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Greetings;

I found this forum quite by accident, but I'm really excited by what I've found. I've been out of the aquaria hobby for a few years, but the philosophy of aquarium management discussed here was just the incentive I needed to jump back in. I've spent the last week devouring the forum, so now I'm almost ready to put my studies into practice.

I've acquired a 30 gallon breeder tank that measures 36 in x 18 in with a 12 in water depth. This broad shallow tank is proportioned very differently from the display tanks I've owned previously, so it should give me a lot of space in which to plant.

It's an all glass tank with a plastic rim. I plan on adding an enclosed Plexiglas extension that will sit inside the top rim of the tank to make room for emergent plants to grow above the water surface under suspended lighting. I have a nice window with a southern exposure picked out to place the tank, so it will get filtered direct sunlight through the tree in the front yard.

Actual set up of the tank will have to wait until I finish remodeling my office, though. I'm converting two small bedrooms into a nice sized office by removing the wall that separates them, so chopping through drywall and the resulting dust would not be good, so I'll have to be patient. This will give me time to order Diana Walstad's book, construct the Plexiglas extension, set up the lighting, and order one of the little nano hydro Koralia water pumps for gentle circulation http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_viewitem.aspx?idproduct=HD19101&child=HD19501&utm_source=mdcsegooglebase&utm_medium=cse&utm_term=HD19501&utm_content=HydorKoraliaNanoMiniPumpPowerhead240gph&utm_campaign=mdcse&site=google_base, plus all the other assorted goodies I'll be needing.

Since this is such a shallow tank, what would be a good submerged plant selection that wouldn't get too tall, and what emergent plants should I consider? I'm thinking of making the Plexiglas extension about 6 inches tall, but I don't have much experience growing emergent plants, so is that too tall, or not tall enough.

Once I get things going, I'll post some pics, and I'm sure I'll be back with plenty of questions as time goes by.
 

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Welcome to APC, Owain. I'm not too big into the NPT part of this board, but I am planning on setting up a small (1 or 2 gallon) NPT at my office in the next week or so.

It's good to see you are getting back into the hobby. I took nearly a decade off from the hobby, and coming back has been wonderful, especially with my children who want to learn about what I'm doing.

Best wishes, and I look forward to seeing what you start with.

-Dave
 

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Welcome to the forum, Owain. This is an excellent forum for discussing NPTs, as I see that's one of your interests.

I have a 20-gal long NPT myself for over 2 months now.
 

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Hello Owain, your tank dimensions sound perfect! You will have a lot of usable depth to pack in the plants. I am still learning a lot of things myself, but a lot of people here will give you good advice and insight for setting up your El Natural aquarium! I tinker with things a lot and make beautiful mud puddles, but Diana's book has been an invaluable reference for me, and I have learned a lot!

As far as plants, which ones catch your eye? Do you like the underwater forest look with dark green plants, or more of a grassy plains look? A lot of plants will grow emergent just fine, so I find it easier to see which plants appeal to me, and then try to find hardy plants that look similar. Trying lots of different plants is a good way to go, some will make it and others won't, but you will see what ones will be strong growers for your tank!

A 6" extension would be great for promoting emergent growth, If you want more airspace you could drop the water level down an inch or two. The main thing to watch out for IMHO, is getting enough light into the aquarium. Emergent leaves usually grow bigger and shade the lower sections of the aquarium, but you should be able to provide enough light easily with a height of 18". When you add more height beyond this, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide enough light. The emergent plants cook while the small submerged plants stay shaded.

I am looking forward to seeing the setup of this aquarium and watching it grow! I know it stinks having to wait until you set it up, but you will have time to consider your goals for this aquarium and plan everything out. Welcome to APC:D.
 
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