Noob Questions about filters, CO2, etc. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Hi All,
I just recently purchased a 55 gal tank from a friend of mine. I haven't done anything with it yet because it needs a good cleaning due to the fact it has sat in his closet for the last 6 months. I've had aquariums in the past but it's been several years. I want to have a planted tank this time and before I start filling it and stocking it, I'm doing a little research in order to have good equipment the first time around. This will probably mean it's going to be longer before all is set up but I can live with that.

Question 1: For filtration I'm looking at the Emperor 400 BIO-Wheel Filter or the Fluval MSF 304 Filter 260 GPH. Any suggestions?

Question 2: Is CO2 really necessary for a planted tank? Can a planted tank thrive without the added CO2?

Question 3: What has been your experiences with freshwater clams, and other invertabrates?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 02:52 PM
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1: I would go with a filstar or eheim canister over the fluval. I would forget about a HOB filter.

2: It is not necessary at lower lighting levels, but will be needed if you have a lot of light over the tank. Yes, you can have a thriving tank without co2.

3: I have no experience with clams, but I do keep several varieties of freshwater shrimp. They make excellent algae and dead leaf/fish cleaners.

Now I have a few questions for you. What kind o flighting and how many watts are you planning on using? What are you planning for your substrate?

George


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion abouth the Filstar. I haven't chosen my lighting yet because I'm not sure what plants I'll be using yet. I don't think I want a heavily planted tank. I like seeing the substate and having rocks or driftwood around for fish to hide. Lighting is definitely an area that I'm very uninformed on.

As for the substrate, I was thinking about a medium size bottom layer and then a small size stone and laterite mix over that. Thinking a total substrate of about 3" or 4". I've been looking at some of the tanks on this site looking for ideas.

Edit: After some more research on this site, I'm considering Eco-Complete for the substrate.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 03:35 PM
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Hi cre8tiv, welcome to the planted tank!

I agree with George on the filter choice (can't believe he said first Filstar and then Eheim ), both are good filters.

Regarding Clams, I have some and they are interesting for a day or so, then they are the most boring things in the world. I don't know if they clean the water (not really), they are just sitting there, half buried, slightly open, and close up when a fish starts to peck on them https://www.plantedtank.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2955. Shrimps are way more personable, I have Ghost shrimp in all my tanks.

Regarding the substrate, if you do a fine layer over a coarser layer, over time the smaller particles move down and the coarser ones end up on top. Laterite is better situated in the bottom layer, since it can be very "dusty".


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 03:51 PM
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I second the rec for a canister over HOB if you want to go planted. I suspect if you start with the Emperor, at some relatively soon point you will regret it due to the surface agitation and noise. Moreover, no need for a bio-wheel in planted tank.

As far as which canister, I know how frustrating the decision can be. I just replaced my HOB bio-wheel with an Eheim ecco. I didn't think the prices between the ecco and competitors were all that much, so I figured I'd go with the eheim name. Eheim classic canisters are only a bit more expensive. The Eheim pros start to get pretty pricey, tho.

If you splurge on an Eheim out of the box, it is pretty unlikely that you will quickly outgrow or become dissatisfied with it. And tho pricey, they seem to last pretty well (as well as possibly retaining some resale value).

Re: CO2 - what George said. If you do not have any canopy/light for your tank, I would suggest that you consider going with something that can be expanded should you wish to. For example, you might be able to start with a single 96W from AH. http://ahsupply.com/96watt.htm At that level, you could have decent results w/o CO2, tho you would be limited in the plants that would thrive.

Then, if you decide you want to step it up at some later point, you could add another 96W and pressurized CO2. But plan ahead, so your initial canopy will accommodate such expansion.

It really sucks to buy something, and then in a relatively short period have to toss that it working perfectly well, but just not keeping up with your developing interests.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 03:55 PM
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Oh yeah - no experience with invertebrates, tho I've oft considered adding some shrimp.

Re substrate: IMO it is the unusual layered substrate that stays nicely layered. You might want to consider a flourite/gravel mix.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 04:53 PM
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The eco-complete is a very good substrate choice. And Wasser, I of course would suggest the Eheim over the Filstart any day! You know what they say "save the best for last" If you have the omney, the pro series are the cream of the crop and you won't be disappointed with them. They will last forever too.

George


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2004, 09:16 PM
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Go with an Eheim for the filter, good strong unit, I have had them for years and none have ever broken down, worth the money.

CO2 for high lighted tanks, that is anything over 2-2.5 watts per gallon. You don't really need it for below 2 ( you can use additives, but this can be a little restrictive) but all plants grow better under CO2 fertilisation.

Clams, dont know anything about.

Paul
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-18-2004, 04:16 PM
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Clams? I know about them, they taste great steamed and dipped in butter.
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