here to learn.

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by soton_dave, 29 Mar 2009.

  1. soton_dave

    soton_dave Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Southampton
    hi all,just joined the forum,not sure if this is the place to post or not(appologies if its not)
    ive had experience keeping tanks large reef,5'malawi,general tropicals but now im looking into a smaller planted tank,seen the tank i'll probably end up buying a 40cm cube but not sure which filter,lighting,substrate etc im gonna be needing.dont really want a hood for aesthetic reasons.and would prefer a canister filter for the same reason.

    the more i read the more im getting confused,ferts,c02,flow rates etc and i want to try and make the right purchases from the start.

    what im hoping to acheive is a well planted(unsure which plants but will be based around bog/drift wood so will have moss for that) tank for shrimps and a small group of tetras,if thats possible.

    my initial budget should cover the tank,filter,heater,lighting and substrate with c02 coming at a later date(if required).

    so really my question is what filter and lighting should i buy and should i lay of setting it up till i can get c02 and if so what one.

    really sorry for being vague but im here to learn and will welcome any advice and critisism.

    cheers in advance dave
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    If you look in the Tutorials section this article is all about higher tech planted tank basics really. After that there are lots of threads detailing dosing including Clive's article on EI dosing in the tutorials bit too.

    As to CO2, I would say that should be a priority. As soon as you put plants in a tank then you either need to add CO2 (ideally at about 30ppm, measured using a drop checker with 4dKH solution in it) or a CO2 replacement such as Excel or EasyCarbo. Probably the most cost effective way to sort CO2 out is to use a fire extinguisher set up and there's an article about that in the tutorials section too.

    Get a big filter. Ideally the filter needs to turn over the tank's volume 10 times an hour. If your filter doesn't have this kind of circulation on it's own then you can use additional flow pumps like Koralias to boost the flow too. Good flow is essential for some similar reasons as in a reef tank - it distributes nutrients (and CO2) to the plants and keeps debris in suspension until the filter removes it from the tank.
     
  3. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Hi, welcome to the green side :)

    Filter wise you want to aim for a filter that is rated around 10x the volume of the tank, so around 600 to 700lph. The tetratec ex700 would be ideal or the fluval 205.

    Don't be too scared by the planted side of the hobby its not that tricky once you get into it :)

    Sam
     
  4. soton_dave

    soton_dave Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Southampton
    thanks for the welcome/replies guys.
    read through the higher tech tutorial and think im starting to get my head around it a bit.

    like i said in my first post my budget wont strech to c02 to start with unless its one of those small kits with the sachets and the ladder type(bubble counter?)but im really sceptical about throwing money away on gimmicks that dont work so would dosing with Excel or EasyCarbo get me by till i can sort out proper c02.
    my lfs has some caribsea eco-complete would one 9kg bag be enough for the size tank im getting?
    any ideas on lighting?im off out a bit later to trawl the shops again to see whats about and maybe pick a few bits up.

    any one got a calculator to work out how many litres a tank holds,used to have it written down but lost it years ago...lol

    cheers dave
     
  5. YzemaN

    YzemaN Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    Take the outer measurements in centimeter:
    (WxLxH)/1000 = L

    There's also a link to a calculator here:
    Caribsea Eco-Complete at AquaEssentials

    Excel / EasyCarbo sounds like a good plan. Just be aware that true aquatic plants don't seem to like it much as well as most grassy looking plants. Be sure to keep a journal of your setup :D
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi YzemaN, this isn't completely accurate. In fact the number of aquatic plants that respond poorly to the liquid carbon products are an exception, not a rule. Bladderworts, Liverworts and Riccia are the most prominent species that respond poorly, while a few other plants simply don't appreciate an overdose of the liquids but may thrive at bottle suggested dosing levels. Vallis is the most prominent of this group and you'll find that half the people never have a problem and the other half do. It's probable that this difference in performance can be attributed to the dosing levels.

