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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need help and thoughts about aquascaping my first aquarium. It's a 130g angelfish tank. I plan on seperating the tank into three sections with a large sword in each section. That way my mated angels can pick one section and feel seperated enough to leave the rest of the tank to the other angels.

What plants would segregate a tank properly? (23in tall)

Lighting: the lighting will be Power Compact 4x65w (2 6500, 2 10k) plus one 20" 96w 6700k and later I'm going to add two 3' 96w PC bulbs.

On one of the sections I want to make the substrate raised by a rock wall division. I saw an awsome contest entry on youtube that had a river going down some rocks.... I doubt I'll be able to recreate something as nice but I was thinking of using fine white sand to use as the surface on the upper portion, then have it "pour" down the rocks into a small "white lake" at the bottom. The rest of the substrate will be topped with black sand.

Groundcover: I want to do a ground cover, I've always liked the grasses. Substrate will be fired clay with a sand top. Any advice on getting a good cover over the bottom?
 

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For a good cover, you should use STRONG light. and your tank being 23" tall, you might want to consider a T5 HO fixture, or MH. For ground cover like HC, it is best to use a fine powder over the coarser clay where you plant it so it's tiny roots can develop.
Of course you can do MOSS groundcover and it can handle the lower light, so it depends if you want to adjust your lighting to the plants you want to grow or if you want to pick plants that will grow with what you have. Many LIGHT LOVING plants, ground cover, foreground, or mid ground will tend to grow TALL and LEGGY (thin and far between leaf nodes, not very attractive) when in light conditions that are not strong enough for them, they are trying to get up to the light level they desire. IF you provide them with strong light to reach them down far enough, then they will carpet and thicken up and look like they do in the tanks you first saw that made you want to grow them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I'm pretty much stuck with the lighting I've got, it's all PC but eventualy I'll have 548 watts.

In my very limited lighting experience T5 penetrates better, is this correct?

Since the PC is my only option what ground cover would you recommend? I'm just going to have to buy plants meant for my lighting.
 

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Firstly you have made the right choice asking questions before diving into this. Secondly welcome. :D


Having that much lighting with PC you will be fine (548/130=4.2wpg). This is plenty of lighting. Make sure it is fully setup before adding the plants.

If you like grassy, dwarf hair grass or narrow leaf micro sword will do fine.



What are your plans for Co2 and Fertilizers? Because this will be key factor in your fight against algae and healthy plant growth.

Co2, you could do the cheap DIY method but in the long run will cost much much much more than pressurized Co2. Fertz I recommend looking into the PPS-Pro method here at APC. It's cheaper using dry fertilizer's and this method is the easiest in my opinion to accomplish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I'm uncertain of what I'm doing for fertilizers. I was thinking about doing the mineralized substrate posted on this site, but after talking to my friend and his wife I'm thinking that will be getting me in way over my head.

So far I'm planning on the clay substrate with sand covering, then I'm going to let the fish fertilize the tank slowly. If I need to do something differently down the road I can. I'm still very uncertain of this part so any advice is very welcomed.

For CO2, I'm going to piece together a pressurized system as cheap as I can. My friend said that I should get a solenoid to turn the CO2 off at night or it could kill my fish so thats a little extra money I may need to spend.

Another question I had is about stocking levels for fish, I was also told that by putting more fish in a tank you greatly increase your chances of algae and cyano bacteria. My tank is lightly stocked for a 130 but heavily stocked when compared to just about any quality aquarium I see online.
 

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Where are you getting the clay? What is the brand?

Having that much lighting with PC you will be fine (548/130=4.2wpg).

It's cheaper using dry fertilizer's.
How did you come up with this formula? BTW the wpg rule was based on T12 light bulbs.

Do you have a good reflector to get the light to the bottom of the tank?

If you need ferts depends on how your plants grow and if you get algae. Have found best to look at algae as weeds in the garden, thus get good plant growth and you keep algae under control. So I think having a few fast grower plants like Egeria densa helps keep the algae under control. Egeria densa is a floating plant but can be put in the substrate.

