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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am finally at a point where I think I can invest some time and money in to getting and maintaining a planted tank. My goal is to have a tank that is fairly low maintenance. I am looking at getting a 29 gallon Oceanic Biocube. I have read a lot here recently but finding straight answers can be tricky.

Looking at the regular and the HQI version, is the only difference the lighting? Which way should I go for a planted tank? It seems like a lot of people have modified the lighting but I can't seem to find out why. The filtration seems to be okay based on what I have read so I should be okay with the bioballs, etc. Right? I can't figure out if I am gonna need CO2 or not. What is the stance on this? I know I need it for the plants but do I have to invest in an expensive tank system, is there something I can just add?

I read something about people having problems with microbubbles. I'm not sure I understand what these are and why they are a nuisance.

My substrate I was planning to mix Eco Complete with some other black substrate. Cool?

When do plants come in to the tank? I assume you do a cycle and then add them at a later point once your water is where it needs to be?

I'm going for a tank that looks like an overgrown river bed. A piece a drift wood and plants like java fern, java moss, hornwort, dwarf hairgrass, asian ambulia. As far as creatures go I would like to just have a bunch of shrimp, some snails, and maybe a twig catfish.

Appreciate any insight you guys can provide. I hope to get my tank in the next 3-4 weeks. I would like to have a more solid idea of my approach before diving in.
 

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I am finally at a point where I think I can invest some time and money in to getting and maintaining a planted tank. My goal is to have a tank that is fairly low maintenance. I am looking at getting a 29 gallon Oceanic Biocube. I have read a lot here recently but finding straight answers can be tricky.

Looking at the regular and the HQI version, is the only difference the lighting?

Yes

Which way should I go for a planted tank?

The regular will be fine, just switch out the actinic bulbs for a 6700K or 10000K bulb.

It seems like a lot of people have modified the lighting but I can't seem to find out why

The reason is for saltwater use. You need w whole lot more light for coral.

The filtration seems to be okay based on what I have read so I should be okay with the bioballs, etc. Right?

Yes

I can't figure out if I am gonna need CO2 or not. What is the stance on this? I know I need it for the plants but do I have to invest in an expensive tank system, is there something I can just add?

You will need a carbon source. Seachem Excel or Metricide are decent alternatives to CO2. Some will swear they aren't good but I had fantastic growth with the same type lighting and using Seachem Excel.

I read something about people having problems with microbubbles. I'm not sure I understand what these are and why they are a nuisance.

The problem is again with saltwater. The greater density of saltwater causes microbubbles to form more easily.

My substrate I was planning to mix Eco Complete with some other black substrate. Cool?

Should be fine.

When do plants come in to the tank? I assume you do a cycle and then add them at a later point once your water is where it needs to be?

Plants right away, fish after the cycle is complete.

I'm going for a tank that looks like an overgrown river bed. A piece a drift wood and plants like java fern, java moss, hornwort, dwarf hairgrass, asian ambulia. As far as creatures go I would like to just have a bunch of shrimp, some snails, and maybe a twig catfish.

Appreciate any insight you guys can provide. I hope to get my tank in the next 3-4 weeks. I would like to have a more solid idea of my approach before diving in.
See answers in red.
 

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1'st the acintic bulb is no good for freshwater.
Put 10k in it's place.
2'nd micro bubbles
My problems came from the 2'nd over flow chamber into 3'rd. I solved this by putting a filter pad at the over flow. It stoped the little bit of splash I was getting that was causing my micro bubbles.
Unless you're going reef I would not suggest for you to get this tank. You can get a better system for the price you're going to pay. Bigger and better......
 

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Here's my final set up for my 29g bio cube hope it helps you.
Only used half the bio balls.
In place of other half
Carbon for a 70g fluval filter
And floss, or any kind of filter pad you would prefer.
The first over flow chamber I gave up on. You are replacing the pad every 2 weeks. That's why I have the floss.
In the first over flow chamber I have a heater and a makeshift net. I have had this tank going for 3 yrs know.
Hope it helps you decide what to do,or set it up!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
2IN10
Thanks for the info.

Chaoslord
I'm not going reef, yet. Ultimately I would love to have a reef tank but I'm completely new to this and this seemed like a better way to start than trying SW. I like the clean look of having everything tucked away in it's own spot without having to try and hide it with plants, etc. If there is a cheaper way to achieve this I would certainly be interested in doing so.

So I will need a heater right? Do I have to remove anything in the back to hide it or is there a spot for it to go?

I've read there are issues with creatures meeting their maker traveling in to the back of the tank. What is the solution to this?

What are root tabs and do you suggest using them?

Thanks for all your help. I'm sure I will have more questions to come.
 

