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New to ASW and looking for lots of advice

Discussion in 'Introductions and Greetings' started by Karen millard, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    hi all my names Karen At the moment I have a Red Sea max 250 marine tank that's been running about 3 years and I am thinking of converting this to a planted tropical,I've kept fish for years but never gone into plants too heavily ,I am leaning towards trying a soil substrate and have some ideas for fish one of which maybe discus but I have read conflicting advice on whether they maybe suitable for what I hope would eventually be a heavily planted tank (fingers crossed),I would be grateful for any advice on the fish,planting or what bulbs I should change mine to or any other tips on converting my rsm if anyone else here has done this??
     
  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello Karen,

    Welcome to ASW! Nice to see we could be converting someone from the reefer world to the planted....usually we see it go the other way. I've looked at the Redsea models for a plug and play reef if I ever wanted to give it a try. Please, share some of your reef work in our reef section...it gets so little attention ;)

    I'd highly recommend a soil substrate. Anything that is a baked clay soil. This is because of its high CEC (cation exchange capacity) which allows it to trap nutrients and release to plants. Aquasoil, seachem fluorite, etc.

    Discus are appropriate for heavily planted tanks. I have not kept them, never had anything large enough. I would even consider a 65 right at the border for large enough. 3 to 5 maybe. Large fish are messy fish, so when deciding on your scape it would be good to keep this in mind.

    Running reef tank lighting means you are going to be able to put out a lot of light, probably much more than you need. Are there ways to run only some of the bulbs at a time. Six 39 watt T5s will be more than you need. Do you plan to run pressurized CO2, you would need to if you run all that light.

    The other problem with discus, as far as I've read, is they are sensitive to CO2. Being able to run lower light, and choosing plants that are not CO2 hungry would give you the best chances for success with both your plants and your discus. Angels would be another lovely option and are a bit more robust.

    So questions to answer:

    Can you run some of the bulbs at a time or do they all have to run at once? You will not need actinic lighting.

    Do you plan to use pressurized CO2? Injecting it into a needle wheel pump on the return would be the simplest solution. Another would be to run a reactor that takes and returns to the sump portion.

    Do you have some photos of planted tanks you like or would like to emulate in your own setup?
     
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  3. jagermelifter

    jagermelifter Aspiring Aquascaper

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    welcome to the forum karen!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    Thanks for your input Shawn, I had thought that I may have too much light I need to check whether I can run with absent or spent bulbs ,I do have a CO2 unit that I may consider setting up later down the line but to start with I am keener to set up a soil or dirt based Substrate after reading the guide to soil or dirt based this seems a good start to take me in a whatever way I choose to go later down the line if I opt for the co2 route ,I kinda like the low tech low maintenance start after the stress of marine! I had thought as much with the discus I wouldn't want to risk a messy inhabitant I think I will stick with some nice small shoaling tetras that I know will look impressive against the plants I hope to keep I am still researching and reading up on aquascapes I would like to copy ,maybe I can find some ideas from the forums on here!
    Regards
    Karen
     
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  5. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    Thanks!
     
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Are you saying you'd like to do a DIY soil bed for your tank? Hassle and headache free it may not be...the commercial baked clay soils are just as good if not better and are far less hassle.

    A low tech tank can be great. You will certainly have too much light. You would probably only need two of those 39 watt bulbs without Co2.
     
  7. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    Clay baked soil it is then, two bulbs sounds good to me it will be a lot cheaper and I maybe able to do away with my chiller as the tank has heat issues when running all 5 bulbs!
     
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, and if you have Co2 unit, it would not hurt to add some Co2 to the system. The variation in maintenance or work is really in the light levels. If you make a system not dependent upon pressurized CO2 by using low light levels and appropriate plants, you will only see benefits from injecting a little CO2. You will not have to worry about too little or play the balancing game....just add a little and see the benefit to a system that could do fine without it, but does even better with it.
     
  9. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello Karen welcome to ASW

    I assume you are in the UK can you add your Country in your profile please.

    Looks like Shawn has answered most of your concerns.

    A few photos of your Marine tanks would be appreciated.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  10. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    This is my marine tank at the moment ( if I have inserted the picture correctly!)
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    Have you any suggestions as to good starter plants?
     
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  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Crypts are always a good go to. Swords (echinodorus species) are nice too, but can get large. There are many, it depends upon the look you want. If you shared some pictures of scapes you like, it would help me make suggestions.
     
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  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Karen

    Is this the tank you are referring to?

    http://www.redseafish.com/max-concept/max-250/

    I fully agree do some research first and let us know what you would like to achieve.

    As you live in the UK there are several UK members on ASW they might be able to assist you as where to get good FW supplies locally or online.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  14. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    Yes Keith that's the one
     
  15. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    There is someone on YouTube who has converted a Red Sea max .........this is what started me thinking! If I could achieve something similar to what he has with a low tech tank I would be very happy
     

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  16. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    That is absolutely doable. Almost all the plants in the front are crypts. I think needle leaf java fern would look great on that driftwood. Choosing the right stem plants in the back would be key to keep it low tech. Adding CO2 would increase the number of species available to you. Stems mean more maintenance, because you will have to trim them. If you don't want the trimming you could use vals, or larger crypt variants like C. balansae or spiralis. Or even Crinum species.

    Next step is finding your hardscape materials...then we can get an idea for more specific plantings.

    Take a look here http://tropica.com/en/plants/?tabIndex=1&alias=Easy

    Any plants there should fit the bill. Stem plants will add more work in the form of trimming.
     
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  17. Karen millard

    Karen millard New Member

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    Wow thanks.......I have a lot of reading to do!
     
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  18. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Karen

    If you can set up and maintain a marine tank a FW Aquascape should be very easy for you.

    Roy is one of the UK plant experts he should be able to assist you as what to buy and where.
    Dont forget to add your location as well please.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     

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