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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, ive never had an aquarium before but have done alot of studying after keeping my goldfish in a bowl and suffocating it :)icon_frow,so sad,but didnt know anything about golfish before) and i need some help. So im about to get my Seaclear Acrylic 36gal bowfront next week. just need some heads up before i start to plant it. what substrate do you recommend. and do i have to change the lighting in it, I know what CO2 is, but how do i get it in the tank(have no idea). BTW, i have evrything else:
1) SeaClear Bowfront 36 Gallon Aquarium
2) Aquatic Fundamentals 46 Gallon Bowfront Aquarium Stand (fits my aquarium)
3)Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit
4)Marineland Penguin 150GPH BIO-Wheel Power Filter
5)PETCO Dark Blue Aquarium Gravel 50LBS
6)Tetra EasyBalance Water Treatment
7)TetraAqua AquaSafe Water Conditioner
8) Various Decorations
9) thermometer
ALL ITEMS WERE FROM PETCO.COM
*i will get the plants after receiving tank
,if im missign something,or brought the wrong stuff please let me know. I Spend way too much money on this, so any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance hobbyists.

UPDATE:nov 9 2009, retuned a lot of things and brought better things, dont shop at petco much now, drsfosterandsmith are much cheaper.

BTW if anyone is doing fishless cycle and cant find ammonia anywhere, because i searched everywhere(walmart,giant,all pet stores,target,home depot,lowes,sears.etcc) and couldnt find the real stuff, they all had detergents or some other cleaning stuff. what you want is pure ammonium hydroxide somewhere between 10-50%, more than this, then you better add carefully, or you can really add too much.

to find out if its real pure ammonia, shake it and if it creates bubbles that dont go away right away, then you dont want it.
i finally found it at Ace hardware, its called Ace ammonia Janitorial Strength Formula 10% ammonium hydroxide. it doesnt list any ingredients because its common sense. 10% ammonia and 90% water.

heres the pic.


and heres how to calculate how much ammonia to add:

Desired tank ammonia level/ (Ammonia concentration % (from the label) x 10/tank volume in litres) = Amount of household ammonia to add in ml (to convert gallons to liters, times the gallons by 3.8)

Here's my tank calculation:-
Tank volume = 137litres
Ammonia concentration % = .10 (from the label on the bottle)
Desired tank ammonia level in ppm= 4

So, 4/(10x10/137)=ammonia ml to add.
4/(100/137)=ammonia ml to add
4/0.73=ammonia ml to add

=5.48 ml household ammonia, round it to nearest 10th =5.50ml.

OR if you dont like this way, then fill a 5 gallons bucket of ammonia free water, and add a couple of drops, check ammonia level, then keep adding drops until you get a reading of 4ppm. then do the math. and that equals how much ammonia you need to add to get 4ppm reading.

IM learning sooo much;)
 

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Hey, I think you need a better gravel than the one that you bought. It's better if you got the ones meant for plants. The substrate I recommend is aquasoil amazonia. I think it's the best one since I already noticed some growth after 3 days from setup. There are other ones you could get as well such as eco-complete or fluorite black, etc.

For CO2, you need a glass diffuser to get it in the tank.
http://i3.tinypic.com/4cdmg04.jpg

That's all I could contribute. Welcome to the forum! Good Luck with your tank!
 

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for co2 depending on the size of your wallet at the moment, you can either invest in a pressurize system or if you cant invest in one at the moment you can go the DIY CO2 route. If you want to research more on it, its in the article section of this site.

As for the diffusion, instead of the glass diffuser stated above, look into doing a DIY CO2 reactor. Although the glass diffuser looks nice, its functionality of CO2 diffusion isnt effecient. This is specially true if your gonna go the DIY route with CO2. A reactor is more efficient than a glass/ceramic diffuser.

Also since your ordering on PETCO.com you should get that HAGEN Mini Powerhead Filter. That would make a great DIY CO2 Reactor/Diffuser and its only $7.99
 

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I think the most important question is: do you want plants, or just a fish tank? If you're just looking for a fish tank, your setup looks fine.
You could get a couple handfuls of java moss, some java ferns and a few anubias if you want plants with very low needs(stock light, no co2).

