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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
I've read a lot of articles around and for a few months for now, i want to start growing my own sweet piece of aqua-garden..
I'd like to set a tank with CO2, good lighting, quality-substrate etc. I'm not a man who's willing to go half-way for what i like, but i might just start at that since i don't have much time to myself (see Question #1)

Anyway, since I'll probably spend some amount of cash over this hobby i want to ask you some questions:

1. I'm not around to house from Sunday to mid-Thursday (Army Officer..). do you think I'll be able to take good care and though not examining the tank daily, able to deal with issues such as algae, dosing etc?

2. I already have a scratched tank (180 Lit. 90X33X45 CM). Should i buy a new one, with a nice stand that comes along? or will the current one be okay? also i know that if i fail no money was spent, no harm was done (to my pocket). but upgrades will have to be made (lighting especially).

3. I've already spoken with a custom-tank builder and he offered to build a 360 Lit 100X60X60 tank, knowing that i will be entirely into planted aquarium. Are these good sizes?

Thanks a lot.
 

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First off, welcome to apc! Not being around for 4 days a week, will make things interesting, at least at the beginning. But, imo, it is certainly doable. You can get autofeeders for the fish, and autodosers for ferts for the plants.

If it were me, I'd start with the 'scratched tanks', and go with ADA substrates, which will give you a higher likelihood of less start up problems, especially since you won't be there. You could go high tech for everything else, which would alleviate your absences.

I'll let others give their opinions here. Either way, good luck, keep us posted! Again, welcome aboard!
 

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Are you thinking about a new tank because you want more room? Obviously if you start with the scratched tank your upgraded light will not fit the new tank unless you can go with some type of pendant lighting that you have the ability to add to.

The scratches will show if they are big or grow algae in them. Is it possible to put the worst side in the back.

I do think that I would be tempted to start with the smaller tank. You would be able to transfer the equipment you will need like CO2 and filtration stuff to the larger tank if you buy them big enough to begin with.

As you progress and succeed it will give you something to look forward to - a new bigger tank. You will have already worked out your learning curve as to how to do the feeding of plants and fish while you're not there.

Have you thought about AaronT's mineralized substrate since you won't be around 4 days a week. As I understand it there is hardly any dosing that you have to do and you still can grow the same high tech tank look. I do think they use the CO2. Things grow a bit slower.

Welcome abord!
 

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Like Bert and Drinda said, go with the scratched tank first and you can learn a lot from this before getting a larger one.

As for the substrates, I'm planning on the Mineralized substrate soon. I have it ready but haven't migrated to it yet. I'm still not too sure about how much care is needed initially. I know that it doesn't need fertilizing as I have a natural planted tank where I do not dose any fertilizer. Only the fish food and the fish waste.

I would also recommend you look at Flourite as a substrate but I hear that the nutrients run out in about a year or so. I'll let the others comment on it.

For the automatic feeder, I've seen the Eheim feeder and it works great.

I would, however, recommend that you get an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), just in case you lose power at your house.

Good Luck.

regards,
Ravi
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks you guys for the warm welcome!

I think the main issue right now is if i'm going all the way from the very begining (CO2, HighCost lighting Arrangement).

I think by doing so i'm risking more than what i migh "earn". If I'm not there and fish die of CO2 suffocation i'd just put it all on a loong hold 'til i get the time.
As far as automation goes, I think I'd to avoid automatic dosing because I could cause a small havoc by making a 5-day repetitive mistake (Overdosing for instance). I'd rather dose twice every week, during the weekend. Would It work?
As far as the scratches go, they aren't that bad and they are only realy seen If you look closely.
I'm not sure whether I'm familiar with the term "mineralized substrate/Soil".
Do you mean DIY substrate that you create by mixing minerals and soils that you buy at local gardening shops?
If so I'd be happy to be directed to some nice recopies!
The stuff that I come across often where Iive is:
Carib Sea Eco-Complete
ResSea Flora Base (Which comes with recommendations from locales')
And Seachem Flourite
Also JBL ProFlora Start / Aquabasis (nice helper BTW)
Sera Substrate

Which combination do you recommend?
I Think I'd much prefer the slick look of a nurtured low-tech aquarium rather than a totally natural tank. It usually looks only coincidental that plants grow well there (please, I hope no one takes offence , I hope I don't regret that..)

I'd like to hear what others think of maintaining a planted tank whilst being away from home most of the time.
Thanks a lot guys.
 

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Here's Aaron's article on mineralized substrates.

Probably the most 'fool proof' substrate are the ADA line, but they might be the most $$. All the ones you mention have been used by folks.

I'd like to hear what others think of maintaining a planted tank whilst being away from home most of the time.
If the tank were established, I'd say no problem, for the most part. Starting one from scratch....frankly, I'd be lots more hesitant to do. Especially if it's your first foray into planted tanks.
 
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