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Old 03-19-2019, 06:47 PM   #1
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New Project: Rainforest Planted Tank

Howdy All,


I'm converting my freshwater fish tank into a semi-aquatic Rain Forest tank that will have partial "land" and a "lagoon" with aquatic plants.


This is a custom 45 gallon tank, 36 x 12 x 24H with about a 12 gallon sump inside the stand. I'll attach some pics of the project start.


I plan to make my own lighting fixture with 2 x 30W high intensity LED fixtures. Note the spray bar in the back left corner. This is going to feed a rock & driftwood waterfall. I'm not a newbie to tanks, but I sure am when it comes to live plants. I'll need help with this.


I hope to have some semi-aquatic and some aquatic plants in the lagoon itself. I will be putting in a a couple of Dart Frogs and maybe a coupe small South American Chameleons, then a few very small temperate tetras - White Clouds possibly.


The far right side of the tank is the input to the sump. I'll be covering that section with a piece of Poret Foam, then cover with river pebbles, driftwood, and some live plants. The sump already had a well established bacterial colony form when I had fish in there just a few days ago, so no cycling needed.



One of the things I really need help with is to understand how to get the plants the proper nutrition.



What test kits do I need?
What nutritional supplements are recommended, and at what intervals?


Looking forward to this, as is my 9-year old daughter.


CMOS
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:08 PM   #2
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All,


What kind of test kits do you recommend I get to properly care for the semi-aquatic and aquatic plants?



I'll be adding quite a few rock piles, and various drift-woods this weekend. Hope to get the new LED light fixture done also.


Thoughts on the test kits?


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Old 03-21-2019, 07:37 PM   #3
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I'll first start with stocking and go from there. I wouldn't do white cloud minnows in a rainforest tank since they like cold water(64-72 f) and won't be compatible with your other stock. Your dart frogs are a maybe. Not sure if all dart frogs are poisonous but I do know some are and may kill your fish.

Next is your lighting. I'm thinking 2 30w is going to be a lot for this tank. I use 2 18w lights on my 30g tall paludarium and feel its a bit much. Your tank isn't much taller if any then the 30g. Worth testing and see how it goes.

For nutrients you have the option of liquid prebottled ferts like the seachem line, thrive all in one or one of the many others. You also have the option of the dry fett method following ei or pps dosing. You also have the option of a dirted tank but this can be very dirty if not done right and I can't say I would do it with a sump involved.

For testing you need a kit like the api master test kit that will cover pH,GH, kh, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The nitrate test is said not to be that great so people opt for a more expensive indidiual test kit for nitrates. Sorry I can't remember the go to brand. You will also want to get a TDs pen. If you were asking for test kits for nutrients then I have no clue if there are even test out there to do such a thing.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:34 PM   #4
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goat,


Thanks for the reply. One thing I didn't consider until your post is that since this tank will only have about 4-5" of water, I don't need to penetrate all 24" of the tank's depth (if filled with water).


Your thoughts on ONE of these 30W fixtures for my application?


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Old 03-21-2019, 09:43 PM   #5
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Right, light penetrates through air easier then it does water. I think one setup in the middle of the tank will be enough for at least low light plants. I'm growing anubias, crypt undalata, limnophila heterophylla and keeping Monte Carlo alive but not spreading in my paludarium. I'm thinking about adding co2. You should be fine with java fern, java moss, anubias, buce species and some crypt species.

Oh also just a little addon to the light thing. I'm using a 50w floodlight very similar to what you have on my 30g plastic tub grow out tank and I have to keep it raised about 16" or so off the tank to keep down the algae.
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:27 AM   #6
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goat,


I'll try the one light to start with.



I do want to have one or two species of "miniature" plants (Hairgrass, etc.?) as ground cover in the "lagoon". Most of the other plants will be semi-aquatic.


You can't see it in the pic of my tank but I do have a wall-mounted light fixture bracket that sits about 8-10" above the top trim of the tank. I'll mount the light to that, which should place the lighting distance between the water's surface and the light itself to at least 24". Does that still sound good for the one 30W fixture?


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Old 03-23-2019, 08:23 PM   #7
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Weekend Update:


Got the waterfall placed and functional. It's got a nice trickle over several inches of the rock face.


LED light fixture (one 30W High Output) is up and running. Tomorrow I will place some terrarium moss base over the pebbles I have over the Poret foam that is covering the entry to the sump.



Need to order my test kits so I can prepare for the plants.


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Old 03-23-2019, 09:26 PM   #8
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Looking nice man. See how that one light still looks like a lot of light? Make sure to keep water running over your terrestrial moss or it will dry out and die. Just a slow trickle will be enough. Will be following this to see where you go with it.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goatnad View Post

For testing you need a kit like the api master test kit that will cover pH,GH, kh, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The nitrate test is said not to be that great so people opt for a more expensive indidiual test kit for nitrates. Sorry I can't remember the go to brand. You will also want to get a TDs pen. If you were asking for test kits for nutrients then I have no clue if there are even test out there to do such a thing.

goat,
The API Master kits doesn't cover GH and Kh. Individual kits for these I suspect?


Also, what is a TD's pen?
Thanks for your replies.


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Old 03-24-2019, 11:23 AM   #10
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API GH & KH TEST KIT Freshwater Aquarium Water Test Kit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003SNCHMA..._5c6LCb07BAATQ

Water Quality Tester, Accurate and Reliable, HoneForest TDS Meter, EC Meter & Temperature Meter 3 in 1, 0-9990ppm, Ideal Water Test Meter for Drinking Water, Aquariums, etc. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073713G5F..._8d6LCbPN20XK1

TDS measures your total dissolved solids in your water.
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