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Old 09-15-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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So many questions ---> planning planted tank, fishless cycling

I picked up some cycled gravel and filter media from a LFS 2 days ago to help speed the cycling of my tank as recommended and within 48 hours have seen a nice drop in ammonia and the start of nitrites and nitrates in my tank! This makes me happy.
I also could not pass up a deal on a used 36"x12"x16" 30 gallon with stand and all accessories for only 100 bucks. I'm going to take more time planning this one. I want to make it a fully planted tank and was hoping for suggestions on how to go about it. I've seen plenty of pics online the past few days and I'm leaning toward an amano style. Any advice on substrates, plants, and lighting (as I will need a better source then the standard one bulb balance provides) would be welcomed greatly.
I did attach the aquaclear 50 filter that came with it onto the 47 gal I have in the hopes of having the media cycled by the time I set it up. And i plan on waiting until the bigger tank has fully cycled before I attempt the 2nd.
I've read so many different and conflicting things over the past few weeks. I would like to hear from anyone here about what has worked best for you.

Oh, and should I continue the daily PWC now that I've seeing signs of advancement in the cycling? Or should I wait until the nitrite levels get higher? How long much longer should I anticipate the process taking now that I am seeing nitrites?

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Old 09-16-2010, 10:28 AM   #2
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Location: Edmonton, Canada
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Check out the planted forum (esp. the stickies) & maybe post there for some ideas on how to go about setting up a planted tank.

A lot depends on how high tech, high maintenance, high $$ you want to go. But if you are looking at an Amano tank, you are prob. looking at high light, injected CO2, heavily planted ....

Suggestion then would be:
T5HO light in the range of 100-150 W
Pressurized CO2 injection system
4-6" of a "planted tank" substrate (eg Ecocomplete)
A balanced fertilizer regime, eg EI. (Dry ferts on hand right from day 1)
Lots of plants right from day 1. <You must have lots of healthy plants right from the start or a high tech setup will go to algae in no time.>
An algae cleaning crew shortly after the plants.

This is the high tech, high maintenance approach. And will cost you a pretty penny .... count on $300+, a bit less if you DIY some of the stuff.

Of course, you can try for a low tech, low maintenance tank ... which may be easier to tackle to start ....You can always upgrade along the way. You are then limited to "easy" lower light plants, and prob won't get an Amano look. <Although there are some amazing looking low tech tanks out there ....>

BTW - as to water changes during fishless cycling ... don't do any until after your nitrite spikes, unless you have a stall in the cycle. <Unlikely since you seeded the tank & it appears to be working.> You can wait till you are completely cycled, and do a 50% just before you add fish.
80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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