Hi there! 55 Gallon yet to be started... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 05:28 AM Thread Starter
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Cool Hi there! 55 Gallon yet to be started...

Well, I've been meaning to join sooner, after seeing all of your lovely tanks displayed here, and decided to tonight!
I'm actually not entirley new to the Fish keeping hobby (not yet a seasoned expert), but did decide to venture into planted tanks, a whole different side of the hobby, apparently! It definitley makes the difference, and seems to be well worth the extra effort (and funds, heh). Nice to meet ya all!
So, getting to the point of the thread, I'd love to gain a little advice from the experts in order to make this a smooth operation... I picked up a great deal on a 55 Gallon tank + stand combo, with a some extras, including a nice perfecto hood system (outfitted with a 2x15 Watt florescant light fixture). I understand that these lights would have to be replaced for a higher-watt system, to inhibit plant growth, but that's okay! I'm going to splurge a little bit to get this running algea-free.
I have yet to decide if this tank would be low, or high tech.. although it might get pricey to add CO2 injection... let me know what you all would reccomend.
For the filter, I'm thinking I'd go with the XP2 FilStar Canister Filter:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...02&pcatid=3602
As for the lights, possibly the 2x55 or the 4x55's, depending on high or low tech: http://www.ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm
What would you reccomend for the substrate? I've been looking at the ADA Aquasoil Amazonia, although it might get a little pricey for a 55. How many lbs., or liters of soil would be needed for a nice bed of substrate?
In terms of the hardscape design, a couple ideas got me thinking, of what I saw on the forums and online. I was thinking that in the middle of the tank, I would put a layer of sand, starting off narrow at the back of the tank, and then jetting out, wider towards the front-middle of the tank. It might just work out, too.
I think this covers most of what I'll need for the tank, minus the livestock, of course, which will come much, much later. I'll have to decide whether or not I'll need a fert dosing regime once we have the lights and such situated first. Thank you much for taking the time for reading this lenghthy post, and I'm open for criticism and comments.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 05:32 AM
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Welcome to TPT.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 05:39 AM
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I would get a bigger filter

-Chris

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 05:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, ricklybc!

Oh, clwatkins10, what exactly would be suitable for a filter, specifically?
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 05:49 AM
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I would get an XP3 from that family You can never overfilter

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 06:01 AM Thread Starter
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Ah, funds is a bit of an issue.. trying to keep it at some what of a budget! The XP3 might be a little too expensive for my likings.. would there be any less expensive models/brands out there?

I guess that means I'm going with a low-tech tank, so I think 2 Watts per gallon would suit me. But thanks for the tips clwatkins!

Also, would there be a more, cheap-ish alternative to ADA amazonia substrate? That might break the budget, if you add in the filter, light fixture...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 06:13 AM
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Florite Black is pretty good. As for the filter, I'd say its worth the extra 30 bucks

-Chris

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 06:20 AM
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Hello,

I see that you were/are worried about co2 injection. If you aren't wanting to spend alot of money on the tanks and pressure regulating system you could always go with DIY. I would reccommend using 2-4 2litre bottles (or juice bottles or whatever you want to use). All you do is cut a small hole in the cap of the bottle, with just enough room to fit some plastic tubing through the hole (cut the tube at a slant, and pull through the other end with pliars so it's nice and airtight.). You want the tube/hose sticking about an inch or two into the bottle. Then you can seal around the hose hole with silicone or anything else. Once you got the bottle setup, fill the bottle about 3/4 the way with warm (not hot, not cold) water. To this you add approx 1 cup of sugar, and 1-2 tsp of yeast. Then you take the other end of the tube that is outside the bottle and hook it up to an airstone/diffuser of some sort and put it into the tank, and there you have your DIY co2. Other methods on getting it diffused into the water may include running that hose/tube line into the inlet of the canister filter or somewhere else where it could diffuse into the water through the filter. This co2 mixture should last anwhere from 1-4 weeks, at which time you will have to empty out the bottle and make another batch. A good way to figure out how long you have left of the batch is to see approximatly how many bps (bubbles per second) the bottle is producing. This can be really easy or more difficult depending on how you sent the tube into the tank. If you just ran the line to the tank or used an airstone then you can just watch and see how often it makes a bubble, usually 1-3 bps from the bottle is good, any less and it's time to make another batch.

