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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, this is my first post here. A little background, i have been keeping reef tanks for 10 years, and want a different challenge. I have always loved the look of some of the "artsy" planted aquariums i have seen.

So here is where i need help.

Can i use any of my saltwater stuff for FW? This is stuff i currently have: Tanks, powerheads, pumps, heaters, hang on back filters, sump, etc.

For my first tank, id like to have a 40 gallon breeder, and do a minimalist style aquascape (Iwagumi). Low growing plants which spread and form a "carpet". I would like to have a decent lighting system, i would think about doing a T5 retrofit. What do i need for equipment to do this low tech and low energy consumption?

What plants should i look at to achieve this look?

I consider myself pretty handy with DIY stuff, so alternative suggestions are welcomed.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Hey! Welcome to the forums.

You're saltwater fishkeeping experience should help you with the control of the parameters in your tank. As for low light/low tech it'll be diffucult to grow a carpet plant under those conditions. It's not impossible but you'll have to chose your plant selection carefully.

Marsilea Quadrifolia is my personal favorite carpet plant and should be able to carpet even in low lighting conditions. Co2 injection (DIY with yeast and sugar is pretty simple) is helpful but be careful to not gas your fish. It's something that you'll watch for and act on if it happens.

I stay with smaller setups because I move to and from my college dorm too often so I'll let other people comment on lighting for a 40 breeder.

As for your equipment, just about everything will still be useful. Powerheads can be helpful but many fish won't enjoy the current. It just depends on what you stock the tank with.

Have you thought about the fauna stocking?

Either way welcome to the fresh side of the hobby and I look forward to seeing your setup in the future. I have some tutorial videos on DIY C02 and other freshwater tank care on my youtube channel (linked in sig).

Cheers!
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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One of the biggest changes between SW and FW planted setups is that FW don't need nearly as much light as corals.

If you plan on going with T5HOs and CO2 for this tank, it will be a high light/high tech setup, not low light.

If you want to stick with low light, then you'll want to use T5NO rather than T5HO, and only 2 rows of bulbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So i can use equipment that was used in a SW setup for FW tank? What equipment would you recommend for filtration?

I would like to stay away from co2, maybe do the sugar and yeast DIY thing.

As for the T5's, i would probably just do two bulbs over the 40 gallon.

I admit i do not know the plants very well at all, but i would want something a little more grass like? than Marsilea Quadrifolia.

Whats the story with this stuff? Saggitaria Dwarf
 

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So i can use equipment that was used in a SW setup for FW tank? What equipment would you recommend for filtration?

I would like to stay away from co2, maybe do the sugar and yeast DIY thing.

As for the T5's, i would probably just do two bulbs over the 40 gallon.

I admit i do not know the plants very well at all, but i would want something a little more grass like? than Marsilea Quadrifolia.

Whats the story with this stuff? Saggitaria Dwarf
Just clean any SW residue and deposits as best you can. Most people seem to like canister filters for filtration. I run a canister filter and a power head with a sponge on my 40 gallon.

It will likely take much longer to get a carpet without CO2, also plants have a tendency to grow longer without CO2. Several ways you can combat this issue. First, choosing the right plants. The dwarf sag should work ok. Second dose Excel if you aren't going to inject CO2. Third do DIY CO2, this can be in the form of sugar/yeast mixtures or what I would recommend DIY PAINTBALL setup.
 

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that looks like a pretty simple DIY.

Would you recommend running a sump with a planted tank?
I think you run into problems off gassing your CO2 when using a sump. There are ways to get around this or limit it I think, but I'm don't use CO2 or sumps so I dunno.

Either way, sumps can be used in planted tanks
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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This tank is on the big side to go with DIY CO2; unless you go pressurized, it's hard to get good, consistent levels with tanks much bigger than about 20gal.

There are definitely some plants that will carpet in low light, but adding a bit more light and CO2 opens the door to many more plant options. On the other hand, the plants will grow much more quickly and it will be much more work on your end to trim and maintain the tank to look nice.

IMO it would be much easier in the long run to decide first which way you want to go- high tech or low tech- and then start picking out plants and deciding what equipment you can and can't use.

