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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to get into the planted game. I had a med-light non-co2 75 years ago with crypts, anubias, vals. Was doing reef tanks as of late but humidity was a problem and I was having to top off 5-6 gallons of water daily. So decided to go with a planted tank and to do it right this time.

I have a 125 gallon tank(6ft long) that is a reef ready tank. So it has 4 holes drilled for a sump. I am planning on at least capping 3 of these and maybe using one for a water drain or capping all off. I will be removing the corner overflows as I wont need them etc.

I want a medium to medium high light setup. Dont want to have to babysit it everyday and be able to leave for a week on trips etc. And I am not a fan of tanks that are so thick with plants that the fish cant swim. Like the front and open with growth to the sides and back.

So I was looking at the FilStar filters and am thinking of going with a XP3. Good/Bad?
Wondering if a Rena Smartheater 300 watt heater would be strong enough?
I read they can be matched with the canister. Not sure what that means.

For lighting I was going to go with a T-5 setup. Looking at Nova Extreme four SLR 2x 36''s for 312 watts. Good bad. To much? Options?

Co2 looking at a Rex Grigg setup. Using a timer rather than ph control.

Ideas? Do I have a clue? Thanx!!
 

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Hey O, welcome to the Planted Tank!

To optimally filter a 6ft tank, you might consider two of the XP3's. Or supplement it with some powerhead. Plants tend to slow down flow, even if you don't want the jungle style tank.

Impossible to say if the 300W heater will be enough. Depends on the temperature differential that you are trying to get, and how much heat other sources (lights, filters) add. For example, I don't have a heater in my 250gal tank because the lights and such keep it toasty in my heated-to-room-temperature house.

The smartheater can be attached to the filter outflow of the XP3. I guess that's what they mean by matched.

Light sounds good, as long as you plan on adding CO2 and nutrients along with it.

CO2 via timer sounds good too.

Seems like you do have a clue. :hihi:
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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I don't have any experience with the smart heaters, but I use a Hydor inline 300W heater on my 125 gal tank and it works great.
I also use 2 filters on my tank. 1 is filled with biological media only and the other holds the sponges for mechanical filtration. My water stays crystal clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cool thanx for the reply. Yes tank will be in a heated room (living room) and the temp will be at lowest mid 60's.

Would an XP4 be a better option? I dont mind going with a XP3 and powerhead hooked to a timer etc.

Would less lighting be better? say 156 watts t-5? Or is it under powered?

I debated about having the 2x36'' go acoss middle of tank and a get a 2 bulb 48'' t-5 set up in the middle for ground growing plants. Give it a more spot like effect.......
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Wasserpest has it backwards. The Smartheater is designed to be a filter intake, not output. :smile:

I also agree 2x canister filters, and I'd also go with 2x heaters just to be on the safe side. I also use the Hydor inlines and have never had any problems with mine. (The Smartheaters look interesting, but I keep dwarf shrimp in all my tanks so I think they'd be at risk for getting sucked in...)

I own all the XP series, and IMO going with 2x XP3s would be a much better option than a single XP4, for several reasons.

One main advantage is should one canister ever fail for any reason, you'll have time to find and fix the problem without the tank crashing from lack of filtration. This would be a huge advantage if you go on regular trips.

Second, 2 filters means 2x both intakes and outputs- which will significantly enhance the flow in a 125gal tank. Just one filter input and output won't be enough flow, even if it's coming from an XP4.

Last but not least, the XP3s are just easier to work with over the XP4. Aren't as tall, heavy, or bulky, so isn't such a challenge to make sure all the baskets are seated just perfectly so the filter will close and latch properly. My XP4 can be a bit of a challenge to make sure that it's closed up properly so it's not drawing in air anywhere, just b/c the suction from that motor is so powerful.

Oh- plus 2 filters gives you more room to add inline accessories (heater, CO2 equipment, etc).

You do NOT need 312 watts of T5HO over a 125gal tank. Running 1/2 that light would be a gracious plenty.
 

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I think in the long run you will be happier with two canisters on a 6ft tank. Circulation is important when you add CO2 and other nutrients.

Lighting wise, Lauralee has it backwards :tongue:, the issue with one bank of lights is bad coverage. If the 2x2 36" bulbs would be spread out over the tank it would be alright for low light, but as they are close together, you end up with underlit areas in the front and/or back.

I wouldn't really use shorter bulbs to highlight areas of the tank. Don't like dark spots, and you can get a similar effect by growing larger plants on the sides of the tank (which shade things underneath them) and leave the center open with just short cover plants which gives the illusion of brighter light in the center.

It's a bit difficult as 2 fixtures don't light the tank evenly and 4 fixtures are a lot of light (not a bad thing besides maintenance and energy bills).

I'd probably go with 4 fixtures and schedule them to turn on at different times, with some overlap for a high light period.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Oh I totally agree with spacing the bulbs around for good coverage, but running 312 watts of T5HO is NOT going to be a low maintenance tank that can be left for long periods of time... that's setting up a high light/high maintenance tank. There's no need for anywhere near that much light if the goal is only a moderately planted tank.

