor for plant growth
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Air pump with something like a bubble wand?How would that help?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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http://cgi.ebay.com/Co2-Gauges-Needl...QQcmdZViewItem

with this all I would need is a tank and solenoid?Trying not to break the bank here...wife thought I was getting a 55 gallon with a few angelfish.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 02:21 PM
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You don't *need* a solenoid. Spend some time here: http://members.cox.net/tulsaalstons/...O2%20Setup.htm

You *need* a tank, regulator, needle valve, check valve, tubing, bubble counter, reactor, realiable method of measuring kH and pH.

A solenoid and controller are a great way to set up a fully automated system. But they add extra expense to the system, and you don't absolutely need them.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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If I want to go automated and get a regulator with needle and check valves,bubble counter and solenoid should I be looking at a controller as well?Does the solenoid(if plugged into the light timer)work about as well as the ph controller?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 02:45 PM
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I don't have a solenoid. But my understanding of how it works is this: the pH controller (connected to the solenoid) reads the tank pH continuously. When the pH gets above a certain point, it opens up the solenoid, which allows the CO2 to flow to the reactor.

If you don't have a controller/ solenoid, you will have to manually adjust your needle valve such that the correct amount of CO2 is delivered to your tank. That's where the bubble counter comes into play. I know from experience that in my setup, I need about 3 bubbles per sec. YMMV. Does that clear things up?
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry if I am getting annoying...I have done some reading on it but not clear on a few points.So you keep yours at a constant 3 bubbles per second...day and night?And you got that by basically trying different rates and testing the water?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 02:58 PM
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Yes, constant 3 bps. Some advocate shutting off the CO2 overnight though.

How did I come up with 3 bps? Trial and error. There are many variables involved. Efficiency of reactor, desired CO2 range, size of tank, surface dissipation, kH, size of tubing. Etc, etc. Some people have success with 30 bubbles per minute. What really matters are your kH and pH readings.

What I found easy was to set everything up and play with the CO2 settings before I added the fish. You could argue it is safest to do things this way. During this period I ran my CO2 at very high levels to give the plants a good start vs algae. Then a few days before I added fish I backed it off to 25-30 ppm. BTW, go to Chuck Gadd's site for an online calculator to figure out CO2 from pH and kH. I think Rex has a chart on his site as well.

I have a pH METER. Which is similar to a controller. However you can not hook the meter up to a solenoid. If you are going to be adding pressurized CO2 with frequent pH testing then you may find a meter is easier than test kits. Or of course you can go the solenoid/ controller route.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Well so far I have a large sword,two smaller white/dark green swords,small lacy java,small dwarf grass,1 cabomba and one batch of something that looks just like a much lighter green cabomba,and a really dark hornwort.The hornwort is very tight and had grey/white stuff on the ends of some of the shoots that I trimmed off.I am headed back out to get some crypts and a purple waffle if I can find one.Getting a third twin tube to get me up to 2w/gallon and will start looking around for a Co2 setup.Thanks for the advice...how do I go about getting permission to post a pic?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 10:37 PM
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 11:25 PM
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What part of VA are you in? I'm in NOVA and the tap water is really screwy (10 ppm nitrates and over 5 ppm phosphates)...so although test kits are not necessary...it may be a wise investment too in the beginning.

As far as the 3 bps...I'm on that schedule too (around 3-4 per second) and it feeds my plants more than enough co2...one of the keys is to keep the gas high in the tank...along with your fertilizers...that will, in turn, minimize, if not eliminate the chance of algae settling.

We can't stress planting heavy!! Since you're more interested in fish, you can always consider some bunch plants that will grow fast and are relatively easy to maintain. I've actually had some bunches of anacharis, hornwort, rotala, in bundles of 3-4 stems in the back of my tank to soak up excess nutrients in the tank to help stabilize a new one. When the plants start to grow out of control...just pull up the bunches...snip...and drop em back in.

Re-boot!
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