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Re: [APD] Help With My New Tank!! -- or - Bravely into the Shadows

Thank you for your reply.  Comments have been very

I have decided to discard the heating cable idea. 
Mainly because I can't seem to get a hold of them and
if I could they are probably out of budget!  

I will be building a sump in the future but for now I
think the tank will be setup with either the Magnum
350 Pro or Eheim 2215.  Which would you recommend?

I took your advice and got a hold of that book. 
Thankfully, they had it at the library!!  It, along
with another 2 books I found, have convinced me to use
soil as my base substrate.  If its potentially better,
and cheaper, the extra work is well worth it.  

I don't know if anyone is familiar with Home Depot but
does anyone know of a specific soil that has worked

Finally, I am glad to hear my spotlight idea is
feasible.  I also read today that metal halides are
essentially the same as halogen lights.  Would
numerous halogen lights be able to provide the type of
light I require.  (No doubt I could get the intensity

Thanks again for your assistance,


--- "S. Hieber" <shieber at yahoo_com> wrote:

> A few comments, fwiw:
> Discus biotope. I don't think the Discus biotopes
> have
> plants in the substrate, more like lots of roots and
> fallen
> plant materials from the forest above the river --
> but the
> true biotpers can confirm or correct that. But
> discus, like
> most fish, are happy with plants in their world.
> Wired dirt. The commonly available heating cables
> won't
> make the substrate too hot. But heating cables will
> be
> expensive unless you make your own and you are
> unlikely to
> notice any benefit from them in terms of fish or
> plant
> health. What benefits they might have will be
> totally
> swamped by other factors like nutrient levels,
> lighting
> levels and duration, CO2 levels, etc. There's tons
> of stuff
> in the archives on heating cables. There's nothing
> wrong
> with using heating cables but they usually aren't
> cheap.
> Tube heaters can be gotten very cheaply. If you
> don't liek
> the look fo them in your aquarium, you can put them
> in a
> sump or plant around them. A sump might not be a bad
> idea
> for 120 gal -- worth considering for long term
> conveniences
> but certainly not a necessity.
> All substrates change over time. Detritus collects,
> bacteria grows -- which is generally a good thing --
> the
> substrate becomes a rich and fertile place for
> plants to
> root. If you want minimum maintenance, you can try
> soil
> under gravel for a substrate. For pros and cons of
> this
> type of set-up, see the next two Issues of TAG.  Or,
> if you
> can't wait for the quarterlies (and who can wait
> when
> you're ready to set up a new tank? :-)   ), peruse
> the APD
> archives. More or less the bible on this type of set
> up is
> Diana Walstad's _Ecology of the The Planted
> Aquarium_,
> available from fine on-line book stores, Diana's
> website,
> the AGA website, Amazon, etc. A good book to have if
> you're
> an aquatic gardener, whether doing soil
> underlayments or
> not.
> With the terrific appetites of Discus, you might
> need to be
> vacuuming the substrate regularly just to keep up
> wioth the
> build up. That means you will have to be very
> careful not
> to vacuum too deeply if you use an underlayment of
> soil or
> laterite.
> Shadows. Glad to hear that someone isn't insisting
> that an
> entire tank be be evenly lit. I find it a bore, tank
> after
> tank, after a while. Light/shadow is one of the
> tools one
> can use in crafting an aquascape. I'm not boasting
> about my
> own abilities, just noting that contrast can be an
> effective visual aspect. 
> The right selection and placement of plants can give
> you
> nice areas of shade. But bulb location can also be
> used,
> although wtih much less precsion and certainly less
> flexibility.
> Fluorescent bulbs, because the light source is
> spread over
> such a large area (virtually the entire bulb), give
> off a
> very diffuse light, making distinct shadow areas
> difficult
> to create. You'd be better off with metal halide
> lamps to
> try and create distinct shadow areas. Although I
> fear that
> you will find such lamps more expensive in the long
> run,
> less reliable in terms of color shift over time, and
> a bit
> more difficult to deal with in terms of heat. The
> heat
> issue is due soley to the fact that the heat is more
> localized with MH bulbs so you have higher bulb
> temps. Some
> folks confuse heat with temperature and say that MHs
> give
> off more heat than fluorescents, which is not true.
> MHs
> have about the same energy efficiency as the most
> efficient
> fluorescent bulbs and watt for watt they simply do
> not give
> off more heat. But with a MH, the heat is coming
> from a
> smaller bulb and so the bulb has a higher temp. A
> match's
> temp is many times higher than the surface of a
> fluorescent
> or MH bulb, but the heat given of is much much less.
> You
> won't notice the heat in a room but you can feel if
> if you
> get close to the match. You need to accomodate the
> temp of
> an MH bulb with your hood and when considering how
> close to
> the water you place the bulb.
> Hope that helps, at least a little,
> Good luck, good fun,
> Scott H.
> --- Shalom Levytam <shalominc at yahoo_com> wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I have just subscribed to this mailing list so I
> hope
> > this goes through okay...
> > 
> > I am just starting on a new 120g tank which I hope
> > will end up being a planted discus biotope. 
> > Unfortunately, there is a bit of a rush on this
> since
> > I have small discus in a makeshift quarentine
> tank.  I
> > really don't think its good to have him in there
> for
> > too long...
> > 
> > I have been doing a lot of reading and so I have a
> lot
> > of questions.  Please bare with me.
> > 
> > I guess the first place to start would be the
> > substrate.  I guess I should mention that while
> > asthetics are very important to me, cost is even
> more
> > of a concern.  My original concept was to use a
> nice
> > tan/yellow color sand for the substrate. 
> > Unfortunately, I can't seem to locate any such
> > substrate anywhere.  Silica sand / play sand don't
> > seem to have the appeal I am looking for.  Unless,
> > anyone can suggest a better looking sand I might
> be
> > forced to use black sandblasting sand.  
> > 
> > I guess besides asthetics the real question for me
> is
> > should I use all sand or mix of other substrates. 
> I
> > recently read an article that suggested soil +
> sand.
> > http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/budget.html  Is
> this
> > a good option for plants?  Does it prevent
> compacting?
> > I'd rather have a substrate that did not change
> its
> > properties after a few months.  ie I don't want to
> > always be fertilizing and such.
> > 
> > Next the big debate, should I use heating coils. 
> > Based on what I have read I am interested in
> trying
> > them if I can find them!!!  Have not been able to
> > locate any website that sells them.  Do they still
> > exist?  My other big question about the cables is:
> > Since I need a water temperature of 86degrees
> won't a
> > higher temperature substrate be too hot for
> plants?
=== message truncated ===

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