Redoing my whole tank today - any advice? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Redoing my whole tank today - any advice?

Hi All

After a long period of neglect today I'm going to take down and rebuild my 55 gallon planted tank. (48"L 12"W 18"H)Here is my plan:

1) Move my two discus and 5 cory cats to a temporary home and move my Eheim canister filter to the temp home with them.
2) Clean the whole tank and boil the flourite gravel
3) I am going to place a layer (20 lbs) of Eco-Complete on the bottom
4) Put the clean flourite on top of that
5) Add water from my 3 stage water filter
6) Turn on my CO2 Tank
7) Turn on my Coralife 4 X 65 Watt light. Blubs are all duel daylight 10,000 and 6,500k
8) Plant the entire tank with new plants from the LFS
9) Let the plants get settled for a couple days
10) Add the fish and move the Eheim canister filter back
11) My dream is to be able to grow high light plants to get a grass like effect and some red pigments. I have had very successful planted tanks with Amazon swords, wisteria and java fern in the past but no luck with the lower grass like plants.

So that is the plan. I have never run the tank with this much light and CO2 before so I am looking for any advice I can get.

Once the tank is planted can I turn off my air stone entierly to preserve CO2 without harming the fish? In my last fully planted tank I did not use an air stone but I did not have discus either. Should I maybe just run it at night?

Should I turn off the CO2 at night?

Do you think it is ok to keep using the same bacteria and probably algae spores in the canister tank from the old tank to the new?

I am a little concerned that the new tank with the CO2 might be dramatically different PH than the old tank so it might hurt the discus.

I have some fertilizer tablets. Should I use them right off the bat under the new plants or should I rely on the Eco-complete for the first few months?

I know this is a lot but I just thought I might be able to get a word of wisdom. I am trying to avoid setting off an expensive algae bomb right out of the starting gate.

The last time I had a tank working well it looked like this:
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 10:34 PM
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Well... I may have missed it but are you planning any fert dosing(besides the gravel tabs)? You are absolutely going to need them. Also, I would not jump straight to 4 wpg with a newly planted tank. I'm gonna say run 2 bulbs and get some ferts from Rex Grigg. After about a week or so, slowly add more lights. Say 2 bulbs for 3 hours, all 4 for 2 hours, then back to 2 bulbs for the remainder of your photoperiod. That should get the plants adjusted before you start dumping in lots of light and lots of fertilizer. Less than that and you're probably gonna have algae issues. As far as running the CO2, I run mine 24/7, but I'm also not keeping any sensitive fish. That might be worth investing in a ph controller or even just a timer to shut off the CO2 solenoid at night. I hope my .02 helps, and I'd definitely recommend doing a little more research on high light/high tech tanks before you take the plunge. Best of luck!


PS. The old tank looked great!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike! That sounds like very reasonable advice. Exactly what I was looking for. The light has duel power plugs so I will be able to take your advice. I will check out what Rex has and get a fertilization plan going.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 10:55 PM
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Also something to check out is the 55W 9325K lights. They are compatible with coralife, I think. They just seem to be the best lights for growth, overall. Try maybe two of those and then a 10,000K and a 6500K. Other than that I'd say you're on the right track.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike. I will look into those bulbs for sure next refresh. I looked at Rex Grigg's site (Great Tip) and I think I am going to try his recommendations for the 40-60 gallon tank on this page: It does sound like a lot of work but with a little pre-measured packs or something I think i can pull it off.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2008, 02:30 AM
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I am about to tear down and re-do my 50 gallon tank, this time with an aqua soil substrate so I have been thinking about a lot of the same issues lately. Agree with starting out slowly with the lights and CO2 and that you will need a comprehensive fertilization routine. Couple of things you may want to also think about. It sounds like you are planning on running the tank initially with no filter at all. If you start the tank back up from scratch the tank will go through some kind of cycle and that would happen quickest if you were able to keep the old dirty filter on the new tank. I would be hesitant to move sensitive fish like discus to a brand new tank at the same time the filter was installed, even if the filter did already contain bacteria. With discus you may need at least a little time for the tank to stabilize once the filter is moved back. The other thing that would help immensely to prevent algae as you start with higher light, CO2 and ferts is being able to really pack the tank with fast growing plants from day one. That will be expensive for a 55 if you get plants at the LFS. Check the Swap and Shop forum on this site. You should be able to find much better deals for healthier and larger portions of plants. If you are new to CO2 you should probably get a drop checker (with 4 dKH solution) to help monitor your CO2 levels if you don't already have one. Green Leaf Aquariums would be a good source for that. Definitely plan on really slowly drip acclimating the discus to the new tank conditions, if the water is "healthy" when you do it and you go slow they should be fine.
I hope you get an answer to the question about the algae spores in your filter, I would also like to know. Good luck, keep us posted on how it works out!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2008, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Captain! That all sounds like good advice. I have another canister filter of lower quality that I might setup fresh on the new tank. Then I could add a couple of my corydoras to help start the new filter in the new tank for a week or so. In the end it will be quite a balancing act of filters, water changes, and patience.

Thanks for bringing up the tip to fill the tank from the start with plants. I have heard about that and I am sure my LFS can help me with it.

Funny you should mention a drop checker. I was at the LFS today and I saw one for the first time and asked the sales guy what they were. I have never heard of such a thing. Great advice. I will get one.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-12-2008, 10:50 AM
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set up your other filter on your current tank before tearing it down. this will help "seed" it with the bacteria it will need.
Personally I wouldnt pull out and boil the flourite. i would just drain the tank and add the eco complete refill and put fish back in a day or so later. By boiling the substrate you will kill off all the bacteria. If its due to contamanation or a infestation of some sort disregard this.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2008, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice Crimson. I wish I had thought of that early filter setup before I moved everything today. That is a good idea. But so far so good.

I thought about keeping the gravel but I really needed to have a fresh start. No infestation but it was very dirty and neglected. I don't have many fish so I think I can get by building a new bio-system slowly. I did not want to leave anything to chance because i really need this tank to shine again.

I have the first planting done and it is amazing how the green plants look in a fresh tank under lights. I hope that if I follow all the advice above I can avoid the dreaded algae bomb.
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c02 advice, discus, new tank setup, planting advice

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