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Old 10-20-2006, 03:51 PM   #1
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58 gal planted tank setup!

Hey guys,
I have used this website for research on aquarium related topics for quite a while and am impressed with the depth of information thats given. I've decided to start a freshwater planted tank for the first time. I keep lots of African cichlids right now and thought it would be fun to try something new. I just recently acquired a 58 gal show tank that I want to make into an amazing planted tank with colorful, active, and peaceful fish. I would like your thoughts on everything from substrate to CO2 injection. And if possible I'd like to save some money doing it, but only if that doesn't sacrifice quality. I'll just start with some of the ideas that I have had. I want a dark substrate, so I was thinking Estes deep river regular gravel mixed with flourite to act as a fertilizer. What ratio of flourite to gravel would be ideal and how deep should the bed be? Or is there a better product than flourite? I know that the type of plants I plan on keeping probably has an influence on a lot of your answers but all I know that I want is a large variety of different plants and possibly some different colors. For lighting I have done a lot of research and believe that VHO lighting is the direction I'd like to go. How many watts do I need for a 58 since this is a little taller than a standard tank? Or do watts even matter so long as I have the right spectrum? One of the other areas I need some advice is in CO2. What kind of a system would be high quality while still being realistic? That brings me to filtration. I would like a canister filter and have had success with Eheims 2026 Pro II filter on other tanks. Is it good to have a large canister filter for planted tanks (or does the surface agitation greatly reduce the CO2 in the water?), and if not is there a smaller one that will still get the job done well? Another thing to ask about is the inhabitants of the tank. Does the inch per gallon rule still apply to a planted tank or do all the living plants let you get away with a little more? And finally, are UV sterilizers recommended in a planted tank? I think thats about it unless there's something else you think I should know. Thanks for all the help and please reply quick! I can't let this tank sit empty much longer!
Thanks for all your advice,
Josh
Ames, Iowa
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Old 10-20-2006, 04:04 PM   #2
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For the gravel to be effective you need at least 50/50. Check out Ecocomplete it is black and a good planting medium. Black sand could also be an option. For what it is worth, I use plain black epoxy gravel and have done well growing what I want. It is just not as good for planting lawn like plants.

As for the lighting you need 1 wpg to be low light. Over 2.5 puts you at medium and over 3 wpg puts you at high light were it really gets to be fun. You need to decide how much you want to do as far as CO2, fertilizing and water changes.

A cannister is a good choice for a planted tank. Surface agitation can be limited by changing the aim of your spraybar.

For that size tank if you go the CO2 route pressurized would be your best bet. I am not great at it as I haven't taken the plunge yet. Others will be along to help you out.

Rich
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Old 10-20-2006, 08:38 PM   #3
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Really the first decision to make is whether you want a low to medium light tank that requires minimal care, or a high light tank that requires lots of care including CO2 and fertilization. With lower light tanks you can end up with a very nice lush tank, you're just more limited in your plant choices. High light tanks open up all the options when it comes to plant choices, but will also require more of your time. Let us know which way you want to go and we'll help you get there.
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:44 PM   #4
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I definitely am going for the high light, lushly planted tank even if that also makes it a high maintenance tank. I was thinking of having at least 3 wpg and more like 5 or 6.
Another question on the substrate is it ok to mix the gravel and flourite together, or do you want it to be in layers? And another related question, would mixing sand, gravel, and flourite 1:1:1 work?
The decision that I want to make right away is what canister filter to use. Like I said, I've used an Eheim Pro II in the past with success but am looking to save a little money. What are your opinions on a Fluval or Rena canister fliter? And is it better to pick a canister filter that is close to the recommended tank size or to go above and beyond. Specifically, get a filter for a 58 or one larger, say a 75 or 100 gallon?
Thanks for all the help!
josh
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Old 10-22-2006, 07:58 PM   #5
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Have you read the stickies at the beginning of this forum? Lots of needed info is in them especially for the planted tank newbie.
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Old 10-22-2006, 08:23 PM   #6
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If you're going to use a plant specific substrate, you need it to be at least 50% of your total substrate or you are decreasing it's effectiveness to the point where you are wasting money on it. If you're looking to save money on the substrate there are some less expensive options mentioned in the substrate thread, which is linked in the sticky.
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:27 PM   #7
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eco complete is the best dark coloured substrate. there is also aquasoil amazonia which i have heard is amazing. those are both a bit more pricy though so if u wanted a cheaper dark coloured substrate u might want to try 3m black. its like 20 bucks for 50 pounds and looks awesome. for your light i would suggest a dual 96 watt pc fixture. this would give u just over 3 WPG and plenty of light for most all plants. for filtration i have heard eheims are good but a little pricy. i love my rena filstar XP3 on my 55 gal right now. does a great job and as long as u aim the spray bar down a little it will prevent the surface aggitation from gassing off co2. u can then make an inline(or buy one) reactor for your co2 system. for getting a good system i suggest www.rexgrigg.com . he has everything u will need ata very good cost for the quality of his stuff. then just find a bottle locally or www.aquariumplants.com has nice alluminum tanks for sale at a decent price. for fertalizers go to www.gregwatson.com and order nitrate, potassium, phosphate and CSM+B and maybe the extra iron if your water doesnt have alot in it. u dont need a UV steralizer but having one just incase green water strikes is good and u can run it everyonce ina while to make the tanks sparly clean. the inch per gallon rule shouldnt apply to any tank lol but u can actually stock heavier since it is planted since the plants will act as extra filtration. i think that covers most of your questions. if not post them again so we can help u out more. i cant wait to see this tank set up.
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:11 AM   #8
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ok, so i've gone through all the stickies. i guess i got a little antsy to post a topic and get your advice, cause i must have passed right over that thread without even seeing it.
so in the filtration article it gives 5x turnover as the recommended high limit and with a 58 gal that puts me right under 300 gph. the xp2 is rated right around there, is that the filter you guys would use?
i'm still torn in two after reading tons of info about substrate. i'm probably going to use eco-complete but i haven't decided what to use it with. mix it with sand, mix it with gravel, or layer it with sand, or layer it with gravel? or is it better alone?

any advice would be great, cause you're right, i am a newb

p.s. - yesterday, i decided to change directions with my lighting and am getting ready to order a pc 4x55w retrofit kit from hellolights.com. this would put me almost at 3.8 wpg. comments or concerns on this would be welcome also
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:41 AM   #9
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Eco Complete would be best if used by itself. If you do decide to mix it, then make sure that it is at least 50% of the substrate or you are decreasing its effectiveness to the point where it's a waste of money. If you're new to planted tanks, then there isn't a lot of point to layering the substrates, since you'll likely be messing with the plants enough that they will become mixed anyway.

If you can find the filter you are looking at in the store, try messing with the display and make sure that it's fairly easy for you to open and close for maintenance. Also see if you can get a look a the other parts to ensure that they are also easy to use. Everyone has their favorite filters, so you'll get a lot of differing advice based on personal opinion.

With the light that you're going with you'll need to make sure that you have both CO2 (pressurized would be easiest with that size tank) and ferts ready to go. That's enough light that the plants will be tearing through the nutrients.
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:57 AM   #10
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My suggestion would be to go 100% Eco-Complete, the lights sound good, get the XP3 instead of the XP2 because it has 3 bins and will give you more options for biological filtration.

Purrbox is right on with getting pressurized CO2 and having Ferts ready to go.
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