The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the past year i was a somewhat successful reef keeper.
After hurricane Isaac i had a tank crash. I started back up even though i wanted to switch then. Needless to say after starting back up i was never able to fully commit in fear of looking alt of money on another crash so i bit the bullet sold my fish and switched to freshwater. Still have the sand and rock in the tank so needless to say ph is high and water is super hard . I think i have decided on a dirt/flora max mixture covered with black gravel. Just very nervous about making such a big change. I have been skimming this forum for couple weeks and feel i have learned enough to.start the.change. Would like to know if there is any last minute or important unspoken info i need to know before i begin. Thanks in advance
Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk 2
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
Honestly man its not too difficult if you choose good hardy plants. I'm sure you have good lighting coming from the reef world. My only suggestion would be to take a look at some tanks with Tahitian Moon Sand. I just used some for my shrimp tank and its gorgeous!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,721 Posts
Well, the salt-to-fresh changeover has been posted in many places, but I can hit the high points, if you wish.

Light: The light of a tropical coral reef is not the same a under the canopy of a tropical rain forest. The lights used to grow corals is too blue, too intense for pretty much all the fresh water plants. So make sure you have the right bulbs for your plants.

In a salt water set up there is rarely enough means of removing nitrate from the system. There are algae based refugiums, and if you ran your salt tank with one, then you have already been running a planted tank! If not, then you have been battling nitrate in other ways, such as a protein skimmer.
In a planted tank microorganisms will break down wastes such as left over food and fish waste into elements and molecules that the plants will remove from the water as fertilizer. When you prune the plants you are then doing the final removal of those things from the tank.

Switching substrates is a good idea. Most aquarium plants are going to do better in a finer substrate that has some capacity to hold minerals and fertilizers available for the plants. If you have not already done so, look up Cationic Exchange Capacity and see the benefits that you are getting with a dirt tank.

When you kept corals and other critters that took their minerals right from the water, you had to maintain the water with the right water chemistry so they would thrive.
Same with a planted tank.
The plants have certain chemical needs which you will be meeting in certain ways. Plants need over a dozen elements, but you do not have to worry about most of them. In your research you have probably looked into the following groups of 'fertilizers':
Elements plants need in such large amounts they are even more than macros:
O, H, and C. CO2 is the big one in this group. You will have a whole tank full of H and O. Supplying carbon to the plants in a way that they can use is probably one of the trickiest parts of keeping a planted tank.
Macros: Things plants need in large amounts: N, P, K
Secondary nutrients: Things plants need in somewhat smaller amounts: Ca and Mg are the biggest 2 here, and the water often supplies these.
Micros: Things plants need in such small amounts that except for one they are pretty much all grouped together and treated as one item. That one exception is Fe. Plants might even need enough Fe to almost call it a secondary nutrient.

Livestock: Well, in a salt water set up you do not have to worry if fish from one ocean have different water chemistry needs from a fish from another ocean.
Fresh water, however is not the same all over the world. Depending on what minerals and other things get dissolved in the water lakes and rivers are not the same. Fish from the extremes of fresh water chemistry do not belong in the same tank. The basic groups are:
Fish from soft, acidic water such as is found in rain forests and the rivers that drain these areas. Fallen leaves and lots of rain to dilute any minerals dictate these conditions.
Fish from hard, alkaline lakes where minerals in the soil dictate water conditions.
Fish from in-between conditions that may tolerate a wide range of water chemistries. One example is fish from tropical streams that flood occasionally. Part of the year there are more minerals in the water, and part of the year the water holds more fallen leaves and such so there is an annual swing in the water chemistry. For some interesting details have a look at Rainbow Fish (many species) from New Guinea.
Other stocking guidelines are the same concepts as in salt: Don't stock species that are likely to eat each other. Pay attention to the social needs of the fish. Don't over stock.

As you have so tragically learned, an aquarium is an ecology kept in balance by the power you have to run filters, pumps, lights, heaters and perhaps other things.
When that equipment fails the ecology can fall apart. By setting up the best possible collection of plants and animals, and not running it at an extreme where the demand for power must be met 'or else' you are building into the system a cushion that can maintain the system under adverse conditions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
If you make the switch, be careful using your reef light on a planted tank. Chances are if it grew corals its too much light unless you are using pressurized co2 and dosing ferts daily. Many people will tell you the spectrum from reef light is no good for plants, but thats easily fixed by adding a red bulb or two. I know a few guys growing gorgeous plants under 15,000k bulbs in place of the 6,700k's most people use.

There are some really cool hard water plants from africa, if the tank is already high ph then go with it. Adding co2 will bring it down somewhat but you could still keep higher ph plants with no problem. Theres a couple species of dwarf danios and certain shrimp that appreciate hard water too. My lfs has a hardwater planted tank and its awesome.

Just a thought...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
816 Posts
My advice is to not get discouraged by any problems you will probably run into, such as algae and things of that sort. Also don't get discouraged if the first tank you set up doesn't look like some of the tanks you see on here. That will all come in time. Just stick with it and keep trying and the reward will come.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sweet...thanks alot for the great advise. And by the way the first thing i bought was new bulbs. My fixture is four bulb and i have 2 6500 and 2 red

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk 2
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Only issue i think im running.g into is bio media that i need to use in my Berlin sump. Whatever i use is going to be submerged at all times. Bioballs was mg first choice but i have read conflicting reports that they only work in wet/dry situation. I was under impression bacteria will grow on any surface as long as it has some flow.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk 2
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,458 Posts
As you have so tragically learned, an aquarium is an ecology kept in balance by the power you have to run filters, pumps, lights, heaters and perhaps other things.
When that equipment fails the ecology can fall apart. By setting up the best possible collection of plants and animals, and not running it at an extreme where the demand for power must be met 'or else' you are building into the system a cushion that can maintain the system under adverse conditions.
Diana's post was long, and i'm sure very informative, but i only read this part.

and it's really very very very true. I have a 12g nanocube and we lost power for a few days during sandy. I've a few freshwater tanks with plants and I didnt worry about any of them, tank temps dipped into the 60's in my basement, and I maybe lost a pencil fish.

however, i was worrying over my corals and fish in the nanocube... I've easily spent $1000 on that tank and it's inhabitants, and hours setting it up and taking care of it. if it wasnt for the generator we borrowed I'm sure that tank would be fresh right now.

I love coral and watching all the little things in a salt tank, but its too much of a worry. I had the option of doing a large salt or freshwater in our basement, and i'm sticking with fresh so i don't pee my pants if the power goes out!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top