    For a small tank liquid carbon is an excellent alternative as it keeps things simple and the cost isn't too bad. As long as the lighting level is not excessive one simply has to avoid the few problematic plants.

    Cheers,
     
  7. YzemaN

    YzemaN Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    I stand corrected. Oh well, we're all here to learn :D I myself have tried with three types of Vallisneria, Sagittaria subulata, Rotala wallichii, Hemianthus micranthemoides (I think) and a couple of types of Eleocharis. I've been dosing at the recommended level for a heavily planted tank (>90% of substrate covered), I don't know if that counts as overdosing. All of the plants survived, but none propagated until I put them in my CO2 injected tank. This is hardly a scientific study but it seems some of the finer leaved plants aren't too fond of polycycloglutaracetal (or whatever it is that acts as the carbon source. See more here: Nick's ADA 90 cm). There are quite a few discussions on the subject here on UKaps. Maybe it's worth making a list of plants that don't respond too well to Excel/EC? Btw: Is there a Wiki here?

    Sorry for the hijack :rolleyes:
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Well, remember that adding liquid carbon does not produce the same amount of CO2 as adding CO2 gas. It's very difficult to calculate just what concentration of Excel produces what equivalent CO2 gas concentration but we know that it's much less than that produced by gas injection. It could easily be therefore that the amount of Excel or Easycarbo you added still produced poor levels of CO2 for the level of lighting you had in that tank. Additionally, when we say that a certain plant responds poorly to Excel, then generally what we mean is that it has a toxic reaction, not that it doesn't grow as quickly or as vibrant as we would have liked. I'd say you simply didn't use enough if they survived but did not thrive. Also it isn't a good assumption to compare tanks because there are so many factors which differ such as light energy, flow and distribution, so when you moved the plants to an injected tank there would have been many factors which correlated to improved growth, not the least of which would be the CO2 levels. If you note in that journal link you gave, the OP used a combination of gas and liquid. There is no denying that the liquids are toxic - but then, so is "pH Down".

    Experiences vary, so for example here is a specimen of R. wallichi with CO2 + 2X overdose of Excel, meaning twice the amount of liquid as specified on the bottle instructions. The condition of this plant improved dramatically compared to when gas was injected alone, therefore we cannot easily conclude that all fine leafed plants respond poorly to Excel:
    [​IMG]

    Here are another set of plants dosed with a higher injection rate + higher flow + normal Excel dosages. R. wallichi is on the extreme left of the image and again, it does just fine as do the other plants, including the grassy B. japonica. Excel can be used strategically, in that if the gas injection rate necessary to achieve excellent growth is determined to be toxic to fauna, then CO2 can be supplemented by the addition of liquid carbon. As noted earlier Liverworts, Bladderworts and Riccia suffer toxicity, but I haven't seen an all inclusive list.
    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
     
  9. soton_dave

    soton_dave Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Southampton
    decided im gonna be starting with injected co2 and a larger tank,probably gonna go with a tank with a hood now been thinking about the open top and my youngest can be a bit too helpfull at times and the last thing i want is her adding anything to the tank that shouldnt be added(if you get what i mean....lol)
    just a quick question on fish/shrimp compatability would congo tetras and shrimps be ok together?been looking and cant find any ifo on keeping them together.
    hoping to get a tank,co2 etc this week(fingers crossed)so will start a journel when i get all the bits sorted so i can ask questions and get advice about my specific set up.

    cheers again for all the help
    dave
     
  10. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I'm afraid Congos will make short work of any shrimp. They're pretty voracious predators on small things and shrimp would be a tasty snack !
     
  11. soton_dave

    soton_dave Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Southampton
    ahhhh bugger,always been fond of congo's and just thought how nice they would look in a planted tank but at the same time ive always liked shrimps(used to watch them more than anything else when i had me reef)
    maybe starting 2 journels then lol
     

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