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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I must admit I am in AWE and ADMIRATION of the many beautifully planted tanks and aquascapes on this forum! I've had fish tanks for years (mainly comet or fantail goldfish with rocks and a few plastic plants). I've had disasters with live plants, but now realize, thanks to this forum, that lighting and water conditions were probably to blame. I haven't had tropical fish since the December 2008 severe ice storm and weeklong power outage which dropped the house temperature to 40 degrees and killed the fish in my tropical tank. My goldfish survived and I still have them.

I have an empty 60 gallon. I have driftwood....and I have arranged it in the empty 60 gallon. I think I will leave it like this for a few days...maybe re-arrange it...although I must admit I really like rocks also...so will look for those as well to add to the arrangement. If I decided to go with the driftwood, I'll soak it for a week or so to leach out any tannins or whatever is in them before adding to the tank with substrate and rocks.

Substrate...something natural looking...currently researching. The plants will be easy ones for starters...such as the anubia varieties and java fern that I have in my 20 gallon tropical tank. I want to have some moss...really like the moss...so I have Java moss on order.

Fish will be a few angel fish, some black neons and aenus cory cats and a few ottos.

This is quite a daunting process and a big step for me :)


 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Still researching...substrate and lighting conditions. Hoppy's PAR light discussion thread is great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks karce87 and GMYukonon24s for your kind comments :) :) :)


I just ordered 60 pounds of Eco-Complete black substrate at Petco...on sale today (1-6-2013) on line at $17.99 per bag with free shipping.

I have a question...I think I have to top dress this with a fine gravel? At least that is what I'm thinking of doing...either a black fine grade or a more natural pebble/river sand color...maybe an inch above the Eco-Complete?

Also ordered a 150W Jaeger heater from Drs. Foster and Smith. They are on sale until 1-7-2013...

Still undecided on the HOB filter...thinking seriously about a Fluvial C-series...would probably have to be a C4 for the 60 gallon tank. Any pros on cons on this model? Is there another brand of HOB filter that you prefer and why?
 

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To elaborate on this, you need to have surface movement in your tank, and a lot of flow throughout the water column. You also do not want to break the surface of top line of water, only have it constantly ruffling to allow for o2 to be dissolved into the water.

If you break the surface of the water, the co2 gases out of the water, thus being counterproductive towards your goal. But if you have the water only rifling, the co2 still will mostly stay within the water itself while also allowing the o2 to get into the water for the fish.

What I plan on doing as well, is having airstones on a timer, that way I have that running when the lights go off (and the co2) and stop that when the co2 comes on (an hour before the lights is what I've been told is a good idea)
this helped me alot when choosing a new filter
 

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Love the wood you have, nice start.

Check the amount of substrate needed by using the handy substrate calculator hidden deep in the Articles section of this site. Articles>calculators>substrate.

You only need a topper if the color doesn't please you. As far as I know the only substrates that need topping are the mineralized soil and potting soil types and there is one person here trying it without topping!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Kathyy, thank you so much for the pathway link to the info on substrate depth! :)

Mahlady, thanks for spotting the info from Hybrid Herp on the co2/o2 cycle :) I had forgotten about night and daylight affecting this. I did not know that too much breaking up of the surface tension of the water would cause "the co2 to gas out." I will keep this info in mind when looking at filters...in the past I have had goldfish tanks with rocks and no live plants, were I wanted to break up the surface tension to increase the o2. The 60G will be a low tech tropical fish set up with low/medium light plants...co2 is going to factor in there...

Lots to think about and off to do more reseach :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In limbo at the moment as the shipment Eco-Complete has not yet arrived. Taking a serious look at organic soil and maybe a bit of clay for iron under gravel substrate. Lots to think about...will ask a bunch of questions before starting!!

Thinking about putting on 2 HOB filters...and still researching.

The light canopies will have to be replaced. They are not going to be strong enough to grow any plants...other than to light the tank. I have been reading about canopies with two, three and four bulbs...will be sure to ask questions here before starting also!! It is going to be a low tech set up, however, as I have a huge learning curve.

Learning on the 20 gallon and this plant growing stuff isn't easy...but sure is fun! So much to learn! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Still considering HOB filters...but also seriously looking at Eheim canister filters...


Eco-complete shipment finally arrived...but...
Re-thinking my substrate choice...I have a radicans sword (echinodorus cordifolius) that was not doing well so after doing some reading (thanks Kathyy!) I decided to put it in a terracotta pot. The pot's bottom layer is organic soil topped with gravel. The sword plant is now growing much better...

So....I'm going to put some of that organic potting soil under the Eco-complete
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mahlady, possibly Miracle-Gro Organic choice? That is what was in the garage in a bag and what I used for the sword plant.

Would sure appreciate some input on organic potting soil
 

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Not sure, that is why I was asking. I am considering using it also in a new tank with some potted plants. Not sure what kind can be used in an aquarium, there are so many choices...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Maybe some folks will chime in and help us out on the potting soil question. You're right there are so many choices...

I did see the list of substrate choices on this forum (link below)...and Miracle Grow Organic was listed...so maybe I lucked out by having some of that in the garage...

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=153412

All I know is that I used a small amount in the terracotta pot for the sword plant...it was messy so I put some gravel in the bottom of the pot, then the soil, then after potting the plant, I added about an inch and a half of gravel to top the soil. The pot itself is about 5 inches high.

