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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2004, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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I have decided to start a planted tank. I had already ordered a tank, it was supposed to be used for an additional reef tank, but I changed my mind since I always wanted a beautiful planted tank.

The dimensions are: 60x60x45 cm, and I have some nice african petrified wood for decoration. For lightening I will use four 24 watt T5 tubes possibly at around 6500 K (I have already purchased this, except I have marine tubes right now)

My idea was to have a moss-like carpet growth, and I have looked at various plants including Riccia Fluitans. I would like to known what managable with this form of light? If anyone knows. I will use CO2 addition aswell.

I will also have higher plants, currently considering 1 or 2 of these:
Bacopa monnieri
Ludwigia repens
Ludwigia arcuata
Rotala rotundifolia

Since we don't have flourite available in Denmark which would be a good choice I think, I am in the search for some good substrate. Any ideas? There's humus available and Sera Flordepot. I could mix it with gravel or sand perhaps? I think a 7-9 cm layer would be sufficient.

For filtering I consider eheim external filter. A small school Kerri tetra and a handfull Amano shrimps will inhabit the tank.

I appreciate some feedback, since I'm new to planted tanks, and I want to do it right.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2004, 10:47 AM
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Hi There

You have a lot of light there. IMO 3 of those bulbs will be sufficient. That is a 15 gallon and 45 watts is already 3 watts per gallon and that is plenty.

I live where there are no cool substrates either. My solution for about 8 years now has been potting soil. You make it about 2.5cm thick and then a layer of gravel over that to cap it and keep the soil out of the water column. The gravel cap also about 2 - 2.5cm.

The light you will have and the addition of CO2 will be more than sufficient to grow Riccia. Glosso will grow under that as well. So look at pictures and decide what you like. You have enough light to grow anything.

Your filter must just be set up to make sure you lose the least CO2 on the return to the tank. There are various ways to try and achieve that. Spray bay just under the water or just above etc.

As for your fauna I think that will be fine you can try an oto or two as well. They stay small and make short work of algae.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2004, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Hi, thanks for the answer

When I convert I get it to approx 34 gallons (162 liters minus the 3 inch substrate)

I use: 1 liter = 0.2641721 gallon [US, liquid]

So 96 watts divided by 34 is 2.8 wpg. 2.2 wpg if I don't deduct the substrate.

So unless I'm using the wrong gallon.... I don't know.. :roll:

I have found some rough sand in packages at 3-5 mm and around 6 - 9 mm. reasonably priced at an aquarium store here.. I think it's usable mixed up wih various good stuff.

What would the minimum grain size be for the top layer (I will start with the coarse gravel with peat/humus/??? and gradually make it finer

Good idea with the oto's (I assume it's those small dwarf Otocinclus)

Edit: I forgot to mention... could you explain more about this filter and CO2 spray thing?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2004, 12:22 PM
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1 gallon = 3.78 litres I memorized that so when I see an Amano tank I can convert it in my head, but you used the right convertion factor. 162 l is ~43 gallons, we don't usually worry about the substrate displacement of water.

I always recommend finding a topsoil with as little humus as possible for someone's first tank. It is hard to explain how little peat you should use in the bottom of a new tank. If you use the mineralized topsoil the plants will grow roots through it and create a natural peat to sustain the tank. If you use a lot of peat and the plants don't permeate the substrate fast enough you can have problems. The sands you are picking would be fine to seal in the bottom layer.

I have a 96 watt light over a 30 gallon tank and I am very happy with the effect. You should be fine with that much over a 162 litre tank.


Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2004, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ok..sounds like i'm covered for lights.

I'm not sure whats considered alot of peat/humus. Is a handful enough? is it a liter or is that too much?

I thought about layering it like this from top down:

~12 kg. sand at ~ 2 mm (will it pack too much for the roots to grow?)
~12 kg. gravel at ~ 3-5mm With some of it being peat/humus
~12 kg. gravel at ~ 6-8mm With some of it being peat/humus

Is there a difference between peat and humus, or is it two words for the same thing..basically...?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-07-2004, 06:52 AM
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Hi again

Ok sorry about my conversion of your tank to gallons as I said we are metric here so I occassionally make a hash of it.

I have only used soil as a substrate and there are a few things that you need to know. First off soil is very unstable in the beginning. If you are not careful you get really massive algae problems. I have found over the years that to minimise this effect I need to keep it simple. So I only put a commercial potting soil under the gravel. I don't mess with peat or any other weird additives. I have had to tear tanks down and start over a few times, so trust me.

I use a fine gravel 2 - 3mm in size over the top. It is not advised to move the plants a lot when you have soil. So plan your aquascape carefully. The plants that are water column feeders should make up at least half of your plant mass. That gives you more options to move plants around.

If you have more question then please ask away. I have been running soil tanks in total for 9 years now and I know a thing or two about them.

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