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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I posted a couple days ago asking about retrofitting a 12g nanocube hood, after seeing Carlos' setup in the aquascaping forum (damn that tank looks good...can you blame me for wanting to set up a similar one?). But it looks as though I'm going to have a little more space, and a slightly bigger paycheck, and therefore I want to scale up the tank a bit, to maybe 20 or 30 gallons. Specifically, I'm considering

20 high (24 x 12 x 16")
25 high (24 x 12 x 20")
30 extra-high (24 x 12 x 24")
29 (30 x 12 x 18")

I'm especially attracted to the 30 extra high, because (a) that HUGE front panel looks awesome, (b) real-estate is at a premium in my room, but I can always build vertically, and (c) it would be really cool for showing off stem plants and some of the larger swords (both of which I really like). Does anyone here know of caveats with these tanks? I would imagine the higher water pressure would make them unsuitable for certain fish/plant species (I know killies hate pressure...are there any plants that have pressure tolerances? any other fish?), and it might also make them more prone to leaking (anybody here had a bad experience with one of these?).

For the hood, I was thinking about a dual 65-watt PC system with one 10000k bulb and one 6500k (from this guy: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=46314&item=4313172401&rd=1 ). Yes, it's a deep tank, but it will have 130/30 = 4.3 watts per gallon over it. Will this work? Or will the light not penetrate 2 feet of water? Should I have two 6500k bulbs instead of subbing in the 10000? I'm a big fan of hairgrass lawns, and I'd rather like to incorporate one, even if it means using different bulbs, or going for a more shallow 25g or even 20g tank in order that sufficient light reach the grass.

The next thing to worry about is the filter. Here I have two good options (from what I read)....either an internal filter or (better) an external canister filter. With real-estate at a premium, and with a _lot_ of $$ and electronics at stake if this thing ever floods my room, however, I'm kind of inclined toward the internal filter, even if I read that the canisters are better. So I guess the question is "will the internal filter be sufficient?" and secondarily "what kind of fish/how many fish will it let me have?" I'm mostly interested in a school of small tetras or rasboras, and a few veil angels. Do you think an internal filter is enough? If so, how large a school can I get? In terms of a specific internal filter, I'd probably get a pretty large one...perhaps the Fluval 4plus.

Next, what should I do about CO2? If I _have_ to spring for one of those $150 Milwaukee systems (with 4wpg lighting, I imagine most of you probably think this is the only way to go), I suppose I can work a few extra night shifts or something...but...well...would a DIY yeast reactor just be silly for this tank? And if I get the Milwaukee system (or even if I don't), what's the right way to put the CO2 into the tank? Carlos was talking about "putting it into the powerhead"...does this mean just taking the hose and attaching it to the venturi inlet on the pump? If so, that's...well...way easier than these reactor/diffuser things. Though I do kind of like the ladder diffuser that comes with that yeast kit....

Err....what else? At some point I'll have a lot more questions...I made up a tentative list of plant species that I want to keep in the tank, but then I left the list at work (oops)...so I'll put that up here Monday night and see if any of them are incompatible/unsuitable for beginners. I'm also going to want to know quite a bit about adding those crazy bottled liquids to my tank. I've already got my flourish and flourish iron (Look! I _do_ read your posts!)....but I'm sure that's not all I'm going to need.

Thanks in advance for your help, and (in not-so-advance) for reading through this ridiculously long post.

--Bucky
 

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At under 30 gallons brewing your own CO2 on site is still practical. Certainly if you haven't tried CO2, it is a neat low tech introduction to an interesting method in this hobby. Buying the Hagen kit would make this very easy although I think you can find better brew recipes. I hear Tara Nyberg's recipe works well. Her recipe was published in the April-June 2004 TAG, vol. 17, #2. http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/tag.html

Some people like the "quick filters" with a power head for planted tanks. These are both inexpensive and effective internal filters which are appropriately sized for a 30 gal. tank.
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Jeff
 

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I would recommend the 20g HIGH, from an aquascaping perspective. The 30g high is way too narrow --too narrow to create an effective foreground-->midground-->background. You will end up with a curtain of taller plants in the back with a steep drop off into the foreground.

I wouldn't worry about water pressure, unless your tank is more than 15 feet deep. :)

I wouldn't even be considering sword plants for tanks of this size.

Carlos
 

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For compact fluorescent lighting you might consider AH supply. They make a nice enclosure http://www.ahsupply.com/finished_enclosures.htm and you can install a light kit tailored to fit your needs. Target 2-3 wpg at first, you can always add more lights as you develop your skills.

If you are slightly more handy I saw a very nice DIY example in these forums. It used a CD rack from Ikea as the basis of its enclosure. Unfortunatly I couldn't find the link in a quick search; perhaps anouther reader knows where it is?

Personally I prefer normal fluorescent lighting but that is slightly harder to put together. All-glass makes a decent 3 tube fixture that gives about 2 wpg on most tanks. http://www.all-glass.com/products/hoods/index.html
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I agree with carlos to get the 20 high. You want a tank that is close to the following ratio, 2:1:1.

Should I have two 6500k bulbs instead of subbing in the 10000?
I'd go for two 6500K bulbs. If you can, get one 6500K and one 9325°K Super Daylight (55W). 65W and 55W are usually interchangeable, I would use 55W on that fixture.

I wouldn't worry about flooding with an external filter. If you have money get a eheim that will turn the tank over 8-9 times an hour,IMO.

