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Discussion Starter #1
Well, after 15 years of keeping freshwater fish, and 7 or 8 keeping reef tanks I have finally decided to try setting up a planted tank. Well, actually, I didn’t plan on it; I found this site by accident and fell in love with some of the tanks I saw here. I am in the process of taking down my 100 gallon reef tank to set up a larger reef. I had promised to sell my old tank to someone, but then I found this site and decided this would make a nice planted tank.

I really don’t know much about planted tanks. The only live plants I’ve ever had were some Java Moss I used in some breeding tanks, so I start from scratch here. First let me describe the equipment I have and then you can tell me what I can keep and what I need to get rid of for this setup. The tank is a 100 gallon (60x18x22) glass tank. There are two 1.5” bulkheads drilled into the bottom of the tank, one in each back corner. There are inside a corner overflow so they can’t be seen inside the tank. The overflows drain into a 33 gallon sump where I have my heater, skimmer, calcium reactor, probes, etc. Water is pumped from the sump back to the tank by a Blueline 40-HD-X pump (about 1100 GPH). There is a second identical pump running a closed loop on the tank for extra circulation. The lighting consists of three metal halides, and 250 watt in the center and a 175 watt on each end. There are also four 60” VHO’s running actinics.

Now for what I can keep and what I need to get rid of to convert this to a planted tank. First, from the reading I have done here so far, it seems the sump needs to go so I can keep the CO2 levels up. That’s fine. What I thought I could do was remove the sump and plumb the tank again. This time I would connect the two drains together under the tank and then hook that up to the pump. The output on the pump could go through a couple of custom built canisters I can build for any filter media I need, and then be returned to the tank. This would turn it into a closed loop so I wouldn’t loose the CO2 in the sump. The second pump would be removed because I doubt the plants or the fish would like 2000 GPH flow inside the tank.

For the lighting I thought about leaving the two 175 watt metal halides and removing everything else. This would give me 3.5 watts per gallon. I know this would require CO2, but I already have a spare tank and regulator from my calcium reactor.

This is about as far as I’ve gotten in the planning so far. I’ve still got a lot of reading and planning to do before I start any work on the tank, but I would like your input on what I have so far. Thanks for taking the time to read all this and I look forward to showing you what I have set up in a few months.



Jim
 

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Sounds live you are off to a good start here. I would loose the VHOs and the sump. I like your idea of blumbing DIY canisters into your exhisting overflows and using the closed loop part for the CO2. I might recommend all 3 MH fixtures as I thought they were only good for about 24" you can always raise them if its to bright or go with 3x175 or 2x250. You don't mention the color of your MH but anything under 10000K would be fine for plants. You will be able to grow about any plant there is with this setup. Good luck with it and please, keep us updated with photos. Have you thought about your aquascaping or what types of plants you want. If you want lower light/maintance plants you could probably get away with the 2x175
 

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As someone also relatively new to planted tanks but with years of reefkeeping experience I know exactly where you are coming from. I thought a freshwater tank would be easy compared to a reef but when I started reading about fertilizers my head was spinning. Luckily I came across the "Estimative Index" which helps me keep things simple.
Your plans sound good but you never really state your objective for the tank, which really is what guides you through the process. As mentioned above, your plant choices will have a lot to do with your lighting requirements. You still need to decide (or list) your choice of substrate and fertilization method. You should have no problem finding tons of info on each subject. I would recommend starting out with as many stem plants as you can fit into the tank. These do a good job of using up those nutrients that you will be adding and competing with the algae. You can cycle in other plants as your tank ages, removing the stems periodically while replacing them with more desirable species.
 

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Hi,

Welcome to the other side! I have a reef that I'm taking down and converting to a planted tank in my son's room. Perhaps we can work together on this?

I too have metal halide, calcium reactor, skimmer, chiller, sump, aquacontroller and extensive flow making mechanisms such as a closed loop on a powerful pump and a tunze stream. Actually even have a Wave2K.

Most of the above is not needed. However, as you mention, this does not equate to being easier than a reef. I find it to be a fine art that is learnt overtime. I will be setting up my son's this weekend inspite of not having the right plants in hand. I'll post my progress and why I do things to see if it helps you. Please ask any questions you may have.

Like in a reef, algae is always a threat in the beginning. This is what we watch out for.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the feedback guys. After years of keeping a reef and getting pretty good at it I feel like a newbie again. As for where I want this tank to go, I really don't have a clue yet, but I will before I put anything in the tank. Some of my favorite freshwater fish are wild Angels, so I may try to design something around this.

Art_Giacosa, I'm not getting out of the reef hobby, just moving to a 280 gallon tank, but from what I've seen here and a couple of other sites I may put that on hold for a while.

dennis, I really need to take out the center 250 watt MH to use on one of my coral propagation tanks. What about keeping the two 175 watt MH's and two of the VHO's with 65k bulbs?

Thanks for all the info so far everyone.
 

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Welcome to APC

I also come form a reef background. You have a tank there that can really a good bit of fun. You don't need to lose the sump. I have one on my 120, yeah I use a bit of CO2 but I like having a sump. great place to stash the heater, probes and run a closed loop for CO2 and UV. Filtration wise you don't much much and the plants do a lot, just a sponge in the sump to pull out some of the junk.

Light wise being it's a 6' tank I'd drop the 250 to 175 and use all three with 6500 - 10k bulbs.

However, before you do any hardware changes, what are your goals with the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
gnatster,

It's actually a 5 foot tank.

I don't know what my goals are for the tank yet, but I'm looking. I'm looking through as many pics as I can right now. Hopefully when I find what I like I can post a link to it and some of you can point me in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
gnatster,

Everyone keeps asking about my goals for this tank, and I knew I had seen a picture somewhere in the last couple of days of a tank that finally made me want to convert a reef tank, and that takes a lot for me. Well, I've just spent the last hour going back through my history file to find the site again and I just found it. Guess what? It's one of your tanks, or at least I think it's one of your tanks. Is this yours?

http://www.simplydiscus.com/forum/showpost.php?p=199263&postcount=24

I know as a newbie to planted tanks this will be hard to achive, but that's what I'm aiming at. Maybe with a piece of driftwood on the left site with just the tops peaking out. ;-) Now I just have to start trying to identify the plants you are using so I can find out more about their care.
 
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