New to planted tanks, lots of questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2009, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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New to planted tanks, lots of questions

Hey how yinz guys doin! Just joined the forum and decided to turn my 20G tall tank into a planted tank. I just wanted to ask a few questions about my equipment that currently have and if that interferes with my expectations of growth.

1st.) I have a underwater filter attached to a power head, along with a hanging filter for a 20G, all of the above are aqua clear. I have just a regular light(ALP 15w aquarium/plant, at least thats what it says on the bulb) and heater. Is this good enough to support a planted tank with some small fish and maybe a shrimp of some sorts?

2nd.) I have substrate but its either rocks or crushed coral. Is this sufficient and if not what would be a good soil to use for a begginer?

3rd.) The tank got put into storage because of a very long bad case of ick, I do not want to have my plants and animals effected by this, so what can I do to make sure I have gotten out all the ick without leaving any chemical residues behind.

Last edited by edude273; 09-06-2009 at 08:06 PM. Reason: corrected lighting
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2009, 08:21 PM
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1: Underwater filters can be a PITA to work with because they often dump all the mulm back into the tank during cleaning. They also take up too much space. Opt for external filters. Canisters are da bomb. The light is insufficient and you will need to upgrade.

2: Do not use crush coral as this will modify the water chemistry big time. Either go for something inert (sand, fine river gravel) or experiment with the readily available and often expensive substrates at your LFS. Many plant keepers have had success using cheaper media such as regular topsoil or Scotts aquatic potting soil. Just use anything but crushed coral/limestone plz.

3. Wash/rub down the tank with isopropyl alcohol. This should kill everthing.

4. Master the search function. It's your biggest friend.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2009, 08:27 PM
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You'll need a few items, and there are some items you can just not put in the tank. If you are going planted the undergravel filter can be left out. A better light would be in order, or at least a better bulb. Get some Kosher Salt or Pond Salt they are actually one and the same, and wash the tank out using it. After washing the tank, rinse it two or three times the wipe the tank clean using paper towles. You should be fine after that. There are a number of substrates that can be used. But crushed coral/rocks will provide nothing for the plants. Flourite, Eco-complete, Amazonia are just a few of the choices, or you can make your own and cap it with some fine gravel. I'm sure some others will have some ideas for you. Your budget, and the amount of time you wish to devote to your tank, will be your biggest deciding factors. Enjoy.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2009, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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any suggestions on a light that would penetrate the full distance down from the tall tank? Also the light hood is just sitting on top of a glass-top aquarium cover, is this a problem? Thank you for your input so far!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2009, 09:52 PM
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T5HO is the bees knees. With a deep tank like a 20 tall Co2 is HIGHLY recommended. Saturation in the upper half of the water column can be very intense with the only remedy being co2 or keeping it a low light tank. Covered/non covered tank is mostly user preference... I personally enjoy the aesthetics and ease of owning topless tanks.

Take a trip to the journals section and search for "20 tall." There, you can read and see what others have observed in owning a similar tank to yours, and possibly discover some absolutely mind blowing 20 talls.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-07-2009, 05:34 AM
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It i were you i would stay away from the undergravel filter system. They really dont do anything but complicate things in a planted tank. As for substrate you will need to get something else i use both eco-complete and florute. I do prefer eco complete becasue you dont have to wash it before you put it in the tank and it is easier to get your plants to stay in place. You will need to upgrade on lighting T-5 are awesome, but you will probably need to get co2 if you go that route. As for the ick, it is always present and the health of your fish has a lot to do with if it affects them. If your fish are healthy and stress free then the ick will not affect them. You can also get a uv sterilizer and run it before you put your fish in the tank and kill off the ick.

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