If you're looking to do a true planted tank, you'll need to toss the blue gravel and get some better substrate, get a decent light, and get some fertilizers. ADA aquasoil is very nice, but its expensive for a beginner on a budget. You could use course pool sand with some fertilizer tablets placed under your plants. And instead of co2, you could just add Seachem Excel. It won't grow stuff as well as co2 will, but it's cheaper short-term and it will get you started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
THanks guys, you guys are quick, so the blue gravel is bad gravel, even if i put it on top of some good substrate?, and about lighting, my tank description states this sentence, "Includes a UL listed fluorescent light fixture (bulb not included) ", is this good enough to grow plants, or would i have to upgrade it?? thanks guys, im sleeping now ,see you all tomorrow.
 

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Welcome to what will soon be an expensive addiction! Setting up your first tank is so much fun, I remember how excited I was. I too started by killing goldfish in a bowl. I had six or so feeder goldfish in a half gallon bowl when I was four years old...Needless to say they didn't live long.

I second tossing the blue rocks and getting something better. The gravel won't do anything at all for your plants nutritionally, and (this is my opinion, if you like the look of the blue, go right ahead) the colored gravels just look unnatural and I find them sort of tacky. I think in a planted tank, the unnatural colored gravel just destroys the beautiful natural look of the plants. But I also feel the same way about artificially colored fish, like those neon colored 'glo-fish' danios that you put under a black light...My substrate is a do-it-yourself thing that I made up. It's a mix of cheap potting soil (The brand is Hyponex, I bought some for my potted plants and found it to be trash for them, it's mostly sand--but after experimenting with it in a tank, it works great!), with a layer of Special Kitty brand unscented cat litter on top of that, and then a mix of playground sand and very fine gravel on top of that, because it looks prettier than the cat litter/soil. It's messy to set up, and you want to avoid stirring it around once it is set up, but I really am liking it, and it cost me less than $40. It's good for plants that are mostly root-feeding, like the cryptocoryne family. (Which also do well in low light, and can stand up to a lot of neglect and mistakes! Good beginner plants.)

I don't know what lighting exactly comes on that tank, so I don't know if it will be any good. There's as many ways to set up a planted tank as there are people keeping them, so I'd do a lot of reading around on this forum under the different categories and decide what works with your budget and preferences. I personally use shoplight fixtures that I bought at Home Depot with 6500K bulbs also from Home Depot, and they work great in my tank. (55 gallons)

There's lots of ways to do CO2, with pressurized being the easiest to maintain, but also the most expensive to get. But if you want low light and easy plants, you can probably do without it altogether, and then maybe upgrade lights/CO2/fertilizer/plants once you get the hang of things, and if you decided you wanted to get fancier with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for taking the time Ariel301. i probably will return the blue gravel then, i care more about the fish then the look. what gravel do you guys use??. and i will post pics of the lighting, once i get the tank, so you guys can lead me. thanks, im really sleepy now. GN
 

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I suggest a layer of pure laterite. petco should have it with the api products like water conditioners and what not. one box should do. and i suggest any of the planted eco-complete or flourite products from caribsea. i use both of these just as i've told u to use them in my tank work great! I see you went with dark blue gravel u could spring 2-5lbs on top of the caribsea but most of the eco-completes are black so i'll be the dark color u might like.
goodluck
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
so heres my thinking, let me know if its a mistake, ill put pure laterite on the first layer, then im thinking of buying fluorite from here Linky , but dont know how much to buy, if 'Each bag fills about 2" deep in a typical 10-gallon aquarium ", then i must need about 4 bags right. which comes to about
62Lbs, is this correct, or is it too much?? and ofcourse on top on the fluorite with be the gravel (50Lbs). So one layer of pure laterite, then 62lbs of fluorite, then the 50lbs of gravel. is this a correct setup??
 

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3)Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit
You might be able to save money by just getting an ammonia test kit and a nitrite test kit. I have found those to be of very limited use, and the others even less. As you get more into it, KH and GH can be important, but you can likely get similar info from your local water quality report, if you are on a shoestring budget.

5)PETCO Dark Blue Aquarium Gravel 50LBS
The only things on a planted tank that are really tough to change are the tank size and the substrate. While replacing a substrate is easier than stretching glass, it's not by much. I'd recommend spending money on the substrate more than lights, filters, or CO2.

6)Tetra EasyBalance Water Treatment
7)TetraAqua AquaSafe Water Conditioner
Most folks here just use Seachem Prime. It's very economical by the gallons treated.
8) Various Decorations
I'm sure you mean plants. ;) Either way, it's your tank. Enjoy it.

