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New Tank, Looking to go Heavily Planted

Discussion in 'Planted Aquariums' started by DefJ123, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. DefJ123

    DefJ123 AC Members

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    Hello all! I am looking to return to the aquarium hobby. Many years ago I was a large enthusiast and had many aquariums with many different species. Even kept a saltwater aquarium at one point. Due to life , I was forced out of the hobby. Things have changed now though and I have space again for an aquarium in my apartment. I am looking to go heavily planted, which is not something I dabbled in to much. I love the look and think it would be a great re-introduction. I've been doing my re-education and fully understand cycling. Right now I am just looking to prepare my tank. I will need to order a good liquid parameter testing kit, unless something more prevalent has hit the market I haven't seen yet?

    I'll be using a 30g long tank. Planning on soil substrate, a canister filter (foggy on how to size), led lighting (still researching info for this, any suggestions or links would be great!), assuming I will need a co2 injection system.

    I'm thinking to use some mesquite and mopani driftwood. Flora will be java ferns, java or xmas moss, amazon swords and perhaps some anubias nana. Haven't thought to much on fauna. Probably just a simple school of tetras, a center piece (ideas would be great) and a school of corydoras or shrimp for the bottom. Not really in a rush for fish just yet.

    I guess where I'm looking to go with this is preparation of materials I'll need before I can begin cycling.

    My first question is filtration. I'm thinking a canister filter is my best bet. Is E-heim still the go to? For a 30g aquarium, how should I be sizing this? IIRC it should be 3-4x my tanks capacity in turnover? That would be a filter that does ~90-120gph.

    Heating shouldn't be to difficult. Was thinking that 2 30w heaters would be sufficient? Any suggestions? Haven't re-educated fully on this yet.

    Obviously lighting will be very important. I've read I should aim for 2-3w / gallon. How does that convert to LED's? Is there anything else I should be looking into in this area? I'm planning on locating my tank on an interior wall. It will have sunlight on it but not direct, if that makes sense

    To do with co2, I'm assuming for how heavily planted I want to go that injection will be necessary. Can I get away with one of these DIY kits in a 30g? Or should I just go for a full kit? If the latter, any suggestions? I read I should aim for ~30 ppm co2 in my water. I've read I can also pipe this directly to my canister filter, is that good idea?

    For substrate, I'm assuming that soil will be the best idea. How far off the bottom should I be looking to come with soil? Is 1.5" sufficient? Also, is there any recommended soil substrate brands nowadays?

    One last question, should I be introducing plants while the cycle is on, or wait until it has settled into appropriate parameters?

    Thank you in advance! Any input is greatly appreciated. Apologies if I have posted in the wrong sub forum or asked anything that's already posted. My forum searching skills are atrocious.
     
  2. DefJ123

    DefJ123 AC Members

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    So picked up a tank tonight. Its a 20g tall tank. Got a good deal on it so figured might as well, the space saving will be more ideal.

    Guess this will make my co2 injection easier.
     
  3. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    None of those "first plants" you listed "need" co2...but some swords & java ferns (slowly) may grow too big for a 20g. Tropica sword is a smaller kind, as are "chain swords" (grassy short clumps). Also look at cryptocorynes. If you want a "carpet" look at marislea (clovers), glossostigma (both slow growers),but NOT hairgrass or dwarf baby's tears unless you get the hang of co2 first.
     
  4. DefJ123

    DefJ123 AC Members

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm gonna do the co2 regardless, just to make sure everything is kosher for the plants. I'll look into those species for sure.

    Do you think a single amazon sword would do ok? Or would it grow to big for a 20g tall? Suppose I should check out what my local stores carry for plants before I plan to far ahead.
     
  5. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    Most swords (mellon, amazon, red whatevers, ocelot, etc; all the prettiest 1s ) grow too big unless you want just 1 plant that takes up the entire 20g tank & not much room left for any animals. You can keep them stunted for a while but they, & you, won't be happy for long.

    Think instead of crypts; they're mostly smaller, come in several colors & leaf shapes &, with a few exceptions, won't outgrow your 20g & don't need, but might like co2. Check them out!! My favorite plant genus!
     
  6. DefJ123

    DefJ123 AC Members

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    Great info, thanks! The crypts look very nice!

    Do you have any suggestions on co2?
     
  7. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    No, I haven't taken the co2 plunge yet, although I think I have all I need to do pressurized now. I'm probably the world's worst fertilizer other than root tabs. & I know I'll need to up my game with that & trimming. For now I prefer lower maintenance, my "easy" plants are often too happy.

    Thank goodness I belong to a plant club so I can always give away extras & try new plants. Clubs are fun!

    Have you thought of trying DIY co2? A 20g is a good size for that...not that I've done it, all my current tanks are 55g+ & it's not economical.

    But keep in mind NONE of the plants we've talked about need co2. Swords & crypts would like a root tab every 3 months, that's much less than daily, lol, macros or micros on alternate days (look up EI dosing) & a 50% water change weekly.
     
  8. DefJ123

    DefJ123 AC Members

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    I did consider DIY co2, but for the effort required and to prevent any potentially unwanted smells, I decided to go with the pressurized route.

    Im going to go with an aquatek dual reg set up and a paintball co2 canister, seems simplest and cost effective. I already have a paintball canister so I just need the regulator.

    I know it isn't required but I know down the road I'll probably want to get some different more challenging plants so I may as well prepare ahead of time for that. Plus I want to ensure I get that nice "lucious" look from the plants :)

    Ill do some research on EI dosing and tabs as I'll need to work a schedule for those as well. Best of luck with going pressurized co2 :)
     
  9. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    Yep, nothing wrong with planning ahead!! I've been working on that for a couple years, lol. My biggest worry was "gassing" my fish while trying to learn co2. But I set up a 55g plant only tank so I'm "almost ready" now...I think...I just don't know if I'm ready for daily fert dosing. You might want to look at dry ferts, they're much more economical than liquids.

    If you live in CA there are a couple plant clubs that are wonderful. Even local clubs can be a lot of fun too.
     
  10. DefJ123

    DefJ123 AC Members

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    Gassing is another reason I wanted to get setup early. If I have everything ready I can play with set up while I cycle.

    Ill look into dry ferts, they sound much more like the route I'd like to go.

    I live in Ontario Canada, but have been investigating local plant and aquarium groups. Lots to be found on facebook!
     

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