Noob here, looking for quick basic run down of basics - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Noob here, looking for quick basic run down of basics

Long time reefer who does a ton of research. But I'm just asking for some quick info so I can have some starting points.

I'm looking for basic stuff like best, but most natural substrate, lighting, basic parameters to shoot for, do I use rodi water here as well, lighting, water temps, flow, filtration/reactors (like can I use just sponges and carbon here?)... Etc...

Please get me started in the right direction
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 05:27 PM
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Hi Stomp,

A really good substrate medium to start off would be eco-complete. Get a 2" to 2" and half inches of it inside your tank covering the bottom. Good parameters for aquatic plants would be acidic to moderately hard like 6.5-7.6 and kH, gH around 5-10, I would say. As for lighting, look for compact florescent fixtures, or T5 lighting fixtures with good reflectors. Temp of water should be around 75 or maybe cooler; the higher the temp, the higher the metabolism of the plants thus meaning you would have to adjust their ferts. Get some hydor koralia water circulation pumps and put them on the sides of the tanks to promote water movement so areas won't get stagnant. Filters like AquaClear would suffice as a Hang-On-Back filter, unless you plan to use co2, I would recommend canister filters like Eheim; because HOB would degas your co2; however you can use liquid carbon like excel so you can still run your HOB filter. Ehh, but of course, it cannot be compared to real co2 though . You should start a low-tech, they are pretty easy to care for and don't require much maintenance, in my experience. Get some low tech, low light plants. Some good ones would be the java fern species, anubias, crypts, african ferns, bulb plants, echinodorus sword as centerpeiece plant, four leaf clover, dwarf sag, etc. Make sure your lighting is intense and put them on to about 6-7 hours with timer, dose NPK and Trace (I use Flourish) once every week.

Good luck!

20 gallon - Sulawesi Golden rabbit snails/Japanese Trapdoor snails/RCS/Marbled crayfish tank
55 gallon - Rainbowfish Dutch scape low-tech planted tank

250 gallon - Community Tiger Oscar/Red hook silver dollar/Silver dollars/PB Jack Dempsey/Clown loaches/Tinfoil barb/Roseline sharks/Bala shark Monster fish tank
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 06:56 PM
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Carbon in a filter only last a couple of weeks at best. It has been said that it will
put back into the water some of what it has removed under the right conditions also.
Some keep it around for removing meds after they have done their job.
It will however remove heavy metals if your water has a problem/w them.
So filter media consist of bio-media + filter floss/sponges or similar prefilter materials.
A fairly high percent of breeders just use air driven sponge filters exclusively and
at least one person I know on another forum uses sponges for both pre and main filter
components in his HOB filters. Allowing one untouched for bio purposes and cleaning the prefilter sponge every few days. Then that is just squeased and swished around in
a bucket of tank water which was saved from doing a water change.
I would think lots of those who have tanks 75g and up will co-sign the use of sump filters for them. I said think as I know most of them frown on HOB's for that size or larger tanks and at least prefer canister filters for them.
Under gravel filter are mostly a thing of days gone by but I personally never had a problem/w them. I did vacuum the one I had between the plants frequently and in
sections of half on alternating weeks and think that if this was done others wouldn't have problems/w them either. An interesting alternative to the vacuuming was by
putting a power head forcing water down into the bottom of the under gravel filter but I don't know how that worked good or bad.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2014, 10:11 PM
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What do you *want* from your planted tank?

If you use high light and CO2 you can get fast plant growth and keep some of the more demanding plant species. A lot of work though.

