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Need advice on a new 40 gal low tech tank

885 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jborneo3

I started a 36 gallon tank a year and a half ago. I had a lot of tropical fish and a few plants. 6 months into it i was battling algae. And while we were at Christmas break i found a major flood when we arrived home. Least to say I was not very pleased. So, I took a break. Now I'm starting a new. I bought a 40 gallon tank and I want it to be a plant tank. I want to start on a right foot and focus in a low tech tank. Base from readings I got from this forum this is what i got:

1. Substrate: eco-complete
Question: is this enough? Do i need to add other supplements? I have some petco sand to for cosmetic effect.

2. Light: GroBeam Ultima 1500
Question: is this enough or too much for a 40 gallon tank?

3. Filtration system: Eheim Classic 250 external canister.
Question: what type of media should i have in the cannister that helps further maintain the tank?

4. CO2 reactor: have not bought it yet. I figure i will wait until i feel it needs it or i should i go ahead install it from the get-go? If i have to buy one, which one you recommend? And when should i install it?

5. Tank cycle: I'm starting my aquascaping now with my substrate. I'm taking my time to build it. I want to build a terrace on it. I hope the substrate holds 馃檹.
Question: is it ok to have the substrate exposed dry for certain period of time? I have training in seattle for a week so i was planning to cycle a little bit before leaving. I was thinking of running the filter without any plants onit while im gone. There will no light and i will cover the tank with black plastic bag to ensure no algae growing. Then, when i'm ready to plant i'll change 30% of it. Is this ok?

6. Plants
So far these are the plants i am considering
Lilaeopsis mauritiana carpet
Christmas moss
fissiden fontanus
I am planning to make a tree out of one of these mosses and the other for carpeting.
Questions: is there a picture chart for all aquarium plants? That wouldbe very helpful to have to check requirements, type, etc...
I'm looking for stem plants and some colored plants as well. Any suggestions?

7. I live in millbrae, ca. Any suggestions of a good quality plants around this area?

I'll stop here for now and i'll update as soon i get going.

Thanks fo all the help!
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Welcome to TPT!

You'll probably need to supplement your substrate sooner or later with some ferts, but for now EcoComplete should give you a good start.

IDK anything about that particular light fixture so I'm afraid I can't help with what light level it will place your tank, but I'm sure if you ask in the Equipment forum someone can help you out. You do need to understand your light level, as this is critical to setting up a successful planted tank.

You should be fine with the media that comes with your Eheim. The only changes I usually make with Eheims is I replace carbon with a bag of Purigen (a chemical media which can be recharged and used over and over) and I cut up my own disposable pond filter media rather than buying the brand disposable media.

(Im at work so will come back later for more of your questions...)
Thanks for the Advice!

Hey thanks!

I need to know a time frame of when I should start worrying CO2 or fertilizer?


Anybody here knows the par value of GroBeam Ultima 1500 for a 40 gallon tank?

i thought you stated that you want a low tech? if you're gonna run co2, that's not considered low tech.
Still debating

Wanting to plant dwarf baby tears. I know it needs high light and CO2. That's why I'm on a fence. If you guys can suggest a low light carpet but with the same height with dwarf baby tears I would greatly appreciate it.

Lilaeopsis mauritiana, Marselia minuta, and dwarf Sagittaria will all carpet under low light without CO2.

I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish with partially filling the tank and covering it with a bag while you're gone?

A tank won't begin to cycle ("cycling" means growing a colony of bacteria that will break down toxic ammonia and nitrite from fish waste into less toxic nitrate) until you add some sort of ammonia source. So there's no point at all to running your tank without plants while you're gone- might as well wait till you get back so you can make sure your tank cycles properly.

There's quite a few recent threads on cycling here on the forum with great info, so take a few minutes and read one of those, and make sure you understand the process.

Also - take a look in the California forum for some local aquarium clubs. I know there are some really big and active clubs out in CA that would be a fantastic resouce for you.
thanks for the help!

Marselia minuta would be a great replacement! Thank you very much. I have planned Lilaeopsis mauritiana for something else already. I guess I was thinking of making sure the water is fine after all my aquascaping with my tools and guides. That's why I was thinking of cycling without plants, then cycle with plants, then when ready add some afterwards.

Thanks for the great help!
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