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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have recently decided to have a go at creating my own planted aquarium after being amazed after seeing some of ADA's tanks. I have only run a 35L and 60L tropical tanks before so definitely still an amateur. I have decided to get my tank early during the planning process so Im committed to the project. Due to budget and other reasons im currently looking at the Aqua One Evo 100 tank which has a capacity of 190L (50G), 2x39w T5 lights with reflectors and an advance 1050 filter although my plan is to put another Eheim classic filter in as well.
This is a website reference for the tank specs.
http://www.aquaone.co.uk/EVO.php

AS a beginner I don't want to make mistakes right from the very start so any feedback on whether this is a suitable tank would be greatly appreciated.
I'm not planning anything to extraordinary but would like a well planted well thought through aquarium that is easy to maintain but still provides challenges and satisfaction.

Any advice on set up would be greatly appreciated I've been currently looking at JDL co2 systems and ADA substrates and alternatives. As I'm sure you can tell there is plenty more research to do and I'm just beginning to pick up the basics but willing to learn and persevere. All help will be appreciated and any more info needed can be provided.
 

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hi neil,

welcome to APC! it's good that you want to take the time to learn as much as you can. a lot of new comers to the hobby jump right in trying to grow the plants that are very high maintenance, without understanding their needs properly. as a result, they don't get what they're expecting.

as a start, i would suggest you give these two threads a read:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/new-planted-aquariums/showthread.php?t=8790
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/new-planted-aquariums/showthread.php?t=14684

once you've absorbed the information contained in them, and have a good understanding of what's needed, i would suggest reading these two threads on plant fertilization. they are two methods that are very popular, the EI Method and the PPS Method. IMO, the PPS method is the simplest to follow.

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fertilizing/showthread.php?t=15225
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/fertilizing/showthread.php?t=4241

hope this information helps and good luck!
 

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Welcome to the club, Neil.

Freydo, changed your avatar, huh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks freydo and gravy9 for the replies it was much appreciated. I've read the threads and found them to be extrememly useful. My plan at the moment is for my first aquascape is to base my aquascape around another one I've seen (Rank105 Jason Baliban's entry in this years IAPLC) as I've heard that will help because alot of the info on plants etc can be found easily. Also it will help me learn the process but with a clear direction and alot of the information needed readily accesible, hope you agree.
My aim over the next month or two is to concentrate on tank, filters, lighting and CO2 equipment and then delve into the fertilizers, substrates, plants and fish as a second phase later on. I have pretty much decided on the tank specified im my original thread running its spec filter and I've decided to go with an Eheim thermofilter as well to give extra filtration and keep as much as possible external. Any views on the suitability of this tank and equipment will be greatly appreciated. The standard lighting I dont believe will be enough as its only 2x39W T5's, can any one help me with the equation i need to figure out the wattage of lighting that i will need. The current problem I'm having is getting to grips with the CO2 equipment. I've decided to go for a pressurized CO2 system but i've looked at many but to be honest i need help with the basics of what i actually need and what every part does. I will read through as many CO2 system threads as i can tonight, but if anone knows a good thread fortthis or can help explain whats required and for what purpose, what I should be looking for and considering my early spec of my tank what would be recommended to run on it, any information would be greatly appreciated.
I will be going to see how ADA (ADA representatives from Italy to be procise) do it on Dec12th as they are visiting a shop in Wrexham UK called The Green Machine so I know that will be useful but if I can have an understanding of the basics by then I think it will be a lot more useful to me.
Thanks for your replies and keep them coming.
 

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Neil,

You mentioned that you're using 2x39W T5. Is it normal or HO?

And Freydo: You had a unique avatar and the picture is still in my mind with the large pink round head. How could anyone miss it? :)

regards,
Ravi
 

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neil: you definitely do not have enough lighting, especially if they are NO T5 lamps. personally, i follow (to a degree) the WPG rule, as a starting point. where it goes wonky is if you use individual reflectors for your lamps. i would consider getting 2 more lamps, and go to T5 HO lamps if possible.

as for the CO2 setup, what you need is a CO2 tank (naturally), that you can get from either a fire extinguisher supply shop or beverage supply shop. i get mine from a beverage supply shop, and after paying for the initial cost of the tank (20lb one), when the tank is empty i return it and swap for a new one. the benefit of doing this instead of buying a tank and getting it refilled, is that the tank needs to be hydrostatically checked every 5 years. if it's found to be too old, you will need to replace it as it will no longer be safe to use. with the swapping, you don't have to worry about that part. i would suggest at least a 10lb tank, as this means longer times between refills.

the next item you will need is a regulator and needle valve. there are many places to get them. you can check out a few of the sponsors on this site for the one that suits you best (and yes... i'm referring to cost :p). from there you need CO2 resistant tubing and a check valve. it is also a good idea to get a bubble counter (of course some regulator packages include this), as this will help you determine how much CO2 is getting injected into your tank. to help disolve the CO2, it's good to consider getting a CO2 reactor. you can either purchase one or even DIY one yourself, which i think is a better route to go. lots of threads in the DIY section on how to do this. i myself have a DIY reactor, of course it's way more exotic than the ones found here :p of course, instead of the reactor, you can use a diffuser instead, but after so many weeks or months, you need to clean the ceramic disk in a water/bleach solution.

