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Intro and lots o' Q's
I'm a marine biologist who just moved from the hustle and bustle of
south Florida to the countryside of east TX. I've been keeping reef
tanks for years, but I've decided to swap my current set-up over to
planted FW aquarium. I figure it'll save me some time and money in
comparison to reef tanks (ok, you can all stop laughing now <g>), and I
like the looks and challenge of an "Amazon type" aquarium. I don't have
much of a background in botany, or aquatic botany in particular, so I'd
appreciate any guidance or tips.
This is a list of what I'm starting with along with my questions:
Aquarium - 31" cube w/ built-in overflow box
I intend to stock it with small tetras (neons, etc.), Otocinclus spp.,
rasboras, and perhaps a few angels. Any other good candidates? I'm also
looking for suggestions for plants and mail order/Net sources.
Filter - trickle filter w/ ~2 gal. of "Biopak", an Iwaki 20RLT pump, and
no chemical filtration of any kind. I'm thinking of replacing the media
with Siporax. Does anyone have any experience with it, or is it not
worth the expense?
Lighting - canopy mounted 175W "German" 10K MH bulb; there are also 2 -
24" VHO actinic bulbs installed. I don't believe these would be suitable
for FW plants. What would be a good replacement for the actinic bulbs,
or is the MH alone sufficient?
Source water - well water (~21 dKH) filtered through RO-DI. Does anyone
have any experience with Kent Marine's "RO Right", or any similar
product? Other than a pH of ~6.8, what parameters should I being trying
to maintain in terms of dGH, dKH, etc.?
Substrate - 77lbs. Flourite which I plan to treat w/ Flourish tabs prior
to planting the tank as well as treating the water w/ Flourish and
Flourish Iron. I would like to plant the tank all at once, then add the
fish slowly. Is this approach advisable? I have no plans to heat the
substrate/water at this point. With the MH and pump, the temp. is a
fairly constant 78.5 deg..
pH control - Jenco #3675 controller. I'm currently looking for a CO2
injection system. The best price I've found to date for the regulator,
solenoid, needle valve assy. is $169 at the "Marine Monsters" web site.
Does anyone have any experience with this company, or know of a cheaper
Books - other than some old limnology and FW ecology texts, I don't have
any books on FW aquariums or aquatic plants. What books are recommended?
Well, I think I've prattled on far too long. <g> I'd appreciate any
insight anyone is willing to offer. Private responses are also very
Santa Fe, TX