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Just setting up a new tank - its my first proper planted one - I have another tank but its just a mishmash really! Its a 24x12x18high (bout 23g). Have bought eco-complete (2 bags) for substrate. Just deciding on the lighting.

I was thinking of getting T5s - 3 x 24watt HO with GE Daylight 6500k cri85 tubes. Has anyone got the GE ballast or GE tubes and can comment? Some kind of home made reflector - trying to find advice there too. I am limited to what I can get over here - considered CFs - but hard to get and use - T5s just easier. This gives roughly 3wpg by that rule, not that it matters right :D

Was going to use Hagen CO2 (with the ladder) initially, save up for a pressurised system, and using an internal filter - save up for an external maybe.

Its going to be setup as a Biotope kinda setting for Dwarf Puffers (8 of them), as close as I can match anyways.

What does everyone think of that? Is the lighting okay, not too weak or strong (taking into account its a deepish tank)?

Anything I have missed?? - still learning about dosing and ferts but will use whats needed when I learn it LOL!
 

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The key to keeping a successful planted tank is balance. Balance of light, nutrient, chemicals, etc...

Too much of just one thing will offset this balance and most likely the resulting event will be that of an algal outbreak. For a puffer tank, I am not sure if their biotope has that many plant variety or number. And if you don't have that many plants to begin with then you really don't need that much light, which then makes rich substrate unnecessary and so on. But I am not 100% sure, though. Don't puffers do better in brackish water? There are plants suitable for such biotope but I would think the number of choices wouldn't be as great as that of an actual freshwater one, say, Amazon basin or Asian river. Steve the Biotope Expert should share some thought on this :lol:


Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dwarf puffers are FRESHWATER - from asian backwater streams/rivers (most puffers are brackish - these tho definitely are not). I have a choice of atleast 20 plants (including most of the crypts - good reason for eco-complete).

Yep realise about the balance. Thats why I am confused, I thought you needed 3wpg - but then I see all these fantastic prize winning tanks on 1 or 2 or even less than 1wpg!! and some without even ferts or co2!!
 

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If you're going for a more authentic biotope and not a collection of plants that are from Asia, you should try to narrow down your plant selection to India. Here are some possibilities:

Cryptocoryne ciliata
Cryptocoryne spiralis
Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Hygrophila polysperma

...most crypts are from southeast Asia and don't occur in the native range of the dwarf puffer.

Carlos
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah I know, I have a list of plants from sri-lanka etc, and I checked dwarfpuffers.com's list to make sure. There is quite a few crypts, bamboo plant, plenty of others. definitely about 20 plants on their list alone. So unless they have got it wrong of course???

Unfortunately I am not going to really be able to do a strict BIOTOPE - because there are no glass cleaning algae eaters from there, or almost ANY algae eaters (that can work with DPs) - so I am giving up the idea.

I will be going for plants that fit the area tho, its the least I can do!
 

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Hi,

If this is your first experience with planted aquariums, you need to plant densely at the very beginning. Your biggest problem initially will be dealing with the algae that WILL arise.

I think a homemade reflector with your T5s would be a good choice. Those bulbs are also very good so you shouldn't have a problem with them. Make sure to vent the lighting to keep temps in the aquarium on the cooler side. Are you planning on making your own or buying?

For fertilization, you either go with a good complete fertilizer (ala Tropica's MasterGrow) or you purchase N/P/K separately and use a good trace element fertilizer like (Seachem).

I think your plant selection will depend on the water requirements of your fish (which I don't know) and those available to you in the UK. However, I do suggest that you spend some time thinking about the look you are going after. Then research to see what plants will get you there. Perhaps the use of driftwood and rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi

thanks thats very useful. Yeah I have read up alot and seen algae is the first battle, so lots of fast growing stems first to get everything going.

I was going to use Sechem Flourish as a fert, is this a good choice? Do I need to use more than just that then??

I skimped on the homemade reflectors, in the end it wasnt gonna save me much once I got the mylar and some piping etc and bend it. So I am just buying some purpose made T5 reflectors. Ordered the lights too. So none of that is DIY, all purpose made.

I'll have to look at the CPU fan thing, shouldnt be hard to setup. I have glass tops to the tank, so no evap or anything.

And thats where I am stuck now, the look lol. I definitely want it dense, jungle like but not messy. My main problem at mo is finding plants to fill the height. Course got my hygro's etc. Not gonna rush this bit!! I've seen plenty around that have the very full jungle look without looking messy and overgrown, thats what I need.

How many cuttings/plants would you recommend to start then? 60?100?

(I have 1 other planted tank but it was just sticking some plants in and some co2 plus 1 extra tube - nothing into this scale where I am gonna try properly!)

thanks for your help

ken
 

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I like flourish, but I would probably order some CSM+B from greg watsons website if I were you. Along with all the other ferts you want too. :)
 

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hmmm thats an idea but shipping will kill me from canada to here. THe site seems to quote m,e about $60 for shipping :shock:

We have quite alot of stuffs available here, so if you think flourish isnt good enuff, then reel off some other stuff and I can look for it :)

cheers

ken
 

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Flourish is good enough. You might want to supplement it with some Flourish Fe if you have Fe demanding plants. Whether you use CSM or Flourish will will still need hte basics like KNO3 for a NO3 source(also covers K, convient eh:) P, which has many sources, the easiest being an enema. Fleet enama is available here and works very well. 1ml of fleet in 40gallons is ~1ppm of P. If you need to adjust your water hardnesses then you can use Epsom salts for Mg, Baking soda for raising hte CO3 or hardness(your kH) if necessary and there are many sources of calcium. Many people talk about the Kent's turbo calcuim. It is made for saltwater tanks but works great for this application.

Hope that helps:)
 

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Okay. I need to learn all these supplements :)

ANy go reference material around explaining all the supplements and what they do/why you need em etc? One thing I wont need to add is nitrate, as my tap water has 20-50 in it (yep england stinks for tap water!!), and maybe even phophates because thats close to 1 on some days here (maybe a little).

Kent Botanical here do alot of stuff seperately, a fe, humic, k, micro, nitro, po4, etc. I just didnt know what they was all for ;)

thanks for your help. Sure is alot to learn! But glad I am asking before I got the plants and got it all setup :)
 
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