need help...want to start a planted tank... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2007, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
Exclamation need help...want to start a planted tank...

hello all, im new to this forum, i have a 55 gal cichlid tank but i am looking for a cheap and easy way to start a planted tank...i have 2 ten gallon tanks so probably around that size. i was wondering if a power fitler w/ 120gph would work, and do planted tanks need heaters, if so how many watts for a 10 gal. Ive been reading up on lighting and it seems like i need about 20-30 watts of lighting...i have alot of flood lights that would work...(they have alot of watts)
or should i just go for the hooded flouro lights...?any ideas on specific plants and im probably gonna find a pair of german rams with a couple of tetra/rasboras to add to the mix...any suggestions would be nice and please let me know if im missing something..thanks for all the help and sorry for all the questions...

-pieky22
pieky22 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 12:19 AM
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 218
I am new myself, and was lucky enough to have had the help and advice of those here on PT. I went with all of their suggestions, and my tank is now very happy and healthy. This is what was told to me:

1) Get good substrate.
This is important, and I'm glad I went with this advice. It makes planting SO much easier, and it looks much better than regular gravel. I bought Seachem Flourite because I got it from Petsmart and they matched an online price for me so it wound up being very cheap. Another great substrate is Eco-Complete. Others on here use Aquasoil and Soil Master Select. All are good choices, Flourite and Eco are the easiest to get ahold of locally w/out paying shipping.

2) I'm not sure what you mean by "power filter". If it's a hang on back type model it probably won't be great for a planted tank. Too much surface agitation will outgas the CO2 in the water and plants need that to be happy. Go with a small canister or perhaps an underwater (NOT undergravel). The HOT Magnum 250 may be a good choice since it's a canister that hangs off your tank. It may be too big and have too much outflow though. (I am NOT an expert on this stuff yet.)

3) Lighting is super important. Between 2-4 watts per gallon depending on what type of plants you want to grow. If you want a lot of small delicate foreground plants (like Glosso or HC) you will want a lot of light for them, closer to 3-4 WPG. I wouldn't use flood lights, you need to make sure the bulbs are in the right spectrum for good plant growth, it's not all about watts. 6700K is perfect for plants. Also, flood lights may not get a lot of light into the tank... reflectors are important. I say go with an AHSupply kit, they're not too expensive at all. They are GREAT lights, I am very pleased with mine. A 1x36 kit would light up your 10 gal perfectly for plants. You just have to be able to wire it and build a canopy or fixture for it. (You can also purchase a fixture for it from AHSupply if you don't want to build one.)

4) Yes, you need a heater. Especially if you're going to have fish in there. Get a decent heater so you don't have to worry about it having problems and frying your tank. (I made this mistake the first time with a TopFin, and then went w/ a Jager heater which I am very satisfied with.)

5)Think about CO2. It's pretty much a necessity with plants. DIY would be fine for a 10 gal planted tank, there's lots of info on DIY CO2 here in the forums. Alternatively you could go with a Hagen CO2 system, they're about $30 at Petsmart, probably cheaper at Big Al's or Foster $ Smith. You could also dose with Seachem Excel instead of injecting CO2 but from what I've heard some plants can't grow with that form of CO2.

The kinds of plants you want to get depend on the kind of effort and $$ you want to put into the tank. Some plants are very easy and can be grown with very little light and no CO2, while others need a LOT more upkeep and maintenence. I have a 10 gal that has only 1.5 WPG and no CO2 and I've got wisteria and 2 apogenoton plants in there. However, they don't grow very fast and don't really look like "happy" plants. If you want a gorgeous planted setup like you see on here it's going to take a little investment.

Hope that helps you out a little, sorry I can't be more helpful, I've only been into the hobby for 2 months myself.
JennysPlanties is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
thanks alot...ill take all this into account...
pieky22 is offline  
 
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
is it easy also to use sand or what i have alot of is paragon premium grade plaster sand...will this work as a good substrate?
pieky22 is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 03:15 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Madfish's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: WA
Posts: 789
Send a message via MSN to Madfish Send a message via Yahoo to Madfish
Welcome to the world of planted tanks. That sand I wouldnt go for it like was said before sub straight is one of the major parts of a planted tank. You could go with that but Im not 100% sure that it is safe or not. But your plants will be lacking in some of the basic requirements that are needed. I know Florite and Eco have alot of iron in them that will help your plants grow. Some of the best words that were told to me is start at the bottom and work your way up. Its better to spend a little more then watch your plants die off and one of two things will happen. First you will have to get more so add that money up and there you go you could have started right from the start. Second get get it and you will not have as many problems. But this is the life of a planted tank once you get your foot wet you will want to dive right in deeper. Best of luck with your planted tank. Reed as much as you can about it it will make it alot easer for you. There are alot of people on here that know alot and they will help you all that they can.

