New to the hobby and the website. Suggestions? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2006, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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New to the hobby and the website. Suggestions?

Hey I'm new to the site and the hobby! I've been browsing the site a little and I'm quite impressed with everyone's tanks and knowledge!

I'm looking for some suggestions to improve my tank. I'll list my equipment and setup. I've got a 90 gallon with a Cascade 1000 canister filter. 1 AquaClear 50 powerhead with DIY CO2 injection in it. 75 lbs of regular old gravel for substrate. Odyssea 260 watt CF light with 2x65w 10,000k daylights and 2x65w actinic blues.

I think one of my biggest problems is my substrate...? When I set the tank up (August '05), I didn't know a whole lot, so the pet store just set me up with some basics. Now that I've gotten a little more into it, I'd like to do some improvments. I'm open to any suggestions that anyone may have!

I am a poor college student, so the cheaper the suggestion, the better!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2006, 09:54 PM
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The best thing you can do is read old threads. That is what I have been doing since I joined this forum. Before making a purchase or starting my tank, I am arming myself with info. I ended up getting eco-complete for a subtrate. It isn't cheap, but it is good. Let me suggest you read over this site...
http://www.rexgrigg.com/ It will help a lot

Happy reading~
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2006, 10:05 PM
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Welcome, I'm always really happy to see a fellow michigander here at PT. AND you have a 90 gallon tank!?!?!?!? sweet . . . .
Quote:
I think one of my biggest problems is my substrate...?
Well you didn't really specifically state any problems, so I assume it's general unsatisfaction? Inability to grow some moderately hard-hard plants?

I'd suggest it's first having to do with your lights. The actinic blue lights do not contribute much (if anything) toward plant growth, so you really have an effective 130 watts of light on that 90 gallon tank. Not an over-abundance by any means.

besides the lighting, DIY co2 on a 90 gallon is almost a given to be insufficient. Pressurized, as I'm sure you have read and will read, is reallly the way to go for reliably strong growth.

Lastly, fertilization will be an issue once the first two (light/co2) requirements are met.

To sum up, in order of importance:
1. light
2. co2
3. fertlizing

The substrate is mostly asthetic, as any substrate can be enriched with fertilizer. Are you unhappy with how it looks? Sometimes "regular old gravel" can have a very natural feel to it.

Welcome again, and remember: read a lot, and ask questions!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-19-2006, 10:16 PM
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I second everything esarkipato said. All I would add is for you to first decide how much effort you want to put into the tank. If it is minimal, just use the lights you have, consider it a low light tank, and grow low light plants only, with minimal fertilizing and possibly use DIY CO2 with at least two bottles, so you can stagger the peak production times of the bottles.

Hoppy
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying! I appreciate the suggestions.

First, about the substrate... I guess I'm not unhappy with it or its performance regarding plant growth. I've put a little Laterite (sp?) around the plants I have growing. Things are doing fairly well, however I just wasn't sure if I needed to have some sort of fertilized substrate. Maybe I'll just stick with laying down some fertilizers in with the gravel. I guess I'm just jealous of all you growers out there who have to constantly trim your plants cause they're outta control and such... I can get stuff to grow... but it's pretty slow... hahaha

As for the light, I kinda figured that the actinic bulbs weren't doing much... I've been considering changing them with some different bulbs... any suggestions on what to go with?

The CO2 issue, I guess will have to be left alone as I lack the fundage to provide a pressurized system... Oh well, maybe someday on that! But I may try the 2-bottle system. Does anyone have a suggestion on a better/more effective way to distribute the stuff, or am I going about it right?

Thanks for all your help! I'm still busy reading the miles and miles of posts on the site, and I'm learning all the way.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 03:50 AM
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You could always go for the HD play sand for substrate. Cost ya about $10 for 2 bags. Might compact on ya a little, but with the low light ya have, I dont think it would be an issue. Do the DIY co2, an dose with flourish excel. Maybe get on a ppmd dosing regime.

