The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, was kicking around the idea of a freshwater tank. i used to build custom saltwater setups but literally know nothing about fw. i dont have a lot of space to work with can go out to 27" wide. so can do a 10g, 20 high or xtra high, or a 30 extra high. for a planted tank w fish is it a con to have an extra high tank?

ive been trying to work thru the guides on the site but im left w more questions than answers...

I see there are various substrates to work with but i cant seem to figure out which one to use. It seems fluval stratum is well regarded...is there a substrate you guys lean towards? i know you cant get everything in one product but is there one that stands out as the best?


thanks for the help
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,916 Posts
Taller tanks typically require stronger lights. Not impossible; but certainly can be more difficult because of that. As far as substrates go everyone seems to have their preferences for one reason or another. In the end they all have the ability to serve their intended purpose which is simply to hold a plant down. Certain types will aid in growth but aren't exactly necessary. Inert substrates like pool filter sand can do well and if needed you could add in root tabs or other forms of fertilization. I personally tend to factor in cost first so I ended up using dirt in a lot of my tanks. The types of plants you want can be a deciding factor there too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
I had Fluval Stratum for a while and had to throw it out. If you replant and move stuff around, it will be a cloudy mess and turns into mud.
If cost wasn't a factor, ADA aquasoil seems to be praised by many, but never tried it myself yet. Always thought it would be the same experience as with Stratum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I understand your remark about being left with more questions than answers! There is definitely a learning curve for the planted aquarium.
I have used fluval and it works fine (I have used fluval in both a 30 gal and a 10 gal planted tank)! You can always "upgrade" the more inert substrates with fertilizer tabs and clay. A taller tank will require stronger lighting, but lower lighting can be perfectly ok if you are planning on doing a low-tech set up.

Do you plan to inject CO2/fertilize ? Will your tank be heavily planted? Do you know what type of lighting you plan to purchase? (look into low light plants, and people make some incredible tanks with those species-- you could have a taller tank with those and not worry so much about the lighting)

good luck! Can't wait to see the advice you get!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I understand your remark about being left with more questions than answers! There is definitely a learning curve for the planted aquarium.
I have used fluval and it works fine (I have used fluval in both a 30 gal and a 10 gal planted tank)! You can always "upgrade" the more inert substrates with fertilizer tabs and clay. A taller tank will require stronger lighting, but lower lighting can be perfectly ok if you are planning on doing a low-tech set up.

Do you plan to inject CO2/fertilize ? Will your tank be heavily planted? Do you know what type of lighting you plan to purchase? (look into low light plants, and people make some incredible tanks with those species-- you could have a taller tank with those and not worry so much about the lighting)

good luck! Can't wait to see the advice you get!
if you use an inert substance like sand....how often do you fertilize?

ill be honest, coming from a salt water setup with every gadget you could imagine i am really not looking to get too crazy. i mean a tank and reg isnt the end of the world but i def dont want to start piling things up.

lighting i was thinking about leds but again i have been out of the aquarium game for a few years. back then they just didnt pt out enough power (but that was for corals, for plants i have no clue). i dont have the room for a metal halide, so i guess i could do the tubes. what do you recommend? my budget for the whole shehbang is like $300 give or take not including stand and tank. is this unrealistic?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
if you use an inert substance like sand....how often do you fertilize?

ill be honest, coming from a salt water setup with every gadget you could imagine i am really not looking to get too crazy. i mean a tank and reg isnt the end of the world but i def dont want to start piling things up.

lighting i was thinking about leds but again i have been out of the aquarium game for a few years. back then they just didnt pt out enough power (but that was for corals, for plants i have no clue). i dont have the room for a metal halide, so i guess i could do the tubes. what do you recommend? my budget for the whole shehbang is like $300 give or take not including stand and tank. is this unrealistic?
Ya, that's why I've stayed away from SW tanks. The cost is too high for me. I have no experience with LEDs. This forum has a good section on lighting that you might want to investigate. Compact fluorescent lighting/tubes work well in my experience. You just have to do a little research to find bulbs that emit the proper wavelengths that plants will eat up... this site will help with understanding what lighting your plants need...

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10-lighting/184368-lighting-aquarium-par-instead-watts.html
This forum post shares different light bulbs and the PAR they emit at various distances from the surface. Its very helpful. Also, a lot of manufacturers have information on the spectrum that their CF emit (and you could look to get bulbs that emit in the blue/red ranges).

Using the charts from that link or the spectrum ratings from the manufacturers would be considered inaccurate by a lot of experts, but I've had a lot of success this way with tanks of varying sizes. (I use a combination of several compact fluorescent flood light bulbs you can buy at home depot on my 35 gal and 10 gal tanks).

If you stick with sand you can put fertilizer tablets into the sand every 3 months to get good growth (they are relatively cheap, but if the tank is big it could be expensive over the years.. you can add balls of clay as well). You can also fertilize with dry/liquid fertilizers to keep your plants happy.
Estimative Index Dosing Guide - Fertilizing - Aquatic Plant Central

Dosing this way is easy, and you don't have to be completely accurate. The heavier you plant your aquarium the less you have to worry about overdosing nutrients. You can buy dry versions of the fertilizers for way cheaper.