IMO the rest is really not needed, just more stuff to possibly fail. you can get a solenoid (sometimes included in regulator packages) that can shut off the CO2 supply when lights are turned off, since plants do not use CO2 during that time. you can also get a CO2 drop checker as a visual aid if you have the proper concentration of CO2 in your tank. personally it's just one extra thing in your tank, and i just watch the condition of my fish. you can also get a pH controller, which monitors the pH levels in your tank and will increase/decrease the injection of CO2 depending on where you set it. honestly... this is the least needed item, but others will tell you different. again you can just look at how your fish are coping. one thing i would suggest is getting a pH water tester, such as the Hanna PHEP5 PH/Temperature Tester.

hope this helps!

gravy9: that round pink head was an octopus, and i've got that floating around if i change my mind about this flying penguin :p its surprising how much people associate members with their avatars. it says a lot of that person's personality i think. so i think what mine says about me is that i'm a few slices of bread short of a complete sandwich :D
 

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:cool:

There you go, freydo!
 

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neil,

the problem with that setup is that you would be stuck filling/repurchasing the co2 tank, which is pretty small. it woud last maybe a month before you had to refill it, or purchase a new tank.

i would go with this: http://www.aquariumsupermarket.co.uk/index.php?cat=Aquamedic_Co2_Equipment

go to the very bottom of the page.

you can use either a diffuser or reactor... i would suggest the reactor as it is more efficient. you do not need a solenoid, unless you want to turn the CO2 off at night. this also extends the length of time between refills of co2. i personally don't use one as my 20lb tank last close to 1 year before i have to refill. and i have not noticed any ill effects to my fish.

you can also check out some of the sponsors here for regulators/needle valves, such as rex grigg.

hope this helps. any other questions, just ask :)

gravy9: are you agreeing that i'm short of a full sandwich? :D
 

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You're full of it, freydo! :slywink:
You know I was talking about the personality association with the avatars! :boxing:

cheers,
Ravi
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cheers again Freydo. Did you mean the Co2 station on that webpage? I keep hearing usig a solenoid is useful due to the drop in need for oxygen neeeded through the night and can cut cost is this true? I've see some amazing Aqua One Triple T5 Aquarium Luminaire but that might be stretching my budget but I'll try my best as seem sufficient. All opinions welcome still researchin the right Co2 kit and set ups. Cheers again.
 

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i was referring to the CO2 regulator at the bottom.

IMO a solenoid is good if you inject quite a bit of CO2 into your tank. since plants do not take in CO2 when lights are out, because they are no longer photosynthesizing. so there would be a build up of CO2 in the water, which can be harmful to the fish.

for myself, i do not use a solenoid as i inject "maybe" 1-2 bubbles per second into my co2 reactor, which is quite efficient helping the co2 get absorbed into the water. as such i inject co2 into my tank 24/7 without any noticeable ill effects to my fish. however, this is my situation, it can be different for you.

as for the lights, they can be expensive, but there are alternatives, such as DIY or other brands that provide sufficient and proper lighting for plants.
 

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hi neil,

i was using that regulator as an example of what to get, as the one in the complete package seemed to only work with those small bottles of co2. which to me would probably last only a month or two. i'm sorry if i'm confusing you.

i've been trying to locate a UK shop for, as that's where i'm assuming you live :D i was thinking something like this would be better for your needs:
http://www.twenga.co.uk/offer/52000/1077937968691447798.html

for lighting, whether it would be cheaper for you to do DIY or to buy a complete package, depends on your needs and budget. DIY can be just as expensive as buying, as you're buying all the components separately. such as my canopy and lights cost me approximately $520.00. here is one brand that i remember reading a member here used, and it seems to be pretty good:

http://www.twenga.co.uk/offer/13044/3024051683979919322.html

hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi Freydo that helps alot thanks again. I love those Arcadia luminaires its just a shame they are so pricey and i can only assume they will effect my electricity bill. My problem is that I'd love to use that sort of lighting because its looks really nice and it will more than do the job I need it to do but if I( go with lighting like that I may need to save some of my budget from my filter/heating system. So rather than going for the Eheim thermofilter I may need to save some money going with a cheaper Eheim classic and a hydor external heater-any advice?
I recieved my ADA catologue and my 2008 AGA Aquascaping Contest catalogue which are providing me with plenty of ideas although I don't think I'll be buying much ADA stuff cos those prices are scary, I'm sure the quality is amazing but still a little extreme.
Allthough it has got me thinking if I might be better finding a UK rimless glass tank maker and paying about the same for a 60cm tank as my 100cm tank but I'd get the rimless effect and would need cheaper lighting, filters and heating and see if I can make an imitation ADA tank for around £600 - £800. But any thoughts on this are welcome cos im 50/50 about it because it will probably cost the same and I'll lose alot in terms of volume and room for hardscape.
Cheers again
 

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hi neil,

it's unfortunate that this hobby can be fairly expensive, more so if you have aspirations to go the ADA route. but there are lots of inexpensive (not cheap) alternatives to achieve the same "look" and "quality".

and yes, you would need to compromise on some items. the first would be the eheim thermofilter, and going with a standard filter and inline heater.

as for the tank, look at local glass shops (not necessarily aquarium shops) to see if they would build one for you. or at least cut the proper pieces for you. they should be 5/8" (or 3/8"... not too sure)thick. personally, i had a local person build my 65 gallon tank for me. if i were to purchase it at the LFS, i would be paying ~$400.00... i paid $183.00. it's not ADA quality, but it's custom to my specifications and i love it.

for lighting, there are probably comparable setups to the arcadia brands locally. but if you can save in certain areas, you can splurge on others.

hope this opens up more ideas for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Cheers again mate this leaves me 50/50 on whether to go for my original large aqua one tank or go smaller and get a rimless tank. Oh decisions decisions lol. Im glad I'm taking some time to research this but the deeper I get into this the more tough decisions I'm facing. I'm having a few days hard planning of the tank and budgeting between now and sunday so will keep you informed of my ideas. Cheers for all your help.
 
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