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  • Trying To Get My Lighting Right This Time

    90 gallon tank
    lighting from AH Supply 2 watts/gallon
    CO2
    80 - 84 degrees

    I have been reading through all of the threads and would like to get advise on setting up my tank. I have a 90 gallon, 62 (length) x 24 (deep) x 14 (wide). I want to use an in-line heater which the package says heats up to 80 gallons. The Aqua Forrest aquarium store told me that they use these on their 150 gallon tanks without doubling up. I noticed that they also use a combination of MH and flouresent lighting and when I inquired about the price of the lighting for my tank they said it would cost $1,500. This seems high? Is the reason they are able to use this heater on such a large tank due to the heat from the lights? I want to hang my lights from a stand and will run CO2, I have a CO2 tank. My goal is to have a planted bottom which I have been trying to achieve for a year now. AH sold me some lights saying I only needed 2 watts per gallon but I went through $100s of plants before realizing I probably need something stronger. I keep Discus successfully and have been unable to keep Neons. I have a tank for the CO2 and was running 3bbm. I was using store bought plant food and will be ordering the book on ferts you recommend to try and get that worked out.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Hi debbie,

    You do not need to pay $1500 for a light ! You do not need something 'stronger' in terms of lights. You need good c02, macro and micro nutrients, good filtration and current, etc. More light will not solve anything. It will simply make your plants starve for things they are not getting....

    You also need much less light than you think to grow plants...

    The higher the light, the higher the demand for other nutrients like carbon and nitrate.

    A few things:

    1. As stated, you can grow plants with T5, T8, T12, CF, MH, what have you.
    You can simply use 2-3 40 watt tubes (@ 48") to get what you need. You may find that only 2 are needed based on your goals.

    2. What type of substrate are you using? Does it contain any nutrients?

    3. Are you planning on dosing any macro or micro ferts? I would advise so esp with injecting c02. Take a look at EI and get some cheap dry ferts:

    http://www.barrreport.com/estimative...chy-folks.html

    4. HOW are you injecting your c02? There are many options and your c02 needs to be both STABLE and SUFFICIENT for the bio-mass.

    5. How are you measuring your c02 levels? Are you using a drop checker at all?

    http://www.barrreport.com/articles/2...ight=test+kits

    6. What type of filtration are you thinking of?

    7. Planted tanks like a good current to carry nutes to the plants and to carry away waste products. Are you thinking about this in your plans?

    8. What are your goals? Do you want to be trimming every week? Do you like lots of plants?

    Your goals will direct some of these decisions.

    If you can keep discus, neons should not be an issue. Can you provide more details around this?
    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Gerryd; 10-05-2009, 10:17 PM.
    Thanks,

    Gerry.

    'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

    Current 220 scape

    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply. I am using an Eheim 2215 as a filter,
      Eco complete substrate, CO2 pressure regulator w/solenoid (also has bubble counter) hooked up to CO2 reactor 1000 and a glass diffuser in the tank. I have a drop checker in the tank as well. I do plan on fertilizing and would love to have some plants to trim because mine don't make it that long. I do have a hard time stabilizing the CO2.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by debbie View Post
        90 gallon tank
        lighting from AH Supply 2 watts/gallon
        CO2
        80 - 84 degrees

        I have been reading through all of the threads and would like to get advise on setting up my tank. I have a 90 gallon, 62 (length) x 24 (deep) x 14 (wide). I want to use an in-line heater which the package says heats up to 80 gallons. The Aqua Forrest aquarium store told me that they use these on their 150 gallon tanks without doubling up. I noticed that they also use a combination of MH and flouresent lighting and when I inquired about the price of the lighting for my tank they said it would cost $1,500. This seems high? Is the reason they are able to use this heater on such a large tank due to the heat from the lights? I want to hang my lights from a stand and will run CO2, I have a CO2 tank. My goal is to have a planted bottom which I have been trying to achieve for a year now. AH sold me some lights saying I only needed 2 watts per gallon but I went through $100s of plants before realizing I probably need something stronger. I keep Discus successfully and have been unable to keep Neons. I have a tank for the CO2 and was running 3bbm. I was using store bought plant food and will be ordering the book on ferts you recommend to try and get that worked out.

        Any help would be greatly appreciated.
        For the 90 Gallon, I bought a Tek T5 fixture, you can get anywhere from a 4 bulb up to an 8 bulb system.

        Here's the thing, they are spaced wide apart, meaning good coverage, and if you see the ADA style light bar's thread, you can make the metal hanger's easily for 10$ and few minutes.

        I chose the 8 bulb fixture. I use the outside 4 bulbs mostly, so it's about 1.8 W/gal, pretty low light. I can grow any plant.
        So more light is not the issue.

        I would have suggested ADA aqua soil, EC is okay, not much in it though(inert).
        If you buy something from AF, get that(ADA aqua soil), but you'll need to house the fish in a temp tank for about 4-6 weeks.

