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[APD] Re: temp issues in South FL, cables/chiller
Heating cables are not applicable for warm climates(or colder ones from everything I've tried but they don't "hurt"). Chillers are more costly than the cost of Onyx sand for this tank. Sell the cables, buy onyx sand, flourite etc, add the mulm and some peat to the bottom layer(1/4-1/2") cap with 3-5 inches of onyx sand.
This will yield far better results than any cable.chiller river sand system you come up with. It's also a lot cheaper than a chiller and is not something else to break or plug in.
But the real reason, you'll have better results than with cables/sand.
Considering the cost and the hassle, adding a chiller etc will not help your tank and certainly will not help the algae by modulating the heating cables with a chiller. That's a money blackhole. It will not hurt, but you will get far better, more significant results switching to the substrate I suggested.If you want to add a little leonardite along with that bottom layer of peat/mulm, that will be fine as well. Making it more complicated will not help either. More is not better.
Lighting sounds nice though.
Bag filters for the mechanical section are very nice BTW.
A dosing pump and an automatic slow water changer would be nice perhaps since you seem slated towards automation and tech toys. .
Alan from sfbaaps has set up a few of these(auto water changers) and I will say I'm impressed with the results.Perhaps he will detail the desgin out in an article sometime.
I'll eventually set up a similar system once I go centralized.
You can call SeaChem and ask if there is a LFS near you that can provide you with a good deal for a large amount of Onyx or if you prefer the Red Flourite or the plain Flourite also. I like the Onyx over most any substrate I've used to date.
SeaChem is a very helpful company that's one of the few that's active with planted hobbyist, no one can fault them on service and product line.
The grains are fine/small enough that hair algae will not attach easily due to disturbance, unlike most other good porous substrates like Ecocomplete, Florabase, Flourite, Profile etc, it's also denser, holds the plants in better but not too much, finer grained and adds some buffering. Some don't like the color, but that is another issue.
There are other suggestions(Flourite, Florabase, Eco Complete, Profile/MPV turface+ sand for added weight)) but this one I gave is hard to beat and my personal favorite.
The differences between these will be very subtle and even the best grower would have an extremely tough time splitting the hairs as far as plant health.
Otherwise stick with paying another 800$ plus electric for both the cables/chiller, Onyx is not cheap, generally cheaper than the others, but it's a lot cheaper and will do much more for the tank than the cable/chiller combo. Hope this helps.
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