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If you are new to planted aquariums and to APC, PLEASE STOP LURKING! You have a wealth of experience and information in the ready-to-help moderators here at APC. Take advantage of us.

Please introduce yourself and tell us how it's going. Ask us what we think and how we can help you.

So, lets hear from you. :D

And, thanks for supporting APC with your presence!
 

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I posted this question on the South Florida Club Forum, I am posting it here again, so everyone can benefit from it.

From what I had read lighting and CO2 are crucial to succeding on this hobbie, however Carlos mentioned a non-CO2 method to acquascaping.

I would like to know, first what the method is, and then how the results compare to a tank with say Yeast CO2, and with a tank with pressurized CO2 being added.
 

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BMS,

The biggest difference between a low light setup and a high light setup is the rate at which plants grow. For aquascaping purposes it is easier to have a faster growing tank so that one can reach the desired look in a matter of a couple weeks rather than months. There is also a difference in the choice of plants you have available to you, the lower the light level the more limited you are in your choice of plants. A low light tank requires very little fertilizers and work to maintain it where as a high light tank requires more attention and gives less room for errors.

Other than that, there is little difference, a well maintained low/medium light tank IMO can be just as effective as a high light tank, just requires more time and patience. The fact that today everyone is jumping into high light tanks before low/medium light setups is really just a trend, it's the latest fashion.

I don't feel the art or method of aquascaping in any ways is tied to the type of tank, a good aquascaper would be successful in designing either kind of tank IMO.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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Hey! *waves* Newbie to the board here, I've had some -to- alot of experience with planted tanks so I haven't had alot of questions as of yet.

The first post I posted was where in the world I could find a ready-to-go plant-ready nanoish tank. I've spent too much time and effort dealing with lighting and I have my suspsions that somewhere in Japan there are tanks with really high lighting just waiting to be planted!

Anywawho, it's nice to finally join a planted tank forum! :D
 

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gpodio,

Thanks for your reply, as always, nature plays games with us: newbies need fast results to get encouraged, but maintaning a fast growing tank is not for newbies ;).

I guess I am patient enough as long as my plants don't die.

One clarification question, you spoke about low and high lighting tanks... am I to assume that low/medium lighted tanks do not require additional CO2 either or is CO2 a completely sepparate issue?

~Benicio
 

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CO2 is vital for all plant growth. In a low/medium light tank additional CO2, more than what is produced by fish respiration and atmospheric concentration, is not required. A high light tank on the other hand must be "spoon fed" everything, from CO2 to nitrogen, phosphates and everything else you can think of. However, this doesn't mean that a low or medium light tank won't benefit from CO2, actually, CO2 enriched low light tanks with semi-soil substrates are probably going to be the next craze once we all get tired of weekly prunings :) The results such a setup can give are awesome.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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Another way that I've come to think of tank dynamics is by analogy of human needs and our environment. For example, a plant under strong lighting is like an athlete. When athletes are exerting themselves, they need more O2. They achieve this by breathing faster, which pumps blood faster, which transports O2 faster. Similarly, under strong lighting, photosynthesis is pushed to the higher extreme and the plants require more CO2. Depriving the system of enough CO2 would be like the amount of atmospheric O2 being depleted from the air we breathe. It's like what happens at higher altitudes and people who are not used to it getting light-headed.

With regards to nutrients, athletes need to assimilate enough food to replenish their energy stock. They use it up faster and need to replenish faster. Same with plants. If you run a tank low on macros, it's like an athlete not getting enough food to maintain peak performance. If food is deprived long enough but the athlete is forced to perform all the same, s/he will starve to death quickly. A sedentary person doesn't have these requirements; Take me, for instance ;): I can subsist on minimal caloric intake and I could probably be shot up to the top of Mt. Everest and not feel too woozy compared to a hungry athlete who's doing jumping jacks on the way up.

And last but not least: traces. We all need them as much as we need food. But a high-metabolism athlete needs more iron (among other minerals) and vitamins for the proper development of muscle tissue and again for O2 transport (via hemoglobins) than us slow-moving average folk who probably store iron in excess by the consumption of way too much red meat. With more than 2 wpg of fluorescent lighting (just as a rule of thumb), it's good to supplement (both CO2 and nutrients). PC lighting is more intense and at 2.5 wpg and above, it's like feeding a team of Olympic hopefuls. Providing too much or too little of anything is going to lead to an undesirable outcome.

Many claim that 2 wpg of "normal" fluorescent lighting is enough to grow almost *any* plant. I do think that some plants look best when "worked out," however. In any case, it doesn't hurt to have a little extra CO2 available via yeast generator or Excel, and a little extra nourishment to keep some meat on the bones. And I'm still rambling.

