Need advice on various aspects of new tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on various aspects of new tank

Hello,

I recently purchased a 48 gallon tank off craigslist with Fluval 206 filter and 36" life and power glo bulbs. After reading the forum and getting lots of conflicting advice from the LFS, I figured I would compile all my questions and options into one thread. Disclaimer: I am new to planted tanks and want to keep it low tech for now, which includes using things I can obtain locally and not special order.

Substrate - the tank came with 5 gallons of natural aquarium rocks. I plan to use a bag of eco-complete, mix with rinsed florite (20 lbs each) and mix all that in with 75% of my rocks for about 2.5" of coverage on the bottom.

Questions - Is this enough? Should I add any more nutrients or anything I don't know about before putting the mix down? Is this even a good idea?

Cycling - Once the sub mix is down I plan to cycle the tank about 2 weeks and add a water conditioner meant for live tanks. Need advice on what to use and if this is a reasonable thing to it. With all these black Friday deals on plants coming up I would love to take advantage but idk if my tank would be ready in time.

Basically, I want to know if my substrate plan sounds good and if so, how long I should cycle it before adding in plants. Also, what water conditioners are best.

Bonus question: the tank came with a snail infestation, and I am hoping to kill them off with the lettuce trick I read about since the aquarium wont be ready for loaches for a while. Any further advice on removing snails?

I know this is a lot! I look forward to hearing some solutions though and thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 01:43 PM
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You don't have to wait any time at all before adding your plants. While ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are harmful to fish, your plants actually feed on them.

I would point you to Seachem Prime for a conditioner, but there are many products that will do the exact same thing just as well.

The best way to completely eradicate the snails at this point would be to empty the tank completely and wipe it out with a mild bleach solution (rinse thoroughly). Since you're planning on re-using the gravel, I'd give it all a soak in bleach solution as well (again, rinse thoroughly - note: this will also kill any beneficial bacteria that may still be present). If you want to avoid the bleach, you can try trapping (you'll never get them ALL), or, like you said, loaches, or even assasin snails. To be honest, once you have the tank established, as long as you're not overfeeding, the snails should eventually die out on their own.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks cg... I have some water in the tank now with standard safestart running with it. I have 3 5-gal buckets I can save some water in while I get the substrate and plants down. After that 15 gallons of treated water is put back in (with the new plants) should I be okay to throw tapwater in the rest of the way?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 07:28 PM
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I'm a bit confused on how you have a snail infestation already. Did you buy this as a used running setup? Theres a chance your fluval 206 is already cycled and you're ready for fish! If this was an established tank/filter and if the filter media was not dried out you may be good to go.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
I'm a bit confused on how you have a snail infestation already. Did you buy this as a used running setup? Theres a chance your fluval 206 is already cycled and you're ready for fish! If this was an established tank/filter and if the filter media was not dried out you may be good to go.
Sorry, did a bad job explaining but yes, was set up I just drained water to a few inches and transported to my place. Filter has been running and was restarted within a day of emptying. I did throw a bag of carbon (I think) into the top section of the filter... was that a bad idea? It came with the setup and I just assumed it should have been in there.

My main issue is since I had to move it I'm starting with brand new water, and I am unsure how to get it back to habitable conditions. Once I plant my tank I can use my 15 gallons of good water, but the rest would just be tapwater and I want to make sure that wouldn't kill my plants. I would wait a few weeks to add fish either way
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Just found this glorious guide for starting a tank. Should have looked a little harder before posting. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...97#post1960797
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 10:40 PM
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Any sub you mentioned does not contain any nutrients which the plants can use.
And any larger pieces will eventually end up on the top of it. And there is not much point to adding Flourite to Eco unless you just like the look of it.
Fish food/waste can/will supply some of the nutrients that the plants need. A mild
amount of plants can live off this if certain ones are avoided AND you do not have high light. Any "Hygro" plant uses more Potassium than the fish food/waste supplies.
So adding nutrients(ferts) is done for high(er) lights or higher levels of plants.
API test kits are suggested over test "strips". Kit that you "need"...Nitrate.
Kits that most have...nitrate/ammonia/nitrite/GH/KH/PH.
The "cycle" will take care of it's self if you allow the tank to mature a few weeks before adding fish. However it will not have enough beneficial bacteria for a full amount of fish at that time. So either fish should be added a few each week or something like Tetra Safe Start should be used before adding the fish. For the sake of the fish, ask before using on this one as it's not instant nor will it last for weeks after use.
Carbon is supplied/w filters but it has a short life span(when in use)so people just keep it on hand for removing meds after using them on fish or when they suspect other contaminants have gotten into the water.
Any other info available on this two bulb T8 light fixture you have ?
Is this tank 36" long ?
You might get new bulbs as you don't know how old those are.
Bulbs I have used that work on plants in T8...
Zoo Med "Ultra sun"
Zoo Med "Flora sun" these two I usually use in pairs as the Flora sun has lower visible light but grows plants well.
If the tank is over 16" tall the Power Glo is good. Makes too much algae in lower tanks.
Loew's has two bulbs which work well.
GE "Daylight" states 6500K on package.
GE "Plant and Aquarium" only get it if it states on the package "enhansed red and blue spectrums because Walmart sells one which does not state this on the package and I have no idea if it's the same bulb. BTW Doctors Foster & Smith's has good prices on bulbs.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ofthemountain View Post
Sorry, did a bad job explaining but yes, was set up I just drained water to a few inches and transported to my place. Filter has been running and was restarted within a day of emptying. I did throw a bag of carbon (I think) into the top section of the filter... was that a bad idea? It came with the setup and I just assumed it should have been in there.

My main issue is since I had to move it I'm starting with brand new water, and I am unsure how to get it back to habitable conditions. Once I plant my tank I can use my 15 gallons of good water, but the rest would just be tapwater and I want to make sure that wouldn't kill my plants. I would wait a few weeks to add fish either way

How long has the tank/filter been without fish? Brand new water is not a concern for an established setup. If it were then no one could ever clean a tank and do a water change! Brand new water is certainly no concern if you dont plan on having any fish in the tank. You can throw plants into tap water without any problem

You're not really dealing with a "new" tank and if the previous owner had the filter established and the system was running without problems then you are likely good to go for fish or plants.

Keep reading up on the nitrogen cycle and how beneficial bacteria gets established as well as where it establishes itself. The filter, substrate and surfaces are your concern there. The water itself doesnt really matter!
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