Grow hygro, ambulia, sags, anacharis, java fern to name a few. Put a good fish load in there, an feed regularly. Maybe add a lil KN03 once in a while if the plants are lookin a lil scraggly.

Just put alot of stem plants in there to start with. Someone here on the board is always willing to part with some stem plant trimmings for shipping costs including me....

I think you will find there is a wealth of knowledge here, an plenty of people willing to help out a fellow enthusiast!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 12:14 PM
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There are a gagdillion ways to get the co2 into the water, and having the powerhead break up large bubbles into small bubbles is a good first step. The next step is to keep those bubbles in contact with the water column as long as possible. I'd suggest putting the spraybar horizontal along the back wall of the tank, then blowing the powerhead bubbles across it. It's pretty turbulent, causes more dissolution, and doesn't require any extra equipment!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 01:05 PM
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Nice to see another michigander as well, great to have you here. I got into the hobby in January as of last year and I've learned quite a lot of information.

Where in Michigan are you living in?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the new suggestions!
It is nice to see some Michiganders on here. I'm actually attending Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. I'm not a MI native, however. Origionally from western PA.

-I'm working on the 2nd CO2 bottle and I'll try the adjustment for the powerhead.

-I am looking to replace the actinic bulbs in my light with something else... anyone have any suggestions as to which spectrum of light I should look for? I already have the 10K bulbs in it.

Thanks!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 03:54 PM
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If you have a spare heater another thing you can do to help your CO2 production is put the bottles in a water bath and add a heater to the bath to keep the water temperature up above 75 degrees or so. Yeast likes warm, not hot water, but goes to sleep at cold temperatures. With a heated water bath you can also put the heater on the same timer as the lights and reduce the CO2 production during the cool nights. A few months ago someone suggested this and said it works well.

Hoppy
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy
If you have a spare heater another thing you can do to help your CO2 production is put the bottles in a water bath and add a heater to the bath to keep the water temperature up above 75 degrees or so. Yeast likes warm, not hot water, but goes to sleep at cold temperatures. With a heated water bath you can also put the heater on the same timer as the lights and reduce the CO2 production during the cool nights. A few months ago someone suggested this and said it works well.
I never thought of plugging the heater in the timer! Great idea Hoppy!

As for your color temps, you can go as low as 6000K and still be quite beneficial to plants. This will make your tank look more yellow/green than bright blue/green.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-20-2006, 06:28 PM
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If you decide to replace the substrate, read this thread https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...ht=pros+choice

I have it in my 90 and really like it, you will only need one bag. If you want to see what it looks like you can look at my photo album. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ph...k-warning.html
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esarkipato
As for your color temps, you can go as low as 6000K and still be quite beneficial to plants. This will make your tank look more yellow/green than bright blue/green.
Thanks! I just made an ebay purchace of some bulbs... I got a six-pack of bulbs. 2 of them are 6700k and 4 are 6400k. A seller had a good deal on six of them, so I bought them. Now I have a question... I wll now have two 12000k bulbs, two 6700k bulbs, four 6400k bulbs, and two actinic blue bulbs to choose from. Which combo of four should I stick in my light? Would it be best to keep it with two of one and two of the other? Or can I mix it up with say the two 12000k's and one 6700k and one 6400k? I'm sorry if my questions are nonstop... I've just been learnin so much and I want to do as much as I can!

Lumpyfunk- thanks for the info on the substrate! I may give that a shot. Can I just mix that in with my current gravel? Or should I lay it down on the bottom underneath it?

Thanks, all!
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 10:59 AM
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what i would do is go with what u bought 6700k and the 6400k and see how they work. and on the substrate do you like the the color of it??? if so then just stick with it most plants get there ferts from the water colume. i would do the diy co2 anyways any co2 will help.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 11:08 AM
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Use two 6700k and two 6400k bulbs. Sell the 12000k and actinic bulbs to a reefer, you won't be needing them.

GO BUCKEYES!!!!!
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