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New Setup Questions

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  • tuvix72
    I m about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and would like some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel. I am leaning towards either
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 2, 2002
      I'm about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and would like
      some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel. I am
      leaning towards either a Fluvial or Eheim canister filter or
      something similar. I'm new to canister filters so I'm not sure what
      are the things I should be considering when shopping for one. The
      Fluvial is a little cheaper and sounds like a practical system using
      canisters but from what I understand the water flows bottom to top
      meaning that every time you want to rinse out the sponge filter you
      must take the biological and chemical media out of the canister which
      doesn't sound practical. Is this correct?

      Regarding the gravel and substrate, what are people's suggestions? I
      read an article here:
      http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
      which mentions that a good substrate can be made by mixing some
      potting vermiculite and soil. Is it really that simple or should I be
      looking at particular brands or products. I don't want to have to
      replace the gravel and substrate because I made a bad choice in the
      start so any info would be great.

      Last of all my tank came with a 40W fluorescent fixture, I know this
      isn't a lot for a planted aquarium but it may be a little while
      before I can replace it with compact fluorescents or something
      better. It came with a GE light which I know little about. What bulb
      should I buy to get as much light as possible until I can afford an
      upgrade?

      I'm very interested in reading what people think and hopefully I will
      start this tank on the right track with these suggestions.

      Thanks in advance
      Giancarlo
    • Trevor Holyoak
      For the substrate, I recommend Flourite. It doesn t require any mixing or anything - you just use it in place of gravel. As far as filtration goes, another
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 2, 2002
        For the substrate, I recommend Flourite. It doesn't require any mixing
        or anything - you just use it in place of gravel.

        As far as filtration goes, another brand you may want to look at is the
        Rena Filstar XP series. For a 55 gallon tank, you would probably want
        the XP1 or XP2. I use an XP3 with my 150 gallon tank, and it works
        great. It's in the same price range, I believe as the Fluval (my XP3
        cost about $100 and it's the most expensive model).

        - Trevor

        tuvix72 wrote:

        > I'm about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and would like
        > some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel. I am
        > leaning towards either a Fluvial or Eheim canister filter or
        > something similar. I'm new to canister filters so I'm not sure what
        > are the things I should be considering when shopping for one. The
        > Fluvial is a little cheaper and sounds like a practical system using
        > canisters but from what I understand the water flows bottom to top
        > meaning that every time you want to rinse out the sponge filter you
        > must take the biological and chemical media out of the canister which
        > doesn't sound practical. Is this correct?
        >
        > Regarding the gravel and substrate, what are people's suggestions? I
        > read an article here:
        > http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
        > which mentions that a good substrate can be made by mixing some
        > potting vermiculite and soil. Is it really that simple or should I be
        > looking at particular brands or products. I don't want to have to
        > replace the gravel and substrate because I made a bad choice in the
        > start so any info would be great.
        >
        > Last of all my tank came with a 40W fluorescent fixture, I know this
        > isn't a lot for a planted aquarium but it may be a little while
        > before I can replace it with compact fluorescents or something
        > better. It came with a GE light which I know little about. What bulb
        > should I buy to get as much light as possible until I can afford an
        > upgrade?
        >
        > I'm very interested in reading what people think and hopefully I will
        > start this tank on the right track with these suggestions.
        >
        > Thanks in advance
        > Giancarlo
        >
        >
        >
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      • Bob Ashcraft
        ... I ve never used either of these filters and have no opinion on either. However, I have found out that a heavily planted, well established, lightly stocked
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
          tuvix72 wrote:

          > I'm about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and would like
          > some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel. I am
          > leaning towards either a Fluvial or Eheim canister filter or
          > something similar. I'm new to canister filters so I'm not sure what
          > are the things I should be considering when shopping for one. The
          > Fluvial is a little cheaper and sounds like a practical system using
          > canisters but from what I understand the water flows bottom to top
          > meaning that every time you want to rinse out the sponge filter you
          > must take the biological and chemical media out of the canister which
          > doesn't sound practical. Is this correct?

          I've never used either of these filters and have no opinion on either.
          However, I have found out that a heavily planted, well established, lightly
          stocked tank, needs very little (or nothing) in the way of filtration. My 75
          has a couple powerheads for co2 injection and water movement. Nothing else
          in the way of filtration. My point is, if it were me, I wouldn't sink a lot
          of money into a filter that may not be needed later on.

          >
          >
          > Regarding the gravel and substrate, what are people's suggestions? I
          > read an article here:
          > http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
          > which mentions that a good substrate can be made by mixing some
          > potting vermiculite and soil. Is it really that simple or should I be
          > looking at particular brands or products. I don't want to have to
          > replace the gravel and substrate because I made a bad choice in the
          > start so any info would be great.

          Fluorite is a good substrate. A little pricey, but probably worth it.

          >
          >
          > Last of all my tank came with a 40W fluorescent fixture, I know this
          > isn't a lot for a planted aquarium but it may be a little while
          > before I can replace it with compact fluorescents or something
          > better. It came with a GE light which I know little about. What bulb
          > should I buy to get as much light as possible until I can afford an
          > upgrade?
          >
          > I'm very interested in reading what people think and hopefully I will
          > start this tank on the right track with these suggestions.
          >
          > Thanks in advance
          > Giancarlo

          You need to be careful when choosing plants. Very few will grow with this
          little bit of light that you're going to have. Personally, I wouldn't even
          attempt it until I had a better lighting system. When the plants start
          withering away, so will you're desire to try and keep them.

          Bob Ashcraft
        • tuvix72
          Doesn t look like I will have a heavily planted tank until I can better my lighting. My tank (All-Glass 55Gal) only has space for a single lighting strip so
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
            Doesn't look like I will have a heavily planted tank until I can
            better my lighting. My tank (All-Glass 55Gal) only has space for a
            single lighting strip so I'm not sure if there is a quick (economic)
            way of adding more Watts to the system without getting a divorce :)
            What do people normally do in these cases, buy a new canopy and place
            an extra fluorescent tube on top or will compact fuorescent bulbs
            give me the watts I need in the same space taken up by a single
            40Watt tube?

            I think careful selection of plants may be my only solution for now
            being sure to buy only plants which require little light. I think
            there is a website somewhere that has such information.

            Thanks for your help
            Giancarlo

            --- In aquatic-plants@y..., Bob Ashcraft <bashcraft@b...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > tuvix72 wrote:
            >
            > > I'm about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and would
            like
            > > some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel. I am
            > > leaning towards either a Fluvial or Eheim canister filter or
            > > something similar. I'm new to canister filters so I'm not sure
            what
            > > are the things I should be considering when shopping for one. The
            > > Fluvial is a little cheaper and sounds like a practical system
            using
            > > canisters but from what I understand the water flows bottom to top
            > > meaning that every time you want to rinse out the sponge filter
            you
            > > must take the biological and chemical media out of the canister
            which
            > > doesn't sound practical. Is this correct?
            >
            > I've never used either of these filters and have no opinion on
            either.
            > However, I have found out that a heavily planted, well established,
            lightly
            > stocked tank, needs very little (or nothing) in the way of
            filtration. My 75
            > has a couple powerheads for co2 injection and water movement.
            Nothing else
            > in the way of filtration. My point is, if it were me, I wouldn't
            sink a lot
            > of money into a filter that may not be needed later on.
            >
            > >
            > >
            > > Regarding the gravel and substrate, what are people's
            suggestions? I
            > > read an article here:
            > > http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
            > > which mentions that a good substrate can be made by mixing some
            > > potting vermiculite and soil. Is it really that simple or should
            I be
            > > looking at particular brands or products. I don't want to have to
            > > replace the gravel and substrate because I made a bad choice in
            the
            > > start so any info would be great.
            >
            > Fluorite is a good substrate. A little pricey, but probably worth
            it.
            >
            > >
            > >
            > > Last of all my tank came with a 40W fluorescent fixture, I know
            this
            > > isn't a lot for a planted aquarium but it may be a little while
            > > before I can replace it with compact fluorescents or something
            > > better. It came with a GE light which I know little about. What
            bulb
            > > should I buy to get as much light as possible until I can afford
            an
            > > upgrade?
            > >
            > > I'm very interested in reading what people think and hopefully I
            will
            > > start this tank on the right track with these suggestions.
            > >
            > > Thanks in advance
            > > Giancarlo
            >
            > You need to be careful when choosing plants. Very few will grow
            with this
            > little bit of light that you're going to have. Personally, I
            wouldn't even
            > attempt it until I had a better lighting system. When the plants
            start
            > withering away, so will you're desire to try and keep them.
            >
            > Bob Ashcraft
          • Bob Ashcraft
            ... I m assuming that you re using the All-Glass plastic canopy. If you re serious about having a planted tank, return the light to the store where you
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
              tuvix72 wrote:

              > Doesn't look like I will have a heavily planted tank until I can
              > better my lighting. My tank (All-Glass 55Gal) only has space for a
              > single lighting strip so I'm not sure if there is a quick (economic)
              > way of adding more Watts to the system without getting a divorce :)
              > What do people normally do in these cases, buy a new canopy and place
              > an extra fluorescent tube on top or will compact fuorescent bulbs
              > give me the watts I need in the same space taken up by a single
              > 40Watt tube?

              I'm assuming that you're using the All-Glass plastic canopy. If you're
              serious about having a planted tank, return the light to the store where you
              bought it. All-Glass makes (I believe) a double strip light which will give
              you 80 watts. Still not good, but better. 120-160 watts would be desirable
              over this tank. I have 240 watts on my 75.

              Building a wooden canopy is always an option, and can be done very
              inexpensively using cheap shoplites. I've done this a few times and am very
              pleased with the results.

              >
              >
              > I think careful selection of plants may be my only solution for now
              > being sure to buy only plants which require little light. I think
              > there is a website somewhere that has such information.
              >
              > Thanks for your help
              > Giancarlo
              >
              > --- In aquatic-plants@y..., Bob Ashcraft <bashcraft@b...> wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > tuvix72 wrote:
              > >
              > > > I'm about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and would
              > like
              > > > some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel. I am
              > > > leaning towards either a Fluvial or Eheim canister filter or
              > > > something similar. I'm new to canister filters so I'm not sure
              > what
              > > > are the things I should be considering when shopping for one. The
              > > > Fluvial is a little cheaper and sounds like a practical system
              > using
              > > > canisters but from what I understand the water flows bottom to top
              > > > meaning that every time you want to rinse out the sponge filter
              > you
              > > > must take the biological and chemical media out of the canister
              > which
              > > > doesn't sound practical. Is this correct?
              > >
              > > I've never used either of these filters and have no opinion on
              > either.
              > > However, I have found out that a heavily planted, well established,
              > lightly
              > > stocked tank, needs very little (or nothing) in the way of
              > filtration. My 75
              > > has a couple powerheads for co2 injection and water movement.
              > Nothing else
              > > in the way of filtration. My point is, if it were me, I wouldn't
              > sink a lot
              > > of money into a filter that may not be needed later on.
              > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > Regarding the gravel and substrate, what are people's
              > suggestions? I
              > > > read an article here:
              > > > http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
              > > > which mentions that a good substrate can be made by mixing some
              > > > potting vermiculite and soil. Is it really that simple or should
              > I be
              > > > looking at particular brands or products. I don't want to have to
              > > > replace the gravel and substrate because I made a bad choice in
              > the
              > > > start so any info would be great.
              > >
              > > Fluorite is a good substrate. A little pricey, but probably worth
              > it.
              > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > Last of all my tank came with a 40W fluorescent fixture, I know
              > this
              > > > isn't a lot for a planted aquarium but it may be a little while
              > > > before I can replace it with compact fluorescents or something
              > > > better. It came with a GE light which I know little about. What
              > bulb
              > > > should I buy to get as much light as possible until I can afford
              > an
              > > > upgrade?
              > > >
              > > > I'm very interested in reading what people think and hopefully I
              > will
              > > > start this tank on the right track with these suggestions.
              > > >
              > > > Thanks in advance
              > > > Giancarlo
              > >
              > > You need to be careful when choosing plants. Very few will grow
              > with this
              > > little bit of light that you're going to have. Personally, I
              > wouldn't even
              > > attempt it until I had a better lighting system. When the plants
              > start
              > > withering away, so will you're desire to try and keep them.
              > >
              > > Bob Ashcraft
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            • FocaiPoint@AOL.com
              I Doesn t look like I will have a heavily planted tank until I can ... All Glass makes a 110 watt 48 inch long twin tube Compact fluorescent light. The amount
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
                I> Doesn't look like I will have a heavily planted tank until I can
                > better my lighting. My tank (All-Glass 55Gal) only has space for a
                > single lighting strip so I'm not sure if there is a quick (economic)

                All Glass makes a 110 watt 48 inch long twin tube Compact fluorescent light.
                The amount of light you will need will depend on the type of plants you will
                grow. Start out with two watts a gallon, and work up from there. But I
                think you will be satisfied with the one fixture. If not add another later.
                Your 55 gallon tank should be wide enough for two strips but, you might need
                to remove one to service the tank.

                Fluorite is a great substrate but, wash it thoroughly first. Trust me, a
                casual rinse to get rid of the dust does not work.

                David N.

                Annapolis, Maryland


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • tuvix72
                I called the store where I bought the tank and they will exchange the hood and light with a twin 40W light for an extra $50. That sounds like a good deal
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
                  I called the store where I bought the tank and they will exchange the
                  hood and light with a twin 40W light for an extra $50. That sounds
                  like a good deal compared to buying a new one down the road and
                  should give me some extra light for the plants.

                  Thank you for the help
                  Giancarlo

                  --- In aquatic-plants@y..., Bob Ashcraft <bashcraft@b...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > tuvix72 wrote:
                  >
                  > > Doesn't look like I will have a heavily planted tank until I can
                  > > better my lighting. My tank (All-Glass 55Gal) only has space for a
                  > > single lighting strip so I'm not sure if there is a quick
                  (economic)
                  > > way of adding more Watts to the system without getting a
                  divorce :)
                  > > What do people normally do in these cases, buy a new canopy and
                  place
                  > > an extra fluorescent tube on top or will compact fuorescent bulbs
                  > > give me the watts I need in the same space taken up by a single
                  > > 40Watt tube?
                  >
                  > I'm assuming that you're using the All-Glass plastic canopy. If
                  you're
                  > serious about having a planted tank, return the light to the store
                  where you
                  > bought it. All-Glass makes (I believe) a double strip light which
                  will give
                  > you 80 watts. Still not good, but better. 120-160 watts would be
                  desirable
                  > over this tank. I have 240 watts on my 75.
                  >
                  > Building a wooden canopy is always an option, and can be done very
                  > inexpensively using cheap shoplites. I've done this a few times
                  and am very
                  > pleased with the results.
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > I think careful selection of plants may be my only solution for
                  now
                  > > being sure to buy only plants which require little light. I think
                  > > there is a website somewhere that has such information.
                  > >
                  > > Thanks for your help
                  > > Giancarlo
                  > >
                  > > --- In aquatic-plants@y..., Bob Ashcraft <bashcraft@b...> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > tuvix72 wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > > I'm about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and
                  would
                  > > like
                  > > > > some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel.
                  I am
                  > > > > leaning towards either a Fluvial or Eheim canister filter or
                  > > > > something similar. I'm new to canister filters so I'm not sure
                  > > what
                  > > > > are the things I should be considering when shopping for one.
                  The
                  > > > > Fluvial is a little cheaper and sounds like a practical system
                  > > using
                  > > > > canisters but from what I understand the water flows bottom
                  to top
                  > > > > meaning that every time you want to rinse out the sponge
                  filter
                  > > you
                  > > > > must take the biological and chemical media out of the
                  canister
                  > > which
                  > > > > doesn't sound practical. Is this correct?
                  > > >
                  > > > I've never used either of these filters and have no opinion on
                  > > either.
                  > > > However, I have found out that a heavily planted, well
                  established,
                  > > lightly
                  > > > stocked tank, needs very little (or nothing) in the way of
                  > > filtration. My 75
                  > > > has a couple powerheads for co2 injection and water movement.
                  > > Nothing else
                  > > > in the way of filtration. My point is, if it were me, I
                  wouldn't
                  > > sink a lot
                  > > > of money into a filter that may not be needed later on.
                  > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Regarding the gravel and substrate, what are people's
                  > > suggestions? I
                  > > > > read an article here:
                  > > > > http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
                  > > > > which mentions that a good substrate can be made by mixing
                  some
                  > > > > potting vermiculite and soil. Is it really that simple or
                  should
                  > > I be
                  > > > > looking at particular brands or products. I don't want to
                  have to
                  > > > > replace the gravel and substrate because I made a bad choice
                  in
                  > > the
                  > > > > start so any info would be great.
                  > > >
                  > > > Fluorite is a good substrate. A little pricey, but probably
                  worth
                  > > it.
                  > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Last of all my tank came with a 40W fluorescent fixture, I
                  know
                  > > this
                  > > > > isn't a lot for a planted aquarium but it may be a little
                  while
                  > > > > before I can replace it with compact fluorescents or something
                  > > > > better. It came with a GE light which I know little about.
                  What
                  > > bulb
                  > > > > should I buy to get as much light as possible until I can
                  afford
                  > > an
                  > > > > upgrade?
                  > > > >
                  > > > > I'm very interested in reading what people think and
                  hopefully I
                  > > will
                  > > > > start this tank on the right track with these suggestions.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Thanks in advance
                  > > > > Giancarlo
                  > > >
                  > > > You need to be careful when choosing plants. Very few will grow
                  > > with this
                  > > > little bit of light that you're going to have. Personally, I
                  > > wouldn't even
                  > > > attempt it until I had a better lighting system. When the
                  plants
                  > > start
                  > > > withering away, so will you're desire to try and keep them.
                  > > >
                  > > > Bob Ashcraft
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                  http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                • Katherine Yata
                  Hi Giancarlo, I haven t used Flourite but agree, if you can afford it, it is the best stuff. I use Aquatic Plant Soil, sold at Walmart for potting pond plants
                  Message 8 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
                    Hi Giancarlo,

                    I haven't used Flourite but agree, if you can afford it, it is the best
                    stuff. I use Aquatic Plant Soil, sold at Walmart for potting pond plants and
                    have been pretty happy with it. There are lots of pores in each particle for
                    nutrients to be stored in and it is supposed to be high in iron although one
                    species of sword plant I have strongly disagrees! If Flourite is too pricey,
                    use it 50/50 with a small grade of gravel or buy a box of laterite and mix
                    that with the bottom half of your gravel. Small size particle on whichever
                    substrate you decide upon. I wouldn't start out with my first planted tank
                    using any soil type products. Messy when you change your mind on how to
                    arrange the plants! Some people have trouble with laterite making a mess but
                    it hasn't been a problem for me.

                    I have only used the Fluval 303 and wasn't happy with it. You are supposed
                    to leave them alone until the flow is reduced, I didn't like that. The 303
                    was kind of flimsy and hard for me to put back together and restart. I had
                    several floods trying. I like the small amount of tubing in the tank and the
                    spray bar is great. If I used a cannister again I would put a prefilter
                    sponge on the intake and probably just fill the cannister with bioballs so
                    gunk wouldn't build up inside and I wouldn't have to clean it til the
                    impeller got nasty. Chemical filtration needs to be replaced every time you
                    clean the cannister. You can put anything you like in those baskets. Three
                    sponges, all biofiltration, whatever.

                    Light. The home improvement shops around here sell 'shop lights'. These are
                    really cheap- less than $10! One of this on top of your tank would add 80
                    watts so you would have 120 watts for your 55 gallon tank. The Home Depot
                    even labels the four foot bulbs and two kinds are great for planted tanks.
                    5000K, 90 CRI [looks like noon sun, very attractive, a little yellowish] and
                    6500K, 80 CRI [cooler color, plants look a bit bluer]. For about $20 you
                    would have okay lighting and could upgrade to the good compact fluorescent
                    later. I have two shop lights sitting in the garage now, someday they are
                    going to be reused over my laundry area.
                    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    I'm about to start setting up a new 55gal planted tank and would
                    like
                    some suggestions with selecting the right filter and gravel. I
                    am
                    leaning towards either a Fluvial or Eheim canister filter or
                    something similar. I'm new to canister filters so I'm not sure
                    what
                    are the things I should be considering when shopping for one.
                    The
                    Fluvial is a little cheaper and sounds like a practical system
                    using
                    canisters but from what I understand the water flows bottom to
                    top
                    meaning that every time you want to rinse out the sponge filter
                    you
                    must take the biological and chemical media out of the canister
                    which
                    doesn't sound practical. Is this correct?

                    Regarding the gravel and substrate, what are people's
                    suggestions? I
                    read an article here:
                    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/kelly-intro.html
                    which mentions that a good substrate can be made by mixing some
                    potting vermiculite and soil. Is it really that simple or should
                    I be
                    looking at particular brands or products. I don't want to have
                    to
                    replace the gravel and substrate because I made a bad choice in
                    the
                    start so any info would be great.

                    Last of all my tank came with a 40W fluorescent fixture, I know
                    this
                    isn't a lot for a planted aquarium but it may be a little while
                    before I can replace it with compact fluorescents or something
                    better. It came with a GE light which I know little about. What
                    bulb
                    should I buy to get as much light as possible until I can afford
                    an
                    upgrade?

                    Thanks in advance
                    Giancarlo




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                  • tuvix72
                    First of all thank you to all that replied. I wanted to clear one more doubt I have regarding filters. Is cycling a new tank mainly to allow the bacterial
                    Message 9 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
                      First of all thank you to all that replied. I wanted to clear one
                      more doubt I have regarding filters. Is cycling a new tank mainly to
                      allow the bacterial colonies to settle in to the filter? If so, could
                      I buy something like a bio wheel to start cycling the tank now and
                      add a canister filter in a couple of weeks, perhaps a few days before
                      starting to add some fish? With all the expenses of having to buy
                      everything from scratch again the $20 bio wheel (if I can use it)
                      could get me in a lot less trouble than a $100 canister (at least for
                      a couple of weeks). I figure the extra biological filtration could
                      always be a good extra to have once I buy the canister and start
                      populating the tank. Opinions?

                      Thanks again for everyone's help, wish me luck returning home from
                      the fish store tonight :) (gotta get through the CFO of the family)

                      Giancarlo
                    • FocaiPoint@AOL.com
                      Just get a mess of starter plants, plant them, etc., the bio system will settle in rather quickly but it will still take about 30 days plus or minus. Do NOT
                      Message 10 of 10 , Sep 3, 2002
                        Just get a mess of starter plants, plant them, etc., the bio system will
                        settle in rather quickly but it will still take about 30 days plus or minus.
                        Do NOT Plat any crypts until your tank is very well established -- like 6 -
                        10 months at least. Valls, Sagg etc should do fine with 2 watts a gallon
                        lighting. I'd use a canister filtration unit. My personal favorite is an
                        Eheim. As the bio system builds in the tank, it will also establish itself
                        in the canister. My personal view is that the bio wheels are a waste of
                        money when you have a well planted tank with a canister filtration system.


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