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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Need Guidance on New Planted Tank

Hi Everyone!
My name is Kate and I am new to the forum. I currently have several low tech planted tanks (9 tanks in all), but I don't know anything when it comes to high tech planted tanks. I hope that you guys will be able to help me in this area

For my Christmas present, I am planning on turning my 55 gallon into a high tech planted tank. My lights will give me about 2.4 WPG (I can upgrade to 3 WPG if it is absolutely necessary. I will be using a DIY CO2 system, and Seachem's line of liquid fertilizers.

The amount of plants that are available to choose from (especially when buying them online) is quite overwhelming to me. There is so much out there, and I just don't know where to start.

So, my question is for all of you people who have experience with high tech planted tanks: What are your favorite species of plant to work with (please only name plants that will work with the setup that I have)? I need suggestions from everything from background plants to foreground groundcover. I am really intersted to hear what you have to say
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 03:54 AM
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Just posting to say hi!

Any thought on going pressurized on the CO2?

With the amount of light on that size I think you may want it to help keep algae at bay.

If a more experienced person could add that would be great. I am relatively new at this as well.

Anyhow, warm welcome to you!

- bean
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 03:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks I would love to do pressurized CO2, but at this point, I cannot afford it. I will probably upgrade later though

I am also looking for a good algae eater to help keep algae at bay, but I need something that won't add a lot of bioload to the tank. I am thinking maybe a crew of otos with some shrimp, but I am not sure how many I should stock in a 55.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 04:34 AM
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I think 2.4 is still considered medium range. 3+ is where you get into high range. I use DIY co2 on my 55 gal and it works well enough combined with excel but you will need about 4 2L bottles. I rotate 2 each week.

The seachem fert line is good but its rather expensive. Dry ferts will last you much longer and probably cost about the same for the initial investment.

As for the algae eater it depends on what kind of fish you want to keep besides them. I know people do well with ottos/shrimp or a combo of both but my main fish in the tank would eat ottos and shirmp plus my water is rather inhospitibale for the shrimp. I chose a bristle nose pleco and am rather happy with him so far.

If you want a carpet you might need to pump more light into the tank if you choose glosso or something similar. I personally like red plants so my tanks have a lot of Limnophila aromatica, Rotala macrandra and Rotala rotundifolia. I also like mosses and downoi. Swords and crypts are good mid ground plants too. You can cruse the plant profiles on this site or the swap n shop which has a variety of plants usually with pics.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 08:52 PM
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Welcome to TPT! Nice to see someone else from S.D.

Just want to add on to PLAKAT's post. I agree if you are dosing fertilizers, look in to dry dosing for a 55 gal.
As for plants, I also like Hygrophilia sp., "Bold" and "Sunset" are nice looking, easy to grow and can be placed mid-to-background depending on how you keep them trimmed. Vals are nice as a background plant and are weed-like in their growth.
I have ottos in my 50 gal. and have never had them bothered by any other fish, shrimp are a different story... Most fish think shrimp are tasty treats if they are small enough to get them in their mouths. Nerite snails are reported to be good at algae control, but I have no personal experience with them.

Good Luck!
James

50 gal Planted (Always under construction).......
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 09:59 PM
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Personally, I like to go to my lfs's and see what i like, and if I see something I dont recognize in a display tank or something, I ask whoever is in charge what the plant is... usually they'll give me a sprig or two of it if its a stem plant... I've grown a lot of plants from that.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 10:07 PM
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Welcome...

You didn't mention what type of lighting you have. 2.4 wpg of T5 lighting will put a bit more light in the tank than 2.4 wpg of PC lighting. Naturally the quality of the reflectors in the fixture will influence how much light makes it into the tank with either type of bulb so the wpg thing is only an estimate. Either way you have enough light that you will need to dose ferts and at the very least use Flourish Excel for a carbon source or you will be facing a big algae problem. Ultimately you should invest in pressurized CO2 for a tank this size with the amount of light you have. Plenty of good info on all these subjects can be found in the various forums. Use the search function, do some reading and you will most likely have more questions to ask. I think you will find the members here very helpful. Suggest you start by read the dosing regimes sticky in the water parameters forum.

