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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone I've been keeping aquariums for years now but this is my first real adventure into a planted tank. As such I have all the basics covered plus upgraded lighting & Co2. Aside from the big things what do you find essential that a first timer might not consider? Also what types of fertilizer do you recommend?
 

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Plant selection is probably the biggest. Slow grower/fast growers, low /medium/high light. Stem, root , bulb, rhyzome. moss. Fertilizers are going to depend a lot upon how dense you plant, lighting, bio-load, filration, and CO2 injection type.
 

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A nice set of planting tools (especially long tweezers and scissors) can make a huge difference with tank setup and maintenance, especially for big tanks. I got a nice 6 piece set in a little case off of Ebay for about $30 and am quite happy with it (actually, I have 2 now since I keep one for my tank at work, too...)

Have you picked out your substrate? That can be another big expense, depending on what you decide to use.
 

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First pick a tank that is the biggest you can find room for, afford, and are able to manage.
Second, decide whether you want a high light tank, which demands lots of routing maintenance, plus pressurized CO2, plus lots of pruning, or a low light tank, which grows plants slowly, can do without pressurized CO2, and doesn't require nearly the amount of routine care.
Third, if you decide on the high light tank, get the best CO2 system you can afford.
Fourth, obtain a light fixture appropriate for the light intensity you chose, without going overboard.
Fifth, now look at the other stuff, like filters, substrates, plants, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies.

Plant selection is probably the biggest. Slow grower/fast growers, low /medium/high light. Stem, root , bulb, rhyzome. moss. Fertilizers are going to depend a lot upon how dense you plant, lighting, bio-load, filration, and CO2 injection type.
As of now I've decided to go all south american to match my fish. I've ordered

  • 8 Corkscrew Val
  • 6 Jungle Val
  • 3 medium Amazon Sword
  • 1 medium Red Rubin Sword
  • 2 Anacharis
  • 3 Cabomba
  • 3 Narrow-leaf Ludwigia
  • 5 potted tennellus Chain Swords
My bio-load is not very high the tank that is to be converted is a 67G with about 40 or so small fish like neon tetras. The filtration is a 20G wet/dry. I know I know sumps and pressurized CO2 but some clam it can be done and I already had the tank so I'm going to try it. The lighting will be Current USA Outer Orbit HQI, includes 1x150W MH 10,000K, 2 x 96W 6,700K daylights & 4 moon white lunar lights. Total wattage is 342W. Also ordered the Coralife Dual Power Center Timer to control the lights. For CO2 Injection I went with Green Leaf Aquariums Complete Choice CO2 System with Milwaukee SMS122 PH controller.


A nice set of planting tools (especially long tweezers and scissors) can make a huge difference with tank setup and maintenance, especially for big tanks. I got a nice 6 piece set in a little case off of Ebay for about $30 and am quite happy with it (actually, I have 2 now since I keep one for my tank at work, too...)

Have you picked out your substrate? That can be another big expense, depending on what you decide to use.
I bought a set of 24" grabbers and scissors but they are cheap plastic. I'll have to check out ebay. For substrate I ordered AquariumPlants.com's Freshwater Planted Aquarium Substrate, Color:Black Diamond.


Tools are a definite. I use a standard pr of tweezers for the little stuff but for 95% of planting I use these.

http://www.aquariumplants.com/10_Hemostat_set_p/aquasc01.htm

Fertilizer - dry from here

http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com/

Several different size containers for trimmining and cleaning. I use a rubbermaid dish pan and 8 cup glad throw away. The chepo sotorage containers.

Couple of old towels
phython - a difinite
Those hemostats look like they could be handy! How difficult is it to use the dry ferts? How important are accurate weight measurements or you measure by volume. How do you know which ones to use or do you just use all of them on different intervals? Ferts seem so confusing! I just ordered fertilizer pellets and pellet injector. Do you think this will suffice? Great call on the cheapo storage containers. That's the kind of advice I need!


First pick a tank that is the biggest you can find room for, afford, and are able to manage.
Second, decide whether you want a high light tank, which demands lots of routing maintenance, plus pressurized CO2, plus lots of pruning, or a low light tank, which grows plants slowly, can do without pressurized CO2, and doesn't require nearly the amount of routine care.
Third, if you decide on the high light tank, get the best CO2 system you can afford.
Fourth, obtain a light fixture appropriate for the light intensity you chose, without going overboard.
Fifth, now look at the other stuff, like filters, substrates, plants, etc.

Got all the big stuff already just looking for ideas like the hemostats and disposable storage containers above. I'm just trying to see if there are any little things you find essential to maintaining your planted tanks that I might not have thought of.


Boo to tweezers. Real men use


I guess that makes me a fake man! LOL, at least until I decide to make some neon tetra sushi.
 

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You should be able to learn to recognize all of the algae types we find in our aquariums after a few weeks with that light fixture. But, if you would prefer to learn about the plants instead, sell that fixture and buy a much less powerful one. I don't know the dimensions of the tank, but it is hard to imagine a 67 gallon tank needing more than two T5HO bulbs lighting it. And, that is for high light plants. Yours are all easily grown plants, not requiring high light, so even less light is needed.
 

