New member back at the hobby in search of help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 11
Hi all,

This is my first post here on this site, and it seems like you have a nice community of fish lovers/planted tank enthusiasts. I hope to be able to pick your well educated fish brains. I am not new to fish keeping, or planted tanks for that matter, but it has been a couple years since I have had a setup. My last tank was a 75 gallon that I went with what I suppose would have been a high tech setup, with high lighting, Co2 injection, EI dosing ETC. It was my pilot into a serious planted tank, and while I had decent success with it, it had its fair share of problems. I had serious algae problems, and never quite got the balance of light, co2, and ferts correct to battle all strains of it completely. I am now living in an apartment, and I'm allowed to keep up to 20 gallons. Naturally I have already purchased a 20 gallon long tank and stand, and I'm eager to get back into the hobby, but I'm looking for some help and guidance from you kind folk. The following is a list of questions I have, input on any of the topics would be greatly appreciated!

1)Water supply

I have done a little testing on the water supply in my apartment and as indicated by the calcium deposits that are left on my dinnerware, I don't quite have the water I wish I did. the values are as follows-

pH- 7.6
GH-19DH
KH- 11DH

That GH bothers me . I would like to keep a nice variety of more difficult plant species as well as some fish like tetras which I assume wont do very well in this hard water. My question is, can I get away this? I was planning on using ADA aquasoil so that should lower them some it appears, and the C02 should help with the PH, but will this be enough or should I look into adding some peat as well? I have entertained the idea of mixing RO/DI water, and it may be an option because I do have an RO/DI filter, however the filter wastes so much more water than it puts out usable, and since my water is included in utilities I don't feel great about having to do that weekly.
I suppose if the amount I would have to mix in was not great I could purchase distilled from the store and it not be a financial burden.

2)Lighting

I have a multitude of t5 fixtures but most are too big to be usable and I'd like to go the LED route anyway. From some perusing the lighting forum I have deducted that Finnex seems to be the direction I want to go, as they seem to produce some nice fixtures for the price. I know this question has probably been beaten to death, but I cannot decide whether the planted+ will be enough to grow some more demanding plants and ground cover in this 20 long (~10 inch water column). It seems the ray2 will be way overkill, and I'm not sure if there's a combination of two that would work with such a small tank, such as adding a monster ray. Any input?

3)Substrate

From what I have read, a substrate of just ADA amazonia aquasoil seems like it should work out well for me. If you have better options please don't to offer them, but I think I'm going to try it out. My question is, will a 9L and a 3L bag be enough together to get sufficient ground cover averaging 3 inches? or should I grab 2 9L bags? I want to be able to create some hills and slope.

4)Filtration

I currently have two Rena Filstar xp3 available to use. I cant remember, but I believe they are either the medium or large sized ones. I realize one will probably be way overkill, but will I be able to get away with using one if I throttle the flow through a valve, and or stuff lots of media in the filter? should I just buy a new filter, maybe going with a HOB instead of canister? i think I'd prefer the flexibility of the canister as I can use spray bar etc. The filters I have are also a few years old and have been sitting with a little water at the bottom of both for that time. I'm worried about the gaskets not being very good or something, and it's of high importance that nothing leaks being in a third floor apartment.



I apologize for what was probably mostly incoherent rambling, and I'm sure there's tons of stuff I'll have to inquire about that I have left out, but I would be forever grateful for any expertise. I have some experience, but I am still trying to relearn the knowledge I had previously acquired, and I want to get this tank started off on the right foot.

Thanks,
Eric

Also I'll try to throw in a picture of my old 75 just because

Here are some terrible pictures of my last tank, I couldn't find any good ones unfortunately.



Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-01-2015 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
phemps is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 01:28 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
UDGags's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 999
Send a message via AIM to UDGags Send a message via Yahoo to UDGags
1. I personally would try and mix RO/DI water with your tap or use straight RO/DO and bring it up using fertz.

2. I would go with the overkill and worst case you have to raise it up.

3. Two 9L bags...If you don't use it all just seal it and save for future

4. I would not throttle, you might hurt the pump. I would just buy a smaller Rena if you like those and are familiar with them.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
UDGags is offline  
post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 01:32 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 2,339
Quote:
Originally Posted by phemps View Post
Hi all,

2)Lighting

I have a multitude of t5 fixtures but most are too big to be usable and I'd like to go the LED route anyway. From some perusing the lighting forum I have deducted that Finnex seems to be the direction I want to go, as they seem to produce some nice fixtures for the price. I know this question has probably been beaten to death, but I cannot decide whether the planted+ will be enough to grow some more demanding plants and ground cover in this 20 long (~10 inch water column). It seems the ray2 will be way overkill, and I'm not sure if there's a combination of two that would work with such a small tank, such as adding a monster ray. Any input?
So, you mentioned going high-tech with CO2 injection in your past endevors... is it your intent to do so again?

