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Old 05-07-2004, 10:22 PM   #1
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Converting to Freshwater Please Advise

OK, first off, hello. This looks like a great forum.

Situation: I have a 33 gallon reef set up that I am taking down. Firstly, it is too troublesome for me to have to deal with all of the maintenance I have to do on it. Second, I have been having algae problems and cannot get them under control. I no longer enjoy looking at it because all I see is the hair algae. Finally, the sump makes a dreadful noise and it bothers me in my sleep.

So, I am going to sell it off and buy a nicely crafted 29 gallon and stand (the 33 is on crappy wood and really does not look nice next to my nice desk). I will make it freshwater planted because I do not have the time or energy to handle a reef. So, I will have the tank with 2 55 watters and the heater. I need to know what else to buy.

Right now, I am looking at purchasing 2 of the hagen CO2 devices, three bags of flourite, and as far as fish go I will stock it with about 20 or 25 fish (and I know all about stocking and biological filtration and bacterial colonies etc etc etc).

What I need to know is, are the CO2 and fluorite good? Could I get by with less fluorite? Also, what kind of filter should I use. I know undergravel isn't the way to go, nor is a marineland penguin bio-wheel (a shame, because I really like those). What should I get? I'm looking to spend less than $50 on the filter, and the less, the better.

Thanks a lot for reading all this and for your help.
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:50 PM   #2
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[center:e5e61371b4] Welcome to AA, JoeMomma! [/center:e5e61371b4]
I don't have planted tanks, so I can't help with substrate or CO2. For a filter--look into Aqua Clear, but from what I understand, you don't want too much surface agitation. Canister filters are great for planted tanks, but may cost more than you want to spend. Although, you never know--try to catch a sale!!!

What kind of fish do you want to stock?
You can encounter algae problems with a FW tank also
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:54 PM   #3
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One of those Hagen CO2 units will be fine, it's rated for up to 20-gallons; however long-term, you should look into pressurized CO2, since two of those will cost around $50, almost more than half of what a decent regulator would cost. And you can buy or lease a 5lb CO2 tank and get it refilled. It will last a lot longer too.

As for the fluorite, you can put down as much or as little as you want, the more the better, since there will be more nutrients for the plants to intake. And you'll probably want at least a cannister filter so you don't disturb the surface of the water too much. Getting a cannister under $50, good luck. Try online.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:32 PM   #4
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Why a no to the penguin bio-wheel? That's what I have and it works great, and I haven't read any bad things about it. Granted I wasn't looking, but I haven't heard anyone say they don't recommend them when people are asking about filters.

And welcome to AA!!! You'll love it here!

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Old 05-08-2004, 12:02 AM   #5
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Sorry, I should have clarified. Bio-wheels do too much aeration, leading to a CO2 defecit in a heavily planted tank.

Thanks everyone for the fast and very comprehensive advice!
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Old 05-08-2004, 05:53 PM   #6
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That is correct! For a fish only FW tank, bio wheels are great--don't worry flipz!!
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Old 05-08-2004, 07:57 PM   #7
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Hello JoeMomma,

Welcome to AA . It really is a great site!

I hate to burst you bubble, but a FW planted tank is only one step below a SW set up as far as maint, care, time comsumption etc.....

If you did'nt have the understanding, time, patience, knowledge to keep green algae down in a SW tank, your probobly going to have the same probs in a FW planted tank.

With the light intensity you say you want to use (2x55 on a 29g with CO2), that is going to require huge amount of time, research, care. Keep in mind, the planted tank you have in mind will require a good understanding of dossing ferts to keep the various algaes at bay. Again, if you did'nt have a basic understanding of water chemistry to keep algae down in SW, your going to have the same probs in a FW planted tank.

If you want a lower maint. tank that does'nt consume much time. Perhaps an African Cichlid tank with driftwood and rocks?

Would a moderator please move this to the planted tank forum where our plant guru's can help with this question
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Old 05-08-2004, 08:11 PM   #8
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Well, I could move it but I do have to agree about a planted tank requiring a lot of attention, and if you decide against a planted tank for the maintenance factor then I will leave the thread here. My heavily planted, high light CO2 tank is extremly tricky to keep algae free, and it takes a lot of my attention to keep it stable that way.

