Help getting started! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Help getting started!

Hi all! Just getting back into the aquarium hobby and have decided that I want to give live plants a go. I'll try to provide you with as much info as I possibly can on my tank (yet to be set-up) and try to keep my questions short and succinct. The aquarium is a 92 gallon corner tank, filter is an Eheim Professional 3 (internal heater), fish inhabitants will be 6 Thorichthys meeki and 15 Xiphophorus helleri. Thinking a Central American bioptope type tank with rocks, driftwood, etc. As far as plants are concerned, based on the research I've done, I'm thinking Vallisneria spiralis in the back corner where the filter outflow will be so they flow out over a tree stump type piece of driftwood. Then Anubias barteri selectively tied to rocks and driftwood in the front portion of the tank. Similar to the tank in the pic in this link but not nearly as heavily planted. My hope is to have the vallisneria provide cover for the swords to breed. So on to my questions. 1) What do you recommend for substrate? In the fish forums of which I am a member, pool filter sand seems to be the most popular, more so with the meeki's since they like a sand bottom. I was thinking of maybe even using a different substrate in the back corner for the vallisneria because, from what I've read, their roots grab onto gravel better than sand? 2) What do you recommend for lighting? I believe both of these plants are low-tech or low-light plants correct? And I don't want a brightly lit tank if I can avoid it since these fish typically live in more low light conditions I believe. thoughts on having a different light over the vallisneria in the back then the anubias towards the front? 3) Thoughts on a Co2 reactor? I'd like to avoid it if I can. 4) What do you recommend for fertilizer? How often? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me! I want to do it right!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 05:49 PM
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For substrate, you could use dirt capped with a layer of pool filter sand, or flourite, or just pool filter sand with root tabs. For lighting, you could use a 2 bulb T5HO light. It's what I use, and it grows low and medium light plants just fine.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Other suggestions?

Really hoping for some more suggestions. I'm a newbie and want to get it right!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 12:36 PM
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Vals are fine in sand, but add fertilizer tablets or water column ferts. I find they grow better in a richer substrate. I use one of the montmorillonite clays, Safe T Sorb or similar for most of my tanks.
Easiest way to get started with ferts is to start with one of the bottled products. Get used to dosing, and get some idea as to how much ferts your tank is using.
Then you can make the call if you want to be more economical and buy dry ferts to make the solutions yourself.
Seachem Excel or similar (active ingredient Gluteraldehyde) is a reasonable source of carbon for many plants, but Valisneria does not seem to like it at higher doses. If you decide on a liquid carbon source only dose at the lower end of the suggested dosing.

Will that many Firemouths be OK in that tank? It is a rather compact shape, so all their territories will be within sight of each other.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the advice Diana. So would you recommend using the montmorillonite clays over the entire tank even though I am only planning on planing the vals in the back corner?

As far as the firemouths, the general consensus on the cichlid forums of which I am a member is that they will be fine in that area. That if I had 2 they will be more aggressive to each other then if I have 5 or 6. That keeping them in groups of 5-6 actually makes them less aggressive towards each other.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 01:38 PM
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Giving the dimentions of this tank would help those who would help you.
Light can be purcheased pretty close to exactly the par you want but will still need some adjusting. Sevedral ways to do that but you need a starting point which is easier and more precise if the height of the tank is known.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight the opposite direction...
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-19-2014, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Tank dimensions

Dimension are in the attached link. It' the 92 gallon corner tank. As far as the firemouths, I have been advised to start off with 8-10 juveniles, let them pair off on their own and then keep either 2 pairs, 2 pairs + 1 female, or 3 pairs depending on how I lay out my tank.

It's 48.5" corner to corner, the radius is 34.3" and the height is 24.2"
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