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Old 03-06-2006, 01:03 AM   #1
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Converting to a planted Aquarium, good idea?

I am planing on converting my 90 gallon freshwater tank (18'l x 48"w 2"h) into a planted aquarium. This would mean replacing all of the gravel with something more suited for plant growth. I also want a new type of gravel for the top layer (I dont like the look of the current one). I need a substrate that is inert, and that definitely doesnt raise my PH. I plan on adding Discus' to my tank so I need a low PH. I am thinking between Eco-Complete, Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil from what I have read, does any one have any suggestions on a good substrate.

My current light fixture only provides 80 watts so I am planing on replacing it with a 260w PCF. Im thinking of buying this one http://cgi.ebay.com/AQUARIUM-LIGHT-4...QQcmdZViewItem. It looks like a good one, but I am new at this. This will be my 1st planted tank. So I am curious on how these light fixure will fit onto my hood. The specs of the light fixture says its 8" wide, well my hood only has a 5" wide piece of glass to let light through. Do these light fixtures still fit in that type of hood? It looks like it probably would but want to double check.

Also, I was wondering if it would be safe to convert and start adding plants while their are fish currently living in the tank. I imagine it probably would not affect my little buddies but I want a second opinion. I just dont want the chemistry of my water to drastically change and stress out the fish. I am not too worried about losing the bacteria from replacing all the gravel since I have a lot of filtration. I have an AquaClear 500, and a Fluval 404, this is enough for 200+ gallon sized tank. I also have 2 spare HOT magnum filters and a diatom filter whenever I need to use it. None the less I am still thinking of splitting the substrate conversion in 2 weeks, like changing 1/2 the gravel one week and the other 1/2 the next week. -Possibly may be pointless.


Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Fish in the tank
---------------------
7 Clown Loaches
2 Coolie Loaches
2 YoYo's
2 Royal Plecos
1 Gold Nugget Pleco
1 Ghost Knifefish
6 Angels
3 Rainbow fish (6 year old guys, originally had 12)

I am planing on adding around 6+ discus after I have a stable planted tank and a lot of spare $$$. Proably will have to find a new home for the rainbows as well
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Old 03-06-2006, 01:18 AM   #2
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As for Eco Complete, I like it. Got my 75G planted tank up and going now, and stocked some fish tonight. The light you are looking at is pretty nice, I have 2 of them on my 75G. Not sure about that seller, but here's where I got mine.

http://cgi.ebay.com/48-inch-JEBO-HIG...QQcmdZViewItem

I currently use the fixtures with no hood. I use the legs provided. Then at night, I slip the glass tops under, to keep moisture away from the light fixtures. Is your aquarium 48" wide? With the legs on, it will just sit on the edges of the aquarium.

Here's what it looks like, this is with just 1 fixture on it, currently I have 2 on it now.



Not sure if I'd change out the substrate with fish in the tank. The Eco Complete gets quite cloudy. You'd want to empty the tank almost completely, then add the Eco Complete, then fill slowly. Or you'll have a real cloudy mess on your hands. Mine took about a day and a half to settle. Once it settles, you can add plants at any time, and if using your cycled filter, fish also.
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Old 03-06-2006, 02:04 AM   #3
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While the setup LWB has is nice, I cannot reccomend that anyone but an expert try this much wattage over their tank. LWB has studied planted tanks in-depth and knows what he is doing but this much light, even with CO2 supplementation is tricky at best. Please look at the stickies here on the forum and then ask some more questions. My apologies to LWB, but this is not a thing for rookies
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Old 03-06-2006, 02:21 AM   #4
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Very true. The stickies is the best place to go first. I'm not saying to get as much light as I have, but the fixture is a pretty good source of lighting. One is good enough for most anything really. I just have 2 to bring out the reds in the ludwigia, and yes, it is tricky. But with one fixture, you can run it either with 1 switch on or both, basically, start with 130W, then if you are getting a handle on things, bump it to 260W and CO2. That's what I like about the fixtures I have, allows me to run various wattages, 130W, 260W, 390W, or 520W.

Oh, and no need to appologize. You are absolutely correct. It's not the amount of light a beginner wants, definitely. That's why I've asked lots of questions, gained lots of knowlege, and am experimenting, to see where my tank will be at it's best. I'm also thinking of kicking mine down to 390W+Actinics. Or even 50/50's. But like I said, I'm learning through the whole process. And yes, it is a pretty nice fixture. Start just running 1 set of lights if you get it. And plan your plants accordingly. The more knowlege you get, the more advanced plants you will be able to get, and will be able to run higher wattages. With lower wattages, you can do lots, but at higher wattages, it's a science (A very precise science that is).
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Old 03-06-2006, 03:15 AM   #5
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I think what's trying to be said here is the more light and CO2 you add to a system managing the nutrent uptake of your tank will become quite a wild ride. :P
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Old 03-06-2006, 03:48 AM   #6
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I have read all the stickys prior to posting, and yeah a lot of great advice and info there.

My tank is 48" wide, and I am definitely only going to get 1 light fixture. I am just going to hope for right now that it fits my hood. If the back part of the light fixture is ~2.5 inches then it will defietly fit perfectly. And thats what it looks like in the pictures I have seen. If it doesnt Ill probably resort to cutting some plastic and removing the glass shield (which I probably will do anyways).

I am not really looking forward to changing the substrate, and I imagine I will be making a cloudy mess whatever substrate I use. I plan on thoroughly rinsing the substrate and running my diatiom filter & My H.O.T. magnums after I change the substrate to quickly get rid of the cloudiness. BTW how cloudy does the Eco-Complete get when you move things around down there? LWB, about how many pounds of Eco-Complete did you use for your 75 gallon tank. Just want an estimate of how much I will need.

1 more question if someone doesnt mind explaing, the light fixture im interested in buys say it has 3 light settings "1 FOR DAYLIGHTS, 1 FOR ACTINICS, AND 1 FOR MOONLIGHTS". What exactly do actinics bulbs do? And How useful are they. They look like would add some aesthetic value to the tank, but are they good for plant growth?
The moonlights seem like an awsome feature, I can wait to see what my ghost knifefish & Gold Nugget pleco are doing at night.

Thanks for any advice, I really apreciate it.
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:17 AM   #7
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you tank is a very standard size.. the fixture should fit if it is indeed a 4' fixture..

clouds go away with time (the dust settles) that just takes some patients, some substrate's are better then others when it comes to clouding up the water. and Eco-Complete is one of the better ones, some cloud up the tank for weeks literaly. :P I can't really remember the amout needed for your tank so hopefully someone else will feild that question for you :P

The Actincs are usefull to SW tanks. Well and it looks good to some people (and there is a going theroy that you might get some bushier growth out of your plants by using it) but its not really calculated in the total amount of light that you have.

and the advice is always cool 8) no problem
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