Happy planting to all noobs, and welcome to this wonderful obsession! ;)

-Naomi
 

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Ok since this is my first post and I'm setting up a 55g planted tank for the first time, I'm a nooob. (be gentle). I've been researching a while before starting with the tank and taking my time getting it set up.

Here's what I have:

35 pounds of Profile
20 pounds of Flourish
25 pounds of black gravel

couple pieces of Driftwood

Whisper 5 Power filter

Here's what I'm planning

160 W 6500k Flourescent lights (home depot)
DIY CO2

Plants:
Floating:
Frogbit or Duckweed (confined to a corner via string and suction cup)

Foreground:
Anubias "nana" 2
Dwarf Sag 5
Glossostigma 5
Java Moss 1 clump

Middle:
Blasii "Broad Leaf" 2
Wendtii Red 1
Cilliata (crypt) 3
Red Temple 2
Lloydellia 1

Background:
Corkscrew Val 6
Crystal Val 6
Mellon Sword 2
Marble Queen Radicon (sword) 1
Amazon Sword 1
Wisteria 3

and finally livestock:

6 Oto's, 3 Gourami, 12 Cardinal Tetras, 6 Coris, 2 Blue Rams. How about adding some Platinum Lyretail Mollies, or sword tails, or even just another 6 or so odd type of Tetra?

Sorry for the long post, but just found this site and love it! I've had saltwater tankns for 10+ years and want to try a Planted tank.
 

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From my experience trying to work in a "middleground" in the 12 inches of a 55gallon is really hard. I would drop back a little on the light and concentrate on the driftwood and anubias/ferns. Ryuken's tanks dont usually have much in the way of stem plants and they are stunning. For your first tank messing around with fertilizer is not what you want to do IMO, and stem plants love fertilizer!
 

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I agree with Shane. A middleground in a 55g is simply not possible. Believe me, I have tried. :)

Your three swords will quickly outgrow your aquarium if kept well. Personally, overall, your aquarium has way too many plant species. I would limit it down to ten to eleven species, so you can have much larger, more impressive bunches of each.

Your DIY CO2 may not be enough to successfully run a tank with this much lighting. If you want to use the DIY CO2 anyway, I would at least use two to three 2L bottles to increase CO2 production. Pressurized CO2 would be ideal.

Finally, I would not recommend using the hang on the back filter for a 55g planted tank. It might create too much CO2 loss. A small canister filter would be a better choice.

Carlos
 

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I'm more than willing to go ahead with a pressurized CO2 system. Is there one that gives you the most bang for the buck so to speak? In other words which ones are tried and true?

I'll eliminate the swords (I figured they would get too big, but I was hoping they would fit). I'll also come up with more groups and less variety. Although I can't give up on the stem plants. That's the same challenge that led me to keep corals. Perfect stable water, correct food, correct trace elements, right type and amount of lighting, etc. I'm also willing to research, listen, and learn. Just be patient, I'll try not to ask too many dumb questions :).



Thanks,

Vicious

(after my favorite Wide Reciever Joe Jurvicious)
 

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Well a pressurized system is going to be more help than you can imagine. Personally i like the milawakee 3 in one for convienence and ease. Its 99 for a solonoid, regulator, bubble counter, everything you need besides a tank and reactor.
 

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OK, you asked for it. I am an absolute newb, but I just found your forum today, so I haven't been lurking.

I have several questions that pertain to my 55g aquarium. It uses a Tetratec hang on back powerfilter, a 48" 40watt fluorescent light fixture, and a simple gravel substrate. Since I am a newbie, I'm certain I got started on the wrong foot, but I'd appreciate your advice.

1. Should I tear it all down and start over with another substrate? If so, what exactly do you recommend for my substrate. I've been reading several articles about substrates, but they always are full of scientific explanations...I don't want that, I just want a simple recommendation.

2. Rather than starting completely over, can I just leave the gravel in the aquarium and supplement it with some product and still achieve beautiful results from the plants?

3. The posts above reference "low-light" aquariums and "high-light" aquariums. Define these terms please. Low light is exactly what wpg?

4. Does the intense light used in some aquariums 2-3 wpg not have any adverse effects on fish?

5. When I am ready to add plants should I plant densely? Why or why not?

6. Where can I find recommendations for plants that are not difficult to grow, maintain, and are beautiful plants?
 

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About to set up 30gal long

I saw the request to post so here goes.

I am about to set up a 30 gal long tank. I wanted to have a planted tank and this being my first tank in about 30 years I had forgotten what happened when I had plants way back when. They never rooted, usually rotted, algae was rampant. Plastic was great.