I am researching through the substrate section and also looking at the "Your Tanks" photo display section to see what substrate combinations are listed. It is fascinating to see what people are doing and I don't understand it all yet...just some of the basics...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Question: Am I on the right track here in a possible lighting choice? Below is the light that I'd like to put on the 60G...the depth of the tank is 24 inches. I'm concerned with the light reaching the substrate...the hood is a strip containing one 48 inch 54 watt T5. There is also a model with two 54 watt T5 bulbs. I am thinking maybe 1 bulb is enough as the tank is only 15 inches wide?

http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_198_200&products_id=1837


I want to grow easy for beginner low/moderate light plants like anubias and java fern and some of the mosses...but would like to try a sword plant or two...and some vallisneria
 

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Hey Saxtonhill! Welcome!!!

On the soil it is Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix (Orange front Bag)! It is what everybody is using, and has worked out well for me! You can search for threads by wkndracer, and he is who got me started with the "dirted" tanks and has most all of the info you will need on how to go about setting up a dirt tank!

On the light I think the 1 T5 HO fixture you have linked to will be more than enough to grow lower light needing plants! I has a 55g with the AH supply retro light kit with 2 T% HO bulbs in it, and it has been growing most any plant I have put into my tank! BUT I also use Compressed CO2 and light fert dosing to keep up with the 2 T5 HOs! Even with just the 1 bulb fixture you are looking at you might need to run at least a DIY CO2 setup, because the T5HO lights are quite a bit of light! BUT with the deeper 24" tank you might be OK! Maybe someone else will chime in about the T5ho and no CO2!

The Anubias, and Java fern and mosses will be just fine with the light you listed, but research on the Sword, as most of them need pretty good light, but some do fine in lower light! also the Valls should be ok too, but I learned with them they like their water to be a bit on the harder side, but so are all of the plants you have been talking about! So just don't get your water too soft!

Hope this helps Ya out some, and I have subscribed to your thread to see your tank come to life!

Good Luck!
Drew
 

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Hey Saxtonhill! Welcome!!!

On the soil it is Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix (Orange front Bag)! It is what everybody is using, and has worked out well for me! You can search for threads by wkndracer, and he is who got me started with the "dirted" tanks and has most all of the info you will need on how to go about setting up a dirt tank!

On the light I think the 1 T5 HO fixture you have linked to will be more than enough to grow lower light needing plants! I has a 55g with the AH supply retro light kit with 2 T% HO bulbs in it, and it has been growing most any plant I have put into my tank! BUT I also use Compressed CO2 and light fert dosing to keep up with the 2 T5 HOs! Even with just the 1 bulb fixture you are looking at you might need to run at least a DIY CO2 setup, because the T5HO lights are quite a bit of light! BUT with the deeper 24" tank you might be OK! Maybe someone else will chime in about the T5ho and no CO2!

The Anubias, and Java fern and mosses will be just fine with the light you listed, but research on the Sword, as most of them need pretty good light, but some do fine in lower light! also the Valls should be ok too, but I learned with them they like their water to be a bit on the harder side, but so are all of the plants you have been talking about! So just don't get your water too soft!

Hope this helps Ya out some, and I have subscribed to your thread to see your tank come to life!

Good Luck!
Drew
Hi SaxtonHill,

I'd second Drew's opinion on the Miracle Grow or any potting mix/soil substrate.

On the topic of the lighting, I'd disagree with Drew. I have a 90g and i have a 1 bulb 4' long fixture and my plants performed horribly. In my experience the light does not penetrate the water column well even what it is mounted directly over the tank.

I lost pretty much all my plants over the years before I started to do alot of research and became a member of this community. I've since then changed up quite a few things inclusive of my lighting. I've now added some extra CFLs in dome reflectors and I'm getting good reasonable growth.

I would recommend getting the two bulb fixture which would also allow you to mix bulb spectrums for whatever you desired look is. i.e. 2 6500k bulbs or 1 6500k and 1 plant grow bulb (usually pink/red).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks gt Turbo and Boxxerboydrew! I am still pretty confused on the lighting sitiuation...it's a deep tank and I've got to get that light intensity all the way to the substrate...I am thinking seriously on the 2 bulb set up and now will look into the 6500K and other spectrums with a list of plants in mind. I welcome very much your suggestions!!!! :)

In the meantime I've had a driftwood setback...a family member has objected to my using the driftwood as it has family sentimental value---my parents collected it in Maine on their Honeymoon in the late 1950s...so I guess it will be destined for display as a tabletop item...:confused:

I found this neat link on composition in a thread (suggested by Kathyy) over on this Planted Tank's Aquascaping forum so I will study this to give myself some fresh ideas...especially on simplicity as I am limited at this time to plants that I can grow in a low to medium light setting...and I really like the variety of anubias that are available...and I have a lot of rocks that are readilly available...

ttp://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=180044


As Henry David Thoreau said , "Simplify! Simplify!" I have too much enthusiasm...I must remind myself to simplify my idea..some rocks and a couple of plant species...and keep practicing my aquascaping attempts on my 20H setup...this aquascaping and plant husbandry ain't easy LOL! :)
 
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