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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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New to the planted tank world

As the title suggests, I am new to the planted tank world, and before I actually put any water in the tank, I just want to list out a few things, and random questions, to see what you guys think.
First off my tank is a 37 gallon.

For lighting I will be using two 65W PC lights, one 6700K, 1 10,000K can I really run these bulbs until they die, or should I replace once a year? Also should both bulbs be 6700K?

For substrate I am going to use Eco-Complete.

For filtration I have an Emporer 280 with Bio Wheel.

I am going to run pressurized CO2 with a Hagen bubble diffuser. How many bubbles a second, should I plan on starting out with? Is my assumption wrong to check PH after the first few days, and increase CO2 if PH is high, and decrease if PH is low.

What PH am I shooting for as optimal?

Should I run CO2 only when lights are off, or all the time?

Can I use tap water for filling the tank, or is RO/DI neccesary or better?

When I start the tank up, after I let it run it about 24 hours, how many plants should I use, and how many fish?

Also what types of plants are best for starting a tank?
Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 02:25 AM
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For starting a tank, you should plant lots (cover more than half of the substrate) of fast growing stem plants, like ludwigia repens, hygrophilia difformis, watersprite, etc., and those should be in the tank from when you first add water to the tank. Unless you have some really unusual tap water, tap water is just fine for planted tanks. Start adding CO2 and dosing ferts from the first day. CO2 is only needed during the lighted period for the tank - 8 to 10 hours, not at night. PH by itself means very little. Use Chuck Gadd's website calculator to estimate how much CO2 is dissolved into the water by measuring KH and pH and entering the numbers in the equation or the table. You need about 30 ppm of CO2. However many bubbles per second it takes to get there is how many you need, and the Hagen ladder is not the best diffuser to use for that size tank. Get rid of the biowheel - the plants are the primary biofilter in a planted tank. Your lights will give you 3.5 watts per gallon, very high for that size tank. Try running only half of that for a few months to get the tank started good and to avoid a big algae problem. The bulbs you mentioned will do fine. See:http://www.rexgrigg.com/ for the answers to these and lots of other questions.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 02:46 AM
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Follow all the advice given by Hoppy.
Lots of fast growing stem plants from the start. I would add to the list H. leucocephala, perhaps the biggest weed in my tank.

Although Rex mentions you do not need to "fishless" cycle a planted tank, I might suggest waiting for a couple of weeks before adding the fish. During that time, you can really crank up the CO2 to give the plants a head start. This will also give you a better feel for adjusting the CO2 according to the chart.

Careful preparation is the key. Keep reading a lot of the info on this site; Rex's is excellent as well and I refer to it often. Several members have had good success with the "estimative index"; do a search for it here.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vernonh76
As the title suggests, I am new to the planted tank world, and before I actually put any water in the tank, I just want to list out a few things, and random questions, to see what you guys think.
First off my tank is a 37 gallon.

For lighting I will be using two 65W PC lights, one 6700K, 1 10,000K can I really run these bulbs until they die, or should I replace once a year? Also should both bulbs be 6700K?

For substrate I am going to use Eco-Complete.

For filtration I have an Emporer 280 with Bio Wheel.

I am going to run pressurized CO2 with a Hagen bubble diffuser. How many bubbles a second, should I plan on starting out with? Is my assumption wrong to check PH after the first few days, and increase CO2 if PH is high, and decrease if PH is low.

What PH am I shooting for as optimal?

Should I run CO2 only when lights are off, or all the time?

Can I use tap water for filling the tank, or is RO/DI neccesary or better?

When I start the tank up, after I let it run it about 24 hours, how many plants should I use, and how many fish?

Also what types of plants are best for starting a tank?
Thanks for the help.

You can run both bulbs till they die.

Sorry to hear about the Bio-Wheel. It's going to make keeping decent CO2 levels a real pain.

As far as bubble count? Every tank is totally different.

Read my Guide. Then look at the CO2 chart and find your kH. Get your pH to where you have around 30 ppm of CO2. And don't add chemicals to get there. Use only CO2.

Tap water for most people is just fine.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I guess I will not run the biowheel.

As far a what additives to run in the filter should I run Phosguard, or will that kill all the Phosphate that the plants neeed as fertilizer?
I used to have a reef tank and was used to trying to get rid of all phophate, it looks like with planted I need about 1/10 phosphate to nitrate.

Why should I only start with 1 light as opposed to both?

I will get the KH once I get the tank filled and running and try to figure correct ph from there, and adjust CO2 to get there, I guess that will just take some playing with.

Hopefully later this week I can get water in it, and go get me some plants to get started.

One last thing, why do some people run air stones in their tank, is this needed, and why?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 02:21 PM
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Airstones barely do anything. They cause a little water movement, but most people use them for decoration.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 02:55 PM
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i don't like fishless cycling. i feel like a couple of hardy fish right a way jumpstarts your bacteria, or at least gives what bacteria you have something to work with. i recommend a small school of pearl danios (5 or 6) and then adding the other fish you want a few at a time after a month.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-09-2006, 03:47 PM
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No phosphate removers! Forget about what you used to do with SW. Plants need phosphate.

The biggest enemy in a planted tank is algae. Algae will grow if there is an imbalance in nutrients, be it CO2, light, NO3, PO4, K, traces. That is why Hoppy suggested to cut down on the lighting. Tanks tend to be more unstable during the first few weeks. With that much light, if you have a shortage of anything, you will end up with a mess very shortly.

Airstones will cause more difficulty in maintaining a desired CO2 level.
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