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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I just found this site and it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time.

This is my situation: I have a 20 gal tall glass aquarium that I want to turn into a ( of course ! ) planted aquarium. I have a 10 gallon acrylic sump with a protein skimmer ( which probably wouldn't do much in a freshwater planted tank other than aerate the water!), a Corallife 2x65 watt PC fixture with 1 10K bulb and 1 Actinic 03 bulb, tons of powerheads, heaters, etc.

My question is, what can I throw out and what should I keep? I really wouldn't want to get rid of the sump as I can use that as a wet/dry which is a no no in the reef world but is vital to keeping a freshwater tank for biological filtration or the lights as I think I can get bulbs that would work for a planted tank. Everything else is expendable. I would also like to know what I need to get to transform my tank into an Amano style planted tank. I know CO2 would be in there some where and I would like to go with one of the "yeast" style co2 producers as I don't want to have to fiddle with a CO2 bottle.

Please help this "newbie" as I really REALLY miss my freshwater tanks and I want to be able to keep a densly planted tank SUCCESFULLY!
 

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welcome to the other side :)

i dont know about yours,but if my memory is good, in my friend's marine tank the skimmer produces a lot of water agitation, and you dont want that in a planted tank.
As for the actinic bulb, i dont think its good either.

for the co2 a diy would be good, or the hagen natural plant system.

i cant answer for the sump. I dont think its vital though.
 

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Ditch everything except the heaters and Coralife Aqualights(but change the bulbs to something between 5500K and 10000K; 8500K/6700K would look great IMO).

First off you don't need a sump,although it's great for hiding equipment from the display tank, it will be too hard to keep C02 levels up especially since your going with the yeast method. Also, you'll find out that plants will provide you with most of your biological filtiration and you may even have to start dosing nitrate to avoid any defeciency. Use a canister filter instead, an Eheim 2213 is ideal and you can even inject your C02 directly into the intake so you don't have to invest in a diffuser.

As for the substrate, Eco-Complete and Flourite are both great. Eco-Complete is easier to use(no rinsing) and it has a nice black color which will bring out your fish colors better. If you're willing to spend more money, ADA has finally become available in the US. I'm sure Jeff would willingly help you out, check his site out: www.aquariumdesigngroup.com.

But I'm not sure are you aiming for a high ligh tank or low light? With 6.5wpg it means your going to need to dose macros every other day, and triple your micro dosing throughout the week.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Holy crap! I was afraid you guys would say that. Is there any way I can keep the sump at all? I paid over $250 for that thing and I know I wont be able to get even half of that if I sell it. The skimmer I can ditch as it was a POS anyway. The lights I guess would be my saving grace as I know I can get "plant lights" for that thing and I know I would have to ditch the actinic bulb for a lower K rated bulb with higher PAR. And of course I would be aiming for a high light tank so I know I would have to fertilize probably every day or so.... man I have so much to learn! Crap here we go again!!!!!
 

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LOL bit of advice. If you're gonna go straight to high tec, buy your ferts before you buy expensive plants. I'm scrouging the house for pennies to buy my ferts....LOL.

You said you wanted to go with yeast method for co2. I tried the normal method before (yeast, sugar, water, baking soda) and i didn't like it too much. Very inconsistent. I tried the jello method and it's alot more to my liking. I hear the nyborg method works great too..maybe i'll give that one a go next.

About your lights, you could always run 1 65w instead of both. That's alot of lighting. But then again there are people that use 5+watts/gal with no problem.
 

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yeah i would cut aalso on the light . Then You always can add the other bulb when you are well prepared.
as for your sump, well... maybe another tank ( low tech?) or hospital tank for the fishes...
 

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To sump or not to sump....

Pros
-Great place to hide stuff
-Adds water volume, easier to keep stable.

