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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Smile new tank setup

Hi all, glad to have found this site. Looks like a great group, been reading up on threads, lots of books and trying to get ideas
I wanted to post my idea for a new tank setup and as I am using Diana Walstad's book (had it for 5 years now) as a guide, I have done some planted tanks in past, but this time i want to do it right.
I have been caring for freshwater - cichlids mainly for 10 years, dabbled in planted aquaria but never successfully long term.
I have kept saltwater aquaria for 6 years now, growing corals and such, but would really love to add a nice planted aquarium to my fish room.

I have a 20gallon biocube. Here is my plan for it.

I plan to place a seedling warm mat under the tank.
1/2" sand, 1" topsoil (plan on getting from store), crushed seashells for buffering capacity,1/2-1" fine-medium gravel on top.

My plan is for a variety of plants to start with to start tank up, depending on what is available locally. My hope is valasaria (?sp), columba in back and substrate a little deeper in back for depth, ludwigia, echinod. in midground and some small ground cover in front.

If readings are ok, will put in fish - plan is simple - tetras, perhaps a corydora cat., dwarf gourami; ultimately some shrimp/snails. (still researching small fish as choices)

the tank will not be in direct sunlight but has 2x24w t5's which should be adequate for moderate -bright light requiring, as this was adequate for high light requiring corals.

temp will be maintained 74-78
I plan to use ro/di water (readings: tds = 0, pH = 7.0, gH = <20mg/L, KH = <10mg/L ) and buffer as tap water is pH 7.9, tds = 25-80 depending on day, gH = 60mg/L, KH = 50mg/L

I figure will be easier to buffer than worrying about treating water while adding, and i wont have to worry about contaminants in tap water

the biocube has a small sponge for biofiltration - but the main plan is to use the pump and overflow for water movement - i was never satisfied with the movement for corals, but it is good for planted tanks i think ~600-800 gph.


I would love to hear constructive criticism and advice for plant /fish choices. (i would rather get locally than order and i have 2 good lfs' with nice healthy plants and fish) so depends on what is available.
thanks . Plan is to go tomorrow to get the stuff and plants and start setup. I will post pics as i go.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 01:29 AM
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I'd buffer the water yourself w/ water changes rather than rely on the seashells. 1) unpredictable to know how much will get you where. 2) hardness will continue to increase until the next water change. 3) buffering w/ RO right, etc. will absorb into the water much quicker and you'll have less of a pH swing that way--much safer if you do end up adding shrimp to the tank.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the reply. I figured i would need buffer, and if i will, might as well start with ro and not worry about contaminants.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 03:52 PM
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Two 24 watt T5HO lights on a 20 gallon biocube, which is about 16 inches deep or so, is way too much light to even think of a Walstad type tank. It is even too much to use for a CO2 injected tank unless you are devoted to keeping the CO2 concentration at the maximum, the fertilizing optimized, with good water circulation, good surface water movement, and very good tank maintenance. One of those T5HO bulbs would probably be too much for a Walstad type tank too.

It really isn't necessary or even desirable to use reconstituted RO water, and buffering the water isn't necessary either. If your tap water is harder than you want, you can dilute it with RO water to lower the hardness, but don't try using all RO water, unless you just enjoy doing the adjusting of water parameters that is needed.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hoppy, thanks for the advice. I had this previously setup as saltwater hence the lighting, and i think it is a 16, was thinking was 20gallon.

I have read some, too high light overstimulates the plants where growth is too much hence demand for nutrients and co2 goes way up. might you suggest i take the lid off and use a 60watt daylight bulb over the edge to more fit with a walstad type with the soil /sand /gravel?

i started it today, 3/4" soil, and aragonite sand/gravel and first thing i should have done was tired and was on my list was to get actual gravel/small stones to put on top , so clearing, but a littlle chunky,

put mini sword, banana, val, columba and a few others.

I want to do this right, and would have used a 10 gallon i have if i knew/thought the lighting would be too much, but the cover is easy to unhinge, and i can then perhaps have some plants that grow out of the tank for air use as well - easy enough to redo at this point in time or just change light

addition: my concern with using ro water rather than tap was whether is better to do that and buffer vs. using tap water and additives to remove chlorine and such
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 11:09 PM
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Using a dechlorinator, such as Seachem Prime is much, much easier and better than using reconstituted RO water, in my opinion. Tap water rarely contains enough of anything other than chlorine/chloramine to be a problem in a planted tank.