Sorry if this is too wordy or confusing. If you have more questions about DIY co2 feel free to ask, or check out the DIY forum I believe there are plenty of threads on that, if not a sticky.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic_Jungle View Post
Hello,

I see that you were/are worried about co2 injection. If you aren't wanting to spend alot of money on the tanks and pressure regulating system you could always go with DIY. I would reccommend using 2-4 2litre bottles (or juice bottles or whatever you want to use). All you do is cut a small hole in the cap of the bottle, with just enough room to fit some plastic tubing through the hole (cut the tube at a slant, and pull through the other end with pliars so it's nice and airtight.). You want the tube/hose sticking about an inch or two into the bottle. Then you can seal around the hose hole with silicone or anything else. Once you got the bottle setup, fill the bottle about 3/4 the way with warm (not hot, not cold) water. To this you add approx 1 cup of sugar, and 1-2 tsp of yeast. Then you take the other end of the tube that is outside the bottle and hook it up to an airstone/diffuser of some sort and put it into the tank, and there you have your DIY co2. Other methods on getting it diffused into the water may include running that hose/tube line into the inlet of the canister filter or somewhere else where it could diffuse into the water through the filter. This co2 mixture should last anwhere from 1-4 weeks, at which time you will have to empty out the bottle and make another batch. A good way to figure out how long you have left of the batch is to see approximatly how many bps (bubbles per second) the bottle is producing. This can be really easy or more difficult depending on how you sent the tube into the tank. If you just ran the line to the tank or used an airstone then you can just watch and see how often it makes a bubble, usually 1-3 bps from the bottle is good, any less and it's time to make another batch.

Sorry if this is too wordy or confusing. If you have more questions about DIY co2 feel free to ask, or check out the DIY forum I believe there are plenty of threads on that, if not a sticky.
Great first post Yes, you can do diy, but for a 55 gallon, I would still recommend pressurized (yes I understand I am recommending the more expensive route ) But it is much more reliable and a lot less time consuming

-Chris

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 01:15 PM
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I have two 55's so here is a little experience.

Filters
The XP2 is a great filter and will adequately clean your 55. I have XP2's on both of mine. However, the XP2 will not put out enough flow for a planted tank. If you go with this filter you will need to put a power head in the tank. I have them in each of my tanks. Price - you can get the XP2 or XP3 cheaper.
Here is about the cheapest and a good company but you will have to add in the shipping charge

http://www.kensfish.com/filstarcanisterfilters.html

Not quite as cheap but anything over $50 is free shipping right now at Petco

http://www.petco.com/product/14447/R...er-Filter.aspx

You can just about get the XP3 for what you were planning on paying at the Drs.

CO2
Tried the DIY. Just to hard to control on a 55. Was constantly battling algae. First make the BIG decision of low or high light but know that if it is high light you really need pressurized CO2.

IMO

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 02:10 PM
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you could also look at the Ehiem classics and i know you can find them cheaper on ebay new.

for substrates there really are alot of ofprions depending on how much you want to spend on it. some of the cheapest substrates are play sand and pool filter sand. thay are inert so root tabs would help with them. or you could look into something like shultz's aquasoil. there is also Turface and Soil master select (SMS but can be hard to find). then for the substrates specifily desined for planted tanks there is flourite it now comes in black and black sand. it is really dust though and you will really need to wash it well first. there is also eco-compleit, black and there was some issues with a bad back a while ago that you might run into. then as you where looking at ADA aquasoil it good no question about it but some people like it or not. there have been issues first cycling and ammonia spikes but this seams more based on the bacht you get then any thing.

hope that helps. also you really will need to decide high tech or low tech (though it looks like you might be leaning tords low tech).persoanlly, after bumbling about, i would say start low then gradually go high.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2008, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clwatkins10 View Post
Great first post Yes, you can do diy, but for a 55 gallon, I would still recommend pressurized (yes I understand I am recommending the more expensive route ) But it is much more reliable and a lot less time consuming

*off topic*

Haha thanks man, I try =]


*on topic*

I agree, in a tank that big I would highly suggest a pressurized system as well. The DIY would be great to start off with though if money is tight and you need to save up, especially since the tank is new and more than likely the plants are much smaller so they would need less fert dosing and co2 at this time. As far as cost for DIY CO2, per month it's less than $10 dollars, if not less (yeast cost next to nothing, at least around here I can get about a years supply for around $15)
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