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Need some help starting my planted tank.

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Need some help starting my planted tank.
Old 04-10-2011, 06:34 PM   #11
 
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I will just add the Eco complete bags I got were 20 pounds Soo if that's the case 3 would be more then enough with some to spare. Not sure how to store the extra maybe a tote with a lid?
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:42 PM   #12
 
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A disclaimer regarding live plants should be inserted here.

BEWARE - sometimes the live plants and aquascaping with them are as fun as the fishkeeping!
I got back into the hobby for the fish, but I am having just as much fun with the live plants - who knew?

Here is a link to my planted tank if you'd like to take a look: 55 Planted - 55 gallon Freshwater fish tank
Suggestions are always welcome! My tank's certainly not equal to Byron's (and many others here) planted tanks, but I'm happy with it so far.
I think that looks very good. My only criticism is the background; I find it distracts from your lovely plants. I've had the same happen; any "plant" on a background is going to be distracting. A scene that is dull and of tree stumps, rock, wood with no plants can work [as on my 115g], or for something very inexpensive, plain black construction paper. The live plants will really look beautiful against black. I have this on my smaller tanks.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:46 PM   #13
 
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I will just add the Eco complete bags I got were 20 pounds Soo if that's the case 3 would be more then enough with some to spare. Not sure how to store the extra maybe a tote with a lid?
You might use it all, when you set the tank up there may not be any left...or do you have another small tank maybe? Normally I store gravel in those plastic garbage tubs on wheels (I have a lot of regular gravel and this is easiest to move it around) but that isn't needed for a bit of spare. EC has "bacteria" mixed in, so I know why you're asking, but I'm not sure what happens to this if it is not actually in an aquarium.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:54 PM   #14
 
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You have had good advice from Boredomb and DKRST so I'll just fill in a couple of things. First, a planted tank does not need to be difficult, no more than fish-only tanks. In both cases, there are some fundamentals that have to be understood, and some requirements that have to be met.

Light is the main thing with plants. A single fluorescent tube over a 40g tank is minimal, but workable. The first thing is buying a good tube to go in it. Measure the existing tube, end to end not including the prongs, and that is what you want. A T8 [the "T" number refers to the diameter, in eighths of an inch] in a full spectrum with around 6500K works best. We can go more into this if you ask.

Eco-complete is a good substrate, on its own. Do you have the black? [They also make a "red" which looks something like iron rust.] You need, as was mentioned, 2-3 inches. Larger-rooted plants will be in the back, so it should be deeper, 3 inches is fine. Less in front where small-root plants (or no plants) will be. I believe Eco-complete comes in 15-pound bags, so 3 bags will probably be sufficient depending upon your surface area, maybe 4. I personally would not put gravel on top.

Have a read of my article stickied at the head of this section. And feel free to ask us questions.

Byron.
Thanks for the response!

I could be searching the wrong thing, but for the 6500k spectrum light.. it seems like I'm getting results ranging from $6 to $300 dollars, haha. What is the correct price I should expect to pay?

I do not have the substrate yet but I do have some gravel. I just figured I'd put the gravel on top, as it somewhat stylish, haha. But I could see how it would become a hassle. By the way, when I clean the tank, I use a suction device that came with the setup. In advance, how would I do this with plants? I assume you don't want to suction the ecocomplete or mess with the rooting.

Last thing, is natural sunlight a big deal? My tank is near a window so I'm flexible, just curious.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:57 PM   #15
 
By the way, saw your guys' tanks. Wow. Totally taking advice haha
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:02 PM   #16
 
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Thanks for the response!

I could be searching the wrong thing, but for the 6500k spectrum light.. it seems like I'm getting results ranging from $6 to $300 dollars, haha. What is the correct price I should expect to pay?

I do not have the substrate yet but I do have some gravel. I just figured I'd put the gravel on top, as it somewhat stylish, haha. But I could see how it would become a hassle. By the way, when I clean the tank, I use a suction device that came with the setup. In advance, how would I do this with plants? I assume you don't want to suction the ecocomplete or mess with the rooting.

