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Old 10-23-2007, 07:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New and need some help!

Sorry to double post this, I posted it in the greeting section as well, and realized this is probably the correct place for it.

Hi,

I am new to the realm of Aquatic plants, however, have been doing fish related aquatics for a good 15 years. We recently purchased a 28gallon bow front tank which will would like to turn into an aquatic plant aquascape. as mentioned I have had no prior experience with aquatic plants and would appreciate any information that could be presented.

We would like to start very simple, yet have a good look. Can someone suggest any idea's on the follow subjects?

Substrate?

Filtration system?

Water flow?

water chemistry?

Foods and fertiliezers?

Lighting? (nothing to fancy yet, will be doing pretty low light plants at first) what color and temperature is best?

Plant Species? as mentioned just above, we want to start out with low light plants maybe some mid
light plants that have a variety of color and patterns and textures.

How many different species can be house together? how many plants per gallon of water?

Are there any other items to look into? Drift woods? rocks?

I would appreciate any through information that can be presented as I am will to sit and read. but there is so much information out there its hard to find what is working for others.
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Old 10-24-2007, 04:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

First off, welcome to apc. Here's some reading you will find helpful with your basic questions:

http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articl...ges/index.html
http://www.rexgrigg.com/
https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...parts-1-a.html
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Old 10-24-2007, 09:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

Thanks Bert H,

My head hurts from reading now! lol. I think I might need to give this a second thought. It seems like a lot of work and money. I have a reef tank and it I thought it was a lot of work, this seems to be more complected.

Should I be discouraged so easily?
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Old 10-24-2007, 10:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

Welcome fellow Oregonian! There aren't too many of us here yet and you're even close by so don't give up!

It sounds like you're mostly interested in low tech, not high tech. Have you checked out the El Natural forum? I don't exactly follow it but use a sort of hybrid approach that is working well for me.

My biggest expense has been lighting because it gets so dark and gloomy here for so long in winter that I can't count on sunlight to keep things going. I also use Flourish excel regularly to keep algae at bay. Other than that, I have a powerhead with quick filter on three of my tanks that have soil under eco complete (I use eco because I like the looks of it and it has a good grain size). Add in a heater, plants and fish and call it good. You can also use a hob filter as I have done on 2 tanks in order to deal with larger fish loads, although that can knock your plants around a bit. You can get good results without breaking the bank.

If you're interested I can put together a decent package of starter plants out of the trimmings I'd normally just compost. And if you have any interest in guppies (light bodies with red fins, some with yellow on the fins), mine are breeding like mad in my 20 gallon low tech. I swear they are trying to crash my system. Anyway, pm me if you're interested.
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

A planted tank can be a lot of work, and, for sure, there is a lot to learn. But, that is what makes it a hobby. If it were easy, just a matter of putting a few things in a tank and just sitting and watching it, it would get boring. This way there is always something new to learn, something new to try. It isn't nearly as hard as it seems at first, so hang in there and start learning.
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

I am usually confused but I think you said you were willing to read but when Bert gave you a beginning list you said that you were overwhelmed with reading.

A really quick overview might be what you are looking for. A reef tank is arguably more work and money than a planted freshwater (FW) tank but a FW can be expensive to set up if you want all the bells and whistles and new technology.

As far as substrate goes you can find folk using anything from dirt to peat moss; different sands, sand blasting grit, kitty litter, one of the new type "gravels or the old fashioned aquarium gravel. All of these have their use but my favorite is the sandblasting grit (black) that I have been using for decades. Sand blasting grit is cheap and works OK. It helps, if you use the fine stuff, to put some burrowing snails in to keep the substrate stirred up.

Filters can be just about anything from canisters to hang on the tank types to the old and now denigrated under gravel filter with power heads or air lift (now out of fashion, especially for planted tanks, mine are all retired.)

Do not worry too much about water flow at this point. Later water flow can be an important consideration but for start up do not worry about it.

Having run a reef tank, water tests should not be a problem for you. Buy the API master kit and for the moment that should be enough. Later there are reasons to have other tests and more of them. Tests are similar to activated carbon and a lot of other stuff, it is good to have them when the need arises. Knowing something is always better than guessing or hoping. Some nasty thing or disaster is always around the corner in this Hobby.

Always feed the best and biggest variety of food you can accommodate. Any of the brands that are usually higher priced are usually better. Do a search online. Competition usually keeps prices in line but watch sales and be prepared to take advantage. Live food, that you culture (or collect) yourself, can be cheap and easy or a PITA.