If not, the planted+ is *WAY* too much light for a low-tech shallow tank. I had to hack a dimmer into mine on a 20" deep 36bow to keep the algae at bay, even with double-dose excel and most of the inhabitants being algae eaters to some degree (ramshorns, nerites, mollies, platies and cories. Only the cories don't eat algae).

I'd look at the stingray if going low-tech..

If you're going high-tech, the planted+ should be well into high light.. Even 30" long plain-old fugeray is 48 par at 12" deep. A 24" Ray2 is 72 PAR at 12" deep (the 30" ray2 is just a 24 with more body). Bump those numbers up a bit for 10" instead of 12 and call it 55 and 75-80

A 30" planted+ at 10" deep should be well over 60, probably closer to 75 in my opinion This is highly controversial topic and many won't agree, but I take this view in this case because the 30" planted+ is a real 30" fixture, and has slightly more wattage than the 24/30" ray2. Were we going apples-to-apples and comparing fixtures with the same number of illuminated inches, I'd say the Ray2 would be noticeably higher par than the planted+. However, it is hard to overcome the fact that the 30" ray2 has 20% less illuminated length than the 30" planted+.

New to planted tanks, avid gardener/tinkerer.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Fluval C4 + Quietflow 30, Finnex Planted+ with
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
, low-tech.
10 gallon secondary tank with Finnex stingray with
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
, AC20, low tech
mattinmd is offline  
 
post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by UDGags View Post
1. I personally would try and mix RO/DI water with your tap or use straight RO/DO and bring it up using fertz.

2. I would go with the overkill and worst case you have to raise it up.

3. Two 9L bags...If you don't use it all just seal it and save for future

4. I would not throttle, you might hurt the pump. I would just buy a smaller Rena if you like those and are familiar with them.
thanks for the reply. I suppose I will have to try and mix RO/DI. I'll have to experiment with how much I need to mix in to bring down the hardness, because I definitely wont be able to get away with full RO.

As far as the Rena goes, I bought those mostly as a budget decision and figured I would get a lot of filter for the price. I would be willing to look into something better if there are suggestions as long as the price isn't overly exorbitant. Honestly I wouldn't mind potentially ruining a Rena by impeding flow, but not knowing whether it would burn out and stop working while I'm not around the tank bothers me.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
So, you mentioned going high-tech with CO2 injection in your past endevors... is it your intent to do so again?

If not, the planted+ is *WAY* too much light for a low-tech shallow tank. I had to hack a dimmer into mine on a 20" deep 36bow to keep the algae at bay, even with double-dose excel and most of the inhabitants being algae eaters to some degree (ramshorns, nerites, mollies, platies and cories. Only the cories don't eat algae).

I'd look at the stingray if going low-tech..

If you're going high-tech, the planted+ should be well into high light.. Even 30" long plain-old fugeray is 48 par at 12" deep. A 24" Ray2 is 72 PAR at 12" deep (the 30" ray2 is just a 24 with more body). Bump those numbers up a bit for 10" instead of 12 and call it 55 and 75-80

A 30" planted+ at 10" deep should be well over 60, probably closer to 75 in my opinion This is highly controversial topic and many won't agree, but I take this view in this case because the 30" planted+ is a real 30" fixture, and has slightly more wattage than the 24/30" ray2. Were we going apples-to-apples and comparing fixtures with the same number of illuminated inches, I'd say the Ray2 would be noticeably higher par than the planted+. However, it is hard to overcome the fact that the 30" ray2 has 20% less illuminated length than the 30" planted+.
Hey matt, thanks for the info. I do in fact plan on going high tech again, I still have the Co2 equipment I just need to get the tank filled and possibly look into an inline defuser if that will provide better absorption. From what you're saying, it seems like the planted plus would be a good fit. I'd prefer not to have to raise it off the tank, but if it comes down to having too much light i'd prefer that than having too little. Yea the 24 inch spread on the ray2 made it interesting in comparing to the planted+. I think I'll give the Planted+ a shot. It seems like a pretty nice light for the price, I dont remember looking into their products when I was setting up my last tank
phemps is offline  
post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 02:11 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
UDGags's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 999
Send a message via AIM to UDGags Send a message via Yahoo to UDGags
Quote:
Originally Posted by phemps View Post
thanks for the reply. I suppose I will have to try and mix RO/DI. I'll have to experiment with how much I need to mix in to bring down the hardness, because I definitely wont be able to get away with full RO.

