Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased an Eclispe 12 for my 8 year old son who want to learn about the hobby. I've done many fish-only tanks but have very limited experience with planted tanks. He wants to go with a planted tank so I'm looking for a little guidance. The Eclipse 12 may not be the ideal tank for plants but I wanted something simple for his first tank and it fits his room.

I'm thinking of upgrading the stock light (13W, 5500K) with a Current Model 1611 retro (32W, 6700K/10000K). However, before I do so I wanted to get an understanding of the pros and cons for each lighting system, i.e., what type of maintenance, fertilizing, CO2, etc. would be needed and the type of plants that can be grown. The type of plants is open at this time. I have a list of "low-light" plants to choose from. There are many. I'm not particularly interesting in a "high" tech tank but at the same time I'd like good, healthy plants and fish.

I have Flourite Black Sand on order. Is this sufficient or should I supplement with an plant soil? I've read that natural tanks use a plant soil for the nutrients which reduces/eliminates the need for CO2 and fertilizers. This sounds interesting in that my son (and me) will have to worry less about the biology/chemistry and enjoy the tank more. However, I also understand that as the lighting wattage goes up, the need for CO2 and fertilizers increases. I do not know that crossover point.

I also have the full series of Seachem fertilizers on order but depending on how the tank is set-up, I may not need them. If there is fast growth, I'm guessing there will be need for some supplement.

Again, my main concern is that I have healthy plants and fish and a happy kid while at the same time keeping expense and time reasonable.

Any thoughts?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,865 Posts
I'm thinking of upgrading the stock light (13W, 5500K) with a Current Model 1611 retro (32W, 6700K/10000K). However, before I do so I wanted to get an understanding of the pros and cons for each lighting system, i.e., what type of maintenance, fertilizing, CO2, etc. would be needed and the type of plants that can be grown. The type of plants is open at this time. I have a list of "low-light" plants to choose from. There are many. I'm not particularly interesting in a "high" tech tank but at the same time I'd like good, healthy plants and fish.
The 13 watt bulb won't be sufficient to grow much more than Anubias, Ferns and Mosses. The retrofit kit is probably a good idea, especially since you already have the Seachem ferts on the way. I'm assuming that Seachem Excel is among them for use as a carbon source?

I have Flourite Black Sand on order. Is this sufficient or should I supplement with an plant soil? I've read that natural tanks use a plant soil for the nutrients which reduces/eliminates the need for CO2 and fertilizers. This sounds interesting in that my son (and me) will have to worry less about the biology/chemistry and enjoy the tank more. However, I also understand that as the lighting wattage goes up, the need for CO2 and fertilizers increases. I do not know that crossover point.
Seachem's substrates are nice, but they won't provide all of the nutrients you'll need for a successful planted tank. The crossover point for CO2 or not is more by feel and experience than anything else. I can tell you that any tank will benefit greatly from the addition of CO2, even a low-tech tank. In my opinion it's the single most effective "updgrade" you can make to any planted tank. If you want to start out small you can use a DIY CO2 setup using yeast, sugar and water.

Natural tanks can be a lot of fun too. I'm running most of my tanks using a mineralized topsoil substrate capped with various different gravels and sands. I wrote an article on this method here.

Whichever route you decide to go you'll need patience most of all. You'll make mistakes along the way and sooner or later the dreaded algae will appear. Just take a deep breath and try to learn from it and you'll advance quicker than you think. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will have to reconsider the stand I'm getting for the tank. I would want to hide any CO2 apparatus. I do not want my son's room to look any messier than it already is.

The mineralized soil looks like a good idea and seems easy to do. I would place it underneath the Flourite Black Sand or scrap the Flourite and go with an inert gravel?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,865 Posts
You could use the Flourite as a cap for the mineralized soil. It's a bit of work to get it useable, but once it's setup it's pretty well set it and forget it. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
469 Posts
I have a Eclipse 12 tank and have good success with Anubias, java fern and the little bulbs sold at petco and walmart. An 8 year old will probably want some fish and would advise corys, otos and perhaps about three swordtails. With these plants and a few fish you should have good success for the 8 year old without worrying about retrofitting the light or CO2 for now. Set it up keep up with water changes 25% month and keep the filter rinsed out when you do the changes. A three gallon pail will work.
For these plants not much fertilizer will be needed. You'll find out how much he will enjoy it and then can advance him into helping you with your bigger tanks.
Oh, and don't forget to put a little tank in the window for those baby fish you will end up with. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
There are a lot of plants in the low light category to choose from and should grow well with the stock light. I'm thinking however that they would grow even better with the upgrade and my planting options increase. The upgrade would put the tank at approximately 2.7 wpg which I've read is considered a medium lit tank. I guess I could start with the stock light and upgrade later. The important part to get right at this point is probably the substrate. It's much easier to add substrate when the tank is empty.

Aaron, any thoughts on where to purchase the materials for the mineralized soil set-up? What type of issues, if any, would I experience going with this set-up vs. straight flourite? I was thinking there may be compaction or anaerobic decomposition given the "solid" nature of the soil.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
I have an Eclipse setup on a 37 gallon tank and I love it. At first I was worried it would be impossible to get running as a planted tank out of the box but I was wrong.

I dose lightly with excel and flourish and have the basic eclipse lighting. I took out the filter with carbon and replaced it with a bag of bioballs and sponge cut to size. I've never had an algae problem and my plants go like mad. In fact I have let the flame and java moss grow too much and will be doing a little trimming soon.

I realize my lighting system is a bit stronger than the Eclipse 12 but it is amazing what a little light dosing will do with the moderate lighting provided.

I grow the two mosses above, Rotala (3 months and it is still reddish), Anubias, Sword plants, and there was some bladderwort attached to moss that is now outgrowing some of the mosses. I also have a tiny cyrpt? and some small grass like plant (I think it is glosso, got it unmarked at a pet store). I tried java fern and it has all slowly vanished.

I love my Eclipse! I'm toying with getting a tiny one for my desk at work.

Edit, I have a full Flourite substrate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for sharing your experience with your Eclipse tank. I'm still debating what I want to do with mine although I do have some topsoil soaking and a light retrofit on order. There are so many ways to go with a planted tank. I'll just have to get started and see what happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, after a bit of delay, I assembled the tank last night and started the equipment check. For the substrate, I went with the mineralized soil with a Flourite Black Sand cap. Perhaps a bit exotic but I already had the flourite and I wanted to try the mineralized soil. I used an approximate 75/25 by weight mix of soil and montmorillite clay. I also used dolomite lime and mag-po-sul additives. I may be clay heavy and the materials slightly different from the receipe but hopefully things will turn out fine. For the lighting, I went with the 32W Current SunPaq retrofit. I have a couple of 6700K/10000K lamps on order as the one I had cracked in shipment. At the present, I'm using the 10000K/actinic lamp that came with the retrofit. My son loves the blue color. I put in a 50W VisiTherm stealth heater. I installed the Red Sea Turbo CO2 Biosystem for my carbon dioxide source. I had fun (sarcastic) taking apart the stand and drilling holes in it to get the system to fit the shelves but, now that it's done, it looks neat. I've been soaking Mopani wood for a couple of weeks now. The wood still leaches tannins but the water is getting clearer. I'll probably add the wood to the tank later this week when the plants come in.

Speaking of plants, now with the upgraded light, I have a few more options besides ferns, moss, and anubis. I'm hoping to grow baby tears and/or hairgrass in the foreground with some other interesting plants in the mid and background. I want a fairly heavy planting but don't want a jungle either so I have a interesting balancing act.

I'll post pictures later when the plant go in.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top