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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1404

>From: Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com (Aquatic Plants Digest)
>To: Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com
>Subject: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1404
>Date: Sun, Nov 21, 1999, 12:48 PM

>Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 11:14:46 -0500
>From: Mark Patrick <mmdp at mediaone_net>
>Subject: Planning new tank - have a few questions...
>Greetings, plant experts.
>I've recently subscribed to this list and have been lurking and reading
>some of the archives for a little while now.  This is my first post.  I
>have kept various freshwater and marine fish on and off since I was a
>little kid in the sixties, but have never kept plants.
>After thinking about it for a loonnnnnng time (about 7 years!) I am
>about to set up a fairly ambitious planted aquarium.  It is to be 180
>gallons (approx. 72 x 24 x 24 inches).  I am having the stand custom
>built and it will be about another 4 to 6 weeks before it is done, so
>I've got a little bit of time to refine my plans and acquire all the
>"stuff" I need.  For the most part, from the reading I've done, I think
>I've got a pretty good handle on the basics, but I could use some
>experienced advice in a few areas.
>I plan on using wire in the substrate as my exclusive heat source, and
>therein lies my first group of questions.  According to a Belden
>catalog, 22 gauge stranded wire has a resistance of 17.5 ohms per 1000
>feet.  According to my calculations, using 24 volts and 100 feet of this
>wire will give me around 330 watts of heat.  Does this sound both
>accurate and appropriate?  From the reading I've done, it seems like
>people use silicone insulated wire for this, but the insulation specs in
>the Belden catalog have me considering teflon.  Both materials are
>excellent to outstanding in water and heat resistance, but teflon is far
>more abrasion resistant.  I also suspect that the thinner teflon would
>do a better job of conducting the heat from the wire to the water.  What
>do you think?  I will feed the #22 wire with some #10.  I am unsure as
>to whether the splices should be outside the tank just over the lip, or
>at the bottom under the gravel.  If they should be inside, how would you
>suggest I insulate them to attempt to prevent contact with the water? 
>And finally, I intend to supply power to this cable with two large,
>12-amp 24-volt transformers in parallel.  I should be putting just under
>14 amps through the cable, so I believe this will be over-engineered
>enough to have no worries with overheating, etc.  (12 amps is the
>largest rated 24-volt transformer I have been able to find with only a
>little searching.  If I can find a single, higher capacity one, I'll use
>I intend to use sandblasting gravel for the substrate, with laterite
>mixed in the lower portion.  According to my calculations, I'll need
>about 300-350 pounds of gravel to give a substrate depth of about 3.5 -
>4 inches.  It appears that the Dupla laterite may be obtainable (with
>some difficulty) from some overseas sources.  Should I do this, or is
>the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals "First Layer Pure Laterite" good enough? 
>Any other laterite options?  In either case, how much should I use? 
>(From reading the archives, I have inferred that the laterite is
>unnecessary over the long term - the substrate would mature with time on
>its own.  I am assuming that the laterite will not hurt and will get me
>off to a better start.  Reasonable?)
>For lighting, I am considering a fixture made by Hamilton with three 175
>watt MH bulbs (5500K, but could be upgraded to 6500K for about $25/bulb)
>and four 55 watt compact fluorescents.  Do you think that's too much
>light?  Is the upgrade to the 6500K bulbs worthwhile?  An alternative
>would be to stay exclusively with either compact or VHO fluorescents
>(probably available up to around 600 total watts) and no MH. If I use
>the combo fixture, I'm thinking I'd fire up the MH lights first (gradual
>warm-up and all, plus the center MH can be controlled separately from
>the other two), and then turn on the fluorescents 1.5 - 2 hours later. 
>At the end of the day, I think I'd turn off the MH's about 1.5 - 2 hours
>before the fluorescents, but I may play around with this idea a bit.
>I'm planning to use wet-dry filtration and inject carbon dioxide via a
>reactor in the sump.  Is this the best choice?  What would you suggest
>for a CO2 reactor?  I saw an Aqualine (by Red Sea) on the Pet Warehouse
>website for around $30 that looked sort of like a long spiral enclosed
>in a tube.  It seemed like a reasonable choice.  There was also a bubble
>counter of the same brand.
>Well, thanks for reading this far!  I really appreciate anything you can
>add.  I'm sure I'll probably have many more questions as I go along...
>Looking forward to buying my first plant,
>- -- 
>Best Regards,
>Mark S. Patrick
>Avon Lake, Ohio