I'm not familiar enough with Walstad's method to say how it should be done, but I do know that it only works with low light, which would be even less than a single 24 watt T5HO bulb.

Hoppy
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2009, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for your advice Hoppy. I am not aiming to do completely with Walstad method, more just lower tech. I will be monitoring water quality/pH and such, and will just use the prime (did for the fill up )).
this will be a trial i guess and see how the tank does with just 1 24 watt light, i have fertilizer and such as well and may do co2 by bubbler (not going with tank) if there is issues.

right now my biggest issue is the pump i have in the biocube is a little too turbulent, have it turned down some and is better, and just have to let the water clear (turned it down by shaving 1/8" off propeller))

cheers
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2009, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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question, i have noted a lot of small nano tanks do not have anything for water flow, and a lot of threads seem to recommend against too strong, should i try to keep it minimal? currently i have enough flow ~600-800gph with plants gently swaying..
((and wanted to add , love the site, i am trying to read everything i can ))
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2009, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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picture of my 2 small tanks a start, and I will do water parameters tonite to see where i am and if stable add fish next weekend
nothing special on aquascaping as i want plants to thrive and then will worry over the looks
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2009, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forestal View Post
question, i have noted a lot of small nano tanks do not have anything for water flow, and a lot of threads seem to recommend against too strong, should i try to keep it minimal? currently i have enough flow ~600-800gph with plants gently swaying..
((and wanted to add , love the site, i am trying to read everything i can ))
Just having the plants all moving gently in the water flow is good enough for circulation. If you inject CO2, having more surface movement is helpful for keeping the amount of oxygen in the water at a maximum, so the fish can tolerate the CO2 better. If you don't use CO2, some surface movement is good both for keeping oxygen in the water and for keeping the minimal amount of atmospheric CO2 in the water.

Hoppy
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2009, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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thanks hoppy,

been reading a lot of threads and although i thought i planned ahead i did not do half of it. so i think this will be a good learning set and getting the hang of monitoring and i setup 2nd tank so i can have a backup and also use as a place to put livestock if i redo the other.
I will keep reading, and i am thinking i will need as you said to do co2, so will setup a diy soon as well for the biocube, the other is low light with led's = may get another 7 watt flurescent to add to it - have lots of high light but want something low but not too low
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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sorry for the question, i am reading the faqs, love the what mistakes made and lots of good info. I noticed a lot recommend canister filtration.

Don't the plants act as a good biologic filtration if they are growing well? I realize having a good bacterial population is helpful, but i would think a planted tank in some ways might lessen the amount of filtration (not eliminate) you would need. I suppose if you are dosing all of your nutrients /co2 then the cleaner the water the better, but from a low tech viewpoint might a good mechanical filter with good surface area and light flow be adequate?

I am guilty of setting up in too much of a rush, for sure, i have a small nano hob filter on the 5gallon for now and will be tracking the readings on the tank daily to see what happens and will check pH fluctuation day and night
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 01:10 PM
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The plants will suck up nitrates, but you'll still need a bacterial population to convert the ammonia to nitrites and then to nitrates.

The actual surfaces of the plants are populated by these beneficial bacteria also.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2009, 03:17 PM
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If the plants are plentiful and growing, they will use the nitrates, ammonia and nitrites in the water. That's why you can set up a planted tank without any cycling at all. Just plant it heavily from the start, give the plants a week or so to start growing well, then you can add a few fish and gradually build up the fish population.

The tank water, without a good filter, will always look a bit cloudy with tiny particles floating around, and that isn't the best thing for a healthy tank. So, good mechanical filtration is a good idea. That mechanical filtration media, sponges, filter floss, filter pads, will also harbor lots of nitrifying bacteria too, whether you want it there or not. It is fish only tanks that must have good biological filtration, with lots of bio media, to keep the ammonia and nitrites out of the water.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2009, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies and with my filters the tanks are nice and clear
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