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Old 10-25-2005, 05:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Low maintainance setup

Hey all,

I am setting up a low maintainance setup for some inlaws. It is a 50 gallon, 36x18x18 that will be moderately plants with slow growers, mainly. Flourite substrate. I have ordered a Coralife freshwater aqualight 1x96 watt PC, so approximately 2wpg.

Is this easily doable without any CO2. The people this is for do not want to deal with CO2 of any kind and are hesitant about dosing, so I won't recommend Flourish Excel. Chances are good I will do a wc every 2 weeks, at least in the beginning. I plan to use some faster growing stems, especially in the beginning. I have no experience with these lights, which will be on the coralife legs, but I am guessing the lighing won't be as intense as one would assume from a 96watt PC. I will of course fertalize basically following EI, weekly dosing at wc. Stocking of the tank will happen slowly.

Would an 8 hour photoperiod be a good place to start? Bump it up to 9 after a couple then up to 10, then 11. I will work on wc every week for the first month or so, then slowly back off based on how things look and feel.

What will be awesome about this, I hope, is they have well water so jsut right from the tank. Weeee!

Any thoughts, advice or opinions are welcome. I have never setup a tank for someone else's home before and I don't want them to think poorly of me in the future
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Old 10-25-2005, 06:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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It wouldn't really be a problem to start off the tank at 10hrs of lights daily and maintain at that length. You could also look into adding in some floating plants to help combat algae(if that's the reason why you want fast growing stem plants). Plants like duck weed and frogbit. These will help provide a little shade to your low light plants and help absobrb access nutrients in the water. They'll also be so much easier to remove once their puropse has been served.
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Old 10-26-2005, 03:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Since this is a low tech tank, why not treat it low tech and skip the water changes? Since you are following EI, that is the recommendation for the non-CO2 EI method, http://www.barrreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=395

That would make it really low tech and I think you will be suprised at the plants you can grow at 2wpg without CO2, as long as you are adding some ferts weekly.
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Old 10-26-2005, 04:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Dennis,

All plants are slow growers in these tanks . Keep that in mind when you plant because you may want or need to plant more thickly than you normally would. Ditto to what Matt said about reading Tom's article and you can definitely grow a lot more things in these tanks than the plant guides say.

Color is a limitation in these tanks. I just got some Alternathera reinecki but I can't say I'm reallly happy with the color so far, kind of a brownish red . My vote for color in these tanks goes to Myriophyllum heterophyllum (red foxtail). It is a beautiful reddish orange and grows really well. I like the way it curves as it gets close to the top then sends out side shoots, makes it look like a fireworks display. Other plant that is really cool is Phylanthus fluitans (red root floater). I have a bunch growing over some Egeria densa and the contrast between the red roots and the deep green is spectacular. I have extras of any of these if you want (shipping only).

Good luck and keep us posted,
Bill
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Old 12-02-2005, 08:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, here is a photo of the tank at 1 week from setup date:



As you can see, it is not planted as heavily as I would have liked but that was all the plants I had. The folks feed a little too heavy and did no tlisten to my fish recommendation so it is a bit heavily stocked for a new setup without enough plants or a mulm seeded substrate. As expected there is a bit of algae, mainly clado and some thread/string. Rumor has it it looks pretty bad but I have not seen the tank in 2 weeks. 40-50% wc's are preformed each weekend.

I will be seeign the tank this sunday and am taking lots more plants and all my varoius 'scaping tools. I will also be mixing up some fert solutions for them to dose after water changes, some of the plants are showing nutrient dificiencies of pale growth/poor growth. I really can't use Excel with any frequency and CO2 is completely out of the question.

Any suggestions (aside from getting more plants in there and giving them an adequate food source) to help clean up the tank and keep it clean and algae free? Keep in mind, this is a 50 gallon, basically open top with 1x96 watt Coralife fixture.

Oh, and the Bylxa is all gone thanks to th eplant nibbling Serapae(spelling) tetras I said not to get
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Old 12-02-2005, 09:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I don't understand why you cant dose Exel. Just do a heavy dose when you water change and tell them to add a few capfulls a few times a week. Also are they gonna get any clean up fish a la otos, cories, CAEs?
Also I really like the layout you got now btw maybe get an amazon or something for the back and pt in some root tabs once in a while.

Last edited by JaySilverman; 12-02-2005 at 09:38 PM..
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Old 12-03-2005, 09:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The people this is for said they did not want to have to worry about dosing or anything, I do know that I can slowly get them into doing it, it is just scary to them at first. I will take over some Excel and use it after I maintainance the tank this time, I will also leave a couple weeks forth for them to use. I will also mix up some macro and micro solutions for them to add after a wc and midweek.

they were supposed to get a basic cleanup crew first like otos and maybe a small, plant friendly pleco...they did not follow directions well. I assumed incorrectly that I could trust a vet and his wife to listen to me and not get caught up in the pretty colors at the LFS. My bad.

An echinodorus sp....nice idea, thanks. I am not a fan of those types of plants in my own aquariums so I never really considered it for this one.

What would be some good Echinodorus and Aponogeten species for this tank?

What would be a plant safe pleco that stays small?
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Old 12-03-2005, 01:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I'm not sure about the species of Amazons. I don't really like them either and never owned one but in low tech tanks they seem to do well. And I think one would look good in the background.

As for a pleco, any small species should do fine in the tank. Its got plenty of wood and glass to suck on. It shouldn't bother the plants at all. Some Species I would consider:

Bushy Nose Pleco: One of the most popular small sized Pleco. Comes in a few colours. Pretty cheap and very hardy. Gets to about 5 inches.

Clown Pleco: Another popular small pleco. Very attractive. Gets about 5 inches.

Gold Nugget Pleco: Gets about 6 inches, One of the most beautiful plecos around. Expensive though.
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Old 12-05-2005, 03:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I found plecos and planted tanks really don't mix too well. I had to remove a Bushy Nose Pleco because he was uprooting all the hairgrass and he completely destroyed a cardinelis. Your much better off with a large herd of otos.
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