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Discussion Starter #1
OK so, I'm kinda new to planted aquariums (from cichlid only tanks) so don't be too harsh haha
here's my setup:
-55 gal. long tank
-emperor 400 bio-wheel filter
-UV sterilizer
-48" nova extreme slr t5 (one 10,000 K daylight, one pink-ish plant light)
-Koralia 1 power head for agitation
-black sand base
-a few month old growing plant bulbs
-tropical community fish

so, if anyone has any suggestions for the tank I would REALLY appreciate it. I was also wondering how important (or detrimental) surface agitation is to plant growth? I've heard that bio wheels are bad for CO2, is this true?

thanks again, and sorry if some questions seem stupid
 

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I'm not sure what you want in the way of suggestions. I will try to answer the couple of ?? at the end.

Surface agitation keeps the top of the water stirred up and clean. It helps to oxygenate the water. If you only have mild agitation like a small ripple caused by a spraybar it's not a big deal and actually helpful. If you have hang-on-the-back (HOB) filter that caused O2 to go deep into the water then you will force more oxygen in the water and CO2 will come out. If you are trying to infuse CO2 that works against you.

This is the same concept with bio wheels. The expose the water to more O2 which drives the CO2 from the water. Plants need CO2 as a carbon source so it works against you.

I don't know how many watts a 48" tube give out so I can't speak to how much light you have. If your plants are growing well, then you are doing fine.

You black sand is inert if it's plain sand. You will need something to put nutrients in the tank for the plants. You could use plant tabs, liquid or dry ferts.

Here are some links that might give you a nice overview.
http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/index.html
http://beginneraquarist.petfish.net/Beginner%20Aquarist/Home.html
http://www.rexgrigg.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the quick reply,
so do you think that it would be a good idea to scrap the bio wheels? and if so, any recommendations?
 

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I would remove the bio wheel. You could get a canister filter or just remove the biowheel. You could add some ceramic dics to the body of the filter for the nutrifying bacteria.
 
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