First off, I'm new to neither aquariums or forums. The last thing you want to see is a general question from someone who hasn't taken the time to do his research (eg. "How do you setup a planted tank"). I've been keeping community tanks (30 gal and smaller) for nearly 20 years. The water in my town is quite hard (20 DH, 15 KH), and has made all of my African Cichlids feel right at home.
But through all the rock formations and caves, I've always wanted a lush planted tank. Green everywhere! Not even any gravel exposed. It would be so relaxing to have a nice, soft tank to look at, where all the fish are slow-moving and getting along (not chasing around like children in a candy factory). I've invested in a fully automated CO2 system (and did all the research that goes with such a thing). I have a 2-96W power compact, 3 bags of Flourite, a 6 stage R/O deionizer, and all the powders, liquids and tests.
K, now that we've established my history/current skill level, let me start with the questions (not yet answered by reading older threads).
After much reading, I've decided that the Eheim 2026 or 2126 will be the best filter for my tank. I know that low/no [fish] population tanks may not require (and, in fact, may be benefitted by not including) biological filtration. But I plan to put a fair amount of fish in this thing, and don't feel like I have the skills to dabble with a system that doesn't have a safety net.
So, on to the questions.
1. Since I prefer to have as little plastic in the tank as possible, I would be grateful for any recommendations on in-line CO2 reactors that could be hooked up to this filter. Will I need to monkey with hose sizing adapters? Should I worry about leaks?
2. Again, since I want a very unobstructed tank, I would like any advice on the performance of the heating unit that accompanies the 2126 unit. Is it reliable? Is the temp stable? Does is have the umph to keep a tank at 80 degrees in a room that is 20 degrees cooler (the tank will be up against an outside wall)
3. I have a solid black background on my tank. I cut it to fit nicely wedged within the plastic molding. I only used a couple, small pieces of scotch tape to make sure a breeze doesn't take it off. The background is standard glossy stuff. I've read recommendations to use vasoline (with the help of a credit card) to secure this type of background to the back of the aquarium. But it doesn't look too bad the way it is. Would it look that
much better if I went though the trouble?
4. (not an important question: just knit-picking
). Since I'm using a black backround, I think that the green intake/outflow tubes (standard on the Eheim filters) may produce an undersirable contrast with the background. Anyone have any experience with this. Does it look nice? Did you use black replacement tubes (such as the tubing from Magnum filters) - if so, was this difficult?
Well, that is enough for now. Don't want to spook away your expertise with a verbose 1st post