75G Plant/Lighting/Substrate Questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-04-2011, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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75G Plant/Lighting/Substrate Questions

Future Aquarium Setup:
75 Gallons, with black Sand Substrate, Low tech lights, Canister Filter Euheim 2217, Goldfish / Bristle Nose Plecos, and Potentialy Dojos, NO CO2.

Potential Plants
Compatible Plants: Java Fern (low Light, tied down), Anubias (low Light, tied down), Java Moss (low Light, tied down), Echinodorus Crypts and Swords (MODERATE Light / Substrate), Vallisneria (low Light,Substrate), Egeria Densa, Nymphaea, AponogetonBolbitis Heulotii
Other Plants, Potentially Eaten: Anacharis, Hygrophilas,

Questions:

1) I was going to go one of the two scecirios:

A) Workshop Fluorescent T8 lights from home depot that are 35 W each, 2 x daylight (6500k) - maybe one of the bulbs will be cold lights to give both spectrum. Will this be enough, or do i need a second pair as well?
Lithonia Lighting - 4' Industrial Work Light - L232120GESB - Home Depot Canada

B) Have 2 - 3 spiral lights (daylight 6500K) each in a seperate lamp from Ikea (very cheap 10$) I would get either 100W or 150W outputs (i think this is 23W to 42W actual but it is like incandescent 100W - 150W)
IKEA | TERTIAL | Work lamp

Pls help me choose, and if either are good. Most of the plants will be low to moderate light.

2) Will 1 - 2 " Black Sand be enough, or will i need an bottom layer of topsoil, and if so, which? I know most plants wont need this, but some do. Also, should the ones that i will plant in the substrate be left in the pot they come in, or do i need to remove something from the pot and then place it into substrate?

3) Any of the above plants messy? I have the horwort in my 10G tank, and it is very messy and peels off and makes a mess in the aquarium. I want to avoid this in the new tank. Pls tell me which to avoid. I also have the Barteri and it is very clean plant.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-04-2011, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zfarsh View Post
Future Aquarium Setup:
75 Gallons, with black Sand Substrate, Low tech lights, Canister Filter Euheim 2217, Goldfish / Bristle Nose Plecos, and Potentialy Dojos, NO CO2.

Potential Plants
Compatible Plants: Java Fern (low Light, tied down), Anubias (low Light, tied down), Java Moss (low Light, tied down), Echinodorus Crypts and Swords (MODERATE Light / Substrate), Vallisneria (low Light,Substrate), Egeria Densa, Nymphaea, AponogetonBolbitis Heulotii
Other Plants, Potentially Eaten: Anacharis, Hygrophilas,

Questions:

1) I was going to go one of the two scecirios:

A) Workshop Fluorescent T8 lights from home depot that are 35 W each, 2 x daylight (6500k) - maybe one of the bulbs will be cold lights to give both spectrum. Will this be enough, or do i need a second pair as well?
Lithonia Lighting - 4' Industrial Work Light - L232120GESB - Home Depot Canada

B) Have 2 - 3 spiral lights (daylight 6500K) each in a seperate lamp from Ikea (very cheap 10$) I would get either 100W or 150W outputs (i think this is 23W to 42W actual but it is like incandescent 100W - 150W)
IKEA | TERTIAL | Work lamp

Pls help me choose, and if either are good. Most of the plants will be low to moderate light.

2) Will 1 - 2 " Black Sand be enough, or will i need an bottom layer of topsoil, and if so, which? I know most plants wont need this, but some do. Also, should the ones that i will plant in the substrate be left in the pot they come in, or do i need to remove something from the pot and then place it into substrate?

3) Any of the above plants messy? I have the horwort in my 10G tank, and it is very messy and peels off and makes a mess in the aquarium. I want to avoid this in the new tank. Pls tell me which to avoid. I also have the Barteri and it is very clean plant.

Thanks in advance.

I can't answer all your questions, I'm sure someone will. You may not have enough sand with just 1-2", because some of the low/moderate light plants like the Swords have a good root system and may need more subtrate. I don't think topsoil is necessary. I also do believe you are always suppose to remove (carefully) the plant from the substance it's potted in and plant directly in your subtrate, without the pot or "stuff" it is rooted in. When I asked about low/moderate plants I was steered toward Swords and crypts. I got plants from Planted Aquarium Central, and you can choose "low light plants" and a big list comes up to choose from.

Gwen

Just because animals can't talk, does not mean they should not be heard
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 09:43 AM
Lower wattage might be better for you, seems like you have a lot of low-light/shade plants planned.

If you use topsoil, there are a lot of additional risks you need to consider since soil can get very anerobic. 1-2" substrate is ok as long as you fertilize with root tabs for your root feeders such as the swords and crypts. Soil does offer a good amount of nutrients, but is generally avoided by many due to risks involved. If you decide on soil, look up redchigh on the forums, he has 2 guides to setting up soil substrates and outlines the risks involved with such a setup.

Always remove plants from their pots.

