... I still need to do some vacuuming of the substrate and even use the turkey baster I keep on hand to get odd bits of litter, because neither of those filters are good for getting up debris *at all* (well, I also have a prefilter over my Eheim intake) -- though they seem to be cleaning the water column great.
For lighting, I finally sprung for the Finnex Planted+, which seems like a solid, good-value LED....
For substrate, personally, I did a layer of epsom salt, laterite, and potassium chloride, and then dirt ...
How fancy do you want to go with the actual tank, and how eager are you to start? In about a month, Petco is probably going to be doing another $1/gallon sale. That's where I got my 20L referenced above and I'm waiting on this next sale to get a 10 gallon.
Vacuuming....this brings up a question. I've never done a serious planted tank. My last reef tank was with NO substrate so cleaning was a no brainier. That said, how do you even go about vacuuming a dirt substrate?
Those Finnex lights look nice. I like the idea of LED to keep heat down, but I really do want the sunlight effect. I've not seem LEDs in the application so I don't know what to expect.
How fancy? Well I;d say middle of the road. I was looking at the ADA design contest website. Whoa! Not quite that level but I do want a semi-shopeice here. It;s for our living room, not just a hobby. So I'm thinking 75 gal minimum probably 90, some kind of center island and lots of water space.
yea reading helps a lot that is how I got started or should I say still getting started.
I'd LOVE to do a lot of reading. Unfortunately it's daunting! What do i read? 20 years ago there were only books, and the good ones were well known. Now I have to sift through books (of which none really stand out yet) and the internet. I'd love a good starting place.
I would skip the 55g and jump right to the 75g, better all around size(petsmart $230, tank, glass tops, basic 4ft. strip light)....If you want the shimmer you need LED lighting. Substrate is a loaded question......I like Miracle grow organic potting mix capped with saf-t-sorb. It grows plants well with minimal maintenance. Do yourself a favor......if you want plants.....stay away from silver dollars, they eat plants faster than rabbits breed. Good luck and have fun.
Good advice on the tank size. I plan on going as big as I can. I'm leaning toward Marineland just because I prefer the black silicone. Again, the lighting thing is a big deal for me, so I'm going to have to do a lot of research. Thanks for mentioning the Silver Dollars, good point to consider. I'm still totally in the dark on the substrate. Having looked at ADA (which I know nothing about but looks like they are serious!) and The Green Machine website, I'm wondering what that whole system is about.
Thanks everybody for the welcome.
Welcome back! I'm back myself after about a year break. If I were you, I would do searches on this forum and read, read read.
If definitely would recommend a canister filter. They are definitely quieter and IMHO easier. But you've asked some loaded questions. Mainly because the equipment you will need in some way depend on the plants you want to keep. Things to consider: high light vs low light, c02 injection vs carbon supplement (Excel) or none, fertilizing routine or not.
One thing I wish someone had asked me when i was first getting into planted tanks was how much work daily did i want to put into it. I went all out, high light, co2, high end soil, lots of fast growing, beautiful plants, fertilizing. I was fairly successful..low algae, great growth and colors, fish were happy. All came from learning from the great folks on this forum. But it became a lot of work and eventually i slipped off... c02 cannister ran out of gas, water changes became less frequent and then the system and tank started to suffer. So ask yourself, what kind of tank do you want...and will you have the time and will to continue that level of work. I working on setting up again, and im definitely working to set up a less demanding tank and a bit easier to care for.
As far as UV goes, you dont really need it. People have used them to clear green water but its not something i typically run.
Powerheads. I like to have good circulation in my tanks to prevent dead areas. when I injected c02 I tried not to have the surface disturbed too much to prevent c02 from being lost.
Tanks. Glass rimless tanks are very "en vogue" because they're beautiful. There is a lot to choose from. I have an acrylic tank for simple weight issues.
Like I said you asked a lot of loaded questions...so my best advice at this point is to read. Good luck and welcome back to aquariums!
OK, I don't mind the work. I like it. BUT I think I;d like to go lo-tech to start. I'm not against CO2 but would prefer au natural if possible. I do need to leave town on occasion and would prefer lo-tech for that reason. Ditto on UV if it's not needed.
I can assume I'll have at least one powerhead. Amazon river basins aren't still waters.
I love the rimless look, however I did read somewhere that they are difficult to clean without sloshing. That would be an issue. Plus I assume you need to keep them perfectly topped off or there will be an unsightly water line.