I'm back... And I need help! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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I'm back... And I need help!

Registered last May as I was in the final preparations for moving house and was planning a new tank.
Now, we've settled and gotten 'more important' things done, I can follow up.
Planning a sumped 6x2x2 (180G) and would like to grow some plants successfully but nothing as dramatic as I had planned, basically I want a well rounded community tank like I currently have, but with real, not plastic plants.
I propose a filter turnover rate of about 10x per hour through the sump.

I do know-
I want LED lighting. Which ones as yet, I'm not sure. That can wait.
I'm not going to have any CO2 injection.

My current livestock, which will transferred from a Rio 240 are:-
5 Silver Sharks, 4-6".
3 Synodontis Eupterus, 5".
1 extremely boisterous Clown Loach 4" (I rehomed him from a travesty of a tank, he will get some friends soon!)
2 Cherry Barbs, 1 1/2" and about 8yo!
2 Plecs, 6 and 8".
1 Ancistrus.
8 Corydoras, 1- 1 1/2".
1 Male Sailfin Molly, 2 1/2".

As you can see, I have a penchant for bottom dwellers, most of which like to have a good root around...

I have done searches on here over the past week or so and end up going round in circles, trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.
My main queries are-
Are my fish really even suitable for a planted tank?
What plants, considering no CO2?
and finally-
What substrate, considering all the above? (Digging fish etc)

After that I will come back to the lighting, which will be the greatest financial outlay but is reliant on the answers I get to achieve a nice balance.

Please point me to well received threads, give any suggestions etc.
I don't know enough to know what to look for, but know enough to know I don't know...

You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:53 AM
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Were it me,, I would go with plain old playsand for substrate = cheap for this size tank.
Don't believe many rooted plant's will thrive with fishes mentioned ,so I might consider large smooth river stones (lawn and garden stores), large driftwood pieces with many ,many, anubia's attached.
Maybe some crinium which fishes are said not to care much for, along with some vallisneria along back glass might grow fast enough to survive loaches,pleco's.
Might also consider some floating plant's that grow fast like Watersprite.
Plant's mentioned would not need much light.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the fast reply and for giving me a direction.
I have some places I can collect weathered stone, will have to look for a decent source of drift/bogwood in the UK.
Do you think a terrace structure, about 4" deep and protected by a stone 'wall' would enable me to introduce a better base substrate like organic potting soil? Just in select areas like round the weir so the Vallis might get a better foothold. It would be capped with at least 1" of sand in this scenario.

Btw, the tank would be fishless for a month or so and it would be at least 2 months before I added the plecs and loach to let the plants settle.

You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 01:02 PM
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I believe the loaches would not respect the area or terrace.
I have two adult bristlenose that constantly dig under driftwood pieces in my own tank and had to remove(no easy task) four skunk loaches that routinely dug up crypt's,water sprite (planted),anacharis,zosterfolia.(star grass)
This tank has approx three inches of black diamond blasting media covering approx 1 1/2 inches of soil.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 05:41 PM
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I've got a ton of BN pleco's in my planted tank right now. I went with builders sand capped with pea gravel to keep my stuff planted. With the fish you have I recommend you do something similar.

The plecos and syno's need caves and someplace to hide. If they don't have a suitable place they dig one out. I built some caves out of slate and silicone that they keep breeding in. With the number of bottom dwellers you have you'll need a bunch of good spot's so that they can stake out a territory.

You can go with heavily rooted plants, floaters, or as mentioned those firmly attached to hardscape.

The largest root system is in the sword family that I know of. If I need to remove one of these I generally just cut them out. They can get very large and are a good fit for low tech larger tanks. Crypt's will also work. If those are common pleco's you'll want to stay away from softer leaved plants. They can damage plants as they get larger.

Anubis, java fern, and mosses on hardscape is another option. The clown loaches and Bala (Silver) sharks get very large and will need lots of open space.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for the advice.

You twist and turn like a... Twisty,turny thing!:- Lord Melchett
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