If you want to switch to a planted tank, JoeMomma, I will certainly move the thread over (for certain you will get plenty of good advice on it in the planted tank forum) but keep in mind once you put that kind of light over the tank you have a lot of factors to consider in terms of balancing nutrients and light. You can start with lower light and plants that go along with that, like crypts, java fern and/or moss, anubias, etc., and once you are more experienced you can increase your light. That is what I did, and I still have several low light tanks that I enjoy because all I really do is change the water regularly.
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Old 05-08-2004, 08:35 PM   #9
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Ah ok. Well, thanks, I think I would just use my 10k 55 single PC for light.

As far as my knowledge of chemistry, I have to say I think I did everything right. I use pure RO/DI, kalkwasser top-off, plenty of herbivores, only 2 clowns, 30 lbs live rock, remora skimmer, and manual removal. But the problem is every day I have to get in, pull out algae, make RO, top off (because the sump makes it evaporate like crazy), scrub the glass (not just with a mag float, with a razor because of the nasty algae), right the snails, test, all that stuff. Then I would sit down to look at the tank after cleaning up and see algae I missed and just get annoyed. So, the tank isn't working out. The tank, which I have torn down once and redone, and tried both DSB and without DSB, has been up for over two years.

Oh, and we are going on vacation for 4 weeks this summer, leaving it with someone that can only come in every other day and, despite having kept numerous freshwater aquariums, has no experience in saltwater.

Now that I have rambled enough... Moving it to the planted forum would be a good idea. In retrospect, I should have put it there in the first place! Sorry for that inconvenience.

Edit: also, I like the HOT Magnum canister. The return looks like it is below the waterline. Any comments?

Thanks a lot everyone, this has been very helpful!
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Old 05-08-2004, 08:38 PM   #10
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Well, I am sorry you had trouble enjoying the SW setup, and I think it is a great idea to switch over to FW, at least for a while. If you keep your lighting 2wpg or slightly under then you should have no troubles, unless high phosphates in your tap was the problem for your SW setup, in which case it could give you a bit of algae trouble in FW as well.
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Old 05-08-2004, 09:32 PM   #11
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My HOT Magnum has been running trouble free for years. I do use a Pro 30 bio wheel with it because the HOT Magnum, and all the other Magnum canisters, has a very limited biological capacity. The return is under the surface and has some adjustment as to the direction of flow.
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Old 05-08-2004, 10:21 PM   #12
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FWIW, I have a Emporer 400 in my planted tank.
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Old 05-10-2004, 04:58 AM   #13
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One 55 watt would be O.K. for mid to lower light plants. Alot of us here like the AH Supply lights because their reflector design is about 60% brighter than some of the big names like Coralife. But your 110 watts on a 29 gallon will guarantee big time algae issues. Re: filters, I like the Rena Filstar cannister filters like the XP2 for a 29 gallon. Rena would suggest the XP1 but most planted folks go overkill on filtration. The XP2 would give a ton of media room and is a breeze to clean and service and state of the art. Big Als usually has the best prices on these, so I believe.

I agree with Tank girl that dosing ferts is key to algae success. First read and study and then re read Rex Griggs FAQ very carefully (its at the top of this forum) and consider dry dosing ferts after water tests. Know your water's chem stats first. What is your tap's stats after sitting for 24 hours? You may not need RO water and sometimes one can plan for plants according to your water column's parameters.

A pressurized CO2 at about $180 is really the way to go, but on the other hand two DIY 2 litters can do wonders on a 29 gallon if you don't mind mixing the sugar and yeast and Baking soda once per month. Cost DIY is around $20.00 for a couple of hagen ladders and some airline and your time to plumb. Re: Pressurized, IMHO the best way to go is with a Milwaukee all in one regulator, needle valve, solenoid, tank from a welder's supply and some kind of reactor running in line with a cannister filter. Might want to use 6700K lamps on your lights, though 10k will do. 45 ibs of flourite will do. Need about 3 to 3.5 inches. Some people use gravel and just flourite where the plants are but thats kind of funky. Planted tanks are not that hard if you know your water chemisty and keep the pH in the mid to high six and CO2 at 25 to 30ppm. I think they are great fun, but require a lot of research at first. You can do it, but one has to get the water chem and dosing just right, then its pretty easy. Some of the more basic plants such as Anubias, wisteria, green hygro, elodea etc. are really simple to succeed with. Another good planted forum is Aqua botanics... HTH
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