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New To "Real" Planted Tanks, need help.

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Mike5401, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Mike5401

    Mike5401 Junior Poster

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    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to real planted tanks. What I mean by real is tanks with Co2 and all the goods. I have kept Discus with Anubias and Java Fern for years without problems, but would like to leave the Discus behind and get into Aquascaping. It just looks freakin nice and relaxes me. Anyways I have been doing reading on stuff and I am somewhat confused on things and was hoping you could help.

    I want to setup say a 30/35g Corner Bow Front tank. Now I plan to use my water from my Discus tank along with my Fluval 204 filter. Is this enough filter for plants and say Tetras?

    What lights/watts do you recommend? I have a Power Compact light on my 20g right now.

    What Substrate due you recommend? I have been looking at ADA Amazon II Soil, or Eco Complete. I know ADA is expensive but I am willing to pay it, if it is truly better.

    Ferts, there are liquid and I read of dry ones, what should I use? EI is new to me, from what I read it is a timetable on which dry ferts to put into the tank each day, in a 7 day format, being on the 7th day is the 50% water change correct? Where are dry Ferts available from? I am in Cail.

    Now most important is Co2. This kinda scares me and my mom a little as she thinks the tank will explode! Yes she does. But I was looking at a small setup that ADA offers on their site. Here "Co2 Advanced System" is this setup good and is there anything else I would need? It looks small,easy to hide,is it?

    I am sorry to ask so many questions but I wanna get things straight before I go thru with the change.

    Thanks for your help guy's, I greatly appreciate it!
    Mike
     
  2. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,
    I'll see if I can help a little....and leave some of the questions to the experts.

    I'm not sure about that filter, but usually you want to have 10x the turnover of the tank volume per hour. So you can probably figure it out from there. In a heavily planted tank, biological filtration isn't all that important, since the plants do so much of that. However, circulation is very important. If your filter isn't that powerful, you can add a powerhead in the tank to provide more circulation.

    Lights - depends on what you want. If you're going with pressurized co2, you can go with higher light, from 2 - 3 wpg. More than that is usually just waste, and causes algae problems. As far as the best type, I'll leave that to others to answer, since I just have regular old T8's and low light.

    Ferts - the dry ferts are the most economical. There are various places online that you can buy them. You have EI down pretty good - just add your ferts 3x/week (if you're going high light/co2) and then do a 50% water change at the end of the week.

    I don't have experience with pressurized co2 or substrate other than regular old gravel (which works fine for me) so I'll leave that to the experts.
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    That filter is most likely too small for a 30-35 gallon tank. But, if you supplement it with a Koralia type powerhead in the tank to increase the water circulation, it might work out ok. You can buy fertilizers on line, KNO3, KH2PO4 and CSM+B from:
    Planted Aquarium Fertilizer
    Aquarium Plant Fertilizer | Compounds - Tablets - Supplements
    Fertilizers For The Planted Tank | Ferts

    A corner bowfront tank is kind of an odd shape for lighting, but a pendant type light, for example a 150 watt MH light, should work and would have the advantage of giving you the shimmering shadows people like so well. You could raise the light to reduce the intensity to whatever you wanted.
     
  4. jeremy v

    jeremy v Guru Class Expert

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    Mike5401,

    Other people are giving good advice related to all your other questions, so I figured I would try to help your mom to not be worried about the tank exploding.

    CO2 is not flammable at all, and it is actually used in many types of fire suppression systems and fire extinguishers to put out fires. As a result, the tank will never explode as a result of a fire, match, spark, etc. The CO2 gas that comes out of your tank is exactly the same thing as the "fog" that evaporates off of dry ice, so if she has ever used dry ice for halloween (or put it in punch bowls at a party for instance) it is the same stuff.

    The pressures of CO2 within the tank are high (usually around 700-900psi), but in the whole scheme of pressurized gases and liquids 700-900psi is actually very low. For example, a scuba tank that you would wear on your back while scuba diving will often have around 3000psi worth of air in it.

    CO2 tanks all have pressure relief valves built in to them to prevent explosion and they work very well. CO2 pressures increase within the tank as the temperature of the tank itself increases. The pressure relief valve is usually set to release at either 1800 or 3000psi. If the tank reaches the pressure the relief valve is set to open at, it will open and the CO2 tank will empty itself completely within a minute or so in order to eliminate any chance of sudden tank rupture. It will look and sound just like it would if you used a CO2 fire extinguisher, and won't leave any residue on anything. It also won't damage anything as long as nothing is too close to the pressure release valve. Just find the pressure relief valve on the top of the tank (near the main shut-off valve) and always try to have that pointed in a direction to where there is a few feet between the valve and anything else and you should be fine.

    Also, as an extra assurance of safety you can easily strap your CO2 tank to your tank stand or to a wall to prevent the tank from falling over or damaging anything (bumping the glass side of a sump and possibly breaking the glass for instance) if the pressure relief valve pops.

    If you do those things there isn't anything to worry about.

    Just as a side note, almost every fire extinguisher that you have ever seen in a commercial building inside one of those little metal boxes in the wall (with a glass window) is a CO2 fire extinguisher. They use the same tanks, and the CO2 within the tanks is pressurized to the same pressures that the CO2 in your aquarium CO2 tank will be. Essentially, putting a CO2 tank under your aquarium is no different at all from putting a fire extinguisher under your tank.

    Have a good one, Jeremy
     
  5. Mike5401

    Mike5401 Junior Poster

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    Wow thanks guy's!

    This is some good info. and I am learning more and more! Jeremy thanks for the Co2 lessen. I'll make sure to show it to my mom.

    Some other questions that I am still unsure of is the substrate, ADA Soil II or Eco Complete?

    As for the dry Ferts, am I correct in assuming that I just drop the dry powder direct into the tank? Or does it need to be pre-mixed?

    My goal is to have some kind of carpet plant be it HC or Hair Grass or a mix of both. Can this be achieved with say an Excel type tank or am I best just to get the Co2?

    Thanks again for the help.

    Mike
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It is always best to use pressurized CO2 - any tank grows better with it. You can dose the dry fertilizers by just dumping the dosage dry into the water, or you can mix it with water first. Or, you can pre-mix nitrates and phosphates into water so a fixed small measure of the water provides the right amount of both nitrate and phosphate for a dose.

    ADA Aquasoil Amazona is widely believed to be the best substrate for planted tanks, but Amazona II hasn't proven to be as good and even ADA acknowledges that. It has one disadvantage that I know of: it leaches ammonia into the water for several weeks after setting up the tank, so you need to do twice or three times weekly big (50%) water changes for a few weeks to avoid having too much ammonia in the tank. Too much is any measurable amount - smaller amounts are just used by the plants as fertilizer. Eco Complete is good, Flourite Black is good, Flourite Black sand is my favorite, and the cheapest sold as a substrate, is AquariumPlants.com's own: Freshwater Plant Substrate, which seems to be what used to be sold as Soilmaster Select, a product intended for sports field use. I use Soilmaster and like it very much.
     
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