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I would run only one of the PC bulbs, not two. I suspect you will need pressurized CO2 in order to avoid algae with both bulbs on. And, I agree that this isn't a great buy for a planted tank.
 

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I am finally at a point where I think I can invest some time and money in to getting and maintaining a planted tank. My goal is to have a tank that is fairly low maintenance. I am looking at getting a 29 gallon Oceanic Biocube. I have read a lot here recently but finding straight answers can be tricky.

Looking at the regular and the HQI version, is the only difference the lighting? Which way should I go for a planted tank? It seems like a lot of people have modified the lighting but I can't seem to find out why. The filtration seems to be okay based on what I have read so I should be okay with the bioballs, etc. Right? I can't figure out if I am gonna need CO2 or not. What is the stance on this? I know I need it for the plants but do I have to invest in an expensive tank system, is there something I can just add?

I read something about people having problems with microbubbles. I'm not sure I understand what these are and why they are a nuisance.

My substrate I was planning to mix Eco Complete with some other black substrate. Cool?

When do plants come in to the tank? I assume you do a cycle and then add them at a later point once your water is where it needs to be?

I'm going for a tank that looks like an overgrown river bed. A piece a drift wood and plants like java fern, java moss, hornwort, dwarf hairgrass, asian ambulia. As far as creatures go I would like to just have a bunch of shrimp, some snails, and maybe a twig catfish.

Appreciate any insight you guys can provide. I hope to get my tank in the next 3-4 weeks. I would like to have a more solid idea of my approach before diving in.
I am an owner of this exact tank, orignally setup as a Saltwater, and recently (1 week ago) cleaned and re-formatted as a live plant FW tank.

Go with the normal lighting - PLENTY of light for FW planted, and the HQI is more for stony corals (Way beyond what you need). Many suggest replacing the actinic (Blue bulb) with a 2nd white (Daylight) ($25 approx.)

The filtration is perfect from what I hear - I too was initially concerned, but many on here believe the Bioballs are a good addition in a FW planted, and overall the mechanical filtration works well.

I too am quesitoning the CO2 system. If you stock your tank in phases, evenly between plants and fish/livestock - the Fish will release CO2. In other words overstocking will help, but need to ensure you have enough plants or perform enough water changes to oxygenate the water. The former requires a nice balance.

I am confused on mircrobubbles as well????

The substrate will work good - Whether eco-complete or Flourtie mix 50/50. I HAVE ALWAYS used Black subtrate in freshwater, however, I went with the natural look in this one, and am VERY PLEASED. Black is no where as natural looked, and the natural colors make plants and driftwood look much nicer, not to mention brings out fish colors even more than black IMHO.

There are varying suggestions on when to introduce plants - some say cycle it first, others say put them in immediately. I think the idea is they contain much of the beneficial bacteria needed in cycling, but the ammonia can burn the plants. Why put money into something that might die, when patience can provide the same result?

Your stocking plans seem fine - careful with snails in a small tank. They can easily because nuisance as they reproduce asexually and easily overrun a tank - furthermore they are difficult to prevent when shrimp are in the tank because you cannot use chemicals (Chemicals that affect snails also affect shrimp)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Excellent information. How do you feel about the fans? I see some people replacing them because they are too loud.
 

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Excellent information. How do you feel about the fans? I see some people replacing them because they are too loud.
I too saw that - and just recently mine is REALLY loud on startup, but after 5 minutes or so I barely even hear it. Also - if you apply minor pressure on top of it it goes away, so I feel there may be a way to tighten it and make it quiet, but again after a few minutes you dont hear it.

My take is if you buy a All in one system, just to modify it why bother. If I didnt buy this system for Saltwater would I get it again for planted? Probably not, becuase with the stand it is $300 - and you could likely piece it together for less or better equipment - but then again, I LOVE the way this tank looks and it does seem like a very nice setup.
 

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Excellent information. How do you feel about the fans? I see some people replacing them because they are too loud.
Some of the information isn't that good: Fish do give off CO2, but in quantities way less than the plants need. The CO2 you get without injecting it comes largely from what is absorbed from the air, and from decomposition in the substrate. Both of those combined are only enough for very slow plant growth, meaning very low light.

Ammonia during cycling will never burn the plants. Ammonia is a favored source of nitrogen for growing plants. Planting from the beginning not only introduces a starter culture of favorable bacteria, the plants will also consume most of the ammonia as they grow, making cycling a painless affair.

Too much light isn't a trivial problem. More people get disgusted with planted tanks and move on to other types of aquariums because of algae problems, than any other reason. And, algae grow in response to light, just as plants do. Once the plants can't grow as fast as the light drives them to grow, they become unhealthy, with the less competitive plants growing not at all. That makes for easy pickings for algae. Planted tank life is so much easier when you use just as much light as is needed, and no more.

