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i have been keeping all kinds of fish and inverts for years now. freshwater, saltwater, brackish water...corals, but i have yet to dive into planted freshwater tanks. could someone give me the basics of highlight, and lowlight, hardwater, and softwater plantings? i have a general idea about the plants, however i am cloudy on CO2 dosing. how do you know how much and how does it work exactyly? is this supposed to be in addition to fertilizers? what problems should i look out for? any info at all will help. ive looked a different websites and book, but i can find any clear deffinitions. i will be setting up very very large aquariums.500-3000 gallons. any info on smaller system planted tanks would be nice as well.:rolleyes:
 

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Bert's article, New Tank Setup Guide and Ben Belton's Beginner's Basics should provide you with all the links and information you need to get started with a planted tank. Both are "stickies" in the New to Planted Aquariums Forum. Bert's guide is especially helpful because it includes pictures of low, medium, and heavily planted tanks as well as links for how to set up your substrate, the Golden Ratio, etc. Next to deciding on a light source, not planting the tank with enough plants is the major mistake those new to the hobby usually make.

Ben's article give you some in depth reading on CO2 usage (thought the KH/pH chart is no longer valid) and the basics of fertilization. You may want to read up on drop checkers for a more accurate measure of CO2. For a more in depth view on fertilization, make sure to look into the stickies at the top of the Fertilization Forum. I think the Estimative Index is the easiest fertilization method for "beginners". Once you have gained some experience with fertilizing, make sure to look into other methods of fertilization as well.

Please, ask questions if you need more information than is provided in the link above or need a more thorough explanation on something ;)
 

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Welcome to APC, you definitely found the right place to answer the types of questions you're posting. Just so you know, I'm the mod that moved your thread to the general aquarium plant discussion forum from aquascaping, I think you'll get more responses to the types of questions you're asking here. Granted your questions touch on several different topics I can roughly give you answers but nothing specific without a description of what you're actually trying to accomplish.

Lighting - The general idea with respect to lighting and planted aquariums is, higher light = more plant options, faster growth, higher maintenance, higher risk of algae blooms. Lower lighting = less plant options, slower plant growth, greater stability, less maintenance. An excellent source of info regarding lighting is the "science of lighting" forum. If your actually building a super large tank 500-3000 gallons, you will most likely need to consider Metal halide lighting if you're interested in anything more than a low light aquarium.

Fertilization - this topic goes hand in hand with lighting intensity, generally with higher light the greater the need for fertilizer becomes. Many planted aquariums are kept following fertilization methods, such as EI, PPS, PPS Pro, El Natural, the Walstead Method.... the list goes on and on, the best advice I can give you here is to read as much as you can about the fertilizer methods out there and find the one that works best for you. I would do this before anything else, because if you can pick one based on the time you're willing to commit to it and plan the aquarium around this you will start off avoiding many of the most common newbie mistakes. A great place to do some fertilizer research is the "Science of Aquatic Fertilizing Forum"

CO2 - Co2 even though it can have benefits in any aquarium, it's only required in medium and high light aquariums. CO2 is needed for the plants respiration and photosynthesis. CO2 is naturally present in the aquarium due to the atmosphere and fish respiration, and this is definitely adequate for the low light aquarium, when we increase the light we increase the plants metabolism and therefore the demand for CO2 so we have to supplement it to keep up. There are several methods available for supplementing CO2 or really Carbon, the most reliable and consistent method of supplementing CO2 is with a pressurized injection system. Really with larger tanks this is the only option because all the other options including DIY yeast CO2, and seachem's Excel become cost prohibitive and very time consuming. We can tell how much CO2 is the water by testing the PH and KH of the water, but the most reliable method would be to install a device known as a drop checker, this device will constantly tell you at a glance if you have two much, too little, or just the right amount of CO2 dissolved, even though it has its drawbacks too. A good resource for CO2 information is the "Aquarium Equipment" Forum and Rex Grigg's Site.

Water Chemistry - Although no two tanks are the same, generally aquatic plants prefer water with a Carbonate Hardness (KH) of 1-10 degrees, a slightly acidic PH of 6.5-7, and the rest is about the same as your average freshwater aquarium. This being said there are plenty of tanks out there that operate outside these ranges, it can definitely be done I'm only referring to the average planted tank. It really depends on your goals and selecting the appropriate plants for your water and aquarium setup. A good resource for plant info is the APC Plant Finder

I hope this helps, definitely feel free to post any other questions you have, the best advice I can give you for using APC to find this kind of information is to use the Search Feature and check to see if anyone else has already discussed your question (then you don't have to wait for responses) then if you can find the answer there post your question in the appropriate forum to get the best feedback.

Once again Welcome to APC!!! Good luck with your new planted tank setup and I hope to see photos posted when you get it setup in the aquascaping forum
 

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I never like throwing cold water on someone's plans, but starting out with planted tanks using a tank as big as 3000 gallons is comparable to learning to dive by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Please, do yourself a big favor by starting with something like a standard 29 gallon tank. Then, your inevitable mistakes and algae explosions will be manageable, which they won't be in a huge aquarium.
 

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I never like throwing cold water on someone's plans, but starting out with planted tanks using a tank as big as 3000 gallons is comparable to learning to dive by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Please, do yourself a big favor by starting with something like a standard 29 gallon tank. Then, your inevitable mistakes and algae explosions will be manageable, which they won't be in a huge aquarium.
I second the motion. It's not as easy as it looks. I can't imagine several algae outbreaks in succession in tanks that large. Even trying to stock something to eat the algae would be a serious challenge... :rolleyes: ... and the expense...:wof:
 

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Dont be afraid of setting a big planted tank, just do yourself a favor n learn before u dive, my tips are:
1. choose the correct plants like microsorum, echinodorus, valisneria, cryptos etc.
2. use a 60-80 cm deep tank , not more!!!
3. use a good co2 reactor
4. use a good lighting like t5's
5. choose the best substrate u can afford, like ADA or FLORABASE
 

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500 to 3000 gallons is not just a big planted tank. The whole process for setting up a planted tank gets much more complicated, more expensive, and much easier to do so badly that you can't recover without starting over, when you use that size tank. All of us have had to make tons of mistakes with our first tanks before we finally learned how to do it well. Some of us, including me, are still trying to learn how to do it well. It takes at least a year of trial and error, based on my experiences, and you sure don't want to do that with 3000 gallon tanks.
 

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I wouldn't mind seeing a 3000 gallon with or without fish!

I'm sure most have seen this picture; its a great example of a large live plant tank.

Whatever you chose to do, please post some pictures. Good luck!

 

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Piscesismyname,

These people who have responded to your post have good wisdom and experience in what they do. They will not steer you wrong. As for the "size" of the tank and the fact you've been in the aquarium hobby, You already know what you're getting into in regards to the expense of it all. I myself have not done much more than the planted fish tank (55 gal tank is the largest tank I have). You've been around long enough from what you've said. So it seems to me you really should consider a consultant who can make sure your investment isn't wasted. Don't confuse me please. If you have the extra cash flow and your the hands-on kind of person that enjoys a challenging learning curve, like the Nike shoe wear slogan says; "just do it!" Just make sure we get to see some pic's of the progress please. It sounds like an awesome endeavor!
 
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