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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after running a reef tank for 4 years, I have decided to go with something a little more simple. Tghis weekend I turned in $1500 of livestock and $300 of drygoods were sold. I have been looking into doing this for about 6 months or so but I have really started researching on here over the last couple of weeks off and on. I have a few general questions that I could not find exact answers to while searching.

Coming from a reef environment, I do plan to run my RO/DI unit for this tank. Does anyone add a buffer/supplement to the RO water before adding it to the tank? I currently plan to run the tank at 7.0pH as it will be a community tank with
Harlequin Rasboras and a few other small species of fish.

I kept my lighting equipment from my reef tank. I ran a 8x54watt T-5 setup on my reef, I was thinking that running it as 3x54 or 4x54watts would be sufficient? The tank is 100gallons (48x24x20tall).

At this light level I understand I will need to run Co2. I have my Neptune Aquacontroler still as well, and I believe I can run this to monitor Co2 and pH dependently.

Substrate is next. I have heard very good things about Eco-complete, but it seems to be pricey as compared to aquariumplants.com's substrate that they sell by the bucket for $130/per 10gallons
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My math was 48*24*2.5=2880sqInches/350per bag=8.25 bags of Eco complete =$191.92+shipping from Drs. foster and smith.

I will say right now that I am NOT! spending $200 on substrate for a planted tank. I spent nowhere near that for my reef. Does anyone have any personal experience with the substrate from aquariumplants.com?

Hopefully this isn't to much to ask in the general section. Thanks in advanced for the help!!:D

Thanks,
Brandan
 

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you can mix black gravel with the eco-complete to make it stretch. I have also heard of people using organic potting soil. You maybe could come up with a combo/mix of your own to save on cost, but to still achieve a sutiable substrate.
 

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For substrate, look into mineralized soil. It works great. Here is a link to a great article about it.

Co2 will be useful. What do you have for a regulator?

You are also going to need ferts. There is a really good sticky in the ferts subforum on EI doseing. That is probably the way to go for your tank.
 

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For a tank that size, I'd personally invest a little time and labor into a nice batch of mineralized soil. That, or I'd go looking for some Turface, or SMS. Otherwise what I'd do is locate some 3M Colorquartz if you can. The aquariumplants.com substrate is just SMS from what I understand, and overpriced. What you should do is get a bag or two of Eco or Fluorite just to cap off whatever substrate you use underneath it.

Using RO water is fine, but definitely make sure you add some Seachem Equilibrium to it, to bring back some of the minerals.

Yeah if you're using CO2 and have that all worked out, that lighting should work out fine. I hope it goes without saying that you'll need to swap out any actinics, and only use kelvin ratings between 6500k-10,000k as the guideline. Personally I would start off with 3 x 54w and see how that goes before adding the 4th one.

Good luck to you and welcome to the "other side." (I was originally a sw/reef guy myself).
 

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Another vote for mineralized soil, I wish I would have known how cheap and easy it was before I filled a 120g with Flourite, lol. I have switched a 20gal low tech to mineralized soil and love the growth that its producing over plain black gravel, which was reused as the cap. That APC article is spot on, that yikesjason linked, good luck and have fun.

Its kind of funny, as I am slowly being converted to a reefer, my buddy got into coral farming and its starting to grab my attention more and more, but I'm still a die hard plant guy.
 

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Welcome to TPT!

+1 on using 3X54W

+1 on MTS. It will probably cost you 1/4 as much as that eco complete price. However it can be a lengthy process (1-3 weeks).

Your going to want to cap the MTS with something, usually people use 3M color quartz (Getting hard to find) or sms/turface pro league.

Good luck, keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For substrate, look into mineralized soil. It works great. Here is a to a great article about it.

Co2 will be useful. What do you have for a regulator?

You are also going to need ferts. There is a really good sticky in the ferts subforum on EI doseing. That is probably the way to go for your tank.
Looks like a lot of work. Not sure if I want dirt out drying in the garage for a few weeks. I will put that on the list and see where it ranks.

