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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
 
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Hello everyone! (beginner ?'s)

Hello everyone! I'm from fishlore so i'm not a total beginner in aquariums, but I am a beginner in keeping planted tanks (aside from java moss and java fern).

I just acquired a 55gallon tank that I am currently fixing up (I'm re-sealing the bottom and top of the tank, and then having to clean off the hard water stains (i think they are) that are making it ugly).

I want to go full planted in this tank, and had a few ?'s.

First off, I don't know if this makes a difference, but here is the list of aquatic life that will be in this tank:

6x White cloud minnow
6x Otocinclus
6x Mollies
6x Cherry Barb
1x Platinum angelfish

Ok here are my ?'s:

1. I know that using sand as a substrate is easier in terms of the daily cleaning (removing gunk from the bottom of the tank), but will it help with plants? Is it better to use sand, or does it not matter at all?

2. What do you recommend for lighting? Also, will I have to get a whole new hood for the tank, or can I use the hood that it came with (it's just the basic lighting.. i think it's fluorescent.. I'm not sure lol)

If you have anything else you could share with me i'd much appreciate it. The tank won't be ready to start stocking for at least 2 weeks (i'll be using Bio-Spira now that I found out my LFS sells it )

Thanks a lot everyone!!! Must say i'm excited to see a lof of PA members here.. and I didn't even know about PAPAS until now
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:12 AM
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:16 AM
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On the hood for the light it should tell you what kind of bulb it supports and how many watts. Then based on the plants you want to keep that will determine whether or not you need a new hood. Some plants require high light while others require low light and some plants will grow in either.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:20 AM
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1) Sand has no nutirents in it, It is used simply for aesthetic's, a better alternative would be eco-complete, fluorite or ADA aquasoil.

2) you would probably be okay with your current lighting if you want to stay low tech, a good watt per gallon low tech tank would be around 55-100 wpg if you do decide to just use your fluorescent bulbs, you will need to get a prant friendly bulb with a kelvin rating around 6500k

3) If you want to start stocking sooner, just fill the tank with as many plants as possible, this will help prevent algae and you will be able to add fish within a couple days, and someone correct me If im wrong, but if you use biospira doesn't that cycle the tank in like a day or 2?

4) Unless your set on the mollies and barbs, I would skip them. Mollies are quite messy and pigs, and the barbs can be a bit nippy, especially with your angelfish. Instead of those you could get a school of 5-15 cardinal or rummy nose tetras (not neons b/c the angels will eat them) Then you could also get another angelfish or two on top of that. I think you would enjoy a stock like that better than the mollies and barbs, but what do I know right.

My Advice: Dont buy cheap equipment for a cheap price, buy quality equipment for a good price, by that I mean shop around and take your time, check out sales maybe craigslist or ebay. You dont have to pay top dollar for quality equipment if your frugal.

Also have fun with this hobby, enjoy being new and dont take it to seriously, because to me when something starts to require perfection it turns into work, and work turns into frustration and frustration turns into failure. Enjoy the mistakes you make, learn from them, because if you keep the right attitude you will be able to look back to these days as a successful fishkeeper and laugh.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:29 AM
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if its just one bulb you will need to upgrade it (that is if you want to do a high tech tank) as for the substrate you will need some ferts in it like "first layer" then top that off with the sand and root tabs. you will also need co2


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks a lot everyone!! Let me respond now haha:

@Orlando: thanks!!

@idk: Okay i'll tell you asap about the hood. I do not have it with the tank at the moment as i'll be picking up the hood soon. I got the Tank, Stand, and Hood for 80 bucks so i'm not too worried if the hood don't work out

@joe: 1. Can I get all this at my LFS, or do I go to a specialty store for that stuff?
2. I'm not sure what kind of plants i'll be using, though I do know i'll be taking some of the java moss and possibly one of the ferns and putting them in the new tank. I'll be getting some driftwood as well for everyone as the centerpiece of the tank as well. I was thinking of having a fairly large driftwood piece in the middle, with the plants around it and possibly the java moss covering the driftwood.
3. That is a good idea... I was planning to "plant" the tank before I got any fish for it, though the otos and white clouds will be transferred from my 20gal into this tank (i'm giving the 20gal to my Betta as he is in a small 2.5 gal that i found when i started this hobby was a little too small)
4. I'll look into the cardinal and rummy nose.. I actually just read that Mollies will eat at plants.. and lol i don't need my plants being destroyed by them.. As for the angelfish, I was actually going to use the one as a "showcase fish" but if they will be happier with more then i'll do that lol..

