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03-09-2013, 09:45 PM #1
Working on my first cory/planted tank and need advice on substrate, lighting, plants
Hello, long time fish keeper here mainly large aggressive cichlids and now since I'm only allowed a 29 gallon in my apartment I decided to go with a planted cory tank. Along with a single German Ram and some tetras. I have tons of driftwood and a PH of about 7.6 which will likely drop when the driftwood tannins leech in. I have 20lbs of Tahitian black sand and a coralife t-5 36 watt light one bulb is 10k spectrum the other is said to help with photosynthesis a 18 watt true actinic 03 blue. I can fit another light on top if needed and have been trying to figure out the best substrate additives that will be okay with corys and their fragile barbels/mouths. The only plant i have grown in the past has been Java Moss; I have done some plant research and java Ferns, Anubias and Blyxa Japonica/Auberti are all low light plants. Considering it is a 29 tall I question how much light will reach the bottom. I'd be willing to consider a homemade CO2 system, another light, and whatever subsrate would be best budget wise I have about 150 I can drop on the tank itself not including fish/plants but I would prefer to ease into the plant aspect, all the research I've done has left me baffled as to what the best path is. The tank is currently cycling with a mongrel koi in there and I want to get everything ready before the first of april when I put the fish and plants in. Any advice would be much appreciated!
03-10-2013, 04:46 AM #2
I know I'm asking alot but would it be safe to say 1 or 2 20lb bags of eco-complete black planted aquarium substrate covered with the tahitian moon sand (20lbs) I have would be a good bottom layer for the tank? Cory safe as well. My biggest concern is getting the substrate right b4 I get my fish.
03-10-2013, 05:07 AM #3
the sand on top of gravel substrate never really works out. it'll eventually fall in between "the cracks" and not really work out for you.
substrate is the least of your worries on a planted tank.
Sure "plant" substrate has it's perks, but after a while, it becomes inert just like anything else on the market and root tabs take over in supplying the nutrients. (those are my opinions, others swear by eco-complete/flourite)
but your lighting will be okay if you get the correct bulbs @ 6500/6700k.
if you are doing low light plants, there is no need for a c02 set up.
check this article out for lighting requirements and info: http://www.americanaquariumproducts...._Lighting.html
what are the dimensions of the tank? 29talls are unique. and that'll play into effect for your lighting
also, cycling with fish takes much longer than the 3 weeks left of march (fyi)
03-10-2013, 06:16 AM #4
I started the cycle on feb 24th which will get me 6 weeks in so as long as I don't overload it I think it'll be fine.
More importantly you're saying I might as well get some more Tahitian sand if I want to add more depth to the substrate (2-3'' is ideal I take it) if I like it because given time the other "plant" substrates become inert so I might as well use what I like and just use additives as needed scaling with the plants needs.
Moving on to light you provided me with a great link many thanks for that; my tank dimensions are 30x12x18 if I want to have ideal bottom growth I quote from the aforementioned link "The 10,000K can be a good choice for achieving PAR for better depth penetration than a 6500K bulb (such as 12-20 inch or even deeper aquarium)." While the deep blue spectrum 420nm or so actinic blue bulb may make for nice color it does little for plant growth so with that in mind would it not be ideal to leave the 10k bulb in and replace the 14k or so blue bulb with a 6500k? or like you said replace both with a 6500k+6700k? considering the oddball dimensions.
Last edited by FishGuy67; 03-10-2013 at 06:29 AM.