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Suggest improvements to my setup.

This is a discussion on Suggest improvements to my setup. within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> If it was me, I'd go with an extremely small gravel rather than sand. Perhaps some gravel around 1mm in diameter? Something like this? ...

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Suggest improvements to my setup.
Old 06-12-2010, 12:50 PM   #21
 
redchigh's Avatar
 
If it was me, I'd go with an extremely small gravel rather than sand. Perhaps some gravel around 1mm in diameter? Something like this?

Also, how big is that tank?
And why does no one read the planted forum?;)

CO2 is optional.
daily ferts are optional.
substrate ferts at all are optional.

Look up Angel079's posts- she's running way less than 1 wpg with good growth, and Byron runs about 1.1-1.2 wpg on his south american...
I don't think angel uses any ferts at all, and byron only doses twice weekly of flourish comprehensive.
Read the stickies in the aquatic plant forum- very interesting, and it's good to hear the low-tech side of the argument.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:49 PM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by redchigh View Post
If it was me, I'd go with an extremely small gravel rather than sand. Perhaps some gravel around 1mm in diameter? Something like this?

Also, how big is that tank?
And why does no one read the planted forum?;)

CO2 is optional.
daily ferts are optional.
substrate ferts at all are optional.

Look up Angel079's posts- she's running way less than 1 wpg with good growth, and Byron runs about 1.1-1.2 wpg on his south american...
I don't think angel uses any ferts at all, and byron only doses twice weekly of flourish comprehensive.
Read the stickies in the aquatic plant forum- very interesting, and it's good to hear the low-tech side of the argument.

CO2 optional yes, need no, makes plants grow fast yes. ferts need? depends on the plant and the water you use.

I am a member of the planted tank forum, I read it a lot actually. As far as wpg it should be known that the WPG is just a rule of thumb, its all about the lumans the WPG was created to help people get started. In addition if you have low light then co2 is rarely needed if you have high light level co2 is a of great benefit. In the end it all comes down to what your water source is like, what your light level is like, and what plants you use. You can grow java moss in a bucket with a candle practically this doesn't mean you can grow all plants like that.

My planted tank was pretty low tech just 2 48in shop lights and ei dosing I thought it looked good, but I couldn't keep some plants in there.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:52 PM   #23
 
I love my oscar with a Bare bottom tank there is no mess, the flow in the tank carries the mess up to the filter for disposal. There might be a temporary mess but its normally removed within an hour.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:07 PM   #24
 
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Plants require all their requirements to be in balance...
ferts, light, CO2.

If you want 2-3 or more watts per gallon of light, then you will need CO2 and regular fertilisation.

If you want to use 1 watt per gallon, then the CO2 from your fishes will likely be enough, and liquid ferts won't be required often if at all.

Most plants can be grown low tech or high tech.
High tech does allow faster growth, as long as everythind is in balance. If one thing gets thrown out of whack, it can be a disaster very quickly.

I've read about high-light CO2 enriched tanks "crashing" after a couple years.

It's much less likely for that to happen with a low-tech.
Just my 2 cents.

I just think the oscar would appreciate plants, and they will help filter the water.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:39 PM   #25
 
Low tech planted tanks are fine and all. I just can't deal with them as my only tanks. I NEED growth. Something is wrong if my main tanks don't need to be trimmed on a weekly basis. With both a 55gal and a 20 gal running high tech, they can produce about $10 a week in plants. You do loose stability with hi tech. 2wpg IMO is the best zone, you can certainly go higher without needing CO2 if you balance the tank correctly. It gets tricky around 2.5 on larger tanks. 2wpg is the lowest lighting I can run on a tank and still be satisfied with it. I'm sure others can do less. My problem is most likely do too the fact that most of my tanks are as close to 100% planted as I can get. I got a bag of a dozen bronze crypts on my floor that have been waiting for me to find planting space for days....

A CO2 enriched tank can certainly crash. You will likely find that as it grows older it becomes much more dependent on fertilizers. Especially depending what type of nutrient substrate you used in the tank. Some can be depleted faster then others. Same will go for any very low maintenance tank though. I keep two nano tanks that are almost self sufficient requiring water changes only about once every two months. They can go about two years before they need new soil.

Everyone has there own take on lighting. WPG is a very general rule, however I would not dismiss it so easily. WPG rule varys on the type of light. Lumens has some bearing, however I personally disregard lumens for the most part. Its based on the light seen by the human eye and IMO has no purpose when we are trying to grow plants. I believe lumens helps gauge intensity, however just because a light is more intense does not mean it is better suited for plant growth. PAR and PUR would be most helpful though they are not normally given.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:01 PM   #26
 
Now this is the type of discussion I love, every one giving their opinion and the reason for it with out being insensitive to others.

I agree about the growth, I like to see fast growth, my previous low tech almost never needed trimming. I personally never thought about the aspect of a tank being less stable due to the addition of co2 and other ferts, but this make since. Kind of like drinking a cup of coffee each morning and thus becoming dependent on the coffee to wake up.

