Newbie here, screwed up bad... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie here, screwed up bad...

Hi all,

I finally made the jump in buying an aquarium. I bought a 50gal breader tank, and set it up this weekend. I've always wanted either and aquarium or terrarium, and figured I would work them both.

So I bought my tank, my black colored gravel, my dual flourescent light thing (50 watts total), filer, heater - other stuff soon to come. I asked for the dual light so I would be able to grow plants well.

I set all this up, then started reading about the plant side of the hobby. So now I realize I'm screwed. Wrong substrate, and not enough light. So I call around to some aquarium stored and ask for advice. I was basically told to buy either flourite or laterite, and add it over my gravel, since it is a finer substrate, it will eventually sink below my gravel - By the way, I really wanted black colored substrate. I asked if I could push the gravel to one side, add the flourite, then move the black gravel over the top of the flourite, doing half the tank at the time. I got the thumbs up on this.

So I proceed with this plan. I clear half of the tank bottom, and add flourite to one side. Poof! I'm sure whoever is reading this is laughing their rear off right now. Blindly, I try to get the back gravel moved over top of the flourite and finsih the other side as well. I have a huge mess. Aside form the cloudiness, I know I didn't things layered right.

Now my questions begin. It's probably going to take 3-5 days for the septic tank look to clear, and I'm probably going to have to change my filter medium once everything is settled. Once I can see inside the tank, I'm going to have to adjust my substrate so everything is even. Once I start adjusting the substrate, Am I going to kick up 3-5 days clearing time again of cloudiness?? If this is true, am I going to have weeks and weeks of this process until I get my substrate straight?

I did rinse the flourite, but lack of experience didn't tell me I'd have to do it 12-15 times to avoid this mess. My tank is nasty. Even if I get everything straightened out, I can already see I'm going to be cleaning for a long time.

Any ideas to help me? I pondered taking the water out before doing this, but I hurt my back setting it up in the first place, and dealing with heavy buckets of water wasn't an option today. Not to mention it was a huge job anyway.

Now for the lighting... I'm trading up to a one 10k 50/50 bulb fixture at 96 watts on the advice of the aquarium store. I was told once I have the extra substrate added, and add rocks/driftwood/whatever, I'd have 37-40 gals on actual water, so that makes 2.4 watts per gallon. Sound good?

I know I screwed up, but I'm trying to make it right. I really want to focus on plants just as much as the fish. I hope I can recover from this, because right now, I'm very frustrated and very close to tossing the whole hobby.

Thanks for listening to a newbie rant!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 03:49 AM
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Sorry to hear about your "disaster". I had a similar problem with Soilmaster select, which comes in a charcoal color that gets darker in water. It only took about 1.5 days to clear up. To my surprise! Although there is no cloud in my tank, any time I move, or clean, or brush to swiftly past my substrate, a small wisp of "smoke" arises from the ground. Its not real that big of a problem but I'm a little careful still.

I don't know a hole lot about this hobby yet, but, and I'm probably wrong, I think that at 2.4wpg your approaching the need for CO2 and/or dosing. Dosing is adding fertilizers to your water. If you go to the fertilizer section you can read up. On my tank I have 2-56w= 1.5wpg. Everyone here say thats about right for a nonCO2 low light for Discus tank. Although I am limited on what plants I can keep. So your probably safe.

Hang in there. There are plenty of people here that can help and give suggestions.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 03:54 AM
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1) Remove the old gravel, mixing Flourite and your gravel won't work that well. Just get all Flourite and save yourself a mess later one. If you keep planting and re-planting, it's all gonna get mixed up anyways

2) You have 50 gallons. 96 watts over your 50 gallons gives you close to 2WPG. You can probably get away with dosing Excel right now, and minor fertilizing. I wouldn't worry about injection CO2 for now unless you try out Excel and still get growth/algae problems.

2a) An addenum is if you want to go for a high-tech...in which case, forget my #2 advice and post back. =P
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies! This is such a mess.

Why does the aquarium store keep pushing me toward lower lighting? I try to get bigger wattage, but they keep bringing me down. I'm spending rediculous money on nothing it seems. As far as getting the old gravel out, I don't know how I'm going to do that, unless once everything settles, it stayes "relativley" settled while I'm in there goofing around.

As far as high tech / low tech, the funny thing is, I brew wine and mead. This could make for a great relationship for a DIY CO2 setup. :-)
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 04:11 AM
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DIY CO2 on a 50 gallon would get tiresome after a while...but if you brew wine and mead, heck, why not? =)

What types of plants are you trying to grow? That'll be one of the biggest factors pushing you towards either a high or low light tank.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not completely sure as to all what plants I want yet. I know I want some grassy bottom covering plants. Some for sure would be: Riccia fluitan (and anything else that bubbles), four leaf clover?, (denser looking) asian ambulia, maybe a stargrass, cutleaf watermilfoil is neat, some sword type plants and fern type plants. As far as bigger background or centerpiece plants, I guess whatever compliments the denser stuff.

I definatly want some dense plants. I was looking for picture I saw to post, so I could show you, but I can't find it now.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 04:45 AM
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Dense is fine...but as for carpet plants, a 96w bulb won't get you growing glosso or HC...riccia is a maybe, but it'll be tough. If you have a canopy or want to build one, I'd recommend Compact Fluorescent Lighting Kits for a retrofit kit.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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I've seen ahsupply recommended several times. Do you know if I can "retro-fit" the light I have right now with one of their kits? That would probably save me some money and help me make this money pit a bit more shallow.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 05:37 AM
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Give them a call, they're great and will help you figure it out. They know the specs of their items better than me. =)
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 09:19 AM
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you might wanna change the bulb also because technically you only have 48 watts of plant light.the actinic might look nice but the spectrum wont help plant growth much.you should probably start with low to medium light plants and see what your light can handle.if you try high light plants just get a little to start with and don't get too ambitious.planted tanks take a lot of patience and trial and error.the best way to not get discouraged is to take it slow and do your research.stuff takes days if not weeks to see any results.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, removing the old gravel is impossible. The best I can do is 65/35 flourite/gravel as far as seperation, so I have to make this work with a flourite gravel mix. I'm not spending anymore money...

Any suggestions??

Last edited by edacsac; 11-14-2006 at 01:53 PM.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 01:06 PM
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Take a few minutes and read my Guide. It's really where you should have started.

Buy or build a Python. There is no need to use water buckets. The LFS knows nothing. Ignore them. The light they are trying to sell you is the wrong light.

Read my Guide as many times as neccessary. Then come back with unanswered questions.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2006, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Rex,

I have been through your guide for some things throughout my reading. I did fix my substrate today, cleaning it properly (by way of your guide), and pretty much starting over. I managed to find some poultry screen that was perfect size to seperate the gravel and flourite (kinda felt like I was panning for gold today). I also ordered the two 96 watt kits from ahsupply and canceled the other light on order, so I should now have enough light to land a plane. I really didn't want to spend quite so much, but I guess it's either now or later. And from what the gentleman at ahsupply said, I don't have to run both lights all the time, so I can take it easy at first.

I guess once my tank is clear, I should have plenty to do!

Thanks for all the kind replies to my post!
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