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Advice for newbie initial tank setup/cycle

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by quicksilver02, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. quicksilver02

    quicksilver02 Junior Poster

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    I'm getting everything set up my first true planted tank, and just wanted to see if I'm going about it the best way. I have had tanks with a few plants in them before (java moss, etc.), but I haven't had a full-on planted tank.

    First some background on the equipment. The tank is a 25gal. (24 x 12 x 20), which I understand is a bit tall for a planted tank. I'll be using Fluorite black for the substrate, about 3"-4" deep. Filtration will be provided by an Eheim Pro II canister. The lighting is a 2x65w power compact fixture, which seems like it would be too much light from what I've gathered (more about this below). I have a pressurized CO2 setup with a reactor that will be used as well.

    The goal is to have a nice looking tank where I can have a variety of plants. I have a nice tall driftwood stump that I'd like to have plants growing on and I would like the rest to be fairly densely planted. I'd like to have a number of small fish (neons, etc.), as the tank is going to be in my daughters' room (17 month twins), and I know they would be fascinated by watching the fish. I don't mind having to do a fair amount of work to keep the tank up. I plan to use the EI method to fertilize the plants.

    My first question has to do with the lights. I know the answer will depend on the plants I use, but should I just run one 65w bulb and get things going that way, or would it be better to have the second bulb only come on for a short noon-burst (1-2 hours)? I know that 130w is a lot, but the tank is deep as well.

    My second question has to do with the initial tank setup. I am very interested in the "super easy method" outlined here. This method seems like a good way to avoid any initial algae bloom while the plants get a good start in the substrate. What are some good species of plant that a newbie like me would have a high-success rate with for this method? The article mentions Glossostigma and HC. Are these suitable for a beginner? Are there other species that you would recommend? If sounds like I would need to cover the whole substrate with plants with this method, which makes me concerned about having no more room for other plants once the water is added. I would like some initial variety if possible. I suppose I could also pull some plants out and replace them with others once water is added.

    If anyone has any other advice or pointers to articles that would help me avoid pitfalls, it would be much appreciated! :)
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi and welcome,

    Please do yourself a big favor and do not use 130 watts for a 25 gal tank. This is way overkill, not required, and will eventually cause more issues than anything.

    Even the 65w by itself is a lot of light.

    The reason being is that light drives plant growth. The more light the more growth, but then the plants need more c02 and other nutrients to do well.

    Even with pressurized c02, I would lower the light.....Your tank is not THAT deep where it will be an issue.

    As you say, plant species will play a part, but still even the 1 65w should be MORE than enough. 8 hours a day should do it.

    As far as the dry start method (DSM) do a search and several folks are experimenting with different plants, but HC is common.

    This is very useful with ADA substrate as it tends to leak a lot of NH4 upon initial setup and takes MANY water changes to eliminate over weeks of time.

    You do not have to cover the entire substrate, just the areas you want.

    What are you thinking for filtration, flow? Do you have a drop checker to help determine c02 levels? How will you diffuse c02 to the water?

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. quicksilver02

    quicksilver02 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the reply Gerry. Some things I had read made me concerned about 65w not being enough for the height of the tank. I'm glad to hear that 65w should be just fine.

    I did find some more info in a different thread on here on the DSM. It sounds very interesting, and it looks as if others are having good luck with it with certain plant species. I'll research it some more, but I'm leaning towards giving it a shot as of right now. It would be nice to get a carpet of HC in an area of the tank and perhaps some Anubias started before filling the tank with water. I already purchased some Fluorite for the substrate, but I could use ADA instead if that would be a better approach. I'll need to research the ADA substrate some more to decide. Do you feel that it would be better to use ADA substrate over Fluorite considering I already have the Fluorite, and if so, why?

    For filtration, I mentioned that I'll be using an Eheim Pro II canister. The outlet on it is just a single tube (no spraybar). I have some powerheads from previous tanks, and I was planning on using one to improve the flow throughout the tank. Do you have any concerns about that setup meeting the needs of the tank?

    The CO2 setup I have has an in-tank reactor. It's this reactor from Florida Driftwood. I ordered a drop checker and some 4dKH solution to measure CO2.

    Thanks for the response. It helps a lot! There's a ton of information on this forum, and it's a bit overwhelming trying to absorb as much of it as I can.
     
  4. quicksilver02

    quicksilver02 Junior Poster

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    Well, I went ahead and ordered some Aquasoil Amazonia after doing some research. I didn't have enough Fluorite for the tank, so I would have had to buy more substrate anyway.

    I have an empty 10gal. tank I think I'll setup as a low-light tank with the Fluorite using Excel instead of pressurized CO2. This should let me get some first hand impressions of differences between these substrates. Now I just need to figure out where I want to put the 10gal.
     
  5. AABatteries

    AABatteries Junior Poster

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    65w is plenty of light for a planted tank. It'll be giving you over 2.5wpg, which is enough for most plants.
     
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