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  • new tank questions

    I am very new to all of this and am in the process of setting up a new 35G tank (36x15x16 -- sold to me as a 40G tank, but my math (.004329 x cu. in. says otherwise)) ... just waiting on a friend to help me complete the stand at this point. I have everything but the stand and have been really chomping at the bit to get my tank set up.

    Anyway, I have a few questions that are hopefully minor to you all, but I have been having trouble getting a definitive answer, no matter how many threads I read.

    1) Substrate. I am leaning toward flourite as a good all-purpose substrate. My only plan at the moment is to probably buy a plant "package" of several plants off of an internet site and see which plants I do and don't like -- I will grow them with the EI method, using canister CO2. I will get a ground cover or two (definitely HC and perhaps dwarf hairgrass and some mid and rear plants). As far as fish go, I am planning on getting some algae eaters (shrimp, snails, SAEs, Ottos -- insurance against algae attacks), and tetras and/or rasboras -- I want to keep the fish community small and simple, the main focus being the plants. Will flourite work well for me or would AS be better with my simple plan?

    2) Lighting -- I bought a 96w kit from AHSupply... Every tank photo I have seen on this site has the lighting above the water, with no cover over the tank. Is this the best way to go for the plants? Someone told me that your light and reflector become dirty/damaged by evaporation if you do not have a cover over the tank. One thing I do not like about my glass cover is the one inch black hinge right thru the middle ... that must hurt the wpg, and I imagine the glass itself cuts down on wpg. If no cover over the tank, how high above the water should I keep the light? I do not mind replacing the reflector every couple of years, if necessary, but I would not want to replace it often.

    3) 50% water changes -- I will be doing 50% water changes each week with a Python setup. When would be the best time to put the Prime in the tank to neutralize the chlorine? Into the half-full tank before adding the "new" water, or into the full tank just after adding the new water?

    Thanks for any info/advice you can give. I promise not to take much of anybody's time, I just wanted to make informed decisions on the above 3 issues.

    Sincerely,
    Regards,
    Ted

  • #2
    #3 answered

    Just found a good thread and got the answer to #3 already!
    Regards,
    Ted

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    • #3
      The closer to the water the light and reflector are the more light gets into the tank. I suggest that you make a hood that covers the entire top of the tank, with a section hinged so you can get easy access to feed and prune. Don't use a glass or acrylic top, but do add a small ventilation fan to the hood. The fan helps prevent the light from overheating the water, and it keeps the humidity lower in that area so the light doesn't get so much condensation on it. This is the system I use and I'm very happy with it.

      Substrates: You can grow plants well in everything from inert pool filter sand to ADA Aquasoil. Each of the options has some advantages and some disadvantages. What you want the substrate to look like is an important consideration - if you don't like reddish brown substrate don't use that color of Flourite. ADA Aquasoil is widely acknowledged to be the best substrate available for growing plants, but you do need to do regular water changes with it for a few weeks to avoid a buildup of stuff leached from the substrate.
      Hoppy

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      • #4
        thanks

        Thank you, Vaughn ... that helps.
        Regards,
        Ted

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        • #5
          An ideal light will provide even lighting all the way from front to back and the length.

          2x39 W T5's, spaced 8" or so apart is ideal for this tank.

          The 96w is a lot of light in a small linear space, it's best to try and flare out the reflector so the light goes goes more evenly the width of the tank.

          Regards,
          Tom Barr
          www.BarrReport.com

          Comment


          • #6
            lighting

            Thank you, Tom. Wish I had found this site BEFORE purchasing that 96w setup! Oh well, good for a future tank...

            Long term, I will get the 39w T5s (I would like a little less than 96w for this tank anyway). Short term, I live about a 1 min walk from where I work and will shift my big light once or twice a day ... the breaks will do me good, and the fish and plants might even think the sun is moving across the sky. )

            Since I plan on making the light canopy oversized (front to back), I'm thinking that your idea of flaring out the reflector might also work well.
            Regards,
            Ted

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