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plans for plant stocking in my new 240g

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Crazy Loaches, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Crazy Loaches

    Crazy Loaches Guru Class Expert

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    Ok, its still a ways away yet. I am working on the plans for my 240G and will start building stuff soon so I figure before I get to far I need to get some of my goals outlined and critiqued.

    The setup: 240g 2x2x8. DIY sump filtration (specially setup to avoid co2 loss). Pressurized CO2 (going to setup a centralized co2 system in utility room to run 3 tanks, 20# cylinder unless I can find something reasonably priced thats larger). Lighting not set in stone but plan on doing 10 AHsupply 55W kits (oriented front to back). Substrate not ordered yet but probably 12 bags Aqua Soil Amazonia.

    Ok, so now to the fish stocking which is going to be the problem. One of the reasons I am setting this tank up is to properly house my clown loaches. So the tank is going to be a compromise between clowns and plants. The main problem being clowns reputation for being bulldozers. Does anyone have experience with them in plant tanks? So far in my 75G I havent had a single issue, but my largest is currently only 5" so they are still youngins. I assume more delicate plants are out of the question. What I am thinking about is similar to what I've already done in my 75G, crypts, java fern, and swords. I also would like to try either a crinum calimastratum or natans. I am wide open for further suggestions. The other problem is I think I am going to need a groundcover to keep the AS for turning into a dust storm with clowns. I posted on TPT and was advised to consider Marselia, as it is a bit more deeper rooted than glosso for example. I am also thinking what would be best to cover up the overflow boxes, thinking a large fern type like bolbitis. Anyhow, I would appreciate any suggestion on the best plants to choose for this tank.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think they will uproot things, they get 12" but it takes time and good feeding.
    4-6" in 2-3 years is what you'd be looking at as a lower end assuming good care. ADA AS is not good for these fish IMO.

    I'd go with Botia striata,B. sidmunkthi instead.
    Stay small, can be seen during the day, schooling, not that aggressive.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Crazy Loaches

    Crazy Loaches Guru Class Expert

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    I think you didnt get all that I mentioned. The tank is going to be a clown tank, I already have them in my heavily planted 75g grow out tank. 3 are about 2 years old and 4-5" and 3 are about 1 yr old and 3-4". They can get bigger than 12" in good conditions, 16" is considered thier max size, hence the 240G (if it wasnt for big fish I'd stick with a 4' tank like the 150G I have or perhaps get a 120g). I do also have several striata since you mention it, I didnt mention because they wont factor in much with my plant choices. The other fish I dont have but thinking about that might also factor in are Bala Sharks, but read they mostly stick to middle/upper waters so shouldnbt be to much a problem with plants. But back to the clowns, I know a few plants they shouldnt be able to uproot, if they even try (so far no attempts of uprooting anything in the last couple years). I was hoping to expand my 'tough plant list' beyond what I already know by the experts here. Clowns are best with sand or very fine gravel so I assumed AS would be ok but I have never used it. I also figured with the AS that I'll probably want the whole thing planted to better keep it down. If AS isnt good for them the other choice I was thinking would be Turface Pro League? Would that be better suited to them than AS? After finally convincing myself to spend hundreds on soil I am eager to try this stuff out but then again I could save a ton of money going the TPL route.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think I'd go with Onyx sand then maybe.
    Or a nice white/light color sand to contrast with wood and darker moss/fern/Crypt.

    Something that can be moved around without issue.
    I'd stay away from the ADA stuff unless you plan on smaller mellow Botia only, this will make huge mess daily otherwise.


    240 is a good size for them, glad you chose a nice size tank.

    Give this fish and the plant focus, I'd go very heavy wood, Java ferns, Bolbitus, Crypts etc and moderate/low light,

    Crypts grow well in plain sand also with EI dosing.
    Flourite might look odd, but the fish will not move it around either.

    I'd opt for 2-3mm grain and just do Crypts/Ferns/moss etc

    Lots of wood, lots of water changes, moderate dosing and light.

    That will be easy to deal with and look good and keep fish happy.
    Rose line Barbs might interest you vs the Balas, they also need a tank this to reach their entire life span in a good home.
    Rose lines get pretty big and dart around like the balas. Might match better/worst that the balas with the loaches.