Whats this green fuzzy stuff thats growing in my tank.
Madfish is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 03:49 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Nbot's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 347
Buy Eco-complete for your substrate. You will regret not spending money on a good substrate later on.

Do *not* get 4 watts per gallon. (high-light encourages algae if all of your other factors (Co2, plant load, fish load, fertilizers) are not in balance, which as a rookie you most likely will not have that balance). 2wpg can grow just about any plant you want.

Figure out if you are going to go "low-tech" (*no* CO2 and just a pinch of fertilizers 1x week and *no* weekly water changes, only WC's ever 2-3 times a year, slow and manageable plant growth, a little limited on plant selection but still plenty of options) or "hi-tech" (pressurized Co2, fertilizers 6x week, weekly water changes, fast plant growth that you constantly have to weed back, more plant options). Spend another week reading here before making any more purchases, you will only regret making hasty decisions now.

I have one low tech tank, and one hi-tech tank. See both in my sig, they are two different routes, with two different goals and methods. Not everyone likes weekly water changes and lots of crazy equipment and fast growing weeds to cut back weekly (would rather hang out w/ family or go roller-skating or something), some do...

Go to rex grigg's site, and Tom Barrs' and there are a few others that have info on "how to get started" (mind you most folks in the hobby will bully you into believing hi-tech is the "only" way to do planted tanks...you can go to the sub-forum here for "Low Tech" and see plenty of people have beautiful low-tech tanks), or click here for when people start telling you hi-tech is your only option:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ph...75-update.html


And finally...as Rex says, "You are unique, but your problems aren't." Do a search for your answers

NOTE: To do a *SEARCH* and get the answer you want, its often best to go to "Advanced Search" and search in the title only.
Nbot is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 04:38 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
fishscale's Avatar
 
PTrader: (12/100%)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,895
http://www.rexgrigg.com

Thoroughly read, then re-read that site. Then read these articles:

http://www.barrreport.com/you-new-aq...ts-start-here/

To answer your questions:

Regarding lights: Read the part of Rex's site on lighting. It is not about watts, but rather, lumens. It is harder to calculate lumens, so people made a general rule of 2 watts/gallon. However, if you read the article some more, this rule does not work for smaller tanks. Your tank may fit into this description. However, the type of plants you have determines how much light you need. Some plants do not need as much light. More light means more CO2 consumption, meaning you need to use Flourish Excel (not CO2, but a form of useable carbon), DIY CO2, or pressurized CO2, depending on your plants and your needs. More CO2 consumption means more nutrient consumption, meaning you need to dose fertilizer. Flood lights could potentially work, but they are usually not cost effective. The "hooded" fluorescent lights you are talking about may not be a good option, either, as I am assuming you are talking about the kind you find at petco. Do some research on color temperature and lighting intensity. Generally, 6700K is the accepted value for best color temp for planted tanks. It is not necessary to have exactly this value. Try to avoid "actinic" lights meant for reefs; they do not work very well for plants. Do a search for coralife, TEK, or go to ahsupply.com. Those are good examples of lights that ARE good for planted tanks.

On substrate: It is not necessary to use fancy substrates. Many people grow plants in plain sand and do fine. However, it is not easy, and I'd bet those people are fairly experienced. If you are doing 10 gallons, I would also recommend eco-complete. It sounds like you want this done on a budget, so I would not recommend ADA Aquasoil. Keep in mind that most of the nutrients in your substrate will be gone within a few months; you are not necessarily paying for nutritious soil. In fact, ADA Aquasoil is probably one of if not the only substrate with nutrients in it already. Eco-complete is a good choice because it is already seeded with bacteria and also contains a good amount of trace minerals. There are cheaper options, but they require more info, are messier, and may not be worth it for you in the long run.

About heaters: Your heater is less for your plants and more for your fish. I would think that you already had a heater for your fish only tank. You should do research on what temperatures the fish you want to keep need. Then, you should buy a heater with a wattage that is appropriate for your tank size. Then you just set the temp, keep an eye on it (use a thermometer), and that's it. Buy a decent heater because they don't cost that much, and you don't want to cook your fish.