Sumps CAN be used on high tech setups, but they generally have to be modified to lower CO2 loss. Most people prefer closed-loop canister filters and inline heaters.

Marselia quadrifolia can carpet, but does best with CO2 and is generally slow-growing. Marselia minuta does much better in tanks without CO2, but still is slow-growing. Lilaeopsis mauritiana may be more your cup of tea if you want a nice grassy plant that does not need CO2. That's the plant I have carpeting my own 29 and 90gals. E. tenellus 'narrow' and 'red' are what I have in my 46gal for the carpet (I don't run CO2 on any of my own tanks). Dwarf Sag can work for carpeting very big tanks, but probably would be better as a midground plant for a 40gal as it often grows 6-8" tall.
 

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This tank is on the big side to go with DIY CO2; unless you go pressurized, it's hard to get good, consistent levels with tanks much bigger than about 20gal.

There are definitely some plants that will carpet in low light, but adding a bit more light and CO2 opens the door to many more plant options. On the other hand, the plants will grow much more quickly and it will be much more work on your end to trim and maintain the tank to look nice.

IMO it would be much easier in the long run to decide first which way you want to go- high tech or low tech- and then start picking out plants and deciding what equipment you can and can't use.

Sumps CAN be used on high tech setups, but they generally have to be modified to lower CO2 loss. Most people prefer closed-loop canister filters and inline heaters.

Marselia quadrifolia can carpet, but does best with CO2 and is generally slow-growing. Marselia minuta does much better in tanks without CO2, but still is slow-growing. Lilaeopsis mauritiana may be more your cup of tea if you want a nice grassy plant that does not need CO2. That's the plant I have carpeting my own 29 and 90gals. E. tenellus 'narrow' and 'red' are what I have in my 46gal for the carpet (I don't run CO2 on any of my own tanks). Dwarf Sag can work for carpeting very big tanks, but probably would be better as a midground plant for a 40gal as it often grows 6-8" tall.
Good point, that paintball CO2 I linked is probably reaches its limits of effectiveness on tanks somewhere around 40-50 gallons. If I ever put CO2 on my 40 gallon breeder that paintball setup will be what I use unless I come across a bigger setup before that.

The yeast/sugar DIY setups are more suited for tanks under 20 gallons as Laura suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are there dosing options for CO2, i have seen people mention excel... or is that for micronutrients?

I am thinking about using a 30 gallon high that i have instead of a 40 breeder, this way i can avoid purchasing another 40. Would 1 or 2 decent sized HOB filter work for a 30 gallon setup? Would i need another powerhead? Is there a certain turnover rate i am looking for?
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Excel is an alternative carbon source and can be used instead of CO2 in many cases (plus is an effective algaecide against several different forms of algae), but it will get expensive dosing it on a larger tank.

You can use HOB filters if you want, no problem at all if you're not injecting CO2 (gas) into your tank.

There is no really good turnover guideline for planted tanks; what you really need to consider are mechanical filtration (planted tanks produce TONS of debris) and flow (make sure that debris gets sucked in and avoid dead spots). Those needs will vary from tank to tank.
 

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I use to HOB filters on my 29, they work great.

I am daily dosing Excel on both my 29 and 40 and I'm getting good results. I am also doing Tom Barrs "EI dosing light for less techy folks" you can find a thread on that at the barrreport forum.

I got my lfs to order me a 2 Liter bottle of Excel and they were kind enough only to charge me what it cost them which was around $32-$34 dollars. I should last me at least 6 months doing daily doses on both my tanks.
 

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For a 40gal I'd probably go with 2 AquaClear 70s. I'm a fan of AquaClears b/c they have such big media compartment and you can customize the media (I usually replace the carbon with a bag of Purigen).
 

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For a 40gal I'd probably go with 2 AquaClear 70s. I'm a fan of AquaClears b/c they have such big media compartment and you can customize the media (I usually replace the carbon with a bag of Purigen).
I think he said he was gonna go with a 30 he had already, would this recommendation still apply?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
As for fish, i am thinking about just doing 10-15 neon tetras or some schooling fish.

Are there such things as clean up crews for freshwater? If so, what should i be looking at getting?
 
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