The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,709 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I got an awesome deal on a brand new 55G tank (along with canopy and stand). $400! :proud: Tank measures 48"x12"x24".

Came with a AquaClear 70 HOB for the filter. I am going to take some filter media from my 15G and throw it into this to give it a kick start on the cycling process. It also came with an Aqueon strip light (32W T8 which I need to upgrade) and a powerhead (rated at 230GPH). Will I need to use the powerhead or no?

So I would like to do a substrate of dirt capped off with sand. Should I do an inch of dirt along with an inch of sand on top of that? Also, would I only need 1 bag of sand or 2? I was thinking of using pool filter sand but I have seen pics of black sand and would love to know where people buy it from.

I would like to do a fishless cycle, but now I have some questions around that. If I'm doing a fishless cycle, should I add the plants after the tank is fully cycled or can I start putting plants in while it's cycling. I know the plants help with the ammonia, but I don't know if with a fishless cycle if the ammonia would be too much for the plants to handle? I also read on another forum site that I shouldn't fishless cycle, but instead scape it how I want with rocks and wood, put the plants in, and put just a few fish in. The poster said that there was no need to fishless cycle with a planted tank.

I have also done a little bit of reading about dosing and ferts and this really throws me off. Can someone please explain this to me?

Sorry for all these questions, but I would like to the get all the info that I need first before I start actually going out and spending money the tank. Thanks in advance for all the help too! :red_mouth
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
427 Posts
I can really only make a couple of suggestions.

First off, if you are going to seed your filter, then you can probably get away without doing the fishless cycle if you add fish slowly. Do not put the filter media from your cycled filter into your new filter until you have at least one or two fish to put in the tank. The bacteria will start to die off relatively quickly if there is no ammonia source and then you will have seeded for nothing.

Keep a close eye on your water parameters. I recommend using Prime to condition the water and as an additive if you see ammonia readings while you are going through your initial cycling period. Prime will convert the ammonia to a less toxic form that is still available for the bacteria. This will keep your fish safe if there is ammonia in the water. I have used Prime through ammonia spikes in 2 tanks and have never lost a fish or even seen indications of stress. That said, I still think that fishless cycling is the way to go, but it can be done this way.

Either way, I am pretty sure that you can add the plants at any time. I think it is best to add the plants early on and give them a chance to get established before adding fish. The cycling period is a good time for this.

I can't really suggest anything with substrate since I've not used anything like what you are doing. I'm pretty new to plants myself, so I just went with Eco-Complete in my planted tanks. Mostly because it was easy. I'm sure someone else can help you with your soil/sand combo. Try posting in the Substrate section.

I'm afraid that I can't help you with ferts much either. Again, since I am fairly new at this, I went with something easy and just started using the Pfertz brand this week. For ease of use, if you don't mind spending the money, there is Pfertz and RootMedic. Both are sponsors here and I have heard good things about them and their customer service.

Many folks here will recommend dry ferts. It is just more than I want to deal with right now. But if you are into that and want finer control over your fertilization, then there are plenty of people on this board that will be able to help you out.

I am also using some root tabs but am switching to osmocote+ caps in my substrate. However, I am not sure if you need to do that with soil. At least not out of the gate. I would suggest posting a question in the Fertilizer section. You may get more opinions than you care to read though. :)

Just remember, there is generally more than one right way to do things in this hobby. Listen, ask questions and find what works for you. Most of all, enjoy your tank!

EDIT: I should probably also mention that what you do for ferts is going to depend on what plants you want to grow. Your lighting is also going to affect the amount that you need to fertilize. So I would suggest you do some research on the plants that you want and determine their lighting needs before trying to decide on ferts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
if you do the organic choice miracle grow it should have enough ammonia to cycle the tank. My 55 cycled itself in less than 6 hours!

I wouldn't use sand, since it is a b**** to keep clean, and the dirt will come through it every time. 1" of dirt, and 1" of a cap works fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,709 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks CrazyCat for the input.

What I prolly will do now is seed the filter and get like 2-3 fish to start my cycle and just go from there adding fish in very slowly to help build the bacterial colony.

I've always kept a close eye on my water parameters and plan on doing so with this tank as well.

I can grab a couple of plants during the week and put them in the tank and start to scape it a little bit.

I'm really mostly concerned about the substrate to be honest. I like the idea of sand, but i've never heard anyone complain about the dirt coming up through the sand. The guy at the LFS told me that I could use any substrate to cap, but just to make sure it's something I would want to have (obviously).

Yes I know there is more than one way to go about things in this hobby, but as long as I have a general idea as to how things should go, I can figure out from there and do what works for me.

Thanks for the input
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
agree...

Dosing ferts is beneficial to my low tech tanks. I buy the dry ferts and use a measuring spoon to dose my larger tanks. Just dump them in near a pump output. Do a search for EI dosing (Estimative Index). Find a table listing tank sizes and recommended dosing for that size tank. Measure and dose about a one day dose right after a water change and see how it works for the plants. If you go for months between water changes you can dose again between water changes. Just watch your plants. They will tell you if you are doing it right.

You can have a nice low light just by adding one more full spectrum 32 watt strip light. Or you can upgrade to a single tube T5 HO fixture and grow a bunch of very nice plants as well. Your powerhead will help minimize dead spots in your tank.

I just suggested another method of cycling a tank here:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/149603-help-beginner.html

Maybe it will work for you. Good luck.

stu
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top