About your filter: You can do a planted tank with a HOB filter, but you won't have as intense growth as possible. With an HOB filter, you will only get equilibrium CO2 levels, usually around 3-4 ppm. Those with pressurized systems get about 25-30 ppm.

About fish: GBR's are very sensitive, so make sure to acclimate them very slowly. And by that, I mean drip acclimate. So, maybe like a drop every second or two, over an hour and a half to an hour. If you get a pair in a 10 gal, I would skip the tetras, because it is likely the rams will get aggressive when they breed, and in such a small space, the tetras would get harrassed and maybe killed. If you do get rams, remember that they will dig and may uproot your plants. It may be possible to prevent this by providing them with a cave.

Do a lot of research before you do anything, or you will just end up spending more money. You can start out low-tech and budget, but this hobby is addictive, and you will soon buy more and more stuff. Remember, you can go as budget as you want and you can still make it work, but once you get hooked on the good stuff, it's hard to go back. Enjoy!

Eheim Pimp #254, Eheim Wolverine #1


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Work in progress
10 Gallon Shrimp Tank
10 Gallon Planted QT
20 Gallon Shrimp Tank (Work in progress)


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
fishscale is offline  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 05:30 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
oh and by the way, ive noticed that alot of people have used shrimp...i was wondering if crawdads will work,i have a whole bunch of babies in my pond outside...
pieky22 is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 05:51 AM
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 218
Crawfish will eat your fish. I had one in a tank with a goldfish for a long time when I was a kid. Then one day....no more Goldie...
JennysPlanties is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-18-2007, 08:01 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
fishscale's Avatar
 
PTrader: (12/100%)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,895
Shrimp are not so much "used" as they are kept. Shrimp are actually really fun to watch, and can be much more entertaining then fish. You don't necessarily "need" algae eaters, because the way to control algae isn't with algae eaters; it is with balance of nutrients. Algae eaters might help you get rid of a little bit of algae, or algae that occurs regularly and that you would otherwise scrape off as part of maintenance, but they will not eat a whole ton of it. Crayfish, for the most part, are not a good choice for planted tanks. They dig, they will eat any fish they can catch, and uproot your plants. However, you can keep them in a tank on their own, they are interesting to watch as well. If you have your heart set on crays, you might want to consider dwarf crayfish. These crayfish are really tiny, have tiny claws, and are only a threat to the tiniest fish (most likely juveniles or fry), and sometimes shrimp. Check out some pics here:

http://planetinverts.com/orange%20cray.html (An orange variation)

There are some for sale in the swap and shop forum.

Eheim Pimp #254, Eheim Wolverine #1


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Work in progress
10 Gallon Shrimp Tank
10 Gallon Planted QT
20 Gallon Shrimp Tank (Work in progress)


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
fishscale is offline  
post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
how about this light for a diy...i was gonna build my own hood and wanted to know if i could use this light(23watts) with a coumputer fan i the back to cool it down...any other ideas...
pieky22 is offline  
post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
http://www.globalwarmingshop.com/ima...013%20watt.jpg ...this is a picture of the bulb...
pieky22 is offline  
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 03:55 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
fishscale's Avatar
 
PTrader: (12/100%)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,895
It can work, but it is inefficient, and will probably end up costing you more than if you got a real light. You said you are going to do a 10 gal right? Look into getting a PC desk lamp. I have a 27W desk lamp that was pretty cheap, works great on my shrimp tank.

Eheim Pimp #254, Eheim Wolverine #1


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Work in progress
10 Gallon Shrimp Tank
10 Gallon Planted QT
20 Gallon Shrimp Tank (Work in progress)


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
fishscale is offline  
post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
sry...i feel stupid but can u post a pic of a good desk lamp that i could use?
pieky22 is offline  
post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-2007, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
Planted Member
 
pieky22's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: So California
Posts: 169
bump.......

G-mont all the way!

55 gal planted, 10 gallon electric yellow cichlid fry tank (gone), 18 gal electric yellow cichlid mouth brooder holding tank (gone), and soon to be a 55 gallon pimpin discus tank (workin on it)!

my journal link:

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


92% of teens have switched to rap music- if your part of the other 8%, add this to you're signature!
pieky22 is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome