Planted Substrait...Need Help Making final decision
Ok I am having trouble making my final decision on how I want to set up my sub strait for my 55 Gallon planted aquarium. So to start with I am going heavily panted and planning on keeping schooling fish tetras, barbs, cordys ect. i will be working with a total of 160 watts of fluorescent lighting and a ebay canister filter rated at 256 gph. Water PH 7.0-7.2ish out of the tap. With 60Lbs CaribSea Eco Complete Black Planted Aquarium Substrate.
1.So here is my direct question should i mix in some fluorite or clay with the eco complete I have read that it can increase the longevity of the nutrients in the sub strait because they are supper absorbent.
2. Should I use Carbon filter with a planted aquarium I have read a lot of things saying that active carbon may or may not take the nutrients from the water. Anyone have experience with this topic first hand?
3. Should I try to naturally drop my ph to 6.8 with say peat moss by adding it to the sub strait to get ammonium vs ammonia for better plant nutrient absorption, is it worth it? Also my choice fish would also prefer the water was slightly acidic as well.
If you are planning on corys I would not do Eco Complete. That substrate is gravel and rough and it will hurt their barbels. They need a sand substrate. Most people here have heavily planted tanks with just regular play sand, with root tabs for heavy root feeders (amazon swords for example), and regular ferts. Byron uses Quikcrete playsand.
If you already have the Eco Complete then I would recommend not adding any bottome feeders (Kuhli Loaches, Corydoras, etc). IMO it's a very rough gravel.
I personally use Flourish Black Sand, it's super rich in iron. However, it can be pricey and it's not the cleanest of sands. It is fairly cloudy and gets very messy when I plant. It looks more like dirt than sand.
Watts mean nothing in terms of lighting. It all depends on the kelvin, 6500k - 6700k is recommended for plants. Are you using a T8 or a T5 fixture?
Carbon can absorb nutrients from the water column. Most people remove it. Personal choice though.
Messing around with PH can be dangerous, but that's not something I'm very well versed in. I'm sure someone else would be able to offer more complete advice than I.
Good to know on ruffness of the eco complete sad day though i already ordered it will be here tomorrow... Oh well it was rated really high for plants guess no catfish. The lights are t8s day & full spec bulbs I only need to use 2 bulbs if 4 is overkill i was thinking 3-4 watts per gallon but i am confused now after reading the post that the moderator wrote at the top of the forum.
Thanks for the advice.
I just set up a 100 gallon with fluorite sand and a little rock mixed in. Hard to deal with at first but looks stunning and plants love it!! Also don't use tap water!! ROD is best for plants and water clarity.
No problem, glad I could help.
Do you know the kelvin rating of the bulbs? It's usually somewhere on the packaging. Barring that there's usually some info on the bulbs about the brand/type, you could look that up and see the kelvin of them.
The Eco Complete isn't bad, it's just too rough for bottom dwellers. You could always return it if you were really set on Corys, but it's up to you.
Speaking from personal experience, I would not set up a tank with Eco-Complete. I have Flourite in my 70g, for two years now; these two products are basically the same, and I have been extremely disappointed. The same plant species in this tank are no better than those in my sand substrate tanks. Liquid fertilization is still mandatory. Some even suggest using substrate fertilizer tabs, which I do in my sand tanks for the larger swords; this should not be necessary with enriched substrates, but the point only goes to show how ineffective they are for the incredible cost. Then there is the problem with substrate fish. I chose Flourite over EC solely because of the roughness; in my hand the F felt less rough than EC. But I had to remove the corys after they developed mouth and barbel issues, and after a few weeks in the sand substrate tank they recovered fortunately and are now doing well. Even after almost 2 years, when I am working in the substrate, the Flourite is still sharp enough to scratch my hands. If you don't open the bags, you can probably find someone to buy them perhaps at a slight discount.
Moving on to light, unless you intend diffused CO2, you will not want more than two T8 full length tubes. I have this over my 4-foot 70g and 90g tanks and my 5-foot 115g, and it is sufficient for most plants. I have to control the duration or algae increases, which is always due to light beyond what the plants can use. You can see the state of my tanks in the photos, click "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left. I follow the method in the series stickied at the head of this section that you earlier mentioned, so that is the result.
I agree on the carbon (don't use it). As for pH, don't fiddle with that, let it lower naturally which is likely will. Tied to this though, what is the GH and KH of your tap water?
Thanks for all the excellent input guys. I was contemplating co2, was going to see how it goes without it first. As far as the GH and KH go I dont know. I cant find any info on the city water supply here online I guess I should call them and find out they can tell me that right? See I did want to use play sand but i was worried about getting the bad bacteria growth, I heard it was uncommon though. But I am pretty set on the eco complete thought like I said I already ordered on line. Could I cap the eco with sand with out it mixing to bad.
I now have play sand in 5 of my 7 tanks, and yesterday/today I am tearing down the 70g with the Flourite and replacing it with sand. In over two years I have had no issues with sand, and the plants grow very well.
When you contact the water folks ask for the general hardness or total hardness, and the carbonate (or bicarbonate) hardness which is also referred to as Alkalinity. Get the numbers, and also what measurement they are using. Some us mg/liter, some ppm, or some perhaps degrees.
FWIW I just use 1" peat moss, 1" play sand and 1" pro choice select red.
Peat holds Kh and gh constant for years.
PH rose to over 8.
still just my .02
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