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Help plan my new tank.

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by JadeButterfly, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Hey all.

    Spring is here...summer is coming...

    I am planning to start a new tank setup and would like to do some good planning before I actually start purchasing...

    I will keep my current light setup: Coralife 2x96W
    After reading Tom Barr's article on lighting and got some advice from him, I will be running my lights like this:

    96W 6700 11am-10pm (11hours)
    96W 10K 12pm-3pm (3hours)

    FIRST QUESTION:
    How big of a tank should I get?

    36x18x18 (50G) or 36x18x20(55G)

    - My parents do not want the tank to be bigger than 36"Lx18"W...so I can't change that.
    - dutch style aquascaping
    - I will be keeping few young discus and algae eaters...will focus on plants mainly
    - I am not going to be standing the light fixture on legs.
    - low maintenance (ie. biweekly water changes or less w/c per week)

    SECOND QUESTION:
    CO2 or non-CO2?

    - I don't mind pruning everyweek, but preferrably biweekly
    - but I do not want plants grow only an inch in a month...
    - anyway I can compromise? good growth + semi-fast growth? perhaps shorter CO2 period?

    THIRD QUESTION:
    What substrate should I get?

    - something good for planting.
    - something that has high in nutrients (in case I go non-CO2)

    Sorry if that is too many questions...I feel like I've learnt alot every since joining this site...and I really want to put all the stuff I've learnt into making an aquarium suitable for me...

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Barry.
     
  2. Ian H

    Ian H Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    Planning is very important Barry, I'm at that stage currently, although my plans have been modified many times already. Be prepared for this.

    As to tank size, if those are your only choices go for the deeper tank. Your lighting is about 2w per gal level. Should be OK but you may want to experiment with the photo period times.

    If you haven't done so already buy a good plant book with the characteristics of the plants you like. Chose slow to medium growers to keep the gardening down and leave out the CO2.

    You may want to research the Walstad method as this works for some and requires little intervention when going well.

    Substrates are a big issue in my plans ATM the ones I want, Eco complete and Flourite are too expensive here, but generally considered the best option. I think in a Dutch type setup they put garden soil in their gravels as does Ms. Walstad.

    Good planning.

    Ian
     
  3. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    Thank Ian for your input.

    I made some modification to my plans...

    - I don't mind pruning each week...more important...less water changes is preffered...
    - I should have made a note that I currently have CO2 equipment running...so it will not be an additional investment...i was thinking of getting the CO2 running only during midday...(which both lights come on)...will that work?
    - plants...I will want to be able to keep a variety of plants...ranging from rotalas, crypts, anubias, moss, ludwigas, etc...the common stuff.

    Thanks.
    Barry.
     
  4. sawallace

    sawallace Junior Poster

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    You may want to reconsider Discus. 50 gallons is small for a discus tank. They require a lot of space. I'm sure it has been done, but it is not advised. Jack Wattley (well known discus breeder) recommends 100+ gallons for discus. They will eventually outgrow your 50 gallon.

    Just something to keep in mind
     
  5. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    You actually have 2x 96w on for part of the day, giving you almost 4wpg. With that level of light, even if only for part of the photo period, you have to have CO2 anyway...
     
  6. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    sawallace: Thanks for your suggestion, I will definitely reconsider.

    Laith: Yes I do understand that there will be a time of the day where CO2 is required...I was wondering if it was a good idea only to provide CO2 during that particular time when the 2x96W occur.


    - I still need to decide on the tank size...whether discus or not...50G will give me about 1.92wpg throughout my day(2x during midday) and 55G will give me about 1.75wpg

    - CO2 or not? Seems like I do need CO2 during the photoperiod when my 2x96W is on. But will it be advisable to have CO2 on only during this period? and then off during the rest?

    - Substrate. Haven't decide on it yet.

    Thanks!
     
  7. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    Re the CO2 I would leave it on during the whole lighting period.
     
  8. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    Hey all. just some update from some research I have done so far.

    This tank will be mainly a planted tank. fish will be a compliment. There will be NO discus. maybe just a few tetras...but mainly plants

    this will be a CO2 enriched tank.

    lighting will still be a 2x96W...and will be along this schedule still:

    1x96W 6700K 11am-10pm
    1z96W 10000K 1pm-4pm

    Should I get a 50G (36x16x20)tank giving me about 1.92wpg throughout the day or 55G (36x16x22) giving me about 1.75wpg

    suggestions?

    :)
     
  9. jippalbert

    jippalbert Junior Poster

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    My 2 cents .

    I would start the c02 2 hours before the lights come on that way it can get up to 30ppm . Using Toms Venturi it takes around 2 hours for me to get to 30ppm at 1.5bubbles per second roughly.


    JA
     
  10. Greg Watson

    Greg Watson Administrator
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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    Well ... your lighting isn't 1.92 wpg ... its 182 watts/50 gallons = 3.64 wpg, a lot of light by anyone's standards ...
     
  11. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    Thanks for pointing that out Greg.

    Are you suggesting I should stick to only 1x96W?

    the problem with Coralife fixture is the reflectors are not the best...with a wide tank...the light doesn't seem to reach the front and back that well if I do not use two tubes.

    but if everyone suggests to go with 1x96W...then I'll consider it and hopefully I can find better legs for the fixture so it can be set up abit higher so the light can reach the front and back of the tank better..

    has any tried the new aqualight adjustable mounting legs(the one that you can flip the light 90degrees)?
     
  12. Greg Watson

    Greg Watson Administrator
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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    ... no I'm not suggesting that ... just be aware of what that quantity of light is going to do to your nutrient consumption ...

    Five hours of that quantity of light is like a supercharger ... its going to supercharge the consumption of Carbon, supercharge the consumption of nitrates, supercharge the consumption of phosphates, and supercharge the consumption of micro nutrients ...

    When you come up short on any of those ... it will create an opportunity for algae ...

    Actually, I kind of like algae ... it's like an alarm clock ... wakes me up to let me know that something is all out of whack ...

    Half of the time I know its time to change my CO2 tank only because it ran out and I see little green spots on the front of my glass ...

    I suspect if I was running twice as much light (like you will be), I'd see quite a bit more than just little green spots when my CO2 tank empties ... you can run that kind of light, you just have to keep on top of everything that is going on in your tank a little closer than my more casual "oops I ran out of CO2, swap the tank, and in a few days it will disappear" kind of attitude ...

    Greg
     
  13. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help plan my new tank.

    okay in that case I will let the topic of lighting float for now...because I am not sure if a single PC light is able to cover the width of my tank...and you know the Coralife legs...they aren't all that tall...

    If it is only consumption...then I should be good...

    I've been running 2x96 for 10hrs right now...and not much sign of algae because of Tom's EI...

    reducing the second tube to only 3hrs a day will probably make things easier for me :cool:
     
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