As far as the Rena goes, I bought those mostly as a budget decision and figured I would get a lot of filter for the price. I would be willing to look into something better if there are suggestions as long as the price isn't overly exorbitant. Honestly I wouldn't mind potentially ruining a Rena by impeding flow, but not knowing whether it would burn out and stop working while I'm not around the tank bothers me.
I run a wet/dry (sump) so don't have any suggestions on other filters. Your water might work with certain plants but might not work with others. I'm sure you can get a good scape either way. You just need to do some research on what plants will work.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
UDGags is offline  
post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 02:19 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Mark Allred's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Spring Creek, Nevada
Posts: 303
"Throttling" the discharge of a centrifugal pump (your Rena) will in NO way damage it.
Starve the suction side (cavitation) and you have a problem.

125 Gallon Planted Angelfish Tank

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Mark Allred is offline  
post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2015, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Allred View Post
"Throttling" the discharge of a centrifugal pump (your Rena) will in NO way damage it.
Starve the suction side (cavitation) and you have a problem.
Cool, in that case it should work out using it. I would prefer to be able to use what I have instead of buying new anyway. I'm not well versed in pump mechanics to have realized that

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by UDGags View Post
I run a wet/dry (sump) so don't have any suggestions on other filters. Your water might work with certain plants but might not work with others. I'm sure you can get a good scape either way. You just need to do some research on what plants will work.
Sure, I planned on that either way. I suppose I have just gravitated towards some of the fish that like softer water, however the plants ultimately are more important to me . I guess overall I would prefer to have the widest range of choices, and its seemed to have been more promising in the more acidic softer waters
phemps is offline  
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2015, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 11
I just did some testing with mixing distilled water with my tap water and the results for a 3:1 (distilled/tap) are as follows.

GH-5
KH-3
pH-7.5
Ammonia-0.5 ppm
Nitrite-0 ppm
Nitrate-0 ppm
Phosphate-0 ppm

What do you guys think? should I bump it up to a 4:1 ratio to lower the hardness some more or should i be good with the effects the aquasoil will have as well

Bump: Or, may it end up being too low and will I end up having to add to it?
phemps is offline  
post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-01-2015, 02:24 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: falmouth ,ky
Posts: 451
If you have an actual Rena Filstar, then it should have come with a valve to throttle the spraybar. The API branded ones, in some genius's mind, decided they didn't need those options.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
,2x75g, 55g, 40g breeder, 29g, 2x10g, 100g stock pond..........MTS ? Nahhhhhh
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Just acquired a 150g tall and a 30g long
Fraternity of dirt #135 join--->
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


sadchevy is offline  
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-01-2015, 03:51 PM
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3
I just set up a 20 long a few weeks ago. I have a Finnex Fugeray, and so far I have had minimal algae issues. A bit of BBA and diatoms, but that's normal for a new tank. The BBA is barely noticeable, just a few hairs on some plants.

I am dosing Excel and I have a split photo period. After I noticed the BBA, I cut my lighting schedule back to 3 on/4 off/4 on, which is an hour less than my other tank. That tank has a dual T5HO.

All of my plants are low/medium light and the tanks are low tech. I dose iron and K every other day, Flourish weekly. The LED tank is the only one that gets Excel, which I dose daily.

If you are planning to do high tech, definitely go with a Fugeray.
cool_enough_username is offline  
post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-01-2015, 04:00 PM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: San Diego
Posts: 171
For substrate get Fluval shrimp and plant substrate

http://www.fluvalaquatics.com/ca/pro.../#.VM5bEMutvqA

Doesn't leech ammonia like Ada aquasoil and its MUCH cheaper.
Notorious93 is offline  
post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 02:18 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
treyLcham's Avatar
 
PTrader: (22/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Bradenton, Florida
Posts: 1,628
I don't think it matters if it leeches ammonia at first because it's not like he is putting fish in when it is first setup?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

My tank journal =).
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
treyLcham is offline  
post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by treyLcham View Post
I don't think it matters if it leeches ammonia at first because it's not like he is putting fish in when it is first setup?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yea I figured it would be a good thing leaching ammonia as the filter has no old bacteria to start the cycle fast
phemps is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome