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Re: 8x2x2 tank

> Hi all,
> I am in the process of preparing my 8x2x2 tank as a planted tank.
> I have 
> read as much as I could from various websites (thekrib, G.Booth's etc)
> regarding setups and the various techniques people are using. Here is a list
> of materials that I have purchased so far:
> 1 x 8ftx2ftx2ft (still empty with stand and hood)
> 2 x Eheim 2026 cannister filters

You can go either way. Some prefer these, I prefer wet/drys and wet/drys are
cheaper(and DIY) and easier to maintain IMO for large tanks. You can build a
nice Wet/dry for about 100$ USD.
A rubbermaid sump, Rubber maid trashcan(the wet/dry tower and lava for the
media, Tupperware container that fits on the top of the trash can w/holes
drill for the drip plate,the top to prevent splash and evaporation and a
good place to put a fine filter felt etc. A decent submersible pump can be
had for a reasonable amount for the return.

> 2 x 40watt NEC tri-phosphors (6500K)
> 3 x 150watt metal halides (5200k bulbs)

If you are going to do the MH's I would opt for open tops.
A big tank that is deep is much, much easier to work on and will greatly
enhance the look of the tank etc. I'd go 3 x 250watt or 4x150w.

Unlike most FL set ups/full hoods you can raise and lower pendent systems
easily, thereby lowering the light going into the tank.

> 1 x Dupla S 1500 CO2 kit (bottle, reducer, reactor etc)

If you live in NA, there are much cheaper systems. Around 150$-200$ max.
Compare that with Dupla. See about giving welding supply places a shot and
see what other folks down there are using for CO2. They all cannot be using

> Gravel (2-3mm) quartz based

I'd suggest flourite/onyx sand but your in Australia.
Wonder if they have Turface down there?
> Question 1 (Substrate heating):
> From reading many articles in various sites, substrate heating is
> recommended by many people for long term growth and maintenance of a planted
> aquaria. Currently, my thoughts are to add laterite to the bottom section of
> the substrate along with some form of heating coils.
> In one particular site, it was noted that in aquarias using heating coils as
> a primary heat source and using metal halides, temperature flucuations may
> occur in the substrate. During the 'day' cycle, the halides would heat the
> water, thereby switching off the coils. The coils would come back on during
> the night cycle.
> a) Wouldn't this mean that the biochemical processes and water 'movement' in
> the substrate be limited to times where the plants are not photosynthesing?

From a study I heard of from Tropica, the amount of optimum movement through
a substrate is about that of simple old diffusion(no heat added or needed).
I think the substrate heat idea is decent for the sand laterite tanks but
find the flourite by itself works much better over the long term without the
I have a hard time suggesting that the heat is helping that much when it is
not added to the flourite tank and yet I see good gains in plant health.
Other things might be going on such as better nutrient transport/bacterial
cycling etc in the flourite. But it seems that water movement is not the key
nearly as much as Dupla contends it is.

> b) Does anyone have experience/comments on the DuplaThermik coils? In
> Australia, DuplaThermik coil setups are significantly cheaper than that of
> DuplaFlex (even if I got a different brand transformer and temp controller)
> and the added costs of dedicated heaters. The benefit I saw with the
> DuplaThermik was that it would continuously heat the substrate and provide
> constant water movement and biochemical reactions in the substrate(abeit
> less vigorously).

Okay you are in Australia, never mind about the flourite but I think someone
did say they got it for a reasonable(?) amount, about 20-30$ a bag. Still
for a 8x2ft(? is this ft here?) that would be 12-14 bags. But you just wash
it and dump it in. Nothing else. Same for the turface.

You could also use the reptile heating pads if you go with the sand/laterite

> Question 2 (Lighting):
> The generally accepted figure for a normal planted tank is 2-4watts
> (depending on plant selection, aquarium depth etc). This figure seems to be
> only pertinent to fl?

I think MH's fall into this range.

> a) What are the generally accepted figure for those using metal halides? Do
> I have enough? I am planning to keep a mixture of fast (e.g. hygros) and
> slower growing plants (e.g. anubias sp. Java ferns) in various regions of
> the tank.

Well more light is not always better. If you are going to use a full hood
you are okay here with your plan.
Take care and proceed slow and find things that you specifically want, don't
settle for less(or more if you don't need it).
Toss a small amount of peat into the substrate/laterite layer. Mix a very
healthy dose of laterite into the lower gravel layer.
Tom Barr 

> TIA,
> Chang.