Setting up empty tank new project advice please

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by Chloesdad, 24 Jun 2015.

  1. Chloesdad

    Chloesdad Member

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    Hi All

    Im Dave from South Shields

    This morning I sold up my livestock corals etc from a 5 foot Marine tank as I need a new project and want to do a planted discus tank ......WITH RO WATER.....now the very rude caps bit is important. I am starting with tap water then will be replacing with top up RO water to gradually convert tank and fish to RO.

    So my questions are I have a blank canvas, here is pic with doors off when it was new (hopefully) to give an idea.

    IMG_2013%201024x683_zpsm1hwg0m0.jpg

    Substrate I want something that is cost effective and proven without being ripped off by a rebranded product prefer make your own heard playsand is good??

    Will RO (reverse osmosis) water be a problem for a planted tank?

    I am running 2 banks of LEDS across the tank adjustable with day and night again will this be a problem?

    I have a 36 x 15 x 18 sump how best to utilise this for a planted tank.

    The only thing I definetly know is that I want Discus with Corydoras and if possible the dwarf grass other than that I know nothing.

    There is a few questions above but even answering one will be appreciated I am basically just about to get the filtration sorted in the sump and continuing clean up.

    Thankyou in advance for any help I am determined to do this and will post pics etc and hopefully be a decent forum member after many years on the marine forums. So please share your knowledge with this and I cant believe I have to say it NOOB ....lol im a noob again feels quite exciting hehe.
     
  2. ian_m

    ian_m Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes it will make weekly 50% water changes very expensive. Most plants and fish don't care about tap water hardness, so much better to work with what you have. If you really insist on RO water, mix 50:50 tap:RO to act as cheap remineralising agent. Remember to dechlorinate even if using RO as this does not guarantee complete chlorine and/or ammonia removal.

    A lot of discus keeper who feel they must do something with the water in their tanks use HMA filters, but in the UK their usage can be rather moot as heavy metals are not too much of an issue and dechlorinating with something like Seachem Prime will remove heavy metals anyway.

    You haven't stated the tank volume. With planted your need to try and get a x10 tank volume flow per hour through your filters or sump in you case.

    Read through some of the journals (searching for the word sump) to see how other people have done large tanks with sumps.
     
  3. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Chloesdad

    Chloesdad Member

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    Thanks for the replies have started a journal thread to keep eye on progress and hopefuly keep everything in one place. I make my own RO water sorry should have said as used it for marine so cost not an issue. I have decided to do compost and sand as substrate just looking into what to use for the divider some kind of mesh im guessing thankyou again.
     
  5. ian_m

    ian_m Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Even so still costs about 1.5p per litre (based on Southern Water and 5:1 waste to RO), assuming your tank is 500litres, that's 250litres per week that's £3.75 per week water changes for no reason at all. Anyway the plants will appreciate the nitrate and phosphate other salts in your water supply, so why waste them...
     
  6. Chloesdad

    Chloesdad Member

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    It would be if you like you say you were changing 250 litres a week, again thankyou for your input and taking time to reply. I asked a question wether RO would cause a problem with a planted tank not how expensive it is or wether you feel it is a waste. (All valid personal points I assume) Not here to argue with you but 50% change weekly really???? I am new to plants not fishkeeping what are your test kits reading that makes you feel 50% (in my opinion) emergency water changes are reducing.
     
  7. Chloesdad

    Chloesdad Member

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  8. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    Water changes
    The weekly 50% water change is really for people who have high tech. tanks with <"CO2"> and <"EI fertilization">. If you don't add CO2 (and I'm not a CO2 user), you can have smaller water changes. I change about 10% a day on smaller tanks (60L and smaller), but with larger volume planted tanks you could change a smaller percentage of the water, and it doesn't have to be daily.

    Why planted aquariums have higher water quality
    The great advantage of having plants is parameters like NO3 fall over time, rather than rising. We also have a negative feed-back loop, where increased nutrients lead to increased plant growth, which reduces nutrient levels, which reduces plant growth etc.

    This is because the plants are actively removing ammonia, nitrite and nitrate from the water column and converting them into plant proteins (mainly chlorophyll). When you thin the plants, you remove the nitrogen (N), potassium (K), phosphorus (P) etc.