Marsilea minuta is a low plant used for ground cover.

I have found to keep BBA under control I need to add KNO3, potassium nitrate, daily or add a diy Co2 system. Possibly because my water is very soft.

Info on ferts and cheep
Rex Grigg

Hoppy's diy Co2 experiment
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/diy/78505-rfug-blast-past-diy.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The clay substrate I'm getting is SMS Charcoal or Oil Dry, it's just fired clay and it's very cheap.
 

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548 is the wattage per Psittac calculation.
130 is the gallon of the tank

Well imo wpg isn't the most precise method in determining lighting in an aquarium. But can be used as and estimation. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the lighting. For example nano aquariums, or light intensity, types of plants being used, etc..

Also i would recommend using a t-5 setup but this was outside his capabilities.

Fertilizing:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/pps-analysis-feedback/39491-newbie-guide-pps-pro.html
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...dback/30659-how-make-pps-classic-pps-pro.html
 

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If your bulbs are new and you do have that much light you WILL NEED to fertilize. You can't get enough nutrients to supply your plants needs from the fish. The El Natural set up (look at that forum and read the stickys) is even based on good top soil. You are using an inert substrate.

The mineralized soil has the nutrients built into it, which is why the fertilize very little if at all.

You might want to do some basic reading.
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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The clay substrate I'm getting is SMS Charcoal or Oil Dry, it's just fired clay and it's very cheap.
How about mixing it in with dirt, similar to the El Natural method, for it doesn't contain many nutrients?

Some use eggcrates, used under flouresant lights, to raise the substrate.
Google terraces
http://www.aquabotanic.com/dutchsecrets.htm
 

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548 is the wattage per Psittac calculation.
130 is the gallon of the tank
I googled it but I don't understand it. I am a little rusty with formulas. Would give me a simple formula, please.
 

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Sure no problem.

let's say you had a 20 gallon tank with 60 watts of lighting.
60watts/20gallons=3wpg

But if the person is using atinic bulbs this would mean nothing because the spectrum would not be beneficial. So this equation isn't exact just a guide to letting one see they are on the right track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the posts, esp the links tex girl, I'll look into them.

For now I'm thinking I'll just stay at low lighting considering I can turn all of my lights on or off in sets of two bulbs.

I just got done putting 100lbs of substrate in and it's rather thick. It should be good enough to get me into the hang of things and some day when I know more of what I want to do then I can add something to the substrate or do things differently. For now I'm gonna stay as simple as I can while keeping a workable tank.
 

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sounds good. The more you read the more you and your plants will benefit. I still learn new things with this hobby constantly.


One last thing, injecting the fertilizer yourself is better than depending on the livestock and substrate( no matter how much it's mineralized ). Just my $.02.
 

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Sure no problem.

let's say you had a 20 gallon tank with 60 watts of lighting.
60watts/20gallons=3wpg
That is the wpg rule which I read is based on T12 bulbs.

What is the formula for the Psittac calculation?
 

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I just got done putting 100lbs of substrate in and it's rather thick.
I have read it is best to keep the substrate about 1 in deep to avoid having an excess of H2S

Hydrogen sulfide( H2S)=EGG ODOR
It is present in all soils. It takes some oxygen to cure it. Bacteria will reduce the H2S if they have oxygen as a nutrient. Plants will release O2 into the soil to help this process. If you have a section of your aquarium that is prone to H2S then planting an emergent plant there should cure your problems. An emergent plant will have good O2 reserves and grow its roots quickly.
 

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wpg applies to any bulb no matter the diameter. Its just that t-5 has a higher intensity so 3wpg of a t12 isn't as good as t5.


Psittac is the person who started this post and said he would eventually have a total of 548 watts over the tank.
 

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The above post is assuming they are the same bulb just one has a t12 diameter and the other having a t5
 

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The above post is assuming they are the same bulb just one has a t12 diameter and the other having a t5
Oh, now I see he has 3 bulbs.:fish: I had googled Psittac formula and saw something with a formula.
 
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