Here I am today. I have assembled a bottom of seachem flourite, a Dave Gombergs CO2 kit, a small piece of thrice boiled driftwood, a coralife 90w light in a canopy from Big Als, a eheim 2213 (not sure how to set this up, do I use carbon, etc ,etc), a timer.

My goal is to have a flowing, green grass, effect. Simple, yet striking. I want to have a large school of fish.

I have no idea really what to do here. The amount of conflicting information is overwhelming. I do not trust my local fish store as a resource as they had tried to sell me something so ridiculously expensive I was feeling taken. I left never to return until I knew something.

I bought a test kit, a aquarium pharmaceuticals I think but don't know what anything means yet which is good becuase the tank is not up and running.

The foreground plants so far will probably be Eleocharis parvulus mixed in with Hemianthus. The backround will likely be some mixture of cryptocorne balansae or respiralis. I may have a java fern in there.

I do not know how much to buy when I order or where to order from. Any help here would be great?

Can fish be ordered online??? :?:

My wish...someone would lay out in basic language how to set up a planted tank both with and without co2. I read the Walstead book but did not have my basic sciences reference handy and could barely follow some of it. I am certain it is a great treatise on low tech but by the end I realized that once everything is set with that kind of substrate there is little adjustments to be made. I wanted a little more flexiblity in my arrangements.

Sorry for the length.
 

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I don't know if you can really layout the rules of a basic planted tank. It all depends on a tanks individual's needs and one's goals. There are people who want to setup high light, high maintenance aquariums with CO2. There are lower maintenance aquariums with moderate light and CO2...

For the plants you want to use, the amount of lighting sounds perfect.

You are using Flourite and CO2, which sounds great.

What kind of test kit did you buy? Is it a pH test kit? Nitrate test kit?

With your use of flourite and CO2, I can hardly call it low tech anymore. :)

For a tank that size, to start:

4-5 bunches of Eleocharis acicularis or parvulus
2 bunches of Hemianthus micranthemoides (grows insanely fast)
10-12 individual plants of Crypt balansae+retrospiralis mix
1-2 Java Ferns
3-4 bunches of a fast growing plant for the beginning stages of the aquascape, you can take these out once your tank stabilizes in ~2-3 months (Hygrophila difformis, Hygrophila polysperma, Limnophila sessiliflora are good ones)

You can order fish online. Try www.aquabid.com for the best prices. Most other sites are too expensive (www.liveaquaria.com, www.fish2u.com).

Carlos
 

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new, who knew?

My test kit is a 'freshwater master test kit' by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals and includes PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, GH, KH. I also got a Hagen NO3 test kit.

I just opened up the box for the eheim 2213. WOW! Lots of tubes and valves and stuff. Any suggestions on initial setup. Instructions are not clear. Do I use all of the media? It looks like (starting from the top) that there is a thin carbon layer, a thicker 1.5" fine floss sponge, some white 'rocks' then a coarse blue sponge layer and then what looks like a chalky colors cut up bits of tubing. I am used to a HOB type of filter so this cannister has a lot more 'stuff' to it.

What is my tank considered? Hi light? Low, mod?

I am not certain how much maintenance my tank is going to require as this is a first for me. Any thoughts? I know I am having some new tank inhibitions which is why everything has sat in a box for months but spring is here and I figure I might as well 'dive' in and get my 'feet wet'.

Any ideas where to buy the plants?
 

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Should be a picture on the box for the Eheim. I think mine is, from the bottom up, sponge, ceramic rings, sponge, pumice pieces, sponge. I didnt use the carbon pad at all.

Maintenance on my 75 isnt too bad. I vacuum and change 50% of the water once a week, and clean up any big debris floating around whenever I see any. My plants havent really grown enough yet to start pruning them though.
 

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Ah, then you have all the test kits you need except for a phosphate test kit. I like the one by Seachem. IME, you will never need the ammonia or nitrite test kits.

For the media, I would place the ceramic noodles in the bottom, followed by the blue sponge, followed by the white rocks (ehfisubstrat), followed by a layer of fine filter floss. I'd toss the carbon media.

Your tank would be considered high light but with lower maintenance plants, I think. Crypts, hairgrass aren't too demanding as far as trimming is concerned. The H. micranthemoides will be.

You can try www.aquariumgarden.com, I've had good experience with their plants. Simply follow the link at the front of the page. I've ordered from them twice. They always toss in freebies. Once, my entire shipment was lost. The next day, the owner, Vic, refunded my money... and later in the week, he even sent me a monstrous Anubias frazeri centerpiece as a gift! Service just doesn't get better than that. For starting up a new tank, online ordering is definitely the way to go to get a large quantity of healthy plants cheaply.

Carlos
 
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