New tank setup, few questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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New tank setup, few questions

Hi, Im setting up my 55 as a planted tank.

So far I have 60 lbs of flourite in the tank, I have a 216 watt T5 6,700 light, and my pressuirized CO2 is filled.

In the past i didnt have too much luck with live plants, so this time I want to do it right.

What plants should I start out with, should I go with quick growing, stem plants for now, and then go with the plants I want to grow later???

Also, to keep stem plants down and not floating out of the substrate, is lead weights ok for this? For some reason im not too keen on the idea of handling lead, and having lead in my tank. Any other alternatives???

Thanks in advance...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 02:14 AM
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Welcome to TPT! We're glad to have you.

How deep is your substrate? 60lbs doesn't sound like a lot to me... but if you've got 2-3" you're good.

Using tweezers and planting stems down at about a 45degree angle really helps when trying to keep plants down. (Also helps to give the plants time to grow decent root systmes before adding scavengers like catfish species- they tend to knock the plants out when they're out and about foraging.) I don't like weights, either, personally- but some people use them.

IMO it's a really good idea to start off with lots of fast stems- bacopa, hornwort, hygros, rotalas, cabomba, ludwigia are all good ones to try. You don't ONLY have to plant these, definitely pick plants that you want to try out- that's a big part of the fun of planted tanks- but also pick up some of the "old standbys" that really help in the "keeping algae down" department.

Good luck and I hope to see pics of your tank soon!





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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 02:24 AM
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you've got a lot of light.
Algae will be your best friend unless you get a lot of plants in there fast.
And then it will still be your friend until your tank establishes itself.

Bunch plants first then slow growers but high nutrient feeders. You can definitely do high light needs plants, especially with pressurized CO2.
Use some surface plants too at first, they are uber high feeders.

Get some otos and some amano shrimp with whatever you are using to start off with ...don't start off with high needs livestock....keep it simple, be patient and don't give up.

Others will jump in with more detailed answers, i'm sure


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 02:29 AM
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Oh yes, Lead is evil - use rocks. I am serious. Tie or use elastics to tie your plants to rocks/stones instead of lead weights.

I usually just tuck my plants into the substrate and if they look like floaters then I stick a rock on top of the roots until they stick in. So far, 467 to none for me


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 03:43 AM
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Hey there,

Definitely get some angled tweazers for planting stems. As far as you co2 goes, make sure you have a drop checker and get your co2 close to 30ppm and like everybody said, get abunch of plants right up front. Aquariumplants.com and aquabotanica are 2 really good inexpensive (actually really cheap!) online stores to get really great quality plants, and a big order will justify the $30-40 shipping charge, which is well worth it in what you would save in prices at your local fish store and gas to get there.

Fast growers and floaters, even if you don't plan on keeping them will give you a great start on getting that tank goin and keeping the algae away. You can always sell off some of your well grown plants you want to get rid of for new ones later on on this forums swap and shop.

Do some research on dosing and develope a plan. It will be changing until the tank stablizes. This will promote healthy grown to support your high lighting and co2 injection, and again really help to keep algae down by allowing the plants to outcompete the algae. Some ottos and amano shrimp will really help keep the tank nice and clean, and take care the first stages of algae.

I assume you have a 4 bulb fixture, or you have multiple electrical cords so you can stagger your lighting times. I would start off with half of your lights on for 8-10 hours and throw the other half on for a few hours to give a "noon burst" and increase this over time if needed. Definitely take it slow and before you know it you will wish your plants will grow slower, but will look awesome!

Good Luck!

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, some great Advice here.

the 60 lbs of flourite did yield about 2 1/4" avg. I have it about 2 1/2 inches in the rear, and slopping down to about 2 " in the front. Do you think this will be adaquete?

Like I said, I'm not rushing it this time, taking my time to make sure this is done right this time. I will prepare a large order this weekend of fast growing stem plants, and good nutrient absorbers to help offset the algea.

Steve- As for the angled tweezers, do you mean something like this?
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...8&pcatid=10678

As for fish, should I add fish before, during or after I add the plants? Not sure when I should start the cycling process? The plants will actual suck up the ammonia and nitrites as the tank cycles right?

I know this may be too much light to run all 4 for the 10 hrs a day, so I do plan to run only 2, and like steve said, run the other 2 for a few hrs in the middle of the light cycle to simulate high noon.

My light has moon lights, but I dont think I will use these, I hear they can stimulate algea?

I did pick up a drop checker at my local aquarium store, its the redsea version, hopefully this is accurate.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 04:09 PM
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Personally I like more substrate depth, especially in the back of the tank. Depends a lot on how you want the 'scape to look (more height in the back adds more sense of depth to the tank) and what plants you'll be incorporating (swordplants tend to need deeper substrates b/c their root systems are massive). My 90gal tank goes from 2-5", and I think I'm going to shoot for 6" in the back of my 29gal...

When to add to livestock all depends on how you go about the tank setup and tank cycle. Yes, plants will help a tank cycle more quickly, and it's certainly possible to do a "silent cycle" on a tank and never experience an ammonia/nitrite peak at all (I did that on my 90gal).

If you have another established tank going right now, grab some mulm from that tank and put it under your substrate. If you can get enough mulm, some established filter media for the new filter, and lots of plants- you should be able to add a light bioload right up front with no spikes. Just keep an eye on water parameters for a week or so, and then continue stocking slowly.





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