Plants and filtration
I have read that chemical filtration, like activated carbon, will remove liquid plant fertilizer from the water. I'm new to planting and was wondering how do you all feel about this? Do you forego chemical filtration and weekly WC are enough to keep things safe for the fish, or do you use chemical filtration and use liquid fertilizer more often?
Another question I had was, I know from keeping non-planted tanks that churning the top of the water removes CO2, would it be better to switch to cannister filtration (rather than power filters)? I have read that plants process CO2 when the lights are on, but release CO2 at night. I already have 3 power filters on this tank that I am about to plant, but am willing to switch to cannister if necessary. I want things to be safe for my fish, what if I used a cannister filter, and had a power filter or air pump on at night but not during the day. I do not plan on doing any kind of CO2 injection.
What is your tank size?
125g it is set up with some mbunas right now, who are moving out to a 75g, and starting over on the 125. filtration, plants, fish, substrate, lighting are all open ended right now. I am wanting to plan out to do it right from the start rather than fumble through it and spend a lot of money learning from mistakes.
Good plan! My recommendation is to go high-end on the lights and filter, rather than regret it later and end up buying more all over again. Also, definitely get a very good substrate, cuz changing substrate later absolutely stinks! Eco-complete and fluorite are very good. A cheaper and supposedly awesome alternative is AquariumPlants.com own substrate. I haven't used it but I've used their root tabs and it's awesome.
I'd say go for the canister filter, especially if you are doing co2 injection. You can switch your power filters to the 75, cuz there's no such thing as too much filtration, especially in an african tank.
I have been researching as much as I can.
I had already decided I was probably best off with eco-complete or aquariumplants.com's substrate from reading other threads, and also just because I am a big fan of dark substrate for stress purposes and I also find it to be more aesthetically pleasing. Right now I am leaning toward aquariumplants.com's own, but offhand it seems like one of those things where if one is better than the other, it probably isnt by a big enough margin to make a very noticable difference.
CO2 is not going to happen right at first, but I have been thinking about later on going that route, so cannister filtration is probably my best option to leave that open if I do decide to do it. I have been looking at the Eheim Classic Plus 2217. It says it works for tanks up to 132g, but it is rated for 264 gph, turning over twice per hour is a little light for my preference so I was thinking of getting two of them and that would allow me to use inline heating, which I would prefer, but I havent found a single inline heater that I felt like would be quite strong enough for a 125, and that way I could use two smaller ones. As far as heating and filtration I have always felt that two smaller was better than one bigger.
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