In the OP's shoes, I'd actually go for a low to medium light setup, and more slower-growing plants (sword, crypts, etc) rather than tons of stems to help reduce maintenance. If that tank is packed with stems, it will have to be trimmed aggressively probably on a weekly basis to keep it from getting choked, especially if the lighting is kept that high.

EDIT- This is the type of tank setup I'm thinking would be perfect- very low maintenance- and would not need high light at all:

 

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I run 160 watts of T5HO on my 125 with CO2. I found 320 watts was way too much, even for a burst. I had to cut weekly. You will want about 4-6 inches between bulbs to have nice coverage over the bottom. You might even think about 3 (possibly 4) 72 inch T8 bulbs for a med light tank.

You should run 2 filters and look at using the holes you have so you don't have the hoses running up, over and into the tank. You would have to remove the overflows to do this. There are several threads on hear that do this.

With 2 filters, you will need to split the CO2. This can be done by splitting it, then adding the needle values (best way) or to split it after the needle valve. If you are going to go with Rex (nice guy and knows his stuff), be patient as he is busy and explain to him what you are doing so he can offer suggestions and build the regulator with the components needed so you have less setup

I agree completely with Lauraleelbp's last post about crypts, swords, anubias, etc instead of stem plants. I have to cut stems once to twice a month and constantly thin them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Man!! I typed out a big post and shut me down for link'ing to a website(light brand). Ok lets try this again. Thanx so much for help. Very cool website and forum. mucho appreciate!!

Not sure if I understand how to use the holes (used for sumps normaly) for canister input and outputs. I know the overflows are removed pretty easy by cutting silicone. what is the best way to search for the links to those?

Thanx for the heads up the heater. Pretty sweet looking!!

Also any other options for filter/canister. Getting two XP3's will eat alot of budget up. If it is worth it I will make it happen. I have $500-600 to use towards co2, heater, filter/canister, lights and substrate. So if there is a better bang for the buck it would be good to hear it!!

Also not aware of a 72'' t-8 fixture. Is that VHO?

Maybe a retrokit and a homebuilt canopy would work best. Using 36'' T-5's maybe from hellolights website or similiar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh I totally agree with spacing the bulbs around for good coverage, but running 312 watts of T5HO is NOT going to be a low maintenance tank that can be left for long periods of time... that's setting up a high light/high maintenance tank. There's no need for anywhere near that much light if the goal is only a moderately planted tank.

In the OP's shoes, I'd actually go for a low to medium light setup, and more slower-growing plants (sword, crypts, etc) rather than tons of stems to help reduce maintenance. If that tank is packed with stems, it will have to be trimmed aggressively probably on a weekly basis to keep it from getting choked, especially if the lighting is kept that high.

EDIT- This is the type of tank setup I'm thinking would be perfect- very low maintenance- and would not need high light at all:


Use that looks pretty close to what I am shooting for!! Is there a build thread for that tank?
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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might be able to get a XP2 for $70 used.
Check out these:

New XP3 http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3602&prodid=6139&catid=113

New XP2 http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3602&prodid=6136&catid=113

(This thread explains why you can get them cheaper following these links than from just going to DrF&S's main site http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/swap-n-shop/90566-wtb-used-rena-xp2-xp3.html)

Plus try these coupon codes here: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/other-websites/64159-drsfostersmith-com-5-off-coupon-codes.html

AND they're still running their $5.99 flat rate shipping deal- you're gonna have a hard time finding a better deal than this ATM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow that is awesome!! Thank you so very much!!!

Two more questions?
Should I go with this setup to save money http://www.aquacave.com/detail.aspx?ID=1364. Believe it is a Milwaukee setup. I would upgrade the reactor to a Reactor 500 by AquaMedic. http://www.aquacave.com/co2-reactor-500-by-aquamedic-9.html

OR would it be best to get a setup from DFS. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3747+9935&pcatid=9935 and get a 5-10 lb for $75-99.


Another option is Flourite, is is discounted using the code glitch. For $15 for the regular stuff. Good bad or there a better cheaper more idiot proof option!!
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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The tank I linked before wasn't from a member of this forum, as far as I know, so no build thread.

I can't help you with the CO2 equipment, since I don't use it on any of my tanks. Hunt around through this forum and you'll find lots of feedback, though. I will add that based on lots of reports, you'll save much more $$ in the long run starting off with quality CO2 equipment rather than replacing stuff that's failed (and possibly even gassing out your fish...)

Flourite is actually my favorite substrate, especially the blacks. On a tank this size, substrate will be pretty pricey. I'd look into the Mineralized Soil method (see the sticky at the top of the Substrate forum).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think I will just stick with flourite as I dont want to set myself for any failure.

I can get regular flourite for $15.99 or black flourite for $21.99 from DFS with the flat $5.99 shipping.

I like things to look natural and dont care much for the shiny black sand I see in some tanks. But I dont want something red that is too colorful. A real dark brown is my favorite. So I am torn between the black and regular flourite.

How red is the regular? Dont want it to distract from the plants and fish.
 

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