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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-21-2006, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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new to planted tanks--need some ideas

I've just decided to put a 12g planted tank at my desk at work. I've been doing reef tanks for a few years now, so I have a pretty good knowledge of aquarium basics. However, this will be a big change for me in that I won't have fancy equipment as this is just going to be a desktop tank. My current reef tank has 846W of MH lighting, chillers, self cleaning filters, and, believe it or not, a modified dialysis machine for filtration. My desktop is going to be a basic Aquapod 12g with 64W of PC lights and that's about it, so it's a huge change for me.

My question is a pretty broad one as, again, I'm new to this aspect of aquariums. Does anyone have a good recommendation for plants and fish that would be low on maintainance but great on looks? I know that the two do not go together with reef tanks, but I'm hoping that this will be a little easier to grasp.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2006, 12:46 AM
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Welcome to the planted tank

64 watts is a lot of light for a 12 gallon tank. If you want a simple tank I would decrease the light to 24 watts (2wpg). This way it will be considered low light/low maintenance tank. It is always best to start out low then increase light as you learn more about the hobby.

As far as plants any low light plants will be easy and low maintenance. Like Anubias, Crypts & Java fern.

Most any small fish would work well in a 12G tank, just what ever you find interesting.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2006, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Welcome to the planted tank

64 watts is a lot of light for a 12 gallon tank. If you want a simple tank I would decrease the light to 24 watts (2wpg). This way it will be considered low light/low maintenance tank. It is always best to start out low then increase light as you learn more about the hobby.

As far as plants any low light plants will be easy and low maintenance. Like Anubias, Crypts & Java fern.

Most any small fish would work well in a 12G tank, just what ever you find interesting.
If I'm not mistaken (I could be, the tank's on order, so I don't have it yet), one of the lights is an actinic, so it's not super bright. Wow, this is a big change from reef tanks--if you had 2 watts a gallon, you'd get laughed at . Is the starting low mostly about algae control, or is there something else involved?

Thanks for the help!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2006, 12:59 AM
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From what I heard, some like the look of the 50/50 bulbs for freshwater, but the actinic doesnt do anything for the plants, and seems to promote algae.

Your always gonna have some diatom algea in the beginning (has to do with the nitrates VS Phosphate, should be 10:1 ratio) and since a lot of tap water has some phosphates, and new tank doesnt have nitrates yet, but will subside after the tank breaks in.

Im also new to FW Plants being a salt water guy, this site helped me the most. Take it from one the experts here:

Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2006, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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From what I heard, some like the look of the 50/50 bulbs for freshwater, but the actinic doesnt do anything for the plants, and seems to promote algae.

Your always gonna have some diatom algea in the beginning (has to do with the nitrates VS Phosphate, should be 10:1 ratio) and since a lot of tap water has some phosphates, and new tank doesnt have nitrates yet, but will subside after the tank breaks in.

Im also new to FW Plants being a salt water guy, this site helped me the most. Take it from one the experts here:

Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks
On the phosphate issue--what about RO/DI water? I have a setup at home, so it's no big deal for me to make the water there and take it to work. I know that phosphates are the deadly enemy of the reef tank, but my limited understanding of planted tanks is that you need some of it for the plants to grow. Is tap water better for a planted tank, or should I use RO/DI with supplements (I don't consider basic supplements to be labor intensive, so it would still be a low maintainance tank in my opinion)?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2006, 03:07 AM
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Coming from the reef world you have a lot of things to unlearn. Take a few minutes and read my Guide. That will get most of the unlearning done for you.

Tap water works just fine for 99% of the people out there. Phosphates are your friend.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2006, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Coming from the reef world you have a lot of things to unlearn. Take a few minutes and read my Guide. That will get most of the unlearning done for you.

Tap water works just fine for 99% of the people out there. Phosphates are your friend.
Wow, years of PAINFULLY detailed learning and now I have to unlearn it .

I'll read the guide tomorrow--I'm going off to bed now. Thanks!!!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-22-2006, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by earwicker7 View Post
If I'm not mistaken (I could be, the tank's on order, so I don't have it yet), one of the lights is an actinic, so it's not super bright. Wow, this is a big change from reef tanks--if you had 2 watts a gallon, you'd get laughed at . Is the starting low mostly about algae control, or is there something else involved?

Thanks for the help!
I would change out the actinic bulb for a 6500k bulb or any where between 5500k-10000k will work well for a planted tank. Actinic lighting is not in the optimum color range that plants like. There is a debate about if it does benifit plants or not and some say it causes algae issues. The setup you are looking at may come with a lighting option of having a freshwater bulb.

Starting at 1.5-2wpg is easiest route to go for a beginner. The plant maintenance will be much lower, use of ferts will be small and no injected C02 is required (use Seachem Excel for a carbon source). With lower lighting any changes that may occur in the tank are easier to correct and it lessons the chances of a sever algae outbreak.

He who angers you, controls you!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2006, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Ok--I read the Guide--great work!!! I am so stoked by the revelation that you can cycle WITH plants AND fish. Compare that to the six month break-in period I use on reefs before I put corals in!

One question remains--since the setup I'm getting has two 32W bulbs, with one of them being actinic, should I just run the one non-actinic bulb? Is there any harm to using the actinic other than possible algae issues (in other words, can I fry the plants from too much light)?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2006, 09:35 PM
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People who are used to the look of reef tanks seem to like the blue color they get with actinic lights. Most of us, I think, believe that the blue looks wrong in a planted tank. As far as I know no one has posted any actual experimental results using actinic bulbs for a planted tank, so when we say they are not good for a planted tank I think that is only an informed opinion.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2006, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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People who are used to the look of reef tanks seem to like the blue color they get with actinic lights. Most of us, I think, believe that the blue looks wrong in a planted tank. As far as I know no one has posted any actual experimental results using actinic bulbs for a planted tank, so when we say they are not good for a planted tank I think that is only an informed opinion.
Some of us in the reefing community don't like the "all-blue" look. I use 10Ks for my reef supplemented by a TINY amount of actinics. Most reefers (unfortunately, IMO) are obsessed by getting the highest number possible in everything they use--more gallons per hour, more watts per gallon, and, especially, more K's in their lighting. 400W 20K is pretty much the standard now, which I think gives a very fake look (WAY too much blue), and I've heard rumors that a 50K is in the works.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-23-2006, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
People who are used to the look of reef tanks seem to like the blue color they get with actinic lights. Most of us, I think, believe that the blue looks wrong in a planted tank. As far as I know no one has posted any actual experimental results using actinic bulbs for a planted tank, so when we say they are not good for a planted tank I think that is only an informed opinion.
Hey, I noticed a "continuous water change" system in your signature. Are you running a SeaVisions system? I've got one for my new reef system; I'd love to see how one works on freshwater.
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