Any one of the liquid ferts available are usually good and I use them and I also bought dry ferts from Greg Watson. Now I probably would buy from Rex Grigg.

I think that just about any light will work OK. Try to get a couple of strips on your tank, rather than one. I bought a few sets from AH Supply that work OK. I made hoods in 24" sections (for 20s and a 75) out of glued Luan (thin underlayment) and ripped thin strips of pine 1 by lumber although you can buy hoods from AH or anywhere (LFS or online) that are fine too. If you want sophisticated bulbs, other than the local discount store type, about $14 each seems to be a decent price. Opinions on all this stuff vary, especially on lights.

Along with lights goes CO2 injection. If you jack up your lights you increase the need for carbon supplementation (either DIY which is probably not OK for your tank, or buy a regulator/bottle system) but you also increase the plant selection that you can grow.

Plants can be placed in large quantity and any particular order that pleases you unless you get into the different rituals that are all over the place. There is not a specific number of plants per any size that I have heard. Just about any species of plants can be housed together. Try them all if you can find them to see what works and what doesn't.

Driftwood or Bogwood and rocks can be useful and a nice addition to your "look" or just more stuff to deal with. Your opinion is what matters except for feeding certain fish (they may need wood.)

The old (and not very helpful 1" per gallon rule has finally gone out of fashion) ways are pretty much gone and there is a lot of new knowledge that takes a bunch of reading to avoid re-inventing the wheel. You started off asking for reading and Bert tried to accommodate by giving you the list. One of the things that is typical of the NET, besides the obvious benefits, is that if you say black is black it is probable that someone will chime in with a response contradicting you, so anything I am saying here to answer your specific questions is only my experience.

I would urge you to join a local Aquarium Society and go to the Auction and or swap meets. There are all kinds of help and opinions out there and a lot of plants and fish that you will not see in the LFS.

You are so right about the overwhelming amount of information out there about the Hobby and it takes a while to wade through it and similar to the Reef stuff it takes a while. It's worth it though.
Good luck and keep posted and learning.

Wow that is a long post but you asked for it.
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Mayes View Post
I am usually confused but I think you said you were willing to read but when Bert gave you a beginning list you said that you were overwhelmed with reading.
Thanks Cliff....

I was not saying I was overwhelmed with the reading, just that there was a lot of it.

I enjoyed the readings and I am having a good time learning, its like like you said, it takes awhile to wade through it all and digest the information.

I think I may order a few books on Aquatic Plants and Aquariums to add to my Aquatic Library. Any one have good suggestions?

I already have the API Masterkit for Freshwater.

I will continue to do my research and keep you guys posted on what happens.

but in the mean time here is a picture of the tank and stand.

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Old 10-24-2007, 07:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

Books are great.

Diana Walstads book [U]Ecology of The Planted Aquarium[U]is very worthwhile reading and having.

Peter Hiscocks book [U]Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants[U]is also good to have.

The Amano books are nice to look at, and have, just to see whats possible.

The above books are not comprehensive of whats available, just some basic ones to get started. I have hundreds, but new stuff is coming out all the time and it is difficult to know what is good until you have bought them and read them at least once.

The NET is probably the best resource right now. It take some discrimination but there is a lot here.
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

Ok, I have found that I will diffently need to change my lighting some. I have looked into these two lights, which do you think would be the good. As a college student I have to keep my budget down. I will try and get one soon maybe with my next paycheck.

Current USA Nova Extreme T5HO X2 - 10,000K - Freshwater Light System 24" 2x24W
or
24" Coralife Freshwater Aqualight Single Linear Strip Compact Fluorescent Fixture 1x65W
Or
24 inch 1x65 Watt Current USA PowerCompact Single Satellite Fixture 2 in 1 lighting

Here is the link to the last light, i am a little unclear of the light temperatures and ratings!
http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewIt...s~vendor~.html
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Old 10-25-2007, 03:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: New and need some help!

Bennett don't be discouraged! I had the same exact feelings you do when I first started. But once you learn a little bit and start getting into it, you realize it's not rocket science. I've never had a reef tank, but for me, those are incredibly difficult and work intensive, so it's all relative.

Regarding lighting, let me offer another option for you. This web site offers retrofits which you might be able to use with your current hood. IMO, they also have the best reflector on the market, and the owner is super helpful if you call and ask questions.
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