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Old 03-15-2007, 09:57 AM   #1
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new planted tank setup...what media to use in filter???

Hi out there.

I am in the process of getting all my equipment together for my very first planted tank and I have a question...

72 gallon bowfront
inline heater
130w of light (I know its kinda low...but all I could afford right now)
eco-complete and sand substrate
diy Co2 (temporary till I can scratch together some $ for a kit)

Now my question is with the filter. I had originally purchased the Magnum 350 pro with the Bio-wheel. And after some research, found out that the bio-wheel would probably cause too much turbulance and cause me to loose some Co2...so I returned it for the Rena Filstar Xp3. The XP3 comes with Bio-Chem Zorb, coarse and fine foam pads and a Micor-Filtration pad. It also comes with 3 media baskets and I really dont know what I should fill them with. I was considering the bio-chem stars, ceramic rings and activated carbon.....

Is this a good choice??? Is there something I should leave out or replace??

I'll take any tips on any topic of a planted tank....but I would appreciate some feedback on the filter thing.

Thanks.
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:23 AM   #2
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With the amount of light that you are planning on, CO2 is unnecessary at this point. I would recommend saving yourself the hastle, and just work on saving up for pressurized CO2 so that you can get it put in place at the same time when you decide to upgrade your lighting, since this is what it sounds like you're planning on be doing. This is actually a very good amount of light to start out with, and you may decide that you don't want to go high light high tech, as you can acheive some really good results with it, you'll just be slightly limited on the plants that you can grow.

Until you start injecting CO2 surface agitation is a good thing since it helps to keep CO2 levels up. To help with this you can simply aim the filter return at the water's surface. Then when you add CO2, just adjust the direction of the filter return.

Make sure that the Eco Complete is at least half of your substrate, or it's going to be a waste of money since it's effectiveness would be diluted to severely.

I would recommend skipping on the Activated Carbon and any other chemical filtration as they are unnecessary in a healthy tank. Go for things like filter floss that will help you remove any particles floating in the water like dust or plant peices.
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:02 AM   #3
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I already have one of those "turbo co2 yeast kits" that comes with the power head..I paid $20 for it...should I return it? Also as far as the Eco complete is concerned, I was planning on doing an Island type of set up...plants on the left in a hill type of look and some more plants in the far right corner of the tank...with a "river" of sand going down the middle and probably taking up 2/3 of the front of the tank as well. So where I was planning the plants, I was going to do 100% Eco complete and the sand would have been the "river"...also I was hoping that the sand would keep the plants in their place and they would not grow out past the border.
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:20 AM   #4
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With that amount of light, I agree with Purr that CO2 isn't really necessary. If you can return it and get your money back, I would.
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My Tank: 20 Gallon Freshwater High Tech Planted
My Plants: Dwarf Sagittaria, Riccia, Crypt Lutea, Rotala Macandra, Corkscrew Val, Blyxa Japonica, Ambulia, Anubias Nana, Flame Moss, Christmas Moss, Echinodorus Parviflorus.
My Fish: 1 German Gold Ram, 3 Praecox Rainbows, 1 Otocinclus Catfish, 1 Siamese Algae Eater, 1 Rummynose Tetra, 4 Cherry Barbs
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Old 03-15-2007, 11:49 AM   #5
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That particular CO2 kit is supposed to have a reasonably good diffuser in it. If you think you might use it with a pressurized setup, then it might be worth keeping. Otherwise I'd return it and put the money towards plants or future upgrades.

Some points to consider regarding your layout/substrate plans. If you've got EcoComplete and Sand side by side, they will have a tendency to mix. To keep them separated you'll want to use plexiglass or some such to create a physical barrier between the two. This will also help to keep the plants where they belong. There will still be some spillage over the top of the barrier. You'll either need to do frequent maintenance to keep up the clean look. Something that can help to minimize this, is to use rocks and/or driftwood between the two to create an additional barrier. Plant can and will grow in sand, so unless it compacts really hard you'll have to rely on the barriers and maintenance to keep them where they belong.
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:24 PM   #6
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I greatly appreciate your advice. I was considering the plexi but wasnt sure if it was absolutely needed....I really dont need to add to the maintenance so I think I'll go with the plexi and rock barrier. I was going to go with the Marsilea minuta which I believe you recommended to me...would that grow up to and over a rock barrier? and if so, would it continue right into the sand??? I love the idea of the ground cover spilling onto the rocks but dont love the idea of them taking over the rocks and crossing the sand...that would defeat my purpose.
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:29 PM   #7
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It wouldn't surprise me if the Marsilea minuta made a dash for the sand. Luckily it's a fairly slow grower, so it shouldn't be too much of a chore to trim it and keep it where you want it.
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:34 PM   #8
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That's great....I actually prefer that they cover the rocks...I dont want an unnatural border..so if the Minuta partially cover them, that would be perfect!!! I could only find one supplier for the Minuta: Floridadriftwood.com.....does it ship well?
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:48 PM   #9
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Unfortunately FloridaDriftwood.com has a pretty poor reputation for shipping plants from what I've read of other people's experiences. Your best bet is to try to find another hobbiest that you can get some from. I actually got mine from another hobbiest that had nursed it back after being nearly killed during shipment from FloridaDriftwood. I don't have any extra at the moment or I'd offer you a starter portion.
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:43 PM   #10
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Cool...I'll look around. Thanks for the heads up. I was also planning on using some Vallisneria Nana (anubiasdesign.com) and Java Fern (narrow leaf, which seems to be a bit harder to find than originally expected)....any word on those? (not looking for a handout...just some info)
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:25 PM   #11
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I hadn't heard of the Vallisneria Nana before, but looked it up on Tropica and it looks like an interesting plant. My guess is that it should be fairly similar to growing other vals. With your lighting it should grow fine as long as you avoid using Flourish Excel. I've only heard about AnubiasDesign from one person. He had good luck with the fish, but not so much when it came to the plants.

There's some debate as to whether or not Narrow Leaf Java Fern and Needle Leaf Java Fern are the same plant. I've got some that I've been calling Needle Leaf because the leaves look narrower to me than the pictures I've seen of the Narrow Leaf. It's an excellant plant that I'm sure you'll enjoy growing. When I received mine I was told that I could put in a shawdowed corner and it would happily keep growing. It's increased in size beautifully and is one of my favorites. Looks like Lowcoaster (Charley) on Aquabid carries this plant. He's highly recommended by many of the members on this board including myself.
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:56 PM   #12
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I agree, Lowcoaster rules for plants!

I have a 55 gallon with an AquaClear 70 HOB and I have foam and biomax (the little ceramic pieces) in it and nothing else. I've never had to use carboon on the tank.

I also have the Red Sea turbo system and the diffuser does work quite well, so if you are planning to go CO2 at some point it would be worth keeping. The diffuser does tend to get clogged with residue from the CO2 fairly frequently but is easy to clean out and get going again.

BTW if you can't find any narrow leaf java fern anywhere I have tons and would be happy to send you a clipping or two!
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:55 PM   #13
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you guys rock!!!!! I was just on aquabid and saw Lowcoasters stuff... I think I'll buy some Java Narrow from him...I'm still having trouble finding the Marsilea minuta though...if anybody can grab me any of that or hook me up with somebody that has some, I'd be more than glad to trade my "greens" for theirs!!!

I think I'm gonna pass on the Co2 kit....Drsfostersmith.com has a semi-auto kit for about $120. I guess I can grab one of those in a few weeks and hold it till I can upgrage my lights.

Am I missing anything else here???
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