With the Co2, I like the JBJ. Maybe just get the regulator and down the road get the Milwaukee controller. I personally like to get things bits at a time. Test kit will be good enough to let you know you are within range. After a couple of months of learning you'll be ready for more control. Just run it into the canister. I did this for awhile without any problems.

http://aquascapingjournals.com/journals/10_gallon_aquascaping_journal.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all your excellent replies.

I especially liked the AH supply site...I think I'll be ordering a 2x55W PC kit from them soon. Sadly it doesn't look as though they have the 9325K bulbs, so I guess I'll go for two 6500Ks.

I can get that 2x65W fixture on eBay with 6500Ks slightly cheaper than I can get the fixutre + bulbs from AH supply, but AH has a better reflector (by a longshot) and that's got to be worth something. Plus the ballast is probably of higher quality from AHS.....etc. Do you think it's worth the extra $$ ($20 or so) and the loss in intensity (2x65 vs 2x55) to go with AH supply?

Either way, I'll be building my own enclosure. A few years back I built a greenhouse in my backyard for raising orchids....I think I can handle a tank hood. =)

Was at LFS today and saw a bowfront tank. Either those are new since my childhood fishkeeping experiences, or I was ignoring them back then because they were way bigger than I could afford. Anyway, All Glass Aquarium's website says they sell them in 26g and 36g sizes, which are (LengthxFront-to-BackxHeight) 24x15x21" tall and 30x15x21", respectively. With regard to Carlos' aquascaping suggestions, I think the larger front-to-back dimensions on these tanks may help some. They're still pretty tall, though. Opinions? The good news is I can buy the lights now, and ask questions about what tank to get later. =)

Oddly, I remember seeing a 65" tall aquarium made from a section of 11" wide acrylic pipe awhile back, at one of my friend's houses. Okay, 65" != 15 feet, but still. Aquascaping nightmare. It was okay, though...they were using plastic plants. BIG plastic plants. :roll:

Also found a pretty good deal on a canister filter on eBay....an Eheim 2222 for $56. You're probably right...I shouldn't worry so much...I've been at school for 3 years and we've yet to have a power outage. I think they have backup generators.

Thanks again for your help.
--Bucky
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The good news is I can buy the lights now, and ask questions about what tank to get later. =)
That sounded kinda irresponsible. What I meant was that since the 2x55 watt kit will fit on top of every tank size I'm interested in, I don't have to decide yet. It might be kinda overkill for the 20g (110W/20g = 5.5wpg) but it makes a lot of sense for the 36 bowfront (110/36 = 3wpg). Plus since it comes apart nicely into two tubes and two reflectors, I can always use only half of it on the 20g, if I go that route (55/20g = almost 3wpg).

In his tank of the month post, Gomer said "I chose a rather steep learning curve by using ~4wpg at first." I'd like to think I can handle a steep learning curve, but I'm curious as to the problems that arise when you have too much light. I know you have to trim the plants a lot, provide more CO2 and more macronutrients and trace elements....but is there anything else?

:idea: If I get a 20H, and only use one of the 55w tubes, I can use the other one with a 10k/actinic 50/50 bulb for a 20H reef. But that's a whole differnt forum to bother. :twisted:

--Bucky
 

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Do you think it's worth the extra $$ ($20 or so) and the loss in intensity (2x65 vs 2x55) to go with AH supply?
I know the AH supply ballast are interchangeable (65W and 55W). So I would start off with the 55W and if your not happy you can just get new bulbs.

One thing that is neat to do with the bowfronts is to flip it around so that the bow is in the back. This gives you more room to aquacape with, you don't have the distortion from the bow of the tank, and you don't have to deal with curving the wood for the canopy.

I know you have to trim the plants a lot, provide more CO2 and more macronutrients and trace elements....but is there anything else?
Deal with a lot of algae, weekly. Its harder to balance, and things can go out of whack easier. It gets frustrating if you don't know what to do. Maybe start off with one bulb on, and when things get established, turn them both on. If it's a new setup its going to take a month for the substrate to mature and for the plants to get established. More light will just cause more algae and make it harder for the plants to start off.
 

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IUnknown said:
I know the AH supply ballast are interchangeable (65W and 55W).
The AH supply ballasts that I have are interchangable with 36w or 55w lamps.

What is important here is choosing the right amount of light for a particular tank. More is not always better. Your choice of lighting will affect everything else you do. One needs to first ask, "what aquaristic goals do I have?" and then, build a mechanism to fit those goals. Perhaps a plant list and fish list is a better starting point?
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IUnknown said:
Maybe start off with one bulb on, and when things get established, turn them both on. If it's a new setup its going to take a month for the substrate to mature and for the plants to get established. More light will just cause more algae and make it harder for the plants to start off.
:shock:

I have 220 watts of pc lighting for my 75 gallon-to-be. Obviously this will be a brand new setup, should I turn on only half of of my lights?
While I'm asking dumb questions, should I turn on the Co2 and use the fertilizer (Yamato Green) right away at start up?
 

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Barbels said:
should I turn on only half of of my lights?
You could start out with a shorter day, perhaps 9 hours, and then ramp it up as you develop momentum.

Start CO2 on your first day, then supplement nutrients as needed depending on the health of your plants. If your plant stock comes same-day from a very healthy tank you may be able to start at full tilt. If your plant stock is weakened from transport and several days in a baggy, or has been languishing in a LFS tank, then you may start out hobbled. What does the manufacturer of Yamato Green recommend?
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Jeff Kropp said:
What does the manufacturer of Yamato Green recommend?
For regular use, 1 tsp per 10-20 gallons per week. It doesn't mention new tanks.

I hope to get the plants from AZ Gardens, so I hope they'll be fairly decent.
 
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