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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All - First time poster and about to embark on my first planted tank ever (or any aquarium actually). Want to say a big thank you to all the posters on here as the help/tutorials and amount of detailed research on this forum is amazing and has been invaluable to me as I plan. I've been researching for about a month and a half so think I've got a good basic idea of the theory, but wanted to get this out here and ask for help as appreciate theory will be a lot different to reality! Ultimately the plan is to run a high tech planted tank with a medium fish stock and medium light plants. All items are about to be delivered over next few days - should have probably got this out beforehand! -but want to sanity check what I'm doing. Sorry for the long post.

Set up -
65L / 17 G Column tank (I know..) to fit within a bookcase. 35cm(L) x 35cm(W) x 58cm (H)
Light - x1 TMC Grobeam 1500 Ultima ColourPlus (will DIY polished aluminum reflector to intensify as surface area is quite small and substrate deep).
Filtration: x2 Fluval 107 w/ Spray bar for each (the second is more for water circulation toward bottom of tank). Assume I will have to limit the circulation rate.
Water circulation/Oxygenation: Both spray bars on back wall horizonal facing toward front of the tank. One at the top and one half way down, about 30cm deep.
Co2: Ordered a Fluval kit but swapping the regulator with solenoid integrated, 2 stage, needle value etc.
Substrate: ADA Amazonia / No Cap
100w Heater

Questions:
1) Anyone have experience with 2ft depth and a single Growbeam light? The tank dimensions are small it's just the depth, I will struggle getting another light on-top of the tank, most LED bars are too long, AI Prime 16HD was considered, but more expensive and worried it's overkill, same with Kessil A160...would these be necessary? About £100 more expensive.
I want to grow :
Fissidens - Moss Wall - upper half of the tank on the back. Planted between Hygrolon and Epiweb
Christmas Moss - on Bonzai branches - lower and mid 2/3rds of tank
On substrate: Reineckii Mini and Lidwigia Reopens (or Rotala Wallichi may be too difficult)
Will I get enough light at substrate for this mix of plants?
2) If I limit the flow rate of pumps, will 2 spray bars be okay, especially the one submerged in the middle of the tank or will it create too much flow for the plants? Basically worried about circulation at the bottom, is there a better way to do this, thought of a powerhead but for little extra cost I can get the added filtration as well. Should I put the spray bars on the side of the tank? The dimensions are the same so probably will make no difference, perhaps better aesthetically as will only have a front view in bookcase..?
3) As a complete noobie - I bet there is something obvious I'm missing that would make all or a part of this plan impossible, don't hold back...
4) Bioload. I will cycle tank with no plants/fish and will probably wait a while after planting before introducing any fish. But in terms of bio-load in a small tank, I'm thinking Betta, 6-7 Neon Tetra, a few snails and maybe 3 pygmie cory (will have front 1/3 of tank with sand and rock barrier to soil behind. Is this reasonable or too much?

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The second is more to drive water circulation at the bottom of the tank as it's 2ft deep, think it's not necessary?
Powerhead was other option but thought why not get the extra filtration as well and still get the water movement...
 

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The second is more to drive water circulation at the bottom of the tank as it's 2ft deep, think it's not necessary?
Powerhead was other option but thought why not get the extra filtration as well and still get the water movement...
Ok, that makes sense.

Now... a powerhead will accomplish the same and be both cheaper and less failure points. I'm not saying you're wrong, you've certainly got me thinking. I've had dead spots in my tank and need to fix that.

And yes, it would be cool to have 2 filters, clean one completely and leave the other running. That's sweet, but it seems expensive. I usually just clean half the baskets in my filter. And I write down, in my notebook, which ones I cleaned, so I can do the others next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, that makes sense.

Now... a powerhead will accomplish the same and be both cheaper and less failure points. I'm not saying you're wrong, you've certainly got me thinking. I've had dead spots in my tank and need to fix that.