9) thermometer
Get one that goes in the water and sticks to the side with a suction cup.

ALL ITEMS WERE FROM PETCO.COM
*i will get the plants after receiving tank
,if im missign something,or brought the wrong stuff please let me know. I Spend way too much money on this, so any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance hobbyists.
Try BigAlsonline.com or drsfostersmith.com. They may not be any cheaper, but it's worth a shot. I'm not sure if you plan to buy the tank and stand online, but see if you can buy them locally. You should be able to get some savings by avoiding shipping costs.

If you're tight on money, put CO2 until last, and read up on low light/low tech plants. You can read up on mineralized substrates if you are flat broke, but I would strongly recommend against it for a newcomer to the hobby.

Don't forget the Swap n shop here, craigslist, ebay, and the good old want ads.
 

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so heres my thinking, let me know if its a mistake, ill put pure laterite on the first layer, then im thinking of buying fluorite from here Linky , but dont know how much to buy, if 'Each bag fills about 2" deep in a typical 10-gallon aquarium ", then i must need about 4 bags right. which comes to about
62Lbs, is this correct, or is it too much?? and ofcourse on top on the fluorite with be the gravel (50Lbs). So one layer of pure laterite, then 62lbs of fluorite, then the 50lbs of gravel. is this a correct setup??
If you're going to do flourite, just do flourite. That 10 gallon equivalent is based on the are of the bottom of the tank. I doubt it's 4 bags, but I could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks kid kreole, acutally i can spend about 150-200 dollars more on this, since i just won the lottery out here, got 4 numbers out of 5 :( yea sucks,5 would be 350,000, enough for a pond, right ;), so now i want to buy the best stuff. people keep telling me different things. i will research a little more, ask around, and see what worked for them. so do you think flourite is good for a beginner, and should i have it 2" deep in the tank or more, and how deep should i lay gravel on it. thanks man
 

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Thanks kid kreole, acutally i can spend about 150-200 dollars more on this, since i just won the lottery out here, got 4 numbers out of 5 :( yea sucks,5 would be 350,000, enough for a pond, right ;), so now i want to buy the best stuff. people keep telling me different things. i will research a little more, ask around, and see what worked for them. so do you think flourite is good for a beginner, and should i have it 2" deep in the tank or more, and how deep should i lay gravel on it. thanks man
OK, so your budget isn't too tight. You're in good shape. Flourite is ok on it's own, you don't need to add gravel. If you have your heart set on something, it won't hurt to mix them. There are lower cost substrates that can be used as fillers in combination with higher cost substrates, or used entirely on their own. When you mix different substrates, the finer particles tend to go down, and the bigger ones up, so mixing won't alway give you what you might expect.

There's a lot of info here, and some of the best planted tank people in the world are on this site. My advice is to read as much as you can stand here before you buy, and then to start small. Something lots of people do is start one tank in one style, and the very next thing they want to do (myself included) is get another tank. It's called MTS (multiple tank syndrome). It's a nasty disease, and you should be prepared. :)
 

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Something lots of people do is start one tank in one style, and the very next thing they want to do (myself included) is get another tank. It's called MTS (multiple tank syndrome). It's a nasty disease, and you should be prepared. :)
I've developed this MTS, actually added 3 tanks to the collection this month :) bringing my tank total to 6.
 

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The lights you have linked to were moon lights; these are really more suited to light your tank after the main lights have turned off so that you can still see what is going on within your tank. I would not use them as the sole source of light for plants, however.
 

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those lights are for looks and maybe good for the fish in a way. Some fishes, like guppies, "panic" when I abruptly turn off the lights to complete darkness. I have had a hand full that jumped out and a couple that like to bump into the tank glass. You can here this little thump. So I have a night light that I use since the tanks are in the basement, there's no sunlight that slowly disappears.
 

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Have checked out craigslist.org for tank and stand? I wish I had gone there. I saw a 29 gallon tank with a nice stand and everything go for $100.

Most of the lights on the hood don't provide enough light for planted tanks. Big Als has good deals on light systems. Most important thing to get is a light system that will light up the whole tank. My favorite for non Co2 tank is the coralife T5 system.

If you want try to do this as cheap as possible check out the NPT style setup here.
 
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