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Plant noobie, need feedback

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by PunkRotten, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. PunkRotten

    PunkRotten Junior Poster

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    Hi,

    I'm new to planted tanks. I have a 10 and 29 gallon I want to turn into low tech tanks. The 10 gallon is ready to go. I have (2) 10 watt zoo med CFL bulbs for lighting, I bought some fertilizers ( Seachem equilibrium, potassium nitrate, mono potassium phosphate), and I got eco complete for substrate.

    The plants I have to work with are dwarf hairgrass (wanna make a carpet), java fern, wisteria, rotala indica, C. Wendtii And some java moss. The only livestock I will be adding at the time are some pond snails and MTS. Later I want to add some dwarf crayfish (CPO's).


    My 29 gallon needs some help. I need to know what I can use for lighting. Something that will give me low light and not cost too much. I will be adding the same plants, except the rotala, and added 2 others, which are (1) Aponogeton and (2) Dwarf lillies. The filtration will be (2) two Aqueon 20 filters. Is this too much movement?

    I plan to stock this tank with a 6 inch puffer (max size). Would this pose a problem in a planted tank? Basically the way I was going to set up this tank was to add some of the tall plants in back and then the whole middle and front of the tank nothing but dwarf hairgrass. Also, is this enough plant mass to be a tank where I wouldn't need to do any water changes later?


    My whole idea is to have both these tanks as low tech tanks and eventually get them to the point where the maintenance is low and no more water changes. I want to add some excel to these setups for 2 months maybe to speed up the growth then cut off the excel.


    I guess these are my questions:


    1. I plan to stock my 10 gallon later with snails and CPO's. I plan to breed the CPO's on there too. If the tank later becomes overstocked on occasion, would this throw things out of balance on a low tech tank?


    2. Is the puffer for my 29 gallon planted tank alright or will there be problems?


    3. With the way I plan to set up the 29 gallon, would there be enough plant mass to make it a low tech (no water change) tank? Basically like 65% hairgrass and a few stemmed plants in back.


    4. I plan to use excel in the beginning, how long should I dose before I cut it off? I just want to use it to kick start the plants.


    5. What are some good lights I can use for the 29 gallon or a low tech tank?

    6. What about filtration for planted tanks, can we use the same amount we would use for a fish only tank? WHat I mean is, if I have (2) two aqueon 20s on my 29 gallon is that too much?

    If you have any other comments/suggestions let me know. Thanks
     
    #1 PunkRotten, Aug 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2010
  2. Ekrindul

    Ekrindul Guru Class Expert

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    1) I would see if any of your LFS will take them for free, trade, store credit, etc. Don't waste time checking chain stores, they won't, but smaller shops sometimes will. I've never kept CPOs, but my understanding is they are difficult to breed, so you may not have to worry about prolific numbers.

    4) Until you get it to the point you like. Ease of gradually though.

    5) I like these lights: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+13822+21969&pcatid=21969. The 24" I'm guessing is what you would need. I would shop around for the freshwater version though. Foster and Smith seem to only sell the marine version, or else just order it with a 6700K bulb. The 10000K bulb you could still use.

    6) I would go with a canister filter. The thing about Aqueon filters is the biomedia (blue piece of plastic) is non-transferable, and not very efficient. If you want to go to another filter later, you almost have to start over cycling the filter. Not to mention, a HOB filter is going to drive the CO2 right out of the water, unless you keep your water level very high to eliminate the surface distrubance. (BBA loves this set of conditions FME, especially in a non-Excel tank. BBA is actually what drove me to use Excel daily, and once I saw the healthy growth in my plants, I kept using it). If you plant heavily enough, the mechanical filtration may be all that you need really, so you would probably be ok.

    I'll leave the other questions to better experienced individuals.
     
  3. PunkRotten

    PunkRotten Junior Poster

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    I heard CPOs arent too diffiucult to breed, not much more difficult than other dwarf crays. In the Aqueon filters I only use foam, I find the cartridges to be useless. I may just go with an aquaclear 20 instead. I also heard in low tech tanks with no waterchanges, HOB filters DO NOT causes C02 to gas out. Thanks for the repsonses. Hopefully I can get some others' opinions.
     
  4. PunkRotten

    PunkRotten Junior Poster

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    Can anyone else shed some light on this?
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Can you explain the reasoning behind this? Was it included in the original conversation?

    I would love to know how this happens. A filter cannot determine what type of tank it is in and work accordingly. If it degasses c02, it doesn't matter if high or low tech. If not injecting c02, IMO any degassing is WORSE as there is not that much to begin with.

    I would be hesitant about whomever gave you that little factoid.

    #2. Depends on the size of the puffer and any tankmates. If kept alone you willbe fine, but puffer will be lonely.

    Overall it sounds like you want a low light, low work type of setup. One 30 watt t8 or t12 bulb will be fine for the 29gal.

    You may want to add a pinch of ferts to the 29 gal every now and then. We expect the fish to supply nutes in these cases, but one puffer may not supply enough :)

    Hope this helps.
     
    #5 Gerryd, Aug 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2010
  6. PunkRotten

    PunkRotten Junior Poster

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    Ive heard HOB filters do not cause C02 to de-gas. I think I read this off a post Tom Barr made. The only reason I mention HOB filters was because it was posted it will de-gas C02. It doesnt matter if its a high tech or low tech. I only mentioned low-tech because thats what I am doing.

    As for the lights, is that going off the WPG rule? I'm just confused cause I thought WPG is flawed and people now measure light intensity by type of lighting and how many bulbs used + distance of tank depth.
     
  7. pat w

    pat w Member

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    I was under the impression that the basic concept was that CO2 was always going to trend toward atmospheric equilibrium. In the low tech - non CO2 injected tank even the low uptake rates would bring the tank levels below that equilibrium and in that case surface agitation would be desirable to bring the CO2 levels back up more quickly.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Pat
     
  8. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    For T12 lighting the WPG rule holds. This would give you the ~1WPG low light tank you're looking for. T8 would up the intensity somewhat but will still keep you out of the high light / algae magnet category.

    With no way to suplement CO2 in a low tech tank you will have one of two sources. Atmospheric or respiration. If you have enough critters or bacteria or whatever, then they can provide the CO2. A more likely approach is that it will be restored from the water surface gas exchange. In this case, aeration or other surface agitation will prove beneficial as it will help to replenish O2 and CO2 into the aquarium.

    -
    S



     
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