And yes, it would be cool to have 2 filters, clean one completely and leave the other running. That's sweet, but it seems expensive. I usually just clean half the baskets in my filter. And I write down, in my notebook, which ones I cleaned, so I can do the others next time.
Good point on alternating and the notebook :) thank you.
Any idea if the Reineckii would survive/thrive at the bottom?
 

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Good on you to do prep before jumping in! But I feel sometimes one can do too much prep too! Just fire it all up and watch the flow! While I've seen dual filters before, I've not seen a dual spraybar setup set up the way you intend it to. It could be no problem, but it could also cause conflicts in the flow cycle. Think of the side view. As water goes to the front from the top spraybar, where will it be forced to go? I'm thinking downwards due to the second spray bar. While this is cool and the second spraybar causes water to loop down and then across the bottom back across to the back, it'll go up and into the intakes --- but it seems like the moss in the section between the top and bottom spraybars are ignored flow wise.

Anyway, it's all speculation. For all we know, the moss won't care a bit!

Good luck on the start! Watch a lot of green aqua videos, spend some time at the 2Hr Aquarist site, follow forum threads, get inspired, and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thx IP, yeah itching to get started now. Will update you in a few weeks time, all the parts are *slowly* arriving. Did not consider the moss to be honest...I'll start with something low maintenance as see how it goes.
Is there a better way to gauge the water flow or it's literally just see where the debris collects or plants not moving?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi guys thought I'd update you given you took the time to help. @ipkiss @NotThePainter
Learnings:
Everyone who says having a column tank is a nightmare is right, cleaning and pruning on substrate is difficult / time consuming.
Couldn't fit 2 spray bars because the there's not enough space on the back of the tank given filter intake, outtakes x2. However, given the footprint actually the normal Fluval out-take at the top creates water movement across the entire surface anyway and having a spray bar half way down has been very important - both for normal circulation + getting Co2 diffused to the bottom.

Currently having some issues with hair Algae on the Christmas moss so have reduced light intensity to 60%, reduced lights on to 7 hours, increased Co2 bubble count and increased nutrient - using Aquascaper Complete...not sure if it's the best as I don't have anything to compare it too, seems to be doing an okay job with the Reineckii Mini but they are growing slowly. Also added a few faster growing stem plants to help with balance.
Think hair algae on the bonsai is also related to being a column tank, clearly a lot of light at the top of the tree, but needed to reach the deep substrate.

Moss wall idea has been scrapped for now, quickly realised I have enough on my plate as it is as a first time.
Fish wise; got 6 neons and 6 rummynose from pets at home. Didn't quarantine the second set of tetras (rummynose) like a noob when I got them, seems one was infected with a fungus and a few others caught it. 1 neon and 1 rummy sadly passed away after medication but all others healthy and looking good. (and now have a hospital tank set up at least).

Questions if you can help -
  • Given the hair algae is growing only at the top of the bonsai tree on the moss, how do I mitigate against that without starving the substrate of light...Excel? Floating plant or something?
  • Upping the Co2 is resulting the drop checker becoming yellowish towards end of light period, the fish do not go to the surface, but noticed they breath a little bit harder, no physical signs of distress other then that or gasping at surface, is that okay or is that a sign of major distress in itself?
  • When should i start pruning off the tops of the reinecki? I want them to grow bushy but they seem kinda small still I would be like removing 60% of it at the moment with a cut.
  • Fungus still present on bonsai but hoping that will clear itself up eventually, but some of it is stuck to the moss now or overlapping, will that kill the moss?
Plant Water Purple Pet supply Organism

1026778
 

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As far as your drop checker turning yellow at the end of your photo period, this video and article will help you. It deals with surface agitation, and volume to surface area ratio. This is going to be a big challenge in your tank.

Optimizing CO2 in a planted tank - Additional notes on gaseous exchange - YouTube

Surface agitation in CO2 injected planted tanks - The 2Hr Aquarist

Edit: Your tank shape might be the only time I'll ever recommend this, but you may want to get yourself an air bubbler and put it in the bottom of your tank. It will pull oxygen depleted water from down near the bottom up to the top when it can exchange with the surface.
 
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