        Focus mostly on good current/CO2/low light that's good and even in the spread, the electrical conduit works excellent for the hangers, also, use wire adjustment kits, not those cheapo sunlight nylon black adjustment thingys.

        Worth every penny.

        I think 400$ would set you up good, including the lights, stand/bars etc.

        I like the Giesemann aqua floras and the powerchrome light bulbs(2:6).

        The A&H should work fine also.

        If you are in SF or close by, join SFBAAPS.
        It would be wise on many levels to do so.

        Regards,
        Tom Barr
        www.BarrReport.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you Gerry and Tom for the advice.

          I am in San Francisco and just joined the SFBAAPS, thanks for letting me know about this.

          I think i might invest in the good substrate from ADA also, might as well do it right but I have to move the fish out for 4 - 6 weeks?

          Debbie

          Comment


          • #6
            I spent many years trying to get my plants to grow properly, and spent a lot of time worrying about whether I had enough light. I have now *turned off* some of the tubes over my tank, so that I am currently only at about 1.5 wpg, and my plants are doing much, much better - it's easier to provide enough CO2 at the lower lighting level, less maintenance, and the fish (I have lots of neons), look better in the less intense light. The advice from Tom and Co, in conjunction with EI dosing, is easily the best advice in town!

            Reduce your lighting, dose EI, and then spent 99% of you effort on getting good stable CO2 with excellent distribution!

            Scott.
            6' Planted Tank (72" x 18" x 20") - 4 x 30W T8 Tri-Phosphors - 2 x Eheim 2217 'Classic' canisters
            Flourite substrate - Ocean Runner OR-2500 + AM1000 - Tunze Turbelle Nanostream 6045
            6.8kg Catalina CO2 - Red Sea Pro regulator - Swagelok B-SS4-A metering valve - Vecton 600 UV

            Comment


            • #7
              Filtration!

              Hi Debbie,

              What Gerry said! Gerry is very smart. Tom Barr is no slouch either!

              I am certainly with Gerry on the lighting, no need to spend US $1500, in fact depending on how you want things to look, {Note: Taking advice on Interior decorating from an Evil Plant Monster is a notoriously bad idea} you could get lighting for US $75.

              Now you have saved US $1425, yes, you are welcome.

              Now buy some serious filtration. By no stretch of the imagination is the Eheim 2215 even close to sufficient for your tank, especially with Discus. Discus are big messy fish. Think at least six times an hour turnover of tank volume per hour; fifteen times an hour would be a good idea. Also, bear in mind that the flow rating of these filter systems tend to be, shall we say, ‘optimistic’ (nicer than ‘lying-through-there-filthy-greedy-lying teeth’).

              You can accomplish some of the tank turnover rate with powerheads and additional pumps as well. Just figure you are going to need lots of filtration. Serious water circulation also aids the distribution of carbon dioxide as well as micro and macronutrients. In addition, you are accounting for the plants, which will knock down circulation considerably.

              Plan to dose dry fertilizers, you will need Potassium Nitrate (KNO3), Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4), Potassium Sulphate (K2S04), CSM+B and GH Booster this will give you much more control and less cost I recommend Planted Aquarium Fertilizer - Home . At the local grocery or pharmacy, get Epsom Salt (MgSO4.7H2O).

              Since you are saving all that lighting money I recommend you get the erudite Professor Greg’s Guide to Dosing Strategies Aquarium Plants and Aquatic Plants - Greg Watson's Guide to Dosing Strateges for Live and Freshwater Aquarium Plants.

              You really shouldn’t have too much trouble.

              EDIT: Can't believe I forgot to recommend the micronutrients, CSM+B.

              Biollante
              Last edited by Biollante; 10-06-2009, 03:05 AM.
              The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

              Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
              • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
              • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
              • When in doubt "don't."

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, a large pair of Rena XP3 's would be better, if you want to spend the $, you can get the Ehiem top of the line, still, you'll need a pair. XP's run about 60-80$ used, maybe 120-130 new on line.
                Good filter, run about 300 gph.

                You can add some 17mm lily pipes from ebay(search ebay for 17mm lily pipes, you'll see some come up) if you like ADA but do not want to pay.

                Several places also make ADa knock off stands for about 1/3 the cost.
                Check SFBAAPS for that.

                No real DIY for the ADA AS, I use just the aqua soil, it leachs NH4 for about 3-4 weeks, and then afterwards it's fine.

                So water changes are in order during the start with that.

                EC is okay though, if you do the water changes+ dosing, not too big an issue, just nice to have a back up for nutrients for the plants in addition to the water column.

                I'd still focus much more on good CO2, and good delivery system/method set up.
                This is key.

                Good current and filtration is always good particularly for the fish.

                Regards,
                Tom Barr
                www.BarrReport.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi debbie,

                  Can we focus on your c02 for a bit?

                  How are you powering the AM1000 reactor? How is it plumbed? This may make a huge difference. You need to have at least 250 gph flow to the reactor for it to work. And there is a big difference in getting it to 'work' and 'working optimally'

                  What color is your drop checker during the day? Do you move it around the tank at all? Does it ever show green or yellowish?

