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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All and thank you for reading,

First off, an introduction,

My name is John and I have been involved in aquariums for about 5 years now, I ran a 180g reef and loved the hobby but do to a job change and an address change, the reef was sold off with the old house.

I want to take a break from the marine aquariums and give freshwater planted tanks a try and see if they can hold my interest the same way my reef did. I had some extra pieces left from my old tank that I want to use in the new set up and after doing some research, I found out I pretty much have a good start for a decent setup.

I bought an AGA 29g tank because I already had a stand in storage which was from the old reef and wasn't part of the sale.

So here is a full list of the equipment I have on hand and set up and running as of today.

Tank: 29G
Lighting: 2x55w Power Compacts - GE 9325's
Heater: 200w Ehiem submersible
Filter: Magnum 350 Canister
5lb CO2 Bottle and Regulator with Solinoid
10g Tank under stand for Auto-top off water
Kent 60gpd Maxxima Hi-S RO/DI (unhooked DI stage) TDS supply in 230 / TDS after R/O side 009
MCU Lighthouse aquarium Controller (http://www.mcuresearch.com/lhouse.html)
Using controller for Lights, Temp Control and PH controller
PH as of now 7.85 monitored with probe on lighthouse controller
KH 12 (filled tank with straight tap water today and added conditioner) KH on RO is 1 or 2, test showed instant change on first drop of solution using API test kit
The Controller has a built in temp probe and controller so my tank temp is set at 79.0f with a .5 minimum drop so tank stays 78.5 to 79.0 time interval for heater to raise temp from min to max is about 8 minutes.
As for the Auto-Top Off, I am using an Utralife Float Switch hooked to a submersible pump in the 10g tank. the switch is plugged into the lighthouse controller using the refugium light controller to provide a 2 minute time frame once each night to top off evap.

As for the substarte, I added aquarium Pharma First Layer pure laterite at the recommended amount of 1oz per Gal of water and covered with about 2 inches of fine grade gravel, then mixed it a little and added another inch or so on top of that. I also added about an extra inch of fine gravel in terraced areas i made using lace rock at one end to give me a few areas of substrate that are atleast 4" deep for deeper rooting plants. in these 2 areas, I place one cube of Seachem Flourish Tabs into the lower substrate to aid in having fertilizer available to the plants once I get some.

I also picked up a bottle of seachem Flourish liquid to have on hand when ready.

I think that covers the setup, now I have a small problem........Plants

There are only 2 aquarium stores in my area and to be polite I will just say neither one will be getting any money from me on live plants. Both have VERY bad looking plants covered in black hair algae, snails, and green hair algae. Like I said, I'll be polite but one of these 2 places actualy wanted to sell me some of the lush green hair saying that it was a great beginner plant that was very hardy. Trust me, I may be new to freshwater plants but this was not java moss or any other decorative plant.

So here's my questions,

1. How does the setup sound?

2. Where is a good place to buy plants online?

Thanks!

John
 

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-how many kelvin are your PC burning at?

-have you check out the aquabid.com or the for sell section of the forum?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
thanks m3,

i have been looking in the for sale section here, will check into aquabid too....

the ge 9325 is sold as 9325k, but i am sure its a sales gimmick.

the bulbs have a pinkish hue to them and seem to exsagerate the look of red making it stand out more.

i also have some 10,000k bulbs laying around here somewhere......
 

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Welcome to apc! Sounds like you've done a lot of reading. Here's a couple more references you may find handy, if you haven't seen them already:

http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/index.html
http://www.rexgrigg.com/

Those 9325K bulbs are used by some folks, and they do tend to exagerate the reds. Typically 5500K - 10,000K will grow plants. You do not want actinics.

Your kh is quite high, and you mention an RO unit, I assume you'll be mixing two water sources? One bottle of Seachem ferts will not provide all the nutrients your plants will need. Read through the fert section of those references to see what I mean.

As to where to get plants, the for sale forum here is an excellent source of great quality plants from fellow hobbyists at very reasonable prices.

Again, welcome to the 'green' side! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the links Bert,

Yes, I plan to mix tap and RO in my auto top off tank. I hope this is a good idea??

I dug around my storage boxes today and found some new bulbs lying around that gave me an idea,

I like the 9325k look but will admit it is a little pinkish for some tastes. SO..... I decided to do a nice mix of K temp. I kept 1 - 9325 and swapped the other out for a dual daylight 6700/10000k and man, nice choice, The tank looks brighter by just a little and I figure the color mix should cover lighting likes for most plants.

so is 110w of light over a 29g moderate or high light?