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How difficult is it to use the dry ferts? How important are accurate weight measurements or you measure by volume. How do you know which ones to use or do you just use all of them on different intervals? Ferts seem so confusing!
I was very intimidated by ferts till I read this link which is a sticky in Ferts section.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fertilizers-water-parameters/21944-_dosing-regimes_.html

I use the estimative method that is talked about in the link and with that you don't have to be real accurate at all because it calls for a 50% water change weekly to reset the system. I use to disolve the ferts before putting them in but now I just dump them in dry.
 

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Listen to Hoppy about the light. You will grow nothing but algae with that light and your fish will stressed out and sunburned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You should be able to learn to recognize all of the algae types we find in our aquariums after a few weeks with that light fixture. But, if you would prefer to learn about the plants instead, sell that fixture and buy a much less powerful one. I don't know the dimensions of the tank, but it is hard to imagine a 67 gallon tank needing more than two T5HO bulbs lighting it. And, that is for high light plants. Yours are all easily grown plants, not requiring high light, so even less light is needed.

The tank is 36" deep. 36"x36"x12". I was told elsewhere I'd need serious lights to get down to that depth. Now that you know the dimensions what are your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was very intimidated by ferts till I read this link which is a sticky in Ferts section.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fertilizers-water-parameters/21944-_dosing-regimes_.html

I use the estimative method that is talked about in the link and with that you don't have to be real accurate at all because it calls for a 50% water change weekly to reset the system. I use to disolve the ferts before putting them in but now I just dump them in dry.

Thanks! I'll read through it. :)
 

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Since the light intensity is dropping off as roughly a squaring function you would have about half the light intensity of an 18" deep tank. So 2 T5HO would let you grow medium light plants, especially with CO2, but for high light you might need a 4 bulb unit. check out Catalina Aquariums, I like their HOT5 lights. Either way 2X39 or 4X39 watts is a lot less than what you have. you could run only the MH or the CF's and keep the photoperiod down to 6 hours it might work, but that' seem rather risky. I reccomend a 2,3, or 4 bulb HOT5 fixture.
The amazon swords will quickly outgrow your tank and the Red Rubin will take up most of it in a few months, you may want to reconsider those choices. Maybe some rotala colorata and some red temple to add reds in place of the red rubin?
 

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The tank is 36" deep. 36"x36"x12". I was told elsewhere I'd need serious lights to get down to that depth. Now that you know the dimensions what are your thoughts?
36 inches end to end, 36 inches top to bottom, and only 12 inches front to back? That is an unusual tank.


According to my data, 2 T5HO bulbs will give you about 40 micromols of PAR at 36 inches, which is low to medium light (at the substrate level). But, near the top of the tank you would have several times that much light, very high intensity. That is the big problem with such a high tank. A 4 tube T5HO fixture, with the tubes fairly close together, could be used by raising the fixture about 12-16 inches above the top of the tank, still giving you low to medium light at the substrate, but not as high an intensity up near the water surface. I think that is what I would try. The tank has such a small front to back dimension you will get a lot of spill-over of the light no matter what you try.

EDIT: Another "problem" is that the close together front and back glass will make the tank act somewhat as a light pipe, increasing the intensity from what my data shows (providing you keep the glass front and back very clean, inside and out, and don't paint the back glass). With that in mind, I would raise the 2 tube light too, so I would have it hanging as a pendant over the tank. Then I would borrow a PAR meter to figure out how high to raise it.

I think I would try to sell that tank to someone wanting a fish only tank, then buy a different tank more suitable for a planted tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
36 inches end to end, 36 inches top to bottom, and only 12 inches front to back? That is an unusual tank.


According to my data, 2 T5HO bulbs will give you about 40 micromols of PAR at 36 inches, which is low to medium light (at the substrate level). But, near the top of the tank you would have several times that much light, very high intensity. That is the big problem with such a high tank. A 4 tube T5HO fixture, with the tubes fairly close together, could be used by raising the fixture about 12-16 inches above the top of the tank, still giving you low to medium light at the substrate, but not as high an intensity up near the water surface. I think that is what I would try. The tank has such a small front to back dimension you will get a lot of spill-over of the light no matter what you try.

EDIT: Another "problem" is that the close together front and back glass will make the tank act somewhat as a light pipe, increasing the intensity from what my data shows (providing you keep the glass front and back very clean, inside and out, and don't paint the back glass). With that in mind, I would raise the 2 tube light too, so I would have it hanging as a pendant over the tank. Then I would borrow a PAR meter to figure out how high to raise it.

I think I would try to sell that tank to someone wanting a fish only tank, then buy a different tank more suitable for a planted tank.

Thanks Hoppy. I'm seriously starting to reconsider my choice to use my existing tank. It would definitely be simplified if I had standard tank dimensions. I was thinking about buying a new home for my Oscar and he hates plants or anything else in his world. Maybe I'll move him to this one for the time being and get a new one to plant.
 
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