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RE: Eclipse System 12 - help a newbie

Hi Chet!

Well, I have TWO both the Eclipse 6 and 12 side by side next to my
desk here.

> >>>>>>Subject: Eclipse System 12 - help a newbie
> Hello,
>  I've read much of the FINS archives under "Eclipse", Beginners FAQ's
> and Aquatic Plants, so I've done some homework, but would really
> appreciate if any experts would be willing to summarize the answers to
> my questions.  I want to have a simple,*relatively* low  maintenance
> (treat tap water for chlorine and nitrates), small planted 
> tank just for
> pleasure and relaxation.  I have space for either the Eclipse 6 or 12
> and chose the 12 b/c of extra size.  

If you just want as is in the box both can do quite well without CO2 or
changes.  My setups:

Eclpise 6
   Hardware Changes
      Cut the intake to the filter by half to get better flow.

     Sword Compacta

     5 Serpaes Tetra
     2 Panda Corys

     tiny dark gravel 2 to 3 inches in height, inclined from left to

Eclpise 12
   Hardware Changes
      Retro Fitted the lights to 32 watts, DIY CO2

     Sword Compacta
     Scarlet Hygro

     9 Neon Tetra
     2 Panda Corys
     2 Otto's

     Small light gravel 2 1/2 inches in height

The plants grow almost as fast in the 6 as the 12.  The 12 has all 
the topped up stuff and the 6 is just as is in lighting and no CO2.

I do 25% water changes and Topical Master Grow every week and 50% 
once a month.  Trimming about every 2 weeks. :)

> It appears I can grow 
> slow growing
> low light plants from what I've read.  I picture my tank moderately
> planted, a nice school of tetras, a central stone or driftwood
> decoration and some bottom feeders. I don't want to get into CO2 or
> replacement bulbs or other complications. My questions are:  Would I
> benefit from a Seachem substrate (sand or gravel? and a dark color to
> enhance tetra colors)?  

Well if you want, for a small tank like this, I'd say spend $40 and
get florite. :)  It'll help the plants grow nicely if you want that.
Dark substrate will make the testra's colors come out better.  Densley
planted will also do that.  Try a gradient blue background or black
background.  I went for the gradient blue than black option. (I just
turn the background over to see what worked better)

> Will this shallow a tank have enough room for
> sufficient substrate depth?  What depth? 

Yes, up to 3 inches is good enough for the 6, if you want you can try 
4 in the 12.

> Do Corys need a sand type
> bottom to protect whiskers? 

No... you can use tiny rounded gravel.  The point is that SHARP gravel
hurt their whiskers.  You don't NEED sand to protect their whiskers.
if you want to set up a biotype FOR cory's, sand is part of their
The rivers of the amazon where they are from is partly sandy in places
that where they are usually found hanging out.

> Will this size tank support 
> enough Corys to
> make a school? 

You don't NEED a school but it helps.  You can probally do 6 to 7 in the
I WON'T suggest it in the 6.  I had 4 in there and it was getting a bit 
crowded to me.  I can't speak for the cory themselves.  I've asked them,
I didn't get much of a reply. lol

Either get 2 pair or a school of 6 to 7 or more.  When you get like 3 or
they don't school very well.  When I do a two cory per tank they hang
with each other all the time.

> (Beginner FAQ's suggested 6 or 7!)  Are other bottom
> feeders better? 

I like my pandas!  They are cute and they clean the bottom of my tank.
Clown Loaches are GREAT too but not in the 12 and definately not in the
6.  Too small.