Thanks for the awesome advice.. sometimes I can be "in a rush" to get stuff because I am so excited for this project.. but I got the tank and that stuff for a good deal, so hopefully the rest will come that way as well

@nate: i'm not sure, but I think it's 2 bulbs.. thanks for the tips on the substrate as well.. I also read about Co2 but I gotta read up more on it.. but... is there a specific amount I need? Like i don't know squat about Co2 other then the fact that we used it @ work for some stuff LOL...
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:59 AM
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i'm not good at explaining things but you should send orlando a pm about the co2 he sells every thing you would need and he has great customer service. his store is my sig


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joetaff View Post
2) you would probably be okay with your current lighting if you want to stay low tech, a good watt per gallon low tech tank would be around 55-100 wpg
I think he means total watts

« Neil »


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by resowner92 View Post
I think he means total watts
Nah, I think the fish would like swimming under 5500 Watts of light. They would get a nice tan.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 08:08 PM
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Yes most LFS sell fluorite or eco-complete not so much ADA aquasoil though, but you cant go wrong with Fluorite or eco, so one of those would be fine.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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thanks a lot!

I'm going to try to stay clear of having to use Co2 simply because I don't really have the $$'s to upkeep a co2 system..

but I will look at lighting and other things

edit: Do you know how many pounds I should get? (55gal)
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 09:16 PM
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With Bio Spria you can add the fish almost immediately. I usually wait till the day after I have planted.

How many pounds depends on what substrate you go with since they don't all weigh the same. You want to end up with at least about 3 inches of substrate. In mine the debth of the substrate ranges from 3 inches in the front to 4 or 5 inches in the back. The debth gives the roots room to grow.

Odds are very high that the hood will not be adequate light even for a low light low tech tank.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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so should I go and get a whole new hood for the tank? And what would I look for?
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 01:55 AM
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A bit more info would be helpful here. Basically, you need to decide what type of setup you want. There are two basic types that most folks use. High tech=high light, co2, ferts, fast growth, less room for error(ie. if something is out of balance, algae tends to take over quickly). Low tech=lower light, no co2 (or maybe diy co2), little or no ferts, slower growth.

Once you figure out what you want to do, folks can be a bit more specific with their advice. Do you have any idea of what types of plants you want to use (besides the java moss)? Some plants tend to do better in higher light, although most anything can be grown in lower light.

As far as substrate, you don't need to have a plant-specific substrate, such as flourite or eco-complete. They do work well, and I use them personally, but plants can get the nutrients they need out of the water column. Honestly, the size of the grains is probably more important overall, IMHO. Plants tend to root better in smaller grain sizes, as compared to regular aquarium gravel. Lots of folks use sand as a substrate, as it is cheap and can grow plants well. If you want to use sand, go right ahead.

Take a look at Rex's site for lots of good info about planted tanks rexgrigg.com

Good luck with the new setup!

Mike


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 03:42 AM
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If I were setting up a low tech (no CO2) 55gal planted tank on a budget, this is the light I would get: http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...lestriplight48

Other options would include a 2x55watt or 1x96watt CF fixture. I personally prefer T5 fixtures, however.

You can certainly use sand if you like that, but you'll want to make sure you're using inert sand, not aragonite, since plants tend to prefer a neutral to slightly acidic root zone.

With a low tech tank it's possible to not need to dose ferts, or at least, not much. However, if you're using a sand substrate, you should probably at least consider using root tabs for the plants. I personally really like the WonderGro root tabs from www.GreenLeafAquariums.com.

I personally prefer substrates with at least some nutrient content. I really like the new black and dark Fluorite, plus my next tank I'll be using ADA AquaSoil for the first time (this stuff is $$$ though).





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