    Testing
    Most people don't use test kits, the reason for this is that testing for a lot of parameters is problematic in freshwater.

    I'm definitely <"not anti-testing"> (I look after a lab. with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of analytical kit), but even with a lot of time (and skilled staff) it is quite difficult to get accurate values for some monovalent anions (like NO3). As an example testing for NO3- is easier in sea water, because one of the problems in freshwater is interference by other anions like chloride (Cl-). Because sea water has a known Cl- content, interference by chloride can be factored into the measurement as a constant.

    The Duckweed Index

    I use a technique (the <"Duckweed Index">) where the only measurement <"you make is conductivity"> (it isn't probably the one that you would want, but it is the only measurement where you can get accurate and repeatable values with a cheaper meter), and then you use the growth and colour of a floating plant (thereforenot CO2 limited) to estimate nutrient status.

    I adapted the Duckweed Index from <The Charms of Duckweed - Practical Duckweed: Application Areas>), the <"Skeptical Aquarist"> and Diana Walstad's book, <"Ecology of the Planted Aquarium">.

    The concept was based upon the reduction of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) <http://www.planetcatfish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=35930> from our work in the lab. with <"waste water"> (mainly with <"landfill leachate">).

    It is a simple concept, you only feed the plants when their growth indicates nutrient levels have fallen to low to support any growth, you ensure that the <"oxygen supply always exceeds the oxygen demand"> and when the fish and plants in your aquarium are in good condition you measure the conductivity of the water, to give you a datum.

    For my tanks (I keep Apistogramma etc.), I keep the water in the 50 - 150 microS range. I think Jordi ("Parotet") aims for about 400 microS.

    I rarely measure conductivity these days I just use the "Duckweed Index".

    cheers Darrel
     
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  9. DTL

    DTL Member

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    Ref suitable plants, based on my experience with low Ph (5 1/2) - 6) tanks for licorice gouramis and Amazon black water set ups, I find that Anubias, bolbitus, Java ferns, and bucaphelandras all do well with low nutrients and subdued lighting.
     
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  10. Jose

    Jose Member

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    Lets see. In this case the philosophy should be to make a Discus tank with some plants and not a planted tank with some discus in it. Why? Because obviously discus are more expensive than plants and will be the main attraction.
    Now, you want to make the best place for your discus at the same time as keeping plants healthy.
    You ought to be doing at least one 50% water change a week with grown up discus, youll probably need to do more. This is for your fish and not so much for the plants really. The setup should be a low tech setup with the following:
    -Very good filtration but not a lot of flow
    -A sponge filter should be considered for an ideal setup
    -Some Floating plants. I think floating plants are the main point if you want to make less water changes. Also consider plants like water wisteria, crypts plus the ones mentioned by others.
    -Very low stock.
    -You should be dosing ferts for your plants. Maybe consider dosing 1/10th or 1/5th of EI levels.

    Oh btw, RO is fine for a planted tank. You might need to dose some Ca and Mg if its pure RO. You might want to stay away from plants like Vallisneria or some weeds that use up and need carbonates in the water.
     
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  11. parotet

    parotet Member

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    Yup, I was interested in trying softer water (my tap water reads 1,000 microS) and I found a good rainwater source. I aim for 400 microS but not for any particular reason, just because it's what I have when I mix 60/40 rainwater/tap... The rainwater I harvest reads 100-140 microS. But, as I don't have fancy shrimps or Apistogramma species, I thought 400 microS was 'soft enough' for me and decreases my rainwater needs. Even in my small tanks (all of them make about 85 liters) going from 60/40 to 80/20 makes a big difference in terms of rainwater used that I have to transport, store, etc. so at the end you have to balance all this, it has to be good enough for your critters but also for you. In this hobby, easy means that you will do it often. And you don't want to skip water changes in this hobby...
    As mentioned in other threads my medium-high light and C enriched tanks are more easily managed when the conductivity is near this value. For low tech I haven't found any difference. Other hobbyists also agree on this but it seems that nobody can give a good explanation.

    Jordi
     
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  12. Chloesdad

    Chloesdad Member

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    Thankyou for replies some great info will work through this and come back with more questions I'm sure :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. Chloesdad

    Chloesdad Member

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    Thankyou this is excatly what I want :)
     

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