Starting first planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Starting first planted tank


I am getting ready to start my first planted tank (I have done fresh and saltwater previously, but it has been nearly 10 years) . It is a 38 gallon all glass, with Current USA Nova Extreme lighting. This light is the freshwater variety using two 39 watt T5HO lamps.

For substate I am using 40-50 pounds of red flint with about 3 pounds of laterite.

Filtration will be by a Marineland Emperor 280.

My water is about a ph of 7.2, but is fairly hard (sorry, I do not have the number)

I am not sure if I will need CO2 in this tank, but I am leaning towards the DIY method.

Now, for the questions. First, starting this tank would you plant the plants first, or put the fish in to cycle the tank? Secondly, would someone have links to pages with a variety of plants and water parameters they would do well in as I am not entirely sure what I want, and what I can do with he water I have (getting a RO is not an option at the moment)?

Any suggestions or comments appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Mark Koelsch
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 02:32 AM
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This link has a step by step guide to cycling your tank the "silent cycle" way, which means that you will add a ton of hardy plants to your tank, along with fish, immediately.

There's a wealth of information on that site and it's really helpful when starting planted tanks.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-18-2007, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Digsy View Post
This link has a step by step guide to cycling your tank the "silent cycle" way, which means that you will add a ton of hardy plants to your tank, along with fish, immediately.
That is exactly how I set up my 55 gal and it worked beautifully for me. I planted a lot of stems(many of the ones suggested on Rex's site), threw in some old filter media from another tank, and within a few days added 2 SAEs. A week later I added 3 ottos, and then a week after that I added 10 guppies. Since then I've stocked my tank with about 15 other fish (4 or 5 at a time) and have NEVER seen a spike in ammonia or nitrates. Bonus: my plants grow like CRAZY!!

Rex has lots of useful info on his site, spend some time reading all of it and you'll have a plethora of knowlege to help you with your tank.

I have about zero understanding of what the T5HO lights you're planning on using acutally put out in reference to amount of light. It seems from a cursory glance using google that it's going to be a lot. (Like I said, I'm not sure though. In general, two 39w bulbs would be about 2 wpg, and that's low/medium light, but from what I read on a couple of web pages, it seems that the light given off by the T5's is higher in lumens/intensity per watt?? If I am wrong in my understanding, please disregard my comments to follow.)

With high lighting you're going to need either a LOT of DIY CO2 or a pressurized setup, otherwise you'll be algae farming. I run 206 watts of compact flourescents on my 55gal and am using pressurized CO2 and am still messing with the ferts to try to find a good balance to keep the algae at bay.

Just a suggestion/my 2 cents:
Pressurized can be a bit of an investment, but once you make the initial pay-in, you're done for a while. No messing w/ soda bottles and silicone, mixing together yeast and sugar... not to mention if one of your bottles gets knocked over and the yeast mixture accidentally gets into your tank.
The CO2 was probably the most expensive part of my setup, yet I feel it was worth it. My plants are lovin' it!
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