Last thing, is natural sunlight a big deal? My tank is near a window so I'm flexible, just curious.
In planted tanks, just a water change; most of us do not touch the substrate. I wrote at length on this just yesterday i think, you should find that in the Aquarium Plant section.

Light, it depends. In fish stores, the Hagen Life-Glo 2 will cost more than a daylight tube from hardware stores. If you can afford it, the Life-Glo 2 6700K is excellent. The Phillips Alto Daylight Deluxe 6500K is pretty close. Or there is the ZooMed Ultra Sun.

Problem with window light, esp direct sun, is algae. If one can control the light, it is ideal, but that is easier said than done in my experience.

Byron.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:25 PM   #17
 
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In planted tanks, just a water change; most of us do not touch the substrate. I wrote at length on this just yesterday i think, you should find that in the Aquarium Plant section.

Light, it depends. In fish stores, the Hagen Life-Glo 2 will cost more than a daylight tube from hardware stores. If you can afford it, the Life-Glo 2 6700K is excellent. The Phillips Alto Daylight Deluxe 6500K is pretty close. Or there is the ZooMed Ultra Sun.

Problem with window light, esp direct sun, is algae. If one can control the light, it is ideal, but that is easier said than done in my experience.

Byron.
Hold on... these lights are a measly $10? No way. Do you need to replace the bulb often? I have a feeling I'm missing out on something here.. this seems too cheap! I always veered from a planted tank because I figured the light would be very expensive.

And I can cover the sunlight.. was wondering if it was beneficial at all?
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:31 AM   #18
 
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Hold on... these lights are a measly $10? No way. Do you need to replace the bulb often? I have a feeling I'm missing out on something here.. this seems too cheap! I always veered from a planted tank because I figured the light would be very expensive.

And I can cover the sunlight.. was wondering if it was beneficial at all?
Not sure which tube you are looking at, but they vary in price. I live in Canada, and the Life-Glo 2 tubes in fish stores are around $39 for the 4-foot tube which is what I need on my larger tanks. The Phillips in Home Depot comes in a pack of 2 for around $9, so that's $4-5 each. The latter will suffice, but I prefer the Life-Glo 2. On my dual-tube tanks I use one of each, but on single-tube tanks always the Life-Glo 2.

Fluorescent tubes must be replaced regularly; as they burn they lose intensity, and will be useless for plants long before they actually burn out. Some say every year, some say the T8 can go 2-3 years. I have T8 (refers to the diameter, T12 are the thicker older type and T8 are the thinner newer type) and replace the Phillips every year, the Life-Glo depends, but usually within 2 years. I do see a difference when I replace one.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:34 PM   #19
 
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Not sure which tube you are looking at, but they vary in price. I live in Canada, and the Life-Glo 2 tubes in fish stores are around $39 for the 4-foot tube which is what I need on my larger tanks. The Phillips in Home Depot comes in a pack of 2 for around $9, so that's $4-5 each. The latter will suffice, but I prefer the Life-Glo 2. On my dual-tube tanks I use one of each, but on single-tube tanks always the Life-Glo 2.

Fluorescent tubes must be replaced regularly; as they burn they lose intensity, and will be useless for plants long before they actually burn out. Some say every year, some say the T8 can go 2-3 years. I have T8 (refers to the diameter, T12 are the thicker older type and T8 are the thinner newer type) and replace the Phillips every year, the Life-Glo depends, but usually within 2 years. I do see a difference when I replace one.
Wow, that blows my mind. Haha. Totally going to get started on this tank soon. Thanks so much.
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:35 AM   #20
 
Update: I got the full spectrum 6500k tube at a local store and just ordered my EcoComplete. When it arrives, what do you guys suggest I do? The tank is NOT cycled and I do a variety of water cleansers, but I'm under the impression that less is better sometimes. What, exactly, should I add to the water? How should I cycle it? When should I start to plant? What plants should I use to begin?

Thanks again!
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