I have another 2x55w ballast and 1 - 9325k and 1 - 10000k laying around that could easily be added. just not sure if 220w would be a good idea. I still have the reef mindset going where its never to much light.....lol

Thanks again,

Keep the info comming, I need all the advise I can Get......
 

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Yes, I plan to mix tap and RO in my auto top off tank. I hope this is a good idea??
Yes it is. Just try to be sure you use the same ratio whenever you do water changes/top offs so as to maintain stability in the tank.

I decided to do a nice mix of K temp. I kept 1 - 9325 and swapped the other out for a dual daylight 6700/10000k and man, nice choice
I agree this is a nice mix.

so is 110w of light over a 29g moderate or high light?
IMO, it's relatively high. You will definitely need to stay on top of your ferts and CO2. I wouldn't recommend 220W on this tank unless you REALLY know what you're doing.

I used to have a 29, and the lighting consisted of an AHS 55W retrofit plus a 20W standard fluorescent strip. I had some issues with penetration and with some of the more demanding plants, but overall, I was able to grow most of what I attempted in it. I was satisfied with it and the lack of algae issues that lighting gave me. But each to their own. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the follow up Bert,

I am trying to mix up my batch of RO/Tap tonight to get a grip on what ratio will give me a good KH. PH of straight tap is 7.75 so no wories there. just need to drive down the 12kh

Other than that, I will start reading the fert threads to start understanding this stuff....Man, feeling like a noob again...sheesh....lol

also, I need some ideas from someone about plant mixes to start off with. I plan to plant dense to start with and have a few plants in mind to get the ball rolling.

Plants i am wanting so far:

1 Java Fern for growing on the piece of driftwood I put in
3 Crypt Windtii green for midground
3 Brazillian Water Ivy for background (I think this also goes by the name Pennywort) ??
10 Vallispiralis americana for background
ludwigia repens (broadleaf) sold in bunches so don't know how many to get??
Rotala Rotundifolia for mid to background (also sold in bunches it seems but don't know how many bunches to start??
Bacopa Caroliniana (same prob, how many?)

Do these sound like a good choice?

Need other recommendations plus what to do in forground.

Thanks all!!!

john
 

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Sounds good. Did you look at the sticky in this forum about new tank start ups? That should help you some seeing how much to plant maybe.
 

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Welcome to APC! If you're anything like the rest of us you'll be hooked on the plants very quickly. Sounds like you have a good set up.

I used to buy plants from the online companies. Now I just buy from other hobbyist in the Sale forum. They have the best selections, overall health, quantity and quality. Shipping is $6 usually. It's the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes Bert, a few of the choices were listed in the setup sticky...lol...who wrote that thing......
(just kidding....thanks for the info, from a newb, its appreciated)

Tex, thanks for your input, I will try an order from someone here and see where it leads.

I think I gleaned a little insight out of your sticky Bert, The plant spacing seems to be the key to figure a quantity.

I made a mistake today and let my anxiousness get the best of me, A friend sent me home with a couple of plants tonight. I didn't even get a name on them but im sure 2 are typical amazon swords and will not be sticking around long in this tank. they are really nice and healthy but the 2 take up about a third of the tank...lol I think there are 2 green wendtti and there are 2 bunches of some other stem plant, stems are about 9" tall and leaves are green on top and red underneath.....Need to get an id on them but havn't found a match looking at pictures yet.

I am still confused about the fertilizer part of all this, with my reef, it was simple, give em light, give em calcium, give em time......

here its 1/4 tsp of this, a droplet of that, a generous helping of some blue stuff, a pinch of something that has to be found on a periodic chart, shake well, and dose at your own risk cause this is some (bleeped for general audience viewing)


I think I like this stuff....lol
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey Bert,

I have just finished reading the threads on PPS-Pro and think I might give this a go with the flourish I have to use as TE dosing. Tell me if this sounds right?

3ml of each everyday before lights on mixed up in 1L bottle following the PPS-Pro chart.

Will this be a good fert regime??

Thanks
 

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I don't have a whole lot of experience with PPS. I did try it, but for me, it didn't quite work. Hard water folks, like me (kh10-11) have problems if we try to run tanks too lean, which PPS does. But it does appear to work great for the folks that use it. If you do go that route, definitely work out something with the RO so you bring your kh more to the under 6 range. You can post there in the PPS forum for more applicable advice there.
 
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