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Returning to planted world would like suggestions

1558 Views 14 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  cichlids4me
I am looking into setting up my 94 gallon tank as a low tech plant tank. It was setup a few years ago but I did not really have much knowledge of the planted world. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, I am looking at either T5 or power compacts for this setup and would like opinions on which would be best. On my first attempt I had 110 watts of PC on the tank.

My original setup was something like this:
2X55 Pc 6700K
No CO2
Red Flourite
2 Emperor 400 HOB filters
110 watt substrate heater
Malaysian Driftwood
2-Blue Rams
several Otos
Plants- Wisteria, a couple anubias, banana plant,diandra,a couple of swords and a few other various plants

Thanks in advance:)


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What's your budget? If you're aiming for a low light setup, around 110W of PC would work. T5s would be more efficient, however...what's the length of your tank?

You can basically have the same setup as before without any problems. At a low-light/low-tech level, you won't need CO2 and your HOB filters will work fine. Your bioload seems pretty low too. If you want more livestock, consider a canister filter.
Tank dimensions are 60X18
I would like to stay with some sort of cichlid as far as the livestock possibly angels and then maybe later move into discus. I think maybe an Amazonian type setup.

I dont want to break the bank but I dont want to skimp on my equipment either
Canopy? With a canopy, you have the option of putting in 2x55W PCs or 2x24W T5HO + 2x39W T5HO for a total of 126 watts.

But for a total cost of ~$110 for the PCs vs. $190+ for the T5s, the PCs would probably be your best choice, considering that you're going for a low light also be easy to upgrade by adding in another 2x55W PC setup.
I am actually enclosing the tank in a wall so the lights will be in a canopy somewhat. The tank will be viewed on both sides so will this affect how much light I will need?

I am planning on upgrading to a canister filter with inline heater due to this, so there won't be filters hanging in one room.
Nope. 2x55W will do for now. Center it over the tank when you install it...and if you ever want to add more lighting, just get another kit and re-install the lighting so that both are centered over the tank for even lighting.
canister filters

anyone with opinions on canister filters? have always used HOB. which if any are more suitable for a planted tank
The Eheim line is great. The Rena Filstar XP series are also pretty popular. If you can afford it, I'd go with the Eheim...otherwise, the XP3 is also a great choice.

Others would be able to better chime in on the model of Eheim that would best suit your tank.
The cheapest EHEIM would be the classic series, I would go with two 2217.

I have a 75g with an xp3 and one 2213. I would like to replace the EHEIM 2213
with a 2217 or another xp3.
Thanks for the info Moe.

Anyone with thoughts on substrate?

I have been looking at a few including Aquasoil, Eco-complete, Flourite Black and Soilmaster Select.

I have also been looking into Amano's aquascapes and am getting very interested in these.

How often does the Ehiem need servicing?
Stocking schemes plants and fish

As I said, I am going low-tech, so I got a 2X54 T5 lighting system which puts me at 1.14 watts/gallon and I plan on adding a little more light later. What I would like are some suggestions on plants to add to start my system. I am shooting for the no water change, no CO2 approach, so I know I will need to balance my flora and fauna. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.:)
As far as substrate, on a tank that size it would be hard to beat the deal you get with Soilmaster Select. Its a 50-55lb. bag for under $15.
I just picked up a bag of the charcoal colored (was on sale for $11 this week) and like it alot so far.
One bag is enough for a 2-3" sloped layer in a 75gallon, so you may want 2 bags depending on the scaping you prefer, or just have some extra for another tank etc.
I'm a fan of the Eco, but I've only used Eco and Aquasoil, but of the two I much prefer Eco (do a search for eco vs aquasoil, latest thread more details). basically much more user-friendly I think than AS

For the filter, I use a Fluval, works good for me. The point on the cannister filter, that I have learned, is but MORE than what you need. B/c the cannisters "say" they are rated for 300gph, that's w/o dirty media, head, and a tank full of plants obstructing flow. And if you want to add in-line equipment, then you'll need more flow.

I'm actually putting a pump inline now to power the Mazzei venturi, UV and (coming soon) inline Hydor heater, since the cannister can't keep up w/ all that and the planted tank so well.

I'm getting to think that sump's may be more "flexible" options for manipulating equipment etc, not sure. If you are going to go cannister, get more than you think you'll need is my advice, you can always trim the flow back, but you can't get more flow if you need it.
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Plans Change Unfortunately

While cleaning out my 94 gal tank, which is a homemade tank I obtained from a friend, I noticed that the silicone was peeling pretty bad. I am gonna convert this over to a tank for my turtles.

So now this is what I am doing:
75 gallon perfecto tank- purchased today 48X18 footprint
Soilmaster Select Charcoal- purchased today
A bag of Tahitian Moon Sand for a little extra aquascaping
1.44watts/gal using 2X54 T5 lighting with 2-6700K bulbs
Planning on using my current Emperor 400 minus the biowheel until I can
obtain a canister filter

Anyone with any thoughts as to stocking schemes?
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