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Re: Somebody help this Newbie!!!

> Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 03:19:27 -0600
> From: Walt <Itchy.Scratchy at worldnet_att.net>
> Subject: Somebody help this Newbie!!!
> DIY heating cables
> or under tank heating pads for the substrate is my plan for weazeling
> out of making Horst Kipper rich.

heating pads under the tank are not a great idea.  They don't provide 
the benefits of heating cables.  You may want to make life easier for 
yourself and do what I imagine 90%+ people do, and just use a regular 
aquarium heater.

> (1) Filters:
> Would a Penguin Biowheel be an adequate source of filtration for a 10
> gal planted aquarium?
> The splash of the biowheel kinda has me worried that CO2 will rapidly
> escape but the cost and maintenence is cheap. If there are flaws with
> the power filter what are some other options? I'm guessing a Fluval 103
> could be another option and I would consider it if the penguin is
> inadequate.

A Biowheel filter is not your best bet.  You don't need really 
efficient biological filtration, and this is what Biowheels are for.  
Also, I would think that this filter would decrease your CO2 significantly.
However, using home brewed yeast CO2, you probably won't have a 
problem with low CO2 levels.  As you don't have a lot of control over 
how much is going into the tank, you should have ample 

The filter in a plant tank is primarily getting some movement 
and getting some mechanical filtration.  I imagine most power 
filters would work fine.

> (2) Testing equipment
> Besides Iron, Carbonate Hardness, pH, and CO2, what testing kits do I
> need? Do I even need these? pH i'm pretty certain of but what brands are
> the most accurate?

Get a nitrate test kit that measures low level.  Thinking that any 
would be fine, I bought a Tetra test kit.  It is not very good as it 
does not measure lower levels well (under 25 mg/l).  Your nitates
should not measure 0.

> (3) Plant nutrient supplements.
> Besides laterite and Duplagan water conditioner, what is needed? Is
> Florasan a good product? What is the best nutrient additive and why?

Laterite is very good. I don't know enough about Duplagan to advise 
it or not.

- Darrell