Hopefully its not taboo to post other forum links onto this forum :)

I think its very feasible to set up a tank for 300. I have great success with my 35 gal tank using EI/DIY CO2, flood lights, and fluorite as the substrate and set that up for well under 300$ (the flood lights were around 45$ for the bulbs and clamp light, fluorite was ~35$, DIY CO2 ~5$ to set up, ~1$ for cost of sugar and yeast per fill up, filter is around 30-40$ depending on the size, heater ~20$, plants ~60$, fertilizers ~15$ for dry EI ferts, root tabs ~10$).

Lemme know what you think of this info! Others will give different advice, that's just how I have had success with my tanks.

edit-- my 35 gal tank is short and long (so not sure how my setup/advice would work on a tall tank). As for the lighting- if you stick with tubes, you can find PAR ratings and spectrum for various bulbs just the same as I did for the flood light bulbs I use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
great stuff thank you. i was wondering about those yeast co2 setups. for a small tank are you getting good results with it? is it a lot of upkeep to keep it going?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,406 Posts
great stuff thank you. i was wondering about those yeast co2 setups. for a small tank are you getting good results with it? is it a lot of upkeep to keep it going?
DIY co2 does work given the tank size. I definitely with I had bought a pressurized system from the start as the DIY method becomes a chore. Also you have to keep up with it as to not have huge fluctuations in co2.
Substrate wise you can have great success with sand/blasting media when used in conjunction with root tabs and dry ferts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
s
great stuff thank you. i was wondering about those yeast co2 setups. for a small tank are you getting good results with it? is it a lot of upkeep to keep it going?
I have good results with it, and its not too much of a chore for me. I change the bottles every two (takes about 5 min to make the solution and that's it) and the recipe I use is pretty consistent with output so the PH of my tanks are steady.

I completely agree with hobbyists who say automatic systems are the way to go. I will head that direction when I have the money to buy a system that regulates output based on PH (they are too expensive for your budget for this tank). For now, my DIY system works really well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i think im going to go w CaribSea Eco-Complete. i read the pros and cons seems to be a good fit. thoughts?

one more thing the lfs told me to use weco fake driftwood bc the real thing leeches crap into the water. is this true?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
i also want to go heavy on carpet plants. as small and turfy as possible. what would you guys recommend as the easiest species to take care of?

was thinking of Dwarf Baby Tears
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,916 Posts
one more thing the lfs told me to use weco fake driftwood bc the real thing leeches crap into the water. is this true?
Driftwood can leech some tannins into the water. Its actually quite beneficial for many species though. It can turn water a brown tea color which many dont find too appealing (and some go out of there way to create this too). But this can be prevented by soaking and/or boiling the wood before use. If you're going for a natural planted tank why bother with fake plastic decor?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,423 Posts
You'll be keeping a relatively small tank out of necessity, and it seems you're looking for the best bang (translation: results) for your buck (i.e. at a reasonable price) without having to worry about having to acquire a bunch of unnecessary, expensive equipment, and being in a quandary as to whether you're doing the right thing with lighting.

My answer to meeting those conditions is to keep things as simple as possible, i.e. go low tech, with a moderate lighting set-up, and using pool filter sand for substrate (under $15 . for 50 lbs.), and using root tab ferts with it, along with perhaps occasional dosing of dry or liquid ferts.
Easy to maintain, keep clean, and produce good water quality & conditions with little effort, and many plants will do very well in it.
You've received some sound advices and good ideas here, so you have all the ammunition you need to set yourself up quickly & easily, and achieve good success without busting your head over it.

Here's an example for you - and hope this helps you decide:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
very nice tank

Bump: i dont mind spending a couple bucks on passive equipment but you are right, as its only a 24 x 12 footprint i dont have a lot of real estate to work with so i have to be very choosy about what goes in the tank. the tank has a single 18" light. i got the Zoo Med Ultra Sun Trichromatic Super Daylight 6500K t8 bulb, eventually will go to leds i guess. substrate i may just do 60lbs eco complete. my goal is to go as low tech as possible w eq that needs to be maintained in some annoying way
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I have had good success with eco-complete as well!
As for carpeting plants, to get a thick carpet you often need high light and nutrients, but you can get away with moderate lighting and ferts. Either way, there is no harm in trying with a low-tech set up! the planted tank takes experimentation almost always. I have had good results creating carpets with dwarf sagittaria (although its not a low lying carpet, it still looks great in my opinion). I have not had good results with moderate lighting with dwarf baby tears/hairgrass which is what people often look for to get a thick low lying carpet (they usually need high lighting/co2 to get good results in my experience).


I have a very large piece of drift wood in my tank (it weighs about 20 lbs), and I've never had a problem with discoloration of the water (I don't know the chemistry of it ? a member mentioned that tannins can be good for plants, so maybe they are absorbing the tannins?)

Sounds like you have developed a plan, can't wait to see what you do!

Bump: This is a picture( a not so good one) of one of my tanks that had a dwarf sag carpet with moderate lighting. You can get a better idea of what a sag carpet can look like on google images.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i do like that, but do want it lower bc im dealing w such a small tank. im getting a 2 bulb t5 ho light fixture. maybe i should put two 6500k or 6700k bulbs in there that would surely be high light no?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
i do like that, but do want it lower bc im dealing w such a small tank. im getting a 2 bulb t5 ho light fixture. maybe i should put two 6500k or 6700k bulbs in there that would surely be high light no?
I missed the dimensions of the tank, but scrolled back through and saw 24x12. I think you could get success with dwarf baby tears with that lighting !
 
1 - 19 of 19 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