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"fish mostly" planted aquaria

Discussion in 'Talk to Tom Barr' started by engine50, May 24, 2009.

  1. engine50

    engine50 Junior Poster

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    Tom, After having modest success with fully planted aquaria in the past, (only due to due diligence). I had to tear down my last tank because of my work schedule among other reasons. Months later, I am again bitten by the same bug and wanted to do things a bit differently.

    My basic concept will be a "flooded forest floor" design in a 70 g tall tank. It started out being nothing more than more fish with NO plants, as an EI dosing schedule is really not what I want (so nutrient poor). Weekly water changes, monthly general filter maintenance and daily feeding are fine, (or some I can delegate).

    Now, however dramatic it is when layed out, I still feel the need for a "stand of Vals" in the back (or equivelent), to add some green color (30% of substrate max). With an enriched substrate, can I get by with my marcos -K being supplied by the fishload and minimial to no water column feeding using these dependable backround species?

    I have plenty of light, 2 pc 65w. with / OR one 8000k 150w MH all same fixture. For effect the MH is far better for front line use.

    Fishload would be something as follows:

    6 angels, small to start
    shoal of rummy nose
    shoal of hatchets
    sm shoal of oddball, glass cats
    all cramed into a 36x18 footprint

    Too ambitious for the time?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Waiting for Tom to answer, I just can tell you that a tank with few/no plants should be low light. So using both MH and 2x65W will be too much

    Also, with very few plants, fish load should be anyway low. I'm pretty sure your aims for the population you specify are really too much for such a setup in a small 70 gallons tank. Too much waste, no plants to use ammonia... Sometimes, very few fish load well selected can be much more beautiful than stocks of different shoals.

    Also, so much fish in a non planted tank would be stressing for them, no where to hide and feel comfortable for an amazonian setup

    Why don't you go with a tanganyka tank?
     
  3. engine50

    engine50 Junior Poster

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    Hi there jonny,

    Thanks for your opinion, Although it's financially too late to change my biotope I will reduce the fishload by half and be happy with that.
    Don't know if the angels would be happy in there full grown even if they were the only fish in the tank. The MH has to stay even if it's the only light source, looks too good through multiple spires of driftwood.

    Was only hoping to pull off some planted area without unleashing a maintenance monster.
     
  4. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    That will depend on your filtration. I don't see what you're planning on using. I've had 6-8 angels in a 48x18 footprint so it COULD be doable. You may have issues if one or two pairs have eggs though. The hatchets should be fine and will generally keep to themselves. The glasscats may be an issue in that they get large enough that they start to occupy space, but usually they just pick a spot and stay there the whole time and ignore most stuff. The rummynose will fill in the midwater fine. Nothing roaming the bottom?

    Your biggest problem is going to be the shoal of angels. Once they get big and/or start breeding you may have issues when they try to displace half the tank or more. If you end up with a couple pairs breeding everyone in the tank is in for some abuse. Filtration wise, a decent cannister and/or Wet/Dry should deal fine with it.

    -
    S
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I think you used the correct word, 'crammed' into the tank....

    I also feel this is too many angels. They do get large and a breeding pair will pin the others into about 2% of the tank at the other end. There is nowhere for the other fish to go to get away. Plants will help this somewhat if thick enough.........

    I also echo the question re: filtration.

    If you are feeding daily, and will do weekly water changes, why not dose EI? You can dose 2 or 3 times per week or daily if you want. Takes only seconds.....

    Nutrient all by themselves do not cause algae. Not sure about the maintenance nightmare fear????? Re EI?? Please elaborate...

    If you like the MH lights, then see if you can mount them so they are adjustable in height. Then you can control the amount of light and thus plant growth.

    You cannot use excel as they will melt the vals......

    A nutrient based substrate is better than an inert one for plants, but plants will do better with both water column and substrate fertilization. Both is better, but substrate is better than none.....

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, if all you want is a small stand of vals, then 1 of those light blubs(65w) is all you need over that region.

    Nothing more.

    You can use a pot like sediment and use mineralized soil etc and cap with the same sand used in the tank.

    None of the fish listed are requiring nutrient poor parameters, they all have bred at EI dosing levels, the behemoth tank has no other angels, they are tank bred in that tank and have grown up there.

