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Old 10-25-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
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Coming from reef aquarium

I'm tearing down my reef setup and going to do a planted tank. My tank has gotten to the point it takes care of itself, besides water changes obviously, but we had a power outage and my check valve stuck, plus my siphon break became clogged with something during the day and flooded the den. Can't deal with that anymore. Murphy's law got me.

Anyway, the tank is 125g with nova t5 12x36" light. I want to go the route not needing co2. And I want a medium plant amount. The same goes for fish amount, with 2-3 showcase fish. Suggestions welcome on this as well. Keep in mind, a big school of neon tetras will be in the tank.

So with that said, I've read I need to stay less than 2wpg, iirc even 4 bulbs is 144w, is that too high or am I just splitting hairs?

I was also thinking a couple ac110's with nothing in them just to turn the tank over.

Now, my real important question, I used dry aragonite sand and the rock livened it up, could I use it if I boiled it in RO water to kill everything off vs buying new sand?

Thanks in advance, the one thing I will miss the most about my reef is my tiger mantis I had in the fuge, had him trained to grab stuff out of my hand.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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Have you thought about doing a discus tank? That size tank would be perfect and they go well with the tetras. As far as the aragonite is concerned, you can do that, however, I would get a substrate that is a little more nutrient rich. You don't "have" but you are going to need a fair amount of ferts and root tabs to make up for the lack of nutrients in the soil.

Why is it that you don't want to go the route with co2?
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:47 PM   #3
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I wouldn't use the sand. I especially wouldn't boil it. If there's any traces of certain corals or anything, boiling it can release toxic gases which you definitely don't want to breath in. But that goes more for rock rather than sand. Still, i'd chuck it and go with some new sand. Something like pool filter sand is super cheap and looks great IMO.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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I just don't want to fool with it, I want as simple as possible. Plus, I'm a fan of natural looking tanks, my reef had little patches of hair algae, and cyano. Never got out of hand, looked natural to me.

I wouldn't mind maybe 1-3 discus. I'm guessing if I can keep a mandarin and sea moth alive for 4 years and are still living, I could keep these alive.

I haven't looked much into the substrate below the sand, I've seen the brands, are there certain params I am looking for?
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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I just don't want to fool with it, I want as simple as possible. Plus, I'm a fan of natural looking tanks, my reef had little patches of hair algae, and cyano. Never got out of hand, looked natural to me. I wouldn't mind maybe 1-3 discus. I'm guessing if I can keep a mandarin and sea moth alive for 4 years and are still living, I could keep these alive. I haven't looked much into the substrate below the sand, I've seen the brands, are there certain params I am looking for?
Oh yes! If you can do a reef aquarium you can keep discus. You don't have to worry too much about parameters of nutrients, you def want to use dry ferts and metricide ( co2 replacement). You can learn all about the ferts in the stickies in this forum. Also, check out Greenleafaquariums.com, you can order all your ferts from there. I think you should go with one of 2 options, cheap and good or expensive and great. The cheap and good option is Eco-complete, the expensive and great is the ADA line of substrates.

It all depends what your finances are.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:54 PM   #6
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Well that's good about the discus. A reef isn't all that hard, just stay away from acropora corals, too finicky. All that dosing is a money racket, there are several in my area that just do pwcs and all is fine.

I do have a triton 1300gph and quiet one 1000gph pump, instead of the ac's, could I just use one of those and hook it up externally? Both will make a whirlwind, I know.

What about the lighting? What do I do there?

And the ferts are needed when poop alone is not enough? Making sure I have that right.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:58 PM   #7
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Well that's good about the discus. A reef isn't all that hard, just stay away from acropora corals, too finicky. All that dosing is a money racket, there are several in my area that just do pwcs and all is fine.

I do have a triton 1300gph and quiet one 1000gph pump, instead of the ac's, could I just use one of those and hook it up externally? Both will make a whirlwind, I know.

What about the lighting? What do I do there?

And the ferts are needed when poop alone is not enough? Making sure I have that right.
If you go low light/low maintenance no ferts are needed. Also if you use real dirt as an underlayer in your substrate you dont need ferts. Look up the walstad method. Very low maintenance and good for plants.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kdogg85 View Post
Well that's good about the discus. A reef isn't all that hard, just stay away from acropora corals, too finicky. All that dosing is a money racket, there are several in my area that just do pwcs and all is fine. I do have a triton 1300gph and quiet one 1000gph pump, instead of the ac's, could I just use one of those and hook it up externally? Both will make a whirlwind, I know. What about the lighting? What do I do there? And the ferts are needed when poop alone is not enough? Making sure I have that right.
Not sure what the triton is but you don't want too much flow. Too much can uproot some sensitive plant especially young ones. I use a fluval 306 in my 55, it works great.

No, you def need ferts waste alone doesn't supply all of the micro nutrients that plants need.

I have 4 x 54w HO t5's. Light depends on what kind of plants you want. Got any ideas on that yet?
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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mostly plants that feed from the water column, then a couple that feed from the substrate(swords and such) I'd really like a good mix of colors, green as the main color, then some red, blue, etc... to break it up.

I was asking if just using one of the pumps would be fine. Have the intake on one side then have the outlet on the other, If they would work, I'll hard pipe it all together.

There is going to be a couple pieces of driftwood in as well, so I may be able to do some funky planting(moving the plants up higher in the tank) these would have to column feeders of course.

Besides the discus fish, what would be another "showcase" fish that would work with tetras? Maybe german rams or something?
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #10
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My largest planted is a 220g dirted tank with an Eco Complete cap. I have high lighting which is what you are going to need if you want non-green plants. Also remember with a planted tank you aren't going to have any blue plants. Yellow, orange's, pink's, and various shades of red. If you go through my albums you can see a lot of colored plants which will require high lighting. You can use liquid carbon BUT in a high light tank with fast growing plants you'd have to work up to 1ml per 1gallon of water. I ran the 220g for over a year using only liquid carbon but do have CO2 on it now. You can use Metricide 14 Day Solution which a gallon online will cost around $27 shipped. You have to shop around as some places try to sell it for $40 a gallon. You mix the Metricide at a 1:1 ratio with RO or distilled water to get 2 gallons for under $30. It also has to be stored in opaque, completely light blocking containers. I kept some old excel bottles so I can mix a small amount up at a time so the bulk of the Glut can stay in it's original bottle.

You will also need to use dry ferts... Estimative Index | Aquarium Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums. This will last over a year.

You'll need 3 dosing bottles, look at the bottom of the page.... Aquarium Plant Fertilizer | Green Leaf Aquariums.

Here's a good link to read about PPS-Pro dosing. Only read the opening post not all the comments. Also the recipe calls for using 2 bottles but I suggest using 3 so nitrates can be mixed in one bottle, potassium and phosphates in another bottle, and micro's in the 3rd bottle. This allow for better custom dosing to the needs of your plants. Also if you have a Gh of 4 or above you don't need the MgSO4, magnesium sulfate the recipe calls for either.

You'll need a nitrate and phosphate test kit and a gram scale.

I would suggest new substrate.

Here's a link to my albums so you can see the different colors of higher light plants... Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community - Rivercats's Albums.
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