All plants will be more or less "messy" old leaves die, new ones sprout, its a natural cycle. The least "messy" plant in terms of pieces falling off will be the anubias. However, plants like java moss will have pieces break off regularly and stick to different places in your tank. Stem plants are also "messy" since they grow very fast and will require lots of trimming.
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 10:58 AM
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Two T8 fluorescent tubes full length (assuming 48 inch tank so 48-inch tubes) will be sufficient. I have this over my three larger tanks (70g, 90g and 115g) and grow most of the plants you mention. They must be the correct spectrum of course.

Plants, no plants, "need" soil. All will grow in plain sand or fine gravel, with or without substrate fertilizers; liquid fert will suffice.

The substrate should be 2 inches minimum, but along the back where the swords and aponogeton will be planted it can be deeper, 3-4 inches. If you have enough plants, this will not be problematical.

Byron.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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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post #5 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 11:06 AM
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I agree, it will work better if you slope in the back. 1-1.5 inches in the front, and 3-3.5 inches in the back (for the swords).

They might do with 2 inches in a normal community tank, but I notice you want goldfish and a BN pleco. They can be quite rough (although in the case of the BN, it's quite on accident.)
More substrate will help the swords resist the Goldies.

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^^ genius
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 11:22 AM
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Yes, the goldfish will probably dig up most of the substrate rooted plants to some degree. will be a challenge to keep it looking tidy.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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thanks everyone. I wanted to go with black sand or very fine gravel. But i want to try to keep my costs down. A 2" - 3.5" substrate black sand is +100 - 200 g of sand, that is very expensive if each 20G is 20 - 25 $. Although i wanted nice black sand, it is looking harder and harder. Can you guys help me with alternates and where i could buy this. I would preffer darker colors. Also, I was under the impression that anything above 2" sand is bad for plants, as it might choke them, as it is so tight. Pls let me know your impressions.

Also, can you tell me what you think of putting 3 - 4 work lamps as bellow:
IKEA | TERTIAL | Work lamp
The advantage is, everytime i do a water change, these can be pulled back easily. I would put 43W = 150W incandescnet spiral bulbs 6500K.

Finally, pls confirm 6500K means FULL spectrum.

Thanks in advance.
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zfarsh View Post
thanks everyone. I wanted to go with black sand or very fine gravel. But i want to try to keep my costs down. A 2" - 3.5" substrate black sand is +100 - 200 g of sand, that is very expensive if each 20G is 20 - 25 $. Although i wanted nice black sand, it is looking harder and harder. Can you guys help me with alternates and where i could buy this. I would preffer darker colors. Also, I was under the impression that anything above 2" sand is bad for plants, as it might choke them, as it is so tight. Pls let me know your impressions.

Also, can you tell me what you think of putting 3 - 4 work lamps as bellow:
IKEA | TERTIAL | Work lamp
The advantage is, everytime i do a water change, these can be pulled back easily. I would put 43W = 150W incandescnet spiral bulbs 6500K.

Finally, pls confirm 6500K means FULL spectrum.

Thanks in advance.
Last question first. No. Spectrum means the light wavelengths emitted by the tube or bulb, and kelvin is the degree of colour we perceive. 6500K is very close to the sun, so colour rendition of fish and plants will be "natural" as we perceive it. It so happens that most--but not all--tubes/bulbs with a 6500K rating are close to the correct spectrum but it can vary according to how the tube/bulb is manufactured. Which is why i always use specific brands, because i know they have the spectrum.

On the substrate, I agree I would not use sand with goldfish. A gravel would work better. This is a case where pea gravel [so named because the grains are about the size of a green pea] would do well. I bought some dark pea gravel at a local landscape/stone place last year, they called it "birds eye gravel". It cost me a total of $3 for 2-3 inches of substrate in a 70g (4-foot by 18 inch) tank. It would work in your situation very well. Here's a photo of what it looked like.
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File Type: jpg 70g Aug 19-10.jpg (109.1 KB, 32 views)

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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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post #9 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, what a beautifull tank you have. What is that background / wallpaper you have, and from where did you buy and cost?

Your substrate does look so very nice, again wow, and i cant believe how good the price is. Will consider this for sure. Now, i have read that goldfish preffer sand, and is less dangerous so they dont choke on it, but maybe yours is too big to be swallen. Then the problem becomes cleaning in the gravel case, though it is safer for the filters. Also, i was thinking (not 100%) to put 3 Dojos in there, and i think they like the sand as well. Nevertheless, i really like the contract between the wood pieces, your plants, and the substrate, and i dont want to spend a 100$, so thanks for this. I will also consider plain sand.

Now, about the light, what manufacturer do you use for the bulbs? I want to get something cheap, but with full spectrum from home depot or general stores.
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-05-2011, 12:40 PM
If you are worried about substrate compacting over the roots, then pea gravel is a better alternative since it does not compact as much, sand will compact regardless of substrate depth, which is why it needs to be turned occasionally to keep it loose and aerobic.

From my experience, pea gravel is a lot harder to plant in than sand or ultra-fine gravel, especially when there are fish that like to play with the plants, its harder for the roots to establish themselves before being pulled out.
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