    I've kept large clowns in some planted tanks in early 1990's(6-8").
    They now reside in Steinhart Public aquarium:)
    Not sure how big they are now.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Crazy Loaches

    Crazy Loaches Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for the advice, Tom. I am coming to the sad realization that I cant have my cake and eat it too. I'd really like to go all out with plants, but also want my clowns. At this point I haven’t decided for sure which one will give since I do like easy plants like crypts and ferns, then again I wouldn’t mind just having little botias as well, those striatas I like as much as the clowns. If I do keep the clowns, instead of using AS, have you had any experience with this type of sand: Aquaria Central (the one echoofformless pictured) which is quikrete medium sand.

    I do plan on automating what I can, since I am lazy, and automated would provide more consistent water chem than I can. Will probably setup water change for daily 10-15%, as well as auto micro and macro dosing EI adapted to daily doses. Will probably be using something like the aquacontroller or X10 setup. I like the Aquacontroller JR but I probably wont be able to use the stupid serial port, wish they had something more modern like USB. Might just use X10 until they come out with a more modern auquacontroller that’s reasonably priced like the JR. As for lighting, like I said I'll probably be going for 10 AHSupply 55Wers. That would put me a smidgen over 2wpg. So does this fall into moderate in your opinion? I know the bigger tanks dont quite need as much.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think the light is fine, but I disagree with having the cake and eating it too.
    Think out side the box here.

    The water change idea is good and will work well, I'd just use a solenoid, float switch and refill slowly with a carbon prefilter for chlorine removal. As long as the water change is slow, using say 1/4" lines for filling and 3/8" for the drain the sump should do well and these hard plastic fill/drain lines can be snaked easily into the wall.

    As you drain, the refill is right past the sump inflow and goes directly into the return, that way most of the new water is not mixed in the drain.

    You can simply run the timer for this do do it right before the lights come in the morning, when you are there.....................and when it is the best time to add CO2(from the tap and dosing) and ferts.

    I'd run it for 2 hours or so and you can assume about 60% mix, so if the amount drained is say 200 gallons in 2 hours, about 80 gallons will be "new" water.
    This depends on the filter, the flow patterns and the drain fill rates obviously. But you get the idea.

    Back to the design:

    See #5

    ADA Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 2006 Top 10 Winners

    Remove the foreground plants, add pure white sand.
    Use Crypt Balansae instead of Cyperus in the rear.

    This will allow them to play and mess with the sand, but also allow for a nice scape. Mossed rocks make a nice low light solution to the the edges that are darker around the wood to make a nice transition and moss looks good against light sand. These rocks of moss are easy to move and tie etc.

    With nice branch wood, eg Manzanita etc, you should be able to make a nice wood lay out and get some Narrow needle leaf java fern, Crypts are easy to find etc.
    I'd stick with 2-3 mm light/white sand.

    Since you plan on many water changes, I'd suggest not worrying much about the substrate type, you can use the water column just as easily.

    You still only need to dose 3x a week.
    I'd not automate that personally. Just dose right after the water change.

    You feed the fish and adding ferts is no different as far as labor.
    Water changes? No way, that's work, so automation or methods to deal with reducing that chore are always wise.

    The other things about these plants I've suggested: native to the fishes' habitat/s, easy, low light is fine and they do not need a lot of trimming and maintains the structure of the aquascape. I have 12" plecos in some tanks etc, they knock and few things around, but I do pretty well.

    So consider these ideas, you have plenty of light, more than enough for any plant. It's more light than you think........those are PC with nice reflectors, so they are more light having 3w/gal.

    I like that someone admits they are lazy, potentially neglectful and then does things to account for their laziness by reducing their work load ;) :p
    Lazy can be smart, which is very admirable versus being hardworking and not too bright. We all have been here at some point, admission of our human failings is part of humility and good for the hobby as well. I think many over look the human element way too much with pets and the acknowledgment is critical to the success of a system/method for long tern care of an aquarium.

    We have the ability to set things up to prevent issues and lack of motivation. EI is to get rid of the darn test kits. I do not know anyone that enjoys doing that to date, and I've asked............
    Auto water changers, who likes to do those manually or with a bucket? Pythons or a DIY version, solenoids, hard plumbed permanent ball valve fill/drains etc make a lot of sense over the years and life of a tank.

    I want my fish to live well, eat well and grow old in these tanks. But I will neglect things at some point unless I do things to make it easy for me to do it and not have to spend so much time to have a nice tank with the fish I also like.

    This also makes it easy for you to leave and take vacations etc, which, I do not know about most of you, but I sure like them............

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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