Cons
-eats CO2
-adds layer of complexity
-added expense, but you already own it

I have a sump, would I do it again, not sure, some days yes, some no.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well that gives me a little hope gnat. Now why would you say that it adds complexity to the system? And are there any precautions I should take when cleaning out my system to make sure that no harmful chemicals are leached back into the water when the system gets set up?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Another question I have and I know that I am getting off topic here but, would you guys know of a reputable dealer in the Central Florida area (specifically Orlando) that I could purchase my plants from. Reason I ask this is because I no longer do business online because of a little run in with identity theft and also because Petco and Petsmart don't cut it when it comes to plants. All they have is run-of-the-mill Swords and maybe some Crypts and Vals. If you are lucky enough to find them in good enough condition to actually buy!
 

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The layer of compexity is from the additinal plumbing and pump(s) required. Just another thing to go wrong.

I can understand the reluctance of buying plants on-line. All the vendors listed under the sponsor page are trusted vendors. I'd imagine if you contact any of them they will be happy to make alt payment arragements such as Money Order.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hmm, ok well I might have to look into those vendors but am still a little skeptical as you might imagine. Now as far as cleaning out my tank, any suggestions? Remember it was a saltwater reef tank and all the associated chemicals that come along with maintaining a reef tank can be very caustic to say the least! Should I use a vinegar solution to clean out the inside of my tank? Should I let the tank sit with just clean fresh RO water to maybe pull some chemicals out of the silicone? Sorry for the questions but I really haven't done this before!
 

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When I changed my salt tank over to fresh I used a diluted water/bleach solution and cleaned the inside/outside of the tank; make sure to rinse very well. Also you may need to use vinager to remove residue.
 

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frmrreefer,

It's very possible to keep a healthy planted tank with a sump, I've done it for years. The only trick is to minimize the surface agitation going into the return, but a gate valve will do that nicely.

1 65w bulb would be more than sufficient for a 20 high. I wouldn't use more than that until you've had some time to learn how your particular tank works. 130w over a 20 can get out of hand very easily if you're not used to taking care of such a tank. Believe it or not, even an SPS system is a lot easier to care for than a planted tank if you want to do it really well with a minimum of algae.

My strongest recommendation would be to invest in a CO2 gas system from the start. Yeast reactors are unreliable at best and won't make enough gas for a system like yours. It's a greater initial cost, but it's a lot cheaper to maintain over time. The time and mess saved is worth it alone.

Do it right the first time and you'll be happy forever. Do it wrong or skimp and you'll be fixing it forever.

Best,
Phil
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you Tre and Phil, I'll take your advice about the CO2. Now another question, which CO2 system is good without being too overly expensive? Looking to spend about 75 to 100 bucks at the most....
 

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I'd sell -everything- as a complete salt setup and start over.

For CO2, consider one of these:

http://aquariumplant.com/cgi-bin/cart/pr840.html

Then get a CO2 tank at your local gas supply company. They sell you one of theirs but then you swap it out each time you need a refill. Don't buy a CO2 tank any other way.

For lights go here:

http://www.ahsupply.com/

You might also consider one of their hoods.

Then it's just the substrate, which I'll leave to others.

Oh, and a new aquarium. Which opens up the possibility of bigger and bigger... :-k

TW
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Twood but I ain't goin in that direction. I'll sell what I can but am keeping the sump and lights as I can upgrade lights to plant spec. Too much money invested in to get some kind of feasible return. So sorry but selling everything is not an option. I keep things until they corrode in my garage....
 

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It's very possible to keep a healthy planted tank with a sump, I've done it for years. The only trick is to minimize the surface agitation going into the return, but a gate valve will do that nicely.
Drain lines with gate valves scare me. One ill placed snail and it's floodsville. I know for me it's not if, but when it would happen.
 

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This is a great post, because so much of it applies to more than a reef tank conversion. I have a question about the CO2. I am not very mechanically minded, but have CO2 as a pressurization system when spraying pesticides (I am a greenhouse worker). How does the PH monitor hook up to your CO2 system to regulate CO2 output?
Which system is better, the JBJ or Milwaukee for regulator? For PH monitor?
Now I am assuming the link provided
http://aquariumplant.com/cgi-bin/cart/pr840.html
includes everything except a tank for the gas, the CO2 gas itself, and a PH regulator? Or is the PH monitor included?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
HOLY S*** THAT'S CHEAP! If only I could find a 5lb bottle for 50 bucks,I'd be in business!!!!
 
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