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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening all! This is my first post here. I just wanted to introduce myself and perhaps ask a bit of advice in the process. I really enjoy fish tanks. My mother had a 75 gallon gold fish tank when I was growing up. Now that I'm grown up, I have my own fish tank that I've had for over 2 years now. I don't do a lot of forums or social networking, so bear with me.

I have a 40 gallon long aquarium. It's got the large dyed rock gravel, artificial plants, and some general plastic and rock decorations. I have a Marineland Penguin 350 hob filter. My light is a single tube fluorissant. I'm very much interested in turning my current tank into a low/medium tech planted tank. My fish are: an opaline gourami, a black skirt tetra, two platys, and an upside down catfish that I never see. :icon_neut I bought the Planted Tank Guide and read a few stickys here. Lots of very nice info and pics in there. I recommend the guide to all new aquarists.

My plan is to put all my fish, decorations, and gravel into a separate 25 gallon fish tank. I have a spare hob filter for it. Then I plan to take the rest of the gravel and most of the water out, and replace the gravel with 60 pounds of CaribSea Eco-complete planted aquarium gravel.

Now, I'm not really sure about what water to use once I have the gravel in my tank. I've been using distilled water, but that gets to be a pain to purchase and haul around. My tap water seems unreliable at best. After this winters snow melt, my water got really nasty. Still safe to drink, but I don't think for much else. I do have an RODI filter. Would that be good to use? I think there're some chemicals I can buy to reintroduce the good minerals needed in a controlled manner.

My next steps, I'm not really too sure on, once I know what water to use. Would doing this start a cycle? Should I re-introduce my fish into the main tank, or keep building on the new tank? I plan on doing most of the things pretty slow, as funds allow. I still need to purchase an upgrade to my light. I plan to get a Finnex Ray2 Aquarium LED daylight. The plants I plan to purchase are: Micro Sword, Anacharas, Java Fern, Water Sprite, Chainsword - Narrow leaf, Amazon Sword plant, Cryptocoryne, Ludwigia - Broad, Anubias nana, Cabonba, and Four Leaf Clover. I'm also unsure if I need CO2 for these? Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post. Better to have too much info then not enough! If anyone can help me out with some advice on this, or point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it. Thank you.
 

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Your first issue is the removal of all the gravel and decorations. Many of the beneficial nitrifying bacteria live here. Many also live in your filter. If you keep the filter you SHOULD be fine with what sounds like a relatively light bioload. A way to help seed the new decorations/plants/substrate with beneficial bacteria (BB) would be to put some of your old gravel into a mesh bag or section of womens' nylon hose and leave it in the newly set up tank for a few days. Mulm from the old set up will be good too.

For the water: what made your water nasty? I have no experience with upside down catfish, but the rest are pretty hardy and should be able to thrive in most flavors of tap water (provided you remove the chlorine/chloramines). RODI water is also OK, but you'll have to replace some minerals (known as gH). Seachem makes a good gH booster and there are some good homemade recipes as well.
 

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In a way I can feel for you as I do know some of the water from wells can be really nasty depending on what it picks up. But then I might ask what the source really might be. If it is the St. Charles city water, it will vary depending how much comes from the river but then if it is a private well down along the bottoms, all bets are off! Does it have enough iron so that it colors the stool, etc.?
If this is your drinking water, do you have it tested at times? Those tests will show you far better what your water really has. Our noses and taste are not really very good at testing for the important stuff.
Before I made any decisions on a tank I would read through the reports to see what you have. Any public water supply will have the CCR (consumer confidence report) that will lay out in detail what you may need to deal with to get it going.
Meantime I would suggest a good study of how/why the cycle works so that you will understand some of the moves you need to make. You will find the water itself is not really too involved in maintaining the cycle as the bacteria is not free floating in the water as much as stuck to surfaces.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Welcome to TPT!

Regardless of what plant species you choose, you'll need CO2 to keep up with that light fixture.

You could go with one of the lower light fixtures and still keep every plant species in your list (though make sure your "Four leaf clover" is Marselia minuta rather than any of the other species that tend to require CO2 to do well).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the replies. After this past harsh winter, we got run-off from the snow. This apparently turns our water cloudy and makes it taste nasty. We were informed it was safe to drink, though. We still had to get a water filter, cause my wife and I couldn't even stand the taste of it. We've also had more then one boil warning come through, and I suppose my tap water just isn't very reliable. Though I have not tested it.

I will definitely look up that CCR. Thanks for that info, Rich. My one concern about using women's nylon hose in my tank, would be leeching dyes or chemicals into my tank from the hose. Is this something to worry about with them, or do they generally not do that?

The Four Leaf Clover is Marsilea quadrifolia. Would this work as well?

Also, sorry for the typo in the title. Meant to say "Intro". I wasn't feeling well at the time and was on Nyquil. :confused1:
 

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Nylon hose are inert and just fine for a tank. I get packs from the dollar store. I've put java moss, crushed marble, peat moss, riccia, and purigen in mine with no problems. Not at the same time of course...
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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HOB filters are only an issue if you are injecting CO2 on a tank.

In my experience, Marselia quadrifolia may survive in a non-CO2 tank, but tends to get tall and "leggy" and usually won't carpet well. M. minuta will still carpet without CO2, though it is a pretty slow grower.
 
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