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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, teach me everything needed in order to set up a 75g planted aquarium, the right way. :D

what i am really trying to figure out is what kind of lighting is necessary and plumbing. i have a couple of holes drilled in the 75, but do not know if these are necessary or not.

i have done mbuna for many years, so not a complete noob at FW.

i want a tank like whiskey's. :D

G~
 

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Well, get reading!
http://www.thekrib.com/
http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/articles.htm
http://rexgrigg.com/

Do you want a high tech or low tech? High tech includes high light, pressurized CO2, daily dosing of fertilizers and weekly maintanence. Low tech is low to moderate light, DIY or pressurized CO2, weekly dosing of ferts and maybe monthly maintanence. -My definitions-

T5s are just making their way into the freshwater side, and are making a large impact. There are people who buy the 6x TEK setups and end up using only 2-4 of the bulbs. I have no experience with T5s, so take this with a grain of salt*, but a 4x TEK hood will give you adequate lighting on your 75g to grow anything. Otherwise PCs are completely adequate and you can have a great tank with them. Metal halides are not widely used, $$$, but those that use them can probably attest to their greatness.

With great light comes great responsibility, to fertilize. A high tech set up will probably need Nitrate, Phosphate, and Potassium dosed every other day. On days alternate of NPK dosing, micro elements are dosed, like Fe, Mg, Ca, etc. There are a lot of people using dry "PMDD" ferts from Greg Watson; you can get a years worth of ferts for roughly $20. Standard purchase would be 1lb of K2SO4, KNO3, KH2PO4, and CSM+B.

As far as sumps or wet/drys, there are few people with planted tanks that use them. Canister filters are probably the #1 choice for filtration, as they will not cause a loss of CO2. You could potentially hook up a canister to your bulkheads, not sure.

I'm sure I missed a few things, I just finished a final exam so my brain is frrriiiiiied. :beer:


Marty
 

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i will say you will want to dose Co2 for sure to get some good green plants. if you can branch off your reactor then that should work. i would do about 1 bubble per 5 seconds and use a good diffuser (ladder type) make sure the plants you get are true water plants. Many plants are Bog plants and they just fall apart after a while. if the plant will only survive in the water and the roots are only used to cling to rocks and substrate then you probably have true water plants. if the roots are the primary source for water intake (thick root cluster with wider roots) then watch out. it really stinks to get a plant only to have it fall apart and rot a few weeks later. you should also find a good nutrient rich substrate to plant the plants in. most of these are bog type stuff that you simply cover with gravel.
 

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The best book I have ever read on planted tanks is called:
Ecology of the planted aquarium, by Diana Walstad.

If you want a tank like mine, perhaps you should take a closer look at how mine is setup: This is a link to my build thread, it tells you all about every screw in the stand, and every bulb over the tank. Only 22 pages, mostly pictures.
http://aquabotanicwetthumb.infopop.cc/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/4686048124/m/1941044761

Please come back with any questions you may have.

What I would recommend for this tank if it were mine:

4 * 40W NO lamps, ($12 shop-light fixtures) using the cheap 5500K bulbs you get at HD, and 1 or 2 growlux bulbs because they says "grow" on them and I like the color.

1 inch of potting soil, covered in 1 inch of 2-4MM gravel.

Canister filter for flow, like a Magnum 350 or something.

Cheap DIY CO2 using a 2 liter bottle, sugar and Yeast. Don't get to anal here, but shoot for around 10-15 PPM CO2, you really don't need it but it will help with growth.

Use one of the holes for a Drain, seriously, potting soil releases allot of tannins especially in the beginning, you will be doing 50-80% water changes weekly. This is so easy with a drain and a hose, just drain outside, hook the hose to a spigot and fill it back up after you added declor.

Then plant tuns of plants to start with and let them go nuts.

Whiskey
 

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there are other substrates that are better nutrient wise than potting soil... but most of them will cloud the water big time. make sure to cover whatever you use with gravel to keep it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
so NO bulbs are enough? i have plenty of those. i had 6-4' NO bulbs above it when it was a predator reef with softies. so if this is the case, not a problem.

what is Flourite? is the same as potting soil just more expensive? should i even care what it is? :D

unfortunately the holes are a bit high for a drain. sounds like i should just plug them up. not a big deal. so you use a canister filter, where do you put the heater? is a cannister filter enough flow?

i need to get to reading some more of those links.

thanks everyone!!

