It has been a long time... - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 11 Old 12-31-2009, 11:38 AM
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Hi Mike and welcome to the Forum. Angel and MeanHarri have made some good suggestions, so I'm following up on that.

I would forget the complicated filter system. Planted aquaria, especially with the type of fish you indicate, should have minimal filtration and water movement. The reasons I've previously explained here, post #11 in this thread: Are two better than one - cannister filters . That post talks about the plants, but the fish's needs are probably more important. Most of the fish we maintain in planted aquaria are what I term forest fish, from the forest streams, pools and swamps/bogs of South America, SE Asia and West Central Africa. These fish (with a few exceptions) are not accustomed to fast water flows, and they will therefore be less stressed and thus healthier if not subjected to high flow from a filter.

A canister filter sized for the tank works fine on a planted aquarium over 50 gallons. Eheim are probably the best made; I have two, plus a Rena XP. Fluval make similar styles, not quite so reliable according to reviews but I have no personal experience with Fluvals. Filtration has only one purpose in a planted tank: to gently circulate the water and remove suspended particulate matter via the filter media (pads, rock). The plants do the "cleaning" of the water, the filter the "clearing." Chemical filtration is in my view not good in planted tanks. Biological filtration is done by the plants and minimal bacteria load. Mechanical is all we need. I have a Rena XP3 on my 115g Amazonian Riverscape; you can see photos of it under My Aquariums. This is almost identical in size to your 110g. I have Eheims on my 70g and 90g setups. All of these have ceramic disks, inert rock, and pads, nothing more.

Lighting is the second big topic you mentioned. Fluorescent is the best for what you're planning, and I would select either a dual-tube regular fixture (takes T8 tubes which are the "normal" ones now) or one-tube T5 HO fixture. The tubes are not interchangeable. T5 HO light is about 1.5 times more intense than regular at the same tube size (48-inch tubes on your 110g I would expect). Personally, I prefer a dual-tube T8 fixture. It allows you to mix tubes. Plants require blue and red light to photosynthesize, and having green in the mix creates a natural rendition of colours (plants and fish). Full spectrum achieves this, but with two tubes you can have one full spectrum (around 6500K) and one cool white (slighter higher K) and this has been shown to provide the best light for aquatic plant growth. I have this combination on all three of my tanks; the photos show the effect. We can go into this more if you like.

Hope this helps a bit.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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