If you use low light and no CO2 you're more limited with the types of plants (but not much). Also a 'low-tech' tank is MUCH less work. Also less expensive.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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couple quick things and responses to above...

what is gH? i know KH as it is carbonate hardness. i keep my saltwater reef at 8 lol, so im familiar with alkalinity, but not so much in its regards to fresh.

i will go low tech to start, and i dont wana do anything with carbon dosing/co2 until further down the road if i progress to that level.

i would like to use a carbon reactor/filter if it will help, but only if it will and is necessary. ive heard the plants themselves when healthy will help with water clarity, but dont actually know myself for sure.

im not looking for speed of growth or anything like that, im not in a rush. just looking to create a stable eco system to start with and go from there.

looking to start with more easy to care plants, and what not. the list in the first response to me above, is very helpful, thank you.

i will not be using undergravel filters, and the suggestion of eco-complete substrate after a little reading seems good. not sure what else is available, though i was reading through the short summaries in the substrate forum. i just know i want all natural soil looking if possible, or to resemble that of a slow moving river bed. really its just important to me to use what is best for the plants.

fish i have no idea yet, just ones that arent herbivores obviously lol

also, i assume the in tank flow, would be much less than that of what i use im my reef tank... anymore thoughts on this?

and how does one manage oxygen induction to the aquarium? i would rather not use air pump if i can, but its not a big deal if i do have to. but im really not sure how oxygen levels and up keep work in these tanks.

sorry for the spread of randomness. i am searching and reading through other stuff, but it just helps make it easier sometimes to have others point out the more important aspects as i go, as there is ALOT of info out there and i dont wana end up focusing on the less important stuff getting caught up at this point.

thanks folks!

Neal

i am definately gona go with a 20 long to start. i do have a small AC30 laying aorund i can use. and i have an extra "carbon reactor" i could utilize if need be. wouldnt be hard to find an air pump and sponge if i have to either.

i would actually like to setup this up "reef style" with a small sump to hide all my gear however, as i hate displays with such in them. i have a small return pump i could use and a small i could use for the sump. would a filter sock on the drain be of any use?? also im thinking the retrun pump could also act as my in tank flow...

the more i think about it, the more i would prefer to use a "sump" and just drill a display, or even install an overflow... i realize this probably isnt conventional for fresh tanks, but it seems like it would look a little more "clean" in a sense.

any thoughts on this?

also, im thinking of using a quality 2 bulb t5 fixture. and using a 12" wide tank at the most. either a 20 long like mentioned above, or perhaps a 4' 40g long would be a nice display.

just more thoughts and notes to help you guys steer me in the right direction

Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-17-2014 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stomp View Post

what is gH? i know KH as it is carbonate hardness. i keep my saltwater reef at 8 lol, so im familiar with alkalinity, but not so much in its regards to fresh.

i will go low tech to start, and i dont wana do anything with carbon dosing/co2 until further down the road if i progress to that level.

i would like to use a carbon reactor/filter if it will help, but only if it will and is necessary. ive heard the plants themselves when healthy will help with water clarity, but dont actually know myself for sure.

im not looking for speed of growth or anything like that, im not in a rush. just looking to create a stable eco system to start with and go from there.

looking to start with more easy to care plants, and what not. the list in the first response to me above, is very helpful, thank you.

also, i assume the in tank flow, would be much less than that of what i use im my reef tank... anymore thoughts on this?

and how does one manage oxygen induction to the aquarium? i would rather not use air pump if i can, but its not a big deal if i do have to. but im really not sure how oxygen levels and up keep work in these tanks.

i am definately gona go with a 20 long to start. i do have a small AC30 laying aorund i can use. and i have an extra "carbon reactor" i could utilize if need be. wouldnt be hard to find an air pump and sponge if i have to either.

the more i think about it, the more i would prefer to use a "sump" and just drill a display, or even install an overflow... i realize this probably isnt conventional for fresh tanks, but it seems like it would look a little more "clean" in a sense.

also, im thinking of using a quality 2 bulb t5 fixture. and using a 12" wide tank at the most. either a 20 long like mentioned above, or perhaps a 4' 40g long would be a nice display.
GH = General Hardness, and is usually (always?) a bit higher than carbonate hardness - I believe that GH includes effects of non-carbonate minerals on hardness in addition to carbonates.

