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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Please do all my work for me

Hehe.

In all seriousness, I have my hands full with a salt water reef tank right now, but my wife wants to upgrade her awful 5 gallon Wal-mart tank to a planted fresh water tank.

Right now my brain is aching from all the reading I have done on salt water tanks as well as fresh water planted tanks.

I have an Aquapod 12 gallon tank that will be her planted fresh water tank. It comes with 2 compact florescent lights. Each are 27 watts, but one is an actinic useless for plants. I have a couple extra regular 6700-10k bulbs, but don't think I should use more than 1 or should I?

I figure with a 12 gal tank the single 27 watt light is over 2 watts per gallon and I do not, even remotely, want to be CO2 dosing. I don't need high light, demanding plants. I repeat, I will not CO2 dose with an injector or chemical solutions for this tank. Plants need to be OK with that. I will add fertilizer if necessary a couple/few times per year.

I have flourite for a substrate, a nice piece of driftwood and the tank, pump. I am thinking about using some polyester fill (filter floss) for a mechanical means of filtration like I do in my reef tank. Biological filtration will be the plants and chemical filtration will be either nothing or chemipure or purigen depending on feedback. I am thinking neither would be desirable in a planted tank.

I would like some shrimp, a few snails for cleanup (nothing that breeds out of control, though I do understand I may get that with plant hitchhikers) and either a couple 2-3" fish or a small herd of tiny fish along with low maintenance plants that will do well with the lighting and substrate with minimal maintenance other than water changes. For fish my wife is partial to gouramis (dwarfs are fine) and the genetically modified to be brightly colored danios, tetras and similar. She likes the bright colors, genetically modified or not.

I can use tap water or RO or RO/DI water. I have a RO/DI filter for my reef tank and I can bypass the DI. The tap water tests at 450ppm impurities though I have no idea what they are.

Help me please. I just don't want to read anymore. I want some folks with experience to make some recommendations. Please.

Edit to add: I don't want a tank completely filled with plants. I want a tank with plants. I want to be able to see the shrimp and snails and fish. Therefore most plants should be 6" or under at max growth with some background plants that get 12-18" tall.

Thank you for anyone willing to help me out.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 02:45 AM
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I know you don't want to hear it, but I present you with more reading
No CO2, no water changes, only very small additions of nutrients, which are spooned in, no need for calcium reactors or the like...
http://www.barrreport.com/articles/4...2-methods.html

It does work.

As for the rest, 27 watts is probably just about right for a low light tank. You can always use easy to remove floating plants like red root floater to help reduce the light and maintain quality water conditions. Purigen and such have their uses, but are unnecessary.

Good luck. Low light tanks are great, once they are set up you pretty much just feed the fish and top off the tank once a week.

-Sean
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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That's an interesting link, thanks!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2008, 07:18 AM
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I'm a low tech tank owner (no CO2, 1.5 wpg, underpowered filter, no carbon or chemicals, no testing). I know you didn't want more reading, but I'd recommend looking at http://naturalaquariums.com/. Natural Aquariums "give[s] people information on simple lo to no tech planted aquarium, and the aquarium plants, fish, and invertebrates that live in them."

Having a saltwater tank, it should be a piece of cake to go freshwater, especially low tech. I always wanted to go for a reef tank but don't have the time or money.

Good luck.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2008, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Will my 2.25 watts/gal be too much for a low tech/no water change (or infrequent change, I'll test to see how it's doing) tank?

It's power compact lighting and my understanding is the output per watt is roughly equivalent to 1.5 watts of regular floro lighting.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 10:25 AM
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I wouldn't think it would be too much. You could always try cutting back on the hours of lighting if you do get algae. Or just get some good algae eaters.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2008, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it has begun. The tank is set up and I purchased 6 plants for it. Unfortunately the LFS only labels them as 'assorted plants'. From reading up I think I know what a few are, but the remainder I don't yet.

Perhaps those of you with planted tanks, low tech style, could share what kind of fish load works well for you when the fish are the primary nutrient source for the plants.

Do you stick with the 1" of fish per gallon rule or go higher or lower or use something else entirely to figure out the right balance? Currently I have 2 danios that shouldn't get over 1.5" and 1 guppy that should be around the same size.

Anyone got an ID or two for the mystery plants in this tank?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endler's Game View Post
I know you didn't want more reading, but I'd recommend looking at http://naturalaquariums.com/. Natural Aquariums "give[s] people information on simple lo to no tech planted aquarium, and the aquarium plants, fish, and invertebrates that live in them."

Not to mention they're a great group of people on that forum. It's small and very friendly.

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2008, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justaguy2 View Post
Do you stick with the 1" of fish per gallon rule or go higher or lower or use something else entirely to figure out the right balance?
Some people may disagree, but I throw out the rule entirely. I figure if the fish get too crowded (which my endler's really aren't yet, and that's after they've tripled in number), they will stop breeding so much. As it is, they are doing very well. I suppose if you want a rule, just check what looks right and don't put in any more. Maybe someone else can share a better rule of thumb, but I've always thought the 1" rule was too restrictive. (Besides, one linear inch of endlers, guppy, or danio requires a lot less volume and resources than one linear inch of oscar - just look at the difference in cross-section).

I think this is one area where low tech might have an advantage. I've heard horror stories about CO2 suffocating all the fish. Not much risk if you don't do CO2. Just make sure you break the surface with a few bubbles or have it well planted.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2008, 12:21 PM
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More likely, it is low O2 levels.

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