    I'd focus more on a non CO2 type set up that is more manageable perhaps also, less light, or plant species changes.

    My tank at home have a few tanks that are really very low maintenance, low light and reasonably stocked. I have a lot of fish, but they are fairly well paired with the tank's they are in.

    2 of the tank have 1.8 W/gal(60 GAL) and have the lights raised up another 14", so it's more like 1.2-1.4 W/gal really.

    I might trim some plants once every 2 months or so.........

    They are polar opposite also, one has plain sand + lots of wood attached etc, the other carpeted and wood is bare for the most part.

    Very easy to keep.

    I dose EI, but add less since the rate of growth is limited by light and there's also a fair amount of nutrients from the fish load/feeding.

    Might be more your cup of tea, but if not, try the potted Vals idea, less light etc.

    Should be pretty easy. Repot once every 6-12 months.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. engine50

    engine50 Junior Poster

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    Man what great support! Thanks to all,

    To answer as many as possible;

    I have a Eheim proII canister which at full (flow control) has plenty of current and enough space for 1 L. of Eheim bio media + any chemical required.

    I have a fully automated CO2 system, which may not be needed.

    I'll open up another follow up question, if not angels, what other soft water "centerpiece fish" (group) might still work (4-6)? medium sized for such a tank would be in the area of 3.5" to 5" in lenght and not require alot of lateral swimming room.?

    My dosing schedule fears were partly due to a rotating shift scedule which leaves me gone (three full days) wk which then changes every wk. (without telling my life story)!

    Anybody thought of a fiberglass (reptile type) screen over the tank to diffuse MH light, and still get a radial arc light source effect? I know it cuts down on heat and light on the lanai pool deck. Just a thought.

    Thanks again
     
  8. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    You could try some German Blues. Very colorful, and with no bottom dwellers might successfully rear fry. However, once you have a breeding pair or two you may end up with another WWWIII in the tank. With some cover to block line of sight they may do ok. My rams generally only chased the interlopers off ~8" or so into the plants, so it might work. Although they'll probably stake out the middle just to make life more difficult for everyone. :)

    If you want the bright caustic lighting effects and want to try it, you can go the LED route. Using 3W LEDs you get the same "bottom of the swimming pool" caustic lighting effects. Very striking, but it can be $$$ for a full spread. Since you weren't going planted, any light you need will be dramatically reduced so you won't need nearly as many LEDs and you have the option of spacing them out a bit in clumps to simulate light piercing through the canopy. Say 5x5 left rear, 2x2 right middle, 6x6 center foreground, etc. Might be pretty cool.

    -
    S
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Rather than a center piece concept fish, try and center focused school.

    What is more common and entertaining?
    the 4-6 Angels or the 20 Congo tetas?
    Or Rummy noses?
    Or Cardinals?
    Or Brass tetras?
    Or Serpa tetras?
    Or.......???

    A nice school of fish looks better, makes the tank look better also(larger than it is).

    A large fish in a small tank does no justice.
    Large fish require large tanks to look their best.
    If all you have is a smaller tank, stick with smaller fish choices.

    Aesthetics alone dictate that, but also longer term care.a home for the fish that's well suited.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. engine50

    engine50 Junior Poster

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    Thanks again, great advice, glad I joined.

    Scott
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I do not tell folks what to do, I ask them questions that they themselves should consider and ponder prior to making a decision.

    Only you can make the decision for yourself that's best/right for you.

    Same for a scape design etc, fish choice etc.
    Take your time and really think about what it is you want.
    If you figure that out, then really focus hard on getting there.

    Most give advice based on what they like, I have some bias there to be sure, but try to minimize it.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    This being aesthetics, rather than pure science, I'll toss in another perspective.

    Some people toss one arowana in to a tank alone. Flower horns used to sell for something like $10,000 on the high end, and they also were kept alone quite frequently. Some times one fish is the focus.

    I like a fish or mated pair to be focused upon individually, but definitely not the biggest that can be kept in the tank. A trio of different but complimenting species is also a nice balance. Fish Big enough to stand out, nothing more. From there the supporting fish and inverts come in to fill things out.

    Mind you this is playing with tanks in the 30gal and under size, and I have a slight addiction to dwarf cichlids.

    -Philosophos
     

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