New member here, first post questions. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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New member here, first post questions.

Hello, just found these forums the other day while doing research for my tank and looks like a good place to be. I am setting up my tank again for the first time in 5 years. Did not have room for it at the last place I was at. Just bought a house recently and have the pefect wall in the living to get my 55gl back up and running. Ive been scrambling to regain some lost knowledge haha. Ive had a few live plants before with diy co2 and four flourescent tubes. I want to go heavily planted this time around and trying to get it setup properly. I may have to stick with diy co2 until I can afford to get into a pressurized system. My setup right now is 55g tank with birch stand and canopy. Emperor 400 filter, 200w heater, and cheapo gravel substrate. Wanted to get flourite, but couldnt spend the $20 per bag at this time. The tank is up and running and ive started cycling it with three small giant danio's. No lights yet, still researching that part and that what my current question is. I used to always run just cheap flourescent shop lamps with two to four aquarium/plant tubes for Osh. Ive been looking into led fixtures and really like the Marineland double bright 48" led light I found on Amazon. Lower power consumption, lower heat, and not replacing tubes sounds great. Would this be enough light for a planted tank? Any other advise is greatly appreciated. Plan is to have alot of plants, tetras, and lots of shrimp. Is there anyhting I can add to my cheap gravel substrate to help it out? Was thinking of maybe picking up one bag of flourite and dumping it on top of the gravel. Needs to be a little deeper still anyways. Thanks.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 02:41 AM
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welcome. I'm still kinda new also but a lot of guys use dirtlike (organic miracle grow-someone correct me if im wrong) here and cap it with flourite. Def a cheaper way to go. I have never done it but I might try it on my next tank.

Also, heads up- you might get a lot of crap cycling a tank with fish. most people use fish food or pure ammonia(got my from ace hardware).
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 03:09 AM
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A good substrate is important for a heavily planted tank. I would recommend draining it and going with organic soil capped with black diamond blasting sand or pool filter sand. Also, suggest you check out some of Dustins videos on dirted tanks on youtube.

If you dont want to run pressurized CO2 be careful to not put too much ight on your tank. Otherwise you'll grow a mess of algae. A single T5HO bulb or a Dual Coralife T5NO strip light for $49 will work great. I had this coralife on my 55 until i went high tech with high light and pressurized CO2. A link to the coralife fixture is below. It produces a nice light and keeps you safely in the low light/ low tech zone. Plus its a nice looking low profile light.

Dont forget to feed your plants with something like Seachem Flourish and dose some liquid carbon with Seachem Excel.

When its time to buy plants, ive had good luck with

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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Oh wow, never thought of cycling the tank without a few fish. Makes alot of sense though. If I let the tank finish the biological cycle then drain it it may be ok hopefully. The emperor 400 has two bio wheels and two fillable cartridges behind each filter pad. I filled both of those cartridges with bio media instead of carbon. But to be honest now that I look at my tank the gravel is only about 2" deep, thinking I need atleast another inch. Flourite on top no good? Also, still wondering if that led light I mentioned will be good. Thanks. Loving this forum, so much good info to read up on.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 12:13 PM
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Ok. Keep in mind that I am relativity new to a planted tank as well. However to try and answer some of your questions.

Flourite on top of your gravel is not going to help. The problem is that the gravel is coarse and does not hold nutrients for the plant roots. You really need to look for something else as a base and then cap with something else.

As a suggestion, look into using some Mirical Grow Organic Potting mix and then cap that with black diamond blasting sand which can be found at tractor supply for $8 for a 50lb bag in my area. Here's a link to it as well.

Now as far as you light that you were asking about, if you look here, it says it would provide low light for most tanks.

Hope this helps.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-09-2013, 03:28 PM
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Gravel isn't ideal, but my first tank had rather large gravel and the plants thrived. Granted, I never attempted a carpet in that tank.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 01:31 AM
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Re: New member here, first post questions.

You might want to take a look at a couple of these ideas:

Also search on "black diamond" for substrate.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 07:07 AM
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I started with soil capped with sand, but i'm the type that likes to move my plants around and pulling plants out (especially ones with lots of roots) gets really messy, so i took apart my dirted tank and went with some fluorite substrate.

Tho, the good thing with walstad method is that you don't need to cycle your tank first, because it automatic cycles on its own.
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