help me start a garden - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-19-2003, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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I have a 55gal colum tank 30Lx18Wx24D with a 350 magnum canister filter. I want a heavily planted tank that a school of Rainbow fish, along with harlequin's, and of course some algae eaters, can thrive in. I need the best advise on everything else, lighting, sub,co2? if nitrates can be controlled, set me up folks. I get into this hobby but am starting again after a 5 year drought and right now, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. If youall will help me with the right info I promise me and my family will give you back the photos of what youall have helped us to create. thanks RedEyedRooster and family.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-19-2003, 12:26 PM
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I sugggest you search here on each of the items you mentioned.

The thing is, there is not "right" answer for us to give you. Choices, choices!

Is the budget unlimited? Eco-complete, 2 to 3 watts per gallon compact flourescent in a bought hood from PSL or others, pressurized CO2 with Tunze setup, your choice on reactor, probably inline, external. Most of these things I don't have, and I do just fine with Flourite, the PSL hood, a Milwaukee setup for CO2 and an internal power reactor by Plantguild.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2003, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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Today I purchased 4 - 20lb. bags of Eco-complete $97.48 total after tax. I'm ordering 1x55w and 2x55w bright kit, plus 3, 6700K bulbs from AHsupply for $178.70 after shipping and handling. I also had my tap well water test it goes like this( pH=8.2 , kH=21o KH or 375.9ppmKH , gH=22odGH or 393.8ppm GH , nitrate=0 , phosphate=0 ) . Alright now you all I'm paying attention keep the advise coming . I havent been able to select plants because of long time it takes with dial-up connection feel free to advise on this subject please Oh yeah I also bought Estees ultra reef marine sand 5lb. for $5.00 it says its safe for fresh or salt water for a small beach in the front, middle, of the tank. So what do you all think so far ? I went with Eco-complete because I got it for the same price most people were selling flourite, which was what I had originally planned on going with because of expense. I plan to have a layer of natural pea size or smaller gravel on top which was in the original set-up before, which I've rinsed. where to go to buy plants online?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2003, 11:08 AM
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Wow, you have some real hard water there which is probably OK for most plants but not so good for certain fish. Theres several different species of rainbowfish check here: Some like hard water and some prefer soft water, so you might want to get some of the hard water varieties.

Your water parameters are ideal for African rift lake cichlids. The problem is that most African cichlids eat plants. I remember reading somewhere of someone who had a planted african cichlid tank planted with hardy sword plants. Maybe someone can help me out here.

Your other option is to use RO filtered water, which I don't fully reccomend unless you like to work a lot.

The point I'm trying to make here is that it's far easier and enjoyable to work "with" your tap water parameters than it is to work against them.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2003, 01:19 PM
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One thing about your water won't have to worry about a ph crash with your kH as high as it is.
My advice, whatever else you decide to do is to work initially on building a nutrification system and balancing your tank. You have many elements in place to have a nicely planted tank and should be able to grow many varieties of plants in it.
Tanks that are not established need time to balance and therefore are subject to algae issues. Many people are now placing a thin layer of plain peat moss over the bottom of the tank before laying in the substrate. This is sort of an 'instant aging' process that has worked well.
If you have access to a healthy established tank, take some of the filter media out of that tank and place it in your filter. This will greatly reduce the time required to build the nutrification system.
I would get as many plants, especially nutrient hogs initially, and let them get a foothold and start growing, to get the jump on the inevitable attempt by algae to rear it's head.
CO2 is a tremendous help for plants at any wattage, but becomes almost a necessity at 3.0watts/gal. and up. For a 55 gal. tank DIY CO2 is not very effective, and a lot of work. I would consider a pressurized system in your case.
If you keep asking questions, you'll find that we are very adept at spending your money . Once you have collected the necessities however, you're pretty much home free and can get on with enjoying the hobby.



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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2003, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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I'm getting excited and nervous. It's a good thing my wife wants to see this tank live again or she'd be trippin out. I'm going to wait on my light fixtures to get here before I put anything into the tank. Meanwhile I need bulbs, co2, plants, knowledge and wisdom :lol:
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2003, 09:55 PM
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Im actually trying a DIY CO2 system on my heavily planted 55 gallon tank right now. I set up two 2 litre soft drink bottles with yeast/water/sugar that feeds into a plastic tube that has a very low speed powerhead churning the water/CO2 in. I'll let you know how effective it is. (powerhead, tubes, and misc valves cost me about 50 bucks though... so hopefully its worth it).
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-23-2003, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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thanks I'm curious
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