Hello and upgrade questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-16-2013, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Hello and upgrade questions

Hello all!

I'm Matt (or prophet224) and I'm new to the forums. Howdy!

I've got a small aquarium setup right now... 15 gallons, a couple of tropical fish, and 1 plant (that lived at least).

My wife had given it to me as a Christmas gift 2 years ago, and it is time to upgrade. We purchased a 65 gallon glass (~35 L x 18 D x 25 H) tank and stand combo. Finally a nice stand with a cabinet to replace the nasty wire stand from before! Placement is over top of a support column.

I have read a bunch of things and I do have some basic idea already. Here's what I'm looking at and thinking about:
Filters: Is a canister really an upgrade from a power filter? Seems like it. I'm pretty set on changing over at this point, though I may retain the power filter for a while for cycling. That said, I'm looking at either the API Modular NEXX or a Fluval... thoughts?
Filters 2: Also, I was thinking about getting one of the ~55 gallon canisters and then a smaller underwater filter. I've never used an underwater filter before though. I was thinking it would provide redundancy/overlap, still be quiet and not require anything more than another wire, and could be placed on the other end of the aquarium from the canister... spout... tube.. whatever. :-) Stupid idea or sensible?

Substrate: Right now I've got gravel. I'd like to have a bit more success with plants though. Is it possible to do a blended/layered substrate? That is to say, a bottom layer that the plants are rooted in with gravel on top?

Plants: Shrug. I think I'll have to play with this part. Any tips though, such as getting a certain amount of fish in before planting (for CO2)?

Fish: Currently have the following - 1 sailfin pleco, 1 glass catfish, 1 x-ray tetra, 2 corys. Didn't realize the glass catfish needed more of a school until too late and it was the last fish in. Two x-rays also passed away a while back and I haven't gotten any more yet. Main thing to us is to get these guys happy and bring up the schools to where they need to be, then add a few more interesting fish. Any suggestions? My wife REALLY wants some pictus catfish. I understand there are two varieties - one that gets >10" and one that is more around 6". Any ideas on how to tell which is the smaller? And if they are supposed to be in groups of three, is 5 catfish (2 corys already) too much for this size tank?

Lights: Are LEDs ok? I saw a pretty cool LED light that had 'day, night, and shimmer' effects.

I know there are other considerations, but these are the key things. So to recap:
- Canister filters worth it?
- Fluval vs. NEXX?
- Canister with an underwater?
- Multi-layered substrates ok to help plants?
- Fish thoughts and suggestions...
- Lights, especially LEDs.

Thank you all for any help, thoughts, etc. I am so excited to be moving up to this and I want to do it right. Looking forward to posting some pics.

Thanks again!
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-17-2013, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Follow-up question:
I was looking at lights and saw some cool multi-light options where there was a night light and a day light. However cool these are, they seem to all require switching back and forth, and since they are all on the same plug you can't use a timer either. Any solutions beyond using several smaller lights? I worry about light distribution if I used, for instance, a front for night and a back for day...
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