Here is a good source for dry ferts, they ship from Napa, CA priority mail so you would probably receive them in one day.

http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/

For a tank this size I recommend buying Excel by the 4L jug as it is the most cost effective. Big Al's sells these for around $40. When I was dosing my 50 gallon with Excel I figured out that a 4 liter jug would last me around 8 months dosing daily at the recommended dosage plus the quadruple dose Seachem recommends after a 40% or greater water change. I was EI dosing my tank which calls for weekly 50% water changes.

x2 on the ottos, I have come to the conclusion that most of the supposed algae eating fish don't eat that much algae but ottos are cute, peaceful, fun to watch and will at least help control diatoms. The best algae control though is a clean, balanced tank full of healthy plants. Be sure to check out the swap and shop forum, much better quality plants and prices than you will find in most stores.

Best of luck!
Steve
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plakat View Post
I think 2.4 is still considered medium range. 3+ is where you get into high range. I use DIY co2 on my 55 gal and it works well enough combined with excel but you will need about 4 2L bottles. I rotate 2 each week.

The seachem fert line is good but its rather expensive. Dry ferts will last you much longer and probably cost about the same for the initial investment.

As for the algae eater it depends on what kind of fish you want to keep besides them. I know people do well with ottos/shrimp or a combo of both but my main fish in the tank would eat ottos and shirmp plus my water is rather inhospitibale for the shrimp. I chose a bristle nose pleco and am rather happy with him so far.

If you want a carpet you might need to pump more light into the tank if you choose glosso or something similar. I personally like red plants so my tanks have a lot of Limnophila aromatica, Rotala macrandra and Rotala rotundifolia. I also like mosses and downoi. Swords and crypts are good mid ground plants too. You can cruse the plant profiles on this site or the swap n shop which has a variety of plants usually with pics.
Thanks so much for the info! I don't know if I love the idea of having 4 2L bottles sitting in my already cramped bedroom. I wonder if I can find a way to hide them.....maybe behind my dresser??? I have a few BN plecos in my 80 gallon tank, and I could easily move one of them over to the 55 gallon. I looked up the plants that you mentioned and they are very nice looking. I might put a couple swords in, but since my other low light tanks are full of swords and crypts, I kinda want to try something different I definetly want a carpet plant, but I am not sure what kind yet. Glosso is nice though

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRB77 View Post
Welcome to TPT! Nice to see someone else from S.D.

Just want to add on to PLAKAT's post. I agree if you are dosing fertilizers, look in to dry dosing for a 55 gal.
As for plants, I also like Hygrophilia sp., "Bold" and "Sunset" are nice looking, easy to grow and can be placed mid-to-background depending on how you keep them trimmed. Vals are nice as a background plant and are weed-like in their growth.
I have ottos in my 50 gal. and have never had them bothered by any other fish, shrimp are a different story... Most fish think shrimp are tasty treats if they are small enough to get them in their mouths. Nerite snails are reported to be good at algae control, but I have no personal experience with them.

Good Luck!
James
I will definetly look into dry dosing. Anything to cut costs will help me out a lot right now (especially in this awful economy). I will look up the Hyrophilia. I have vals in my 80 gallon angel tank and I love them. I would definetly consider putting them in the 55 as well. How many otos do you use to clean your 50 gallon? I have given up on the idea of shrimp since I have 2 keyhole cichlids in the tank that would probably make snacks out of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wschalle View Post
Personally, I like to go to my lfs's and see what i like, and if I see something I dont recognize in a display tank or something, I ask whoever is in charge what the plant is... usually they'll give me a sprig or two of it if its a stem plant... I've grown a lot of plants from that.
I will check out my lfs and see what they have, but they really don't carry much as far as plants go. There is one place that does, but I have to drive 45 minutes to get there. I am planning to buy most of my plants online so that I can pick from a larger selection.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_bu View Post
Welcome...

You didn't mention what type of lighting you have. 2.4 wpg of T5 lighting will put a bit more light in the tank than 2.4 wpg of PC lighting. Naturally the quality of the reflectors in the fixture will influence how much light makes it into the tank with either type of bulb so the wpg thing is only an estimate. Either way you have enough light that you will need to dose ferts and at the very least use Flourish Excel for a carbon source or you will be facing a big algae problem. Ultimately you should invest in pressurized CO2 for a tank this size with the amount of light you have. Plenty of good info on all these subjects can be found in the various forums. Use the search function, do some reading and you will most likely have more questions to ask. I think you will find the members here very helpful. Suggest you start by read the dosing regimes sticky in the water parameters forum.