                  Can you provide more detail around the c02 setup?

                  This is where >95% of all growth and algae issues are located c02 c02 c02

                  I also agree that you should beef up the filtration since we have saved you all that money for the light lol

                  2 of the xp models or the Eheims would be nice. What are you planning on keeping in the tank in terms of fish and quantity? Please note that some canisters are rated optimistically, so be aware of that. They will do a nice job but not have the flow they state, esp as they start to clog.

                  Good general maintenance is also important. ALL aspects of the planted tank must be addressed or issues will develop. Cleaning filters, trimming and fluffing, gravel vacs as appropriate, water changes, all are just as important as lights or c02. Think of it a a holistic approach if you like.

                  I bet that you had too much light, not enough c02 and little nutrients. That is why the plants did not do well. We just need to provide them with what they need and they grow fairly easily.

                  Originally posted by Biollante View Post
                  Hi Debbie,

                  What Gerry said! Gerry is very smart. Tom Barr is no slouch either!

                  Biollante
                  Biollante,

                  You are much too kind, but you can't put Tom and I in the same sentence like that.....The gulf in knowledge and experience is like the Grand Canyon or the Mariana trench...

                  You can say that both Tom and Gerry keep planted tanks, but that is about as far as I would go lol
                  Last edited by Gerryd; 10-06-2009, 03:55 AM.
                  Thanks,

                  Gerry.

                  'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

                  Current 220 scape

                  http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you for all the great information. This is how I have everything set up:

                    The Reactor 1000 has the top tube running to a powerhead in the tank and the bottom tube going in the tank. There is a small tube running from the top of the reactor to the CO2 tank. The Eheim is hooked up to a UV Steralizer on both ends.

                    I don't have the CO2 running at this time because the plants died and I was trying to get this set up correctly before I try to plant or purchase any more fish. I have four discus that started out small and are now large and a school of five zebra tetras (I think this what they were called). I don't have the CO2 checker in the tank yet.

                    Do you think I should run an in-line heater on both filters? I am going to purchase the Rena 3xs (2).

                    Thank you

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi,

                      So what size IS the powerhead that is running the reactor?

                      Did you know that you can simply change that powerhead to be a needle wheel impeller type? You can then simply insert the c02 line into this powerhead and the needle wheel impeller will chop up the c02 well and mix it with the outflow of the poweRhead......ELIMINATING the reactor and lines....

                      http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquati...t=needle+wheel

                      Just a thought.

                      You may want to run only one filter to the heater as the heater has a flow rate that is most likely less than the canister connected to it. This would waste some of your canister flow unless you were to plumb things using a ball valve that would control the flow to the heater, and the unused would continue to flow to the tank.

                      How ARE you thinking of plumbing things? Remember that you want to do EZ water changes, so anything to help with that is good too. Even a quick drain as opposed to buckets

                      Are you thinking of connecting the canisters in series, one after the other? Or running separately? Pros and cons to both configurations.

                      Hope some of this helps and/or makes sense...
                      Thanks,

                      Gerry.

                      'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

                      Current 220 scape

                      http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...3219-220-video

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        XP4 Maybe

                        Hi Debbie,

                        Yes, particularly with fish that like warmer water, I would certainly use at least two heaters, each capable of maintaining the temperature.

                        Since under my lighting plan you saved US $1425, even under that non-slouch Tom Barr’s you save US $1000, so I recommend using that newfound wealth to step up from the Rena XP3 Filstar Canister filter to the XP4. The extra filtration capacity along with the increased circulation will serve you well.

                        A couple eductors would not be a bad idea, whichever system you choose.

                        What kind/size powerheads do you have? Oops, that talented Ninja, Gerry already asked this.

                        Biollante
                        The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

                        Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
                        • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
                        • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
                        • When in doubt "don't."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'll second the step up on filtration, especially if you want some nice dense stands of stem plants. 2x XP3 would do it, or an XP4 with some big power heads. 10-15gph per gallon of tank size is a good range. Multiple directions of flow is also good for keeping things clean, so power heads and/or loc line in addition to a single canister filter can help.

                          -Philosophos
                          - Dan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a maxi jet 600, which probably isn't powerful enough.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              600 might not be powerful enough for the AM1000. On it's own with a modded impeller it's probably fine.

                              For heaters you could run with a couple of the Rena Smartheaters ( I think they make them ). Otherwise you could go with the hydor type if you want an inline type heater. For heating I'd probably go with two heaters and size them so that each one gives you a bit less than you need. This will give you time to catch a problem if one fails in the off position. More importantly it gives you time to catch it if one fails to the ON position since it isn't possible to cook your fish with only one heater. Also, consider an external temp controller and use that to run both of your heaters so they run at the same time. Cost is 30-75$ depending and is cheap compared to a tank of fish stew.

                              -
                              S

                              Comment

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