Dosing with Flourish Excel (or other liquid carbon supplement) can open you up to more plants and faster growth than no carbon without as much expense (at least initially) as full on injected CO2.

My understanding is that straight carbon filtration can remove some fertilizers and is generally only used in planted tanks on an as-needed basis. I use Seachem Purigen to remove some of the organics and improve water clarity without removing nutrients from the water.

Another group of easy to care for pants is Hygros - these will need a little more light than the others mentioned, but given the right parameters, will grow VERY fast. Fast growth = removing bad stuff from the water, which is good. I have a group of Water Wisteria (Hygro Difformis) that I grew from a single $5.99 tube from petsmart and now fills about 1/4 of my 30 gallon tank: front to back, substrate to top of the water.

MUCH less flow than a reef tank. I have my XP2 canister return (300 gph) and a Koralia Nano 240 (240 gph) in a 30 gallon, and it is almost too much at times.

Disturbing the water surface is enough oxygen induction in a planted tank. If the plants are growing, they are introducing oxygen into the water as well. I have a spraybar on the return of my canister, pointed along the surface to create ripples, but no bubbles, and it is plenty. The return of any HOB filter should work just as well.

As to the size. Now that my 30 gallon is growing in, I really regret that I didn't go with a taller tank, like a 38 g or 45 g high, to really let the plants grow in tall, but that is a function of what kind of plants you keep as well. My current favorites in my tank are Crypt Balansae, which can grow to around 4 feet tall if they have room.

Sumps are not uncommon for freshwater tanks, especially planted tanks, for exactly the reasons you mention: keeping the display tank clean. I went the other rout for this: I have a canister filter with an inline heater, so the only things in the tank are the filter suction and return.

Your lighting choice needs to be carefully weighed against your tank depth and intended growth rate. If your light is too bright for your tank depth, you will have algae problems; not bright enough and your plants won't be healthy. Depending on budget, you might want to look at some of the dimmable LED options, they can allow you to adjust the light as you get a feel for how much light your tank needs. For a shallow tank like you are proposing, a Current USA Freshwater LED+ would be perfect for a low-mid light tank, and is relatively inexpensive. If you do decide to go with a taller tank, you might need more power, like one of the options from Build My LED.

-Justin
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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^^^ good feedback and clarification on some stuff, thank you!

ok, so i think im gonna use a 20g high for the extra height. and its 2 feet long so a short (cheaper) light will work well. anyone suggest any of the lights petco carries? i dont usually shop there, but their lights seem like they could work.

also, i notice the eco complete is available in bags of of 20lbs. im thinking 2 bags will give me a good 2.5" of substrate. does that sound about right?

and if i missed it i apoligize, but is RODI water what i wana use? we have well, and it usually comes in around 110 to 140 tds.

also, which specific, and quality test kits will i need in advance.

thanks so much guys!

also, on the eco complete substrate topic, i would prefer course and not fine, but im not sure what issues could arise with the difference. i like substrate that stays in place and holds well. but again, i am newb here lol

just to add, i notice the bags of 20lb eco complete are 26 dollars and change from DFS, and free shipping. is that a typically fair price? im guessing my LFS's will be more pricey and i wont have to spend money on gas lol

Nothing?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-21-2014 at 06:36 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 04:33 AM
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Step 1: Collect Fish
Step 2: ???
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Wth?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 05:08 PM
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Heh, sorry, you would either get the joke and have a good laugh, or not know the reference! Carry on listening to the actual advice!

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TPT says I'm an algae grower... I'd like to think of myself as one hell of a Cabomba farmer.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-21-2014, 05:17 PM
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Re. Lighting, I have always had the best results with Coralife 6700K bulbs. I have used a variety of 5500-10,000 K range and have used expensive Giessmann on down to inexpensive bulbs, but keep coming back to the Coralife 6700
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