I must admit I have only done general research on hi tech, mainly because I could't afford it. I have seen some lush aquatic forest that ran high tech, that not to say I have not seen nice low tech. So taking it as true that enriched tanks can crash quickly, should one be testing the water on a weekly bases. I am not normally into testing, I never test my water unless there is a problem. Although not sure how I would test for the trace frets.

Slight change of subject.

What do we think about T5 vs PC lights? and root heaters? I hear root heaters are mainly a waste of money, but I also know that deep substrate is cold, I know this from stirring up sand beds.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:27 AM   #27
 
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Now this is the type of discussion I love, every one giving their opinion and the reason for it with out being insensitive to others.

I agree about the growth, I like to see fast growth, my previous low tech almost never needed trimming. I personally never thought about the aspect of a tank being less stable due to the addition of co2 and other ferts, but this make since. Kind of like drinking a cup of coffee each morning and thus becoming dependent on the coffee to wake up.
Thats actually a great way to explain it. If I run out of CO2 or slack on EI for a week the tanks do look like the equivalent to someone who is lacking on their normal caffeine intake...

A properly cared for high tech tank should not crash the same way a non planted tank can. What I'm saying is if you are using enriched substrates like eco-complete or fluorite your tank may be consuming more nutrients then you are adding via the EI method. It won't consume all nutrients, but a single limiting nutrient can have quiet the effect on a high demand tank. The biological filtration should keep fish alive just fine. I have experienced minor crashes in one of my high tech tanks. The crash is mainly the plants and not anything else. Though a large loss in plants can effect water quality. My tank in particular was 1.5 years old. Grew star grass like crazy, then in one week all the star grass(a couple pounds easy) died except for a few straggly shoots. Took me a while before I figured I had run into a major Mg and/or a Ca deficiency, at least I think thats what is was. I stopped using softened water and went to straight well water along with adding MgSO4 to my fertilizers and *poof* my stargrass came back. You just need to pay attention to plant growth.

As far as T5 and PC's... well T5 is slightly higher output as far as I am aware. I only have ever used PC bulbs. I believe PC are about the same diameter as T5 except they are bent in the U shape. The U shape in theory decreases efficiency because it increases restrike. The fixture you are using matters too when it comes to efficiency. I would expect to see similar output in a fixture with 2x55 watt PC w/ individual reflectors and a fixture with 2x54 watt T5's that share the same reflector. However the same T5 fixture with individual reflectors will give you more light. You can then brake it down even further to the quality of the fixture and reflectors. I use a AHsupply kit with my PC bulbs. It will have no problem out preforming those cheap dual HO T5 fixtures on ebay. It would defiantly lose to a good quality HO T5 fixture though. So just because you run high efficiency bulbs doesn't mean much if you run them in a low efficiency fixture.

Root heaters are a waste of money. First we got by without them just fine before they came into the hobby. Secondly from my experience if you dig down into the soil in nature you will fine that its cold too.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:15 AM   #28
 
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Planted tanks got by without CO2 injection before it came into the hobby.If you look underwater in nature you're not going to see a CO2 bubble diffuser either.Plants grow in warm weather and go dormant in cold.Same holds true in water so maybe root heaters do have benefits to a high tech system.If the roots stay warm seems only logical they will grow more.I'm by no means an expert but it seems to make sense to me.
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:42 AM   #29
 
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Planted tanks got by without CO2 injection before it came into the hobby.If you look underwater in nature you're not going to see a CO2 bubble diffuser either.Plants grow in warm weather and go dormant in cold.Same holds true in water so maybe root heaters do have benefits to a high tech system.If the roots stay warm seems only logical they will grow more.I'm by no means an expert but it seems to make sense to me.
I can agree with that too, how ever nature can be funny in ways as well. Temperature for one fluctuates quiet often in the wild, especially day to night and based on depth and current. This however has shown to have a negative impact on fish in the aquarium, despite the fact that they would experience it in the wild. I'm not saying substrate heaters don't have benefits. I would actually expect them too have benefits. However considering the costs vs. benefit I consider them a waste. You also must consider the substrate in a aquarium is most likely already warmer then it would be in nature do to the fact that it is not in direct contact with the ground. For example we have a under ground shed. There is grass on top of it, you can see the outline of the shed after a few weeks cuz the grass on top of it grows faster because the warmer air is able to get under that soil because the shed is there.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:05 PM   #30
 
I can agree with Cost vs Benefit, so here is an idea especially if you use small diameter gravel. A RUGF this in my mind would constantly heat the gravel by pushing the heated water up to the roots; I would also imagine that this would push nutrients to the roots that might other wise only come from expensive soil you have to replace. You could hook the output of the canister to the RUGF, I would also think that if you hooked up the CO2 to the RUGF that the gravel wold act as an excellent defuser. I would also imagine this would reduce surface agitation helping keep the CO2 in the water rather then wasting it to the air.
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