I do not have a reactor or regulator yet. I will be getting those as soon as I start asking around what to use. Feel free to throw in a recommendation.

For a tank that size, I'd personally invest a little time and labor into a nice batch of mineralized soil. That, or I'd go looking for some Turface, or SMS. Otherwise what I'd do is locate some 3M Colorquartz if you can. The aquariumplants substrate is just SMS from what I understand, and overpriced. What you should do is get a bag or two of Eco or Fluorite just to cap off whatever substrate you use underneath it.

Using RO water is fine, but definitely make sure you add some Seachem Equilibrium to it, to bring back some of the minerals.

Yeah if you're using CO2 and have that all worked out, that lighting should work out fine. I hope it goes without saying that you'll need to swap out any actinics, and only use kelvin ratings between 6500k-10,000k as the guideline. Personally I would start off with 3 x 54w and see how that goes before adding the 4th one.

Good luck to you and welcome to the "other side." (I was originally a sw/reef guy myself).
I was thinking the same on the Seachem Equilibrium

Another vote for mineralized soil, I wish I would have known how cheap and easy it was before I filled a 120g with Flourite, lol. I have switched a 20gal low tech to mineralized soil and love the growth that its producing over plain black gravel, which was reused as the cap. That APC article is spot on, that yikesjason linked, good luck and have fun.

Its kind of funny, as I am slowly being converted to a reefer, my buddy got into coral farming and its starting to grab my attention more and more, but I'm still a die hard plant guy.
Watch out, reefing gets $$$$ lol

Welcome to TPT!

+1 on using 3X54W

+1 on MTS. It will probably cost you 1/4 as much as that eco complete price. However it can be a lengthy process (1-3 weeks).

Your going to want to cap the MTS with something, usually people use 3M color quartz (Getting hard to find) or sms/turface pro league.

Good luck, keep us posted.
Thanks for the warm welcome. Seems like a pretty good forum here. You nailed it, I am not all hyped up on the 3 weeks and letting dirt sit in the garage on a tarp especially since we are just starting to dip into winter here in Indiana.

I would really like to get the ball rolling and get substrate and water in the tank in less than couple of weeks. I have the funds from the old tank to do this, so I would like to make this happen before they get allocated else where. I need a break from complex DIY projects that it seemed like I was ALWAYS doing for my reef (DIY lighting, alk/calc dosing, sumps, plumbing, live rock, etc.) If there was a DIY thread out there for a salt tank, I have probably tried and succeeded at building it lol.

I figured for $130shipped, that 10gallons of the aquariumplants substrate was a good deal IF IT is a decent product.

Brandan
 

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If the aquariumplants substrate is the level of substrate quality you want, then check around locally for landscape supply stores that might carry Turface or Soil Master Select. They are baked clay soil amendments most commonly used on baseball fields and golf courses. You can get a 50 lbs bag for less than $15 and it is basically the same as what you are looking at from ap.com They add some ferts to it, but you can do the same thing with some root tabs.

For co2, there are a lot of choices. Don't go for the cheap systems like Milwakie, Azoo, or JBJ. Find something that uses a decent regulator and good needle valve. A clippard needle valve is ok, a fabco is much better.

For reactor, look up the rex style reactor. They are pretty simple and you run it inline on your filter return normally. It is very effective.
 

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Came from years of reef tanks. My RO/DI unit is sitting in a box in my basement. No need for it unless your water is complete crap. My tap water was crap for my reef tank days, but for my plant tank, my tap water is perfect. No need to bother with RO/DI water. I didn't want to accept that at first, but as many others pointed out, there is really no need. Plants love tap water minerals.

A couple other things:
- do not over react with fertz on your new set up. you will eventually need to add fertz, but not until your plants are established and ready to use them (this will not happen immediately on a new tank)
- set up a quality pressurized CO2 system, it's costly, but coming from the reef tank world, eveything is costly. In the long run, CO2 will make your life easier and you will be able to keep any plant you want. You don't stand a chance without CO2 when using T5 bulbs.
 
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