New Planted Aquarium Setup Plan - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-18-2010, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Question New Planted Aquarium Setup Plan

Hello everyone,

this is my first thread on Tropical Fish Keeping and I'm posting this in the hope of getting some helpful advice on this new planted aquarium I intend to set up in the near future.
Just tell me what you think!
First off I am buying a 60 US gallon (48 x 15 x 20) acrylic Aquarium with a contemporary black acrylic canopy.

For lighting I'll use an Ice Cap 48" T5 Pre-wired Retro Kit (for existing canopies/hoods) with 4 X 54 Watt (2x 6500k and 2x10000k).

As a filter I intend to use the EHEIM Professionel II Filter 2028.

I'll add a Rio 90 mini as well.


This is where I wouldn't mind a little more feedback. I'll be using top soil which I've been soaking and drying in order to help it mineralize before it's used. I'll be covering it with a light colored (cream white) pool filter sand.


Background (left to right)
  • Myriophyllum mattogrossense
  • Limnophila 'hippuroides'
  • Wisteria (hygrophilia difformis)
  • Giant Hair Grass (Eleocharis montevidensis)

Midground (left to right)
  • Ludwigia Neddle Leaf (Ludwigia Arcuata)

On Bogwood (left to right)
  • Java Fern
  • Anubias Nana
  • Bolbitus Heudelotti

On thin split and stacked black slate (only on right)
  • Java Moss

Foreground (left to right)
  • Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Dwarf Baby Tears



  • 12 Glass Catfish (Kryptopterus Minor)
  • 8 Diamond Tetra (Moenkhausia pittieri)
  • 18 Neon Tetra
  • 3 True Siamese Algae Eaters (Crossocheilus Siamensis)
  • 3 Albino Bristlenose Plecos
  • 10 Kuhli Loaches
  • 3 Triple Red Cauckatoo Chichlids (2 female 1 male)

  • 15 cherry shrimp

Pictures will follow as soon as the tank arrives and I'll begin adding pictures to document the setup.

I'd be thrilled to hear any comments and also criticism about this setup.
I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read this thread and your help means alot to me.

kind regards,


Last edited by SvenKai; 07-18-2010 at 01:34 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-18-2010, 02:33 PM
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Welcome to TFK, Sven. Pretty nice project you're getting into. The first things that jump out at me is that RCS will never survive in a tank that also houses loaches, not to mention the cichlids, or most fish for that matter. RCS are tasty snacks for just about everyone! Also, that's a heck of alot of light for a 60 gl. Anything over 6500K in a planted tank seems overkill, IMHO. You don't really need it. I'll let others comment who are more experienced than I on this subject.
Once again, welcome and we're glad you decided to join us!

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post #3 of 4 Old 07-19-2010, 04:25 AM
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Welcome to TFK!

That lighting does seem like a bit of overkill. At those lighting levels, you'd almost certainly need ferts and probably CO2. I also agree on the shrimp - they'll end up as snacks. If you add a heck of a lot more than fifteen initially, you may get them breeding at a rate to compensate for the predation, but even then I wouldn't count on it.

Those are the only things that really stick out at me. Sounds like it's going to be a nice looking tank!

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post #4 of 4 Old 07-19-2010, 07:05 PM
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Hello Sven, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I am going to second both kymmie and iamntbatman on the light. With that high intensity [I am assuming HO] you will have an algae tank, not plants, I assure you. I would not recommend T5 lighting for this tank, as one tube only would be adequate; a dual tube T8 (normal fluorescent) would be my preference because it gives you the flexibility to use different tubes. I won't say more on that but rather refer you to the article "sticky" at the head of the Aquarium Plants section that deals with lighting, it is the last of 4 parts of a series on setting up a "natural" low-tech planted aquarium, so you might like to read the other parts. Here is the one on lighting to get you going:

I think your combo of tubes is excellent, a full spectrum (6700K) and a "cooler" blue-ish tube (10,000K) is ideal plant light, as will be explained in the article. It is the exact combo I have over my 90g and 115g Amazon tanks, you can see the photos under "Aquariums" below my name on the left for the effect. But I have T8 light, I tried a dual-tube T5 on the 115g last year and it was so bright I took it back after a week and got the regular.

Eheims are great filters, I have a Pro II on my 70g and 90g that have been running for more than 12 years without a fault. What is the "Rio 90 mini", another filter maybe? You might want to check the filtration part (Part 3) of that planted tank series for comments on keeping filtration minimal in planted tanks. And your fish list is compatible with this.

One comment on the fish, do you want three SAE because you like them as fish, or for algae? If the latter, I would caution against it. They grow to 6 inches and while shoaling by nature they can be aggressive; in a 60g I'm not sure there is sufficient "space" for this without being too disruptive. And the activity of the SAE so close to the substrate might be disconcerting to the Apistogramma cacatuoides that are quiet rather sedate by nature. Especially as they will likely spawn with the (excellent) male/2 female arrangement.


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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dwarf chichlid , glass catfish , setup , topsoil

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