You can hide the heater, filter, etc. on a regular tank by using a "Hamburger mattenfilter". For details, see: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/145084-hamburger-mattenfilter-low-tech-setup.html and http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/145106-hamburger-matten-filter-why-not.html
 

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Some of the information isn't that good: Fish do give off CO2, but in quantities way less than the plants need. The CO2 you get without injecting it comes largely from what is absorbed from the air, and from decomposition in the substrate. Both of those combined are only enough for very slow plant growth, meaning very low light.

Ammonia during cycling will never burn the plants. Ammonia is a favored source of nitrogen for growing plants. Planting from the beginning not only introduces a starter culture of favorable bacteria, the plants will also consume most of the ammonia as they grow, making cycling a painless affair.

Too much light isn't a trivial problem. More people get disgusted with planted tanks and move on to other types of aquariums because of algae problems, than any other reason. And, algae grow in response to light, just as plants do. Once the plants can't grow as fast as the light drives them to grow, they become unhealthy, with the less competitive plants growing not at all. That makes for easy pickings for algae. Planted tank life is so much easier when you use just as much light as is needed, and no more.

You can hide the heater, filter, etc. on a regular tank by using a "Hamburger mattenfilter". For details, see: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/145084-hamburger-mattenfilter-low-tech-setup.html and http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/145106-hamburger-matten-filter-why-not.html

I should have prefaced that I am somewhat new to this topic and am stating merely what I have heard/seen from LFS and a few threads. Nonetheless, great feedback.

My questions for you is - I have 2 x 36Watt Power Compact 10k bulbs - how would YOU use them, what cycle, both all the time, only 1 all the time, or for instance 1 for 8 hours and another on at the same time for 4 hours...?

Also - what is the "easiest" low maintenance way to introduce CO2 into the tank and how do you know how much?
 

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Do I need to use root tabs?
Again, another novice responding here, but I believe those are to fertilize. Being you are using Eco Complete I dont believe these will be necessary right now, but down the road "when resources in the Eco-Complete" become depleted you will have to supplement.

I also hear 1 Tablespoon per 5 Gallons of salt (Non-Iodized) will provide some trace elements, but I heard this from my LFS who said to take advantage of my SW conversion this is a useful tactic...for what it is worth.
 

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With the lights I use 2 10k. I'm replacing 1 every 6 months. So I run each bulb for a year. I notice a explosion of growth every time I replace a bulb. I would not put two new bulbs in at once. I agree with hoppy it would be too much light.
 

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I should have prefaced that I am somewhat new to this topic and am stating merely what I have heard/seen from LFS and a few threads. Nonetheless, great feedback.

My questions for you is - I have 2 x 36Watt Power Compact 10k bulbs - how would YOU use them, what cycle, both all the time, only 1 all the time, or for instance 1 for 8 hours and another on at the same time for 4 hours...?

Also - what is the "easiest" low maintenance way to introduce CO2 into the tank and how do you know how much?
I would have only one bulb on at a time. That should be plenty of light for a non-CO2 or low CO2 tank. I like keeping the lights on for 8 hours a day, continuous, but I know it also works to put a 2 hour or so lights out period in the middle of that to stretch out the viewing time longer. You can get some benefit from using DIY CO2, one 2 to 3 liter bottle, with 2 or 3 liters of water, 2 or 3 cups of sugar, 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp of yeast and and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of baking soda. That should last about 2 weeks before you have to replace the mixture.

You can just assume you won't have too much CO2 with DIY CO2, or you can get a drop checker and mix up some distilled water and enough baking soda to get about a 1.7 dKH carbonate hardness, and use that with pH reagent in the DC. The goal with that is to get the color to be yellow, but not extremely bright yellow. Even if it is extremely bright yellow you probably still don't have too much CO2.

Again, another novice responding here, but I believe those are to fertilize. Being you are using Eco Complete I dont believe these will be necessary right now, but down the road "when resources in the Eco-Complete" become depleted you will have to supplement.

I also hear 1 Tablespoon per 5 Gallons of salt (Non-Iodized) will provide some trace elements, but I heard this from my LFS who said to take advantage of my SW conversion this is a useful tactic...for what it is worth.
Eco Complete should be assumed to be an inert substrate, not a fertile one. So, you need to begin any fertilizing right away. Table salt or even aquarium salt is not a good thing to put into a planted tank for any reason. It has a place in tanks used to treat fish diseases, but not for general use. It has no useful fertilizing purpose. Buy KNO3, KH2PO4 and CSM+B to use for fertilizing.
 
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