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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1390

>Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 04:28:20 -0800 (PST)
>From: G T <gbtower at yahoo_com>
>Subject: Can you help me avoid any BIG mistakes?
>I've been lurking around, learning all I can and
>pretty much enjoying everyone's "company".  For about
>a year, I've been "practicing" whatever I could pick
>up on my little ten gallon tank and so far everything
>is perfect.  I've never kept so many (well, whatever I
>can cram into a ten gallon) plants and fish alive for
>so long.  Then suddenly, I ran into a great deal at my
>LFS for a 8'x2'x2' 240 gal acrylic setup.  I couldn't
>I'm not exactly sure, but I believe the stand and
>canopy are pine, sprayed with black enamel.  The
>inside of the hood isn't painted, though.  I remember
>a discussion about safe paints for hood interiors, but
>I can't seem to find it in the archives.  Could
>someone point me in the right direction?  And should I
>be concerned with the exterior paint?
>I also remember a discussion about lighting for big
>tanks.  I believe the 2-4 W/gal rule doesn't really
>scale well when applied to larger tanks.  I was
>planning to start with just 4 48" 40W flourescents, 2
>chroma 50's and 2 plant&aquariums.  I'd add another 4
>tubes but I've already gone over my budget.  I don't
>really want to intensively grow plants but will this
>be enough to keep them alive, or should I add more?
>For substrate, I'm looking for profile.  I used
>all-purpose sand in my ten and it works great, but I'm
>concerned about the compaction.  It seems people are
>happy with profile anyways.
>For filtration, I plan to just use in tank
>sponges/boxes with powerheads.  I don't stock too
>heavily.  So far a weekly cleaning has been
>I've used yeast CO2 so far and I plan to go to
>compressed CO2 eventually, when I can afford it. 
>Besides, if it works, why fix it?
>All in all, I'm just worried that I've bitten off more
>than I can chew.  I've always wanted a big tank, so
>now that I have it, I just want to make sure I'm not
>being too stingy with it.  Is there anything I'm
>missing in all my excitement?
>Thanks for your time and knowledge,
>Gerald Torres
>Santa Monica, CA

I think many folk have bought a big tank like yourself because "it's such a
good deal"! I did a couple of times and have learn the lessons of big tanks!

      For the hood try an acrylic primer( white) and let dry well.
This is what I used building stands and hoods for some stores. The exterior
coating shouldn't cause you any grief either.
     I'd say 6 to 8-40watt bulbs rather than 4. Chroma 50's and perhaps some
6500k GE bulbs mixed will give you a nice color and growth without costing
much. Shop lights are 8$ at most hardware stores and are easy to use. The
bulbs will cost around 4-6$ each maybe less or more depending.....
     If you haven't bought the filters yet, use a pvc(1/2 to 2 inch
diameter)tube connected to a powerhead and cap the other open end. Punch
small holes all over the tube. Buy or get for free some black open cell foam
they use in produce/meat stand cases from a grocery store and roll up the
foam till you have the desired thickness and use large rubber bands to keep
in place. Very easy to build and very effective. You'll be able to make any
size/length0 you wish this way. 
     Profile is great. Add some laterite or/and peat to the bottom layer to
help start up.
Low light plants can be grown if you only want 4 bulbs too.
CO2...........get a tank and pressure reducer etc. You'd be mixing up
hugnormous amounts of yeast and sugar to get enough gas otherwise. Something
like 12- 2 liter bottles and a great reactor to get close for a ph of 7.8
and a kh of 5 tap water every two weeks." Why fix what's not broke" will not
apply too well here. Yeast works well on smaller tanks about 55-40gallons or
less typically. 
Dave Gomberg has a good deal on CO2 systems BTW. 
Keep reading and looking up things in books and the FAQ's. Buy some test
kits if possible. Ph, Kh and NO3 at least.
Big tanks are much more stable.
Good luck!

Tom Barr