250 gallon planted tank
I currently have 3 saltwater tanks, a 135 gallon soft coral reef, a 120 gallon
SPS (stony reef building corals) reef, and a 250 gallon fish tank. The fish
tank was intended to house fish that feed on coral and therefore couldn't be
kept in the reefs. However, I discovered that keeping coral eating fish
without feeding them coral is difficult, at least for me. The appearance of
this tank pales in comparison to the two reefs. I tried to sell the tank with
little success and therefore began to consider converting it to a freshwater
planted tank. The more I looked into, the more I became interested in the
conversion. I kept freshwater tanks in high school 22 years ago and the
thought of a 250 gallon tank stocked with Tetras appeals to me. I know this is
too large for a first tank, but it's what I have. Temporarily moving it into
the garage while I experiment with a smaller tank is not a possibility.
Specifics of what I have are as follows:
Tank - 84"x24"x30" deep reef ready tank with two corner overflow boxes.
Lighting - full canopy equipped with 8 36" 95 watt VHO 5000K bulbs with Icecap
From reading TOA and just about everything I could find on the Internet, I have
concluded that the following would give me a good chance of success (thanks to
George Booth and his SST articles especially):
1. Dupla laterite substrate and undergravel heating.
2. CO2 injection with automatic controller. I have a CO2 based calcium
reactor on one of my reefs and am familiar with the basic concepts.
3. Wet/dry filter. Not recommended for reef tanks, but it appears it would be
a good idea on the planted tank.
4. RO water. I am on a community well with very salty water and will be using
RO water exclusively. I measured the alkalinity with a LaMotte kit to be 480
Now, for the questions:
1. Does what I have so far seem like a reasonable plan?
2. Will this lighting be enough or should I consider metal halide, and if so,
3. What would be the recommended plants for starting up this tank? How many?
Due to the 30" depth, plant types that will grow tall fairly quickly would be
helpful. Easy to grow plants due to my lack of experience and the number that
will need to be purchased seems like a good idea.
4. How much laterite and how many watts of undergravel heating will be
5. How many SAE's and black mollies or other algae eating fish would be
6. What is recommended to condition the RO water for plants?
Any other addtional comments would be welcome. The local stores that I visit
in Dallas have poor plant selections and I don't believe that I can count on
them for reliable advice. I will be purchasing my plants via mail order.