Here is a good source for dry ferts, they ship from Napa, CA priority mail so you would probably receive them in one day.

http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/

For a tank this size I recommend buying Excel by the 4L jug as it is the most cost effective. Big Al's sells these for around $40. When I was dosing my 50 gallon with Excel I figured out that a 4 liter jug would last me around 8 months dosing daily at the recommended dosage plus the quadruple dose Seachem recommends after a 40% or greater water change. I was EI dosing my tank which calls for weekly 50% water changes.

x2 on the ottos, I have come to the conclusion that most of the supposed algae eating fish don't eat that much algae but ottos are cute, peaceful, fun to watch and will at least help control diatoms. The best algae control though is a clean, balanced tank full of healthy plants. Be sure to check out the swap and shop forum, much better quality plants and prices than you will find in most stores.

Best of luck!
Steve
Wow, thanks so much for all of the info! Here is the link to the light fixture I am purchasing:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...71&pcatid=9871

I am on a seriously tight budget, so if I go with pressurized co2, my budget is about $100. I would like to order it from the same place that I am getting my lights so that I don't have to pay double on shipping. I am pretty clueless about CO2.....do you know if any of the systems shown on this link are any good?

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?c=3578+3747

I will definetly read the dosing regimes sticky. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction I will check out the Big Als website to check out the 4 liter jug of excel. I wonder if shipping will be expensive though. I may look around and see if anyone in San Diego carries it.

I know that I need to have a balanced tank, but algae eaters are just good backup I may go with otos, but I am not sure yet.

I will definetly check out the Swap and Shop section. I am all for good deals on plants! Honestly this whole idea of setting up a high tech tank is so daunting, and I hope that I can pull it off. There is so much that I don't know!
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 11:37 PM
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If you are buying a new light I would check out this thread. It might be a bit much light for you if you have one already but its only like 20 bucks more.

I would be grabbing one If I didn't already have a light for my 55 gal tank.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-10-2008, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Oh wow! That light is incredible I wasn't planning on buying one for another couple months, but I might snatch it up now. I don't know if they would still have them at that price in a month or so. That would give my almost 4 WPG!!! What kind of CO2 would I have to do with that wattage?
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-10-2008, 12:31 AM
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Ideally pressurized of some kind.

I have on my 55 gal tank 130watt of CF light and 108 of T5 so its a little over 4wpg. I have the 4 2L bottles running but I also use excel. The light has been on sale for a while but no idea how much longer. I kind of want one of my lights to break so I can get it.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-10-2008, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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I will definetly go with pressurized if I can afford it I will do DIY and dose with Excel if I can't. I'm glad to hear that DIY and Excel are working for you on your 55 gallon with 4WPG.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-10-2008, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Soooooo........after quite a few hours of looking at pics and profiles online, this is the tentative list of plants that I have come up with. Please feel free to give me your thoughts on the plants listed and let me know if there is any you think that I should add or take away from the group. I have more plants listed than I am planning on putting in the tank, so that's where you come in. Please help me weed out the bad choices Thanks so much for looking at my list BTW: I composited this list assuming that I will be working with 4 WPG (as long as I can get that awesome light, lol)

Floating Plants:
Water Sprite

Carpet Plants:
Dwarf Hairgrass
or
Glossostigma elatinoides (Glosso)
or
Crystalwort

Foregound:
Java Moss (attached to driftwood)
Anubias (various species)

Midground:
Cryptocoryne spiralis
Amazon Sword
Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata or Limnophila aromatica
Rotala rotundifolia
Pearl Weed/ Pearl Grass

Background:
Vallisneria sp. 'Contortionist'
Hygrophyla difformis
Java Fern?
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-10-2008, 03:14 AM
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I suggest to start with 3 kinds of plants.

Carpet: Glosso or HC
Mid: Crypts or Pearlweed
Back: Vallisneria
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