G~
 

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Geoff said:
so NO bulbs are enough? i have plenty of those. i had 6-4' NO bulbs above it when it was a predator reef with softies. so if this is the case, not a problem.
Remember that aquatic plants grow in streams, streams are usually surrounded and covered by trees. So aquatic plants wouldn't be around if they needed blasting sun ;)
what is Flourite? is the same as potting soil just more expensive? should i even care what it is? :D
Flourite was my favorite substrate, until I used potting soil. The problem with Flourite is that it is heavy in Iron, but not really anything else, it acts like a sponge so when you dose liquid ferts it makes them available to plant's roots. If you don't want to mess with all that, potting soil is for you, I still dose liquid ferts, but at much lower levels then ever before, and I do it rather speratically.
unfortunately the holes are a bit high for a drain. sounds like i should just plug them up. not a big deal. so you use a canister filter, where do you put the heater? is a cannister filter enough flow?

i need to get to reading some more of those links.

thanks everyone!!

G~
I don't use a heater, I make an enclosed (sealed) canopy, with the lights in it. In phoenix that is enough to keep the tank warm, to keep it cool I just added a Temp controller on a fan. This maintains the temp perfectly. If you don't do that, then just put the heater in the tank, preferably near the inlet to the canister filter.

The canister filter provides plenty of flow IMHO, more can be added but I have never found it necessary.

Too bad on the drain thing, you could use the holes as a intake and return from the canister filter so you don't have hoses over the back of your tank.

HTH,
Whiskey
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i can use the bulkheads for drains and returns for a cannister. i just can not use them for a drain to remove water for water changes. they are near the top of the tank just below the water line.

does it matter what kind of cannister filter? does it matter where the inlet and the outlet for the cannister filter are? am i thinking of this to much like a reef tank?

G~
 

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The filter is mainly for water movement, infact some people forgo them compleatly and use powerheads, I just like a place to run carbon, help knock those tannins back a bit.

Plants don't need a heck of a lot of watermovement, some of my plants move with the flow, but most don't, you don't want the water to be stagnent either though. A canister with 300-400 GPH rating should be fine for your tank, a spraybar is a very cool thing also because it disperses the flow, but I don't currently use one.

Whiskey
 

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I don't care about gas exchange, in fact I don't want it, it takes away my CO2. Plants create more than enough O2 for the fish, when the water is compleatly saturated with Oxigen you can even see the plants creating tiny bubles, If you have enough C02, you will have enough light.

Plants create alopathic (sp) chemicals that inhibit algae, if you have great plant growth, normaly speaking you won't have algae.

Whiskey
 

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It varies wildly with the type of tank. What I do with mine, is weekly waterchanges of 50% (I dose ferts and declor at this time), feed the fish daily, and topoff when required. Past that the normal checks of fish health, plant trimming when required and monthy cleaning of the canister filters. I also have a pressurized CO2 system that requires refilling about every 6 months. I spend allot of time looking at it from my couch ;) .

My 10 gallon tank is setup by Diana's book, I do waterchanges every 4 months and clean the filter at that time, I also have an auto feeder for the fish, and try to avoid trimming unless the fish are having a ruff time swimming (I encourage emergant growth). The only thing I regularly do to this tank is topoff.

Check out that fourm that my thread was in, it is locked now but should be popping back up in APC which is another great source of information. www.plantgeek.com is a sight that should not be overlooked either. Most of these places will advocate the use of florite, or eco-compleate, and regular fert dosing but I got tired of all that so I don't run my tank that way anymore. I am not saying it is wrong, quite the contrary it is a great way to run a tank, just not for me.

Once you find that book, if you have questions you can also talk to the author when her new fourm is up, she is very nice and will answer questions.

HTH,
Whiskey
 

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Great thread, I have been wanting to do one for some time, And today I set up a 150 plannted tank for someone, Letting it all clear up now. I used graved , river type with Flourite, That stuff looks like red clay when cleaning, I will keep checking back here and may have to ask qiuestions, I also need to look at Your thank wiskey.
 
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