Talk me through this... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Talk me through this...

Hi There,

Another novice here...

I just bought my first tank its about 90L (AquaoneAR 620T tank). From what I gather, everyone says to take things very slow. That's cool. I've got time. Here's what I want. I want to see my tank develop into something that's one of a kind but healthy and well planned out. I want to be confident in managing food, waste, water, flora and fauna.

At the moment I'm thinking I'd like something that is either South American or African nature. Lots of lush green/exotic plants are a must!

So, where should I start with filters, lights and gravel? My tank came with an external heater. Should I get one that goes under gravel too? I have absolutely no idea how to feed the plants or balance CO2. IS the factory light OK...I need to buy a new bulb, what should I get?

Words of wisdom?

Matt in Australia
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 02:35 PM
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To be honest with you, my suggestion would be to start very easy, and work your way up from there, choose a good substrate, I've had a lot of success with Eco-Complete, Seachem Flourite, and Schultz.

Start with some low-light plants, the swap and shop here is a great place to try a lot of plants to see what works for you and then work your way from there, once you start getting really involved in it, it can run you an enormous amount of money, enough to scare someone off even, but the most important thing is for you to enjoy it from the beginning, you can always rework your plants, and change lighting/co2 later, but if you don't have fun with it from the start, and it seems like too much work, it will just be a huge frustration for you.

You also don't want to run out and spend a few hundred dollars on plants and fish and have them all die on you.

Find some fish you like, get the tank cycled, and there's plenty of time down the road to fine-tune everything to your liking. The thing to remember is you have to be patient, and you have to enjoy yourself

Best of luck!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 02:45 PM
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Read Rex Grigg's guide at . It's full of the information you need. Then, come back here and read, read, read. These forums are even MORE full of info, but Rex's guide puts it more simply.

To answer a couple of your questions... No undergravel filter or heater is needed and could actually prove to be a pita later (plant roots growing into it, if it goes out you'd have to uproot all the plants to fix it, etc.). Also, the factory light on your tank is most likely not good enough ~ you need something with a 6500 kelvin rating or higher. And don't use the usual aquarium gravel ~ you'll need something finer, I think in the range of 2mm particle size. I use Soilmaster Select, but I don't know if you can get that in Australia.

I'm still fairly a newbie, but am having a blast because I've started slowly. I took my own advice and read Rex's site and these forums, then got my feet wet with a ten gallon low tech tank. I've got easy to grow plants in it (hygros, hydrocotyle and pellia) and it's stuck in a window, no lights except dappled sunlight, no filters and no CO2. No fish either ~ just a bunch of algae eating shrimp. The link is in my signature if you want to take a look. It was so easy

Since that tank, I've just recently "graduated" to ones with lights ~ I bought some compact spiral bulbs and have 30 watts over my ten gallon tank, DIY CO2 soon to be added. Now I'm learning by experience about that, relying heavily on what I've read. THAT is what makes it easier, knowing the basics from reading, so I have some sort of map to go by instead of just a shot in the dark.

One of these days I'll graduate even higher, to pressurized CO2 and bigger tanks, but for now I'm content to play around with my ten gallon tanks. I have five of them, three of them set up and planted. I like having multiples since if one of the tanks goes south, I can keep my chin up by looking at the ones that are doing good.

Good luck! You're going to have SO much fun!

~ Linda ~

How many watts do I need to make my swimming pool a high light tank?
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 02:48 PM
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Phil, that was a fantastic first post IMHO.

Matt, I think others will agree:

Rex has a wealth of good info there. It helped me out in the begining quite a bit.
His info is straight and direct, and to some a bit gruff (He doesn't pull punches).

Sometimes I re-read his info just to refresh.

You are going to need to decide:
high tech, low tech?
Is this an aquarium with plants (fish first) or a planted aquarium (plants first).

Good luck


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