210G set up advice

kody929

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Hey everyone! I’ve got some renewed passion for the hobby and I’m looking to turn my 210g into a planted community tank. Right now I’m looking for advice on the substrate and lighting.
Obviously a lot of substrate is required for a 2’x7’ footprint. My thoughts now are Around 9 bags of ADA Amazonia Light soil, possibly a few powder form ADA to cap the course or cap with sand: either pool sand or natural fine sand from various dunes nearby. I have a black background so I’m not sure if red, gold or white sand is best.
As far as lighting I currently have 2x48” T-5bulbs I can space out. I did see a 60”plant spectrum LED at the LFS for 270$ that I could supplement the two T-5s.
I’ve done planted before with C02 diffusion albeit on a 45G tank.
Any advice would be helpful particularly effective soil and power/cost lighting. Thanks!
P.S. Sponge filter on 2x FX6 intake?!

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Angelphish

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If you plan to use sand from the dunes, I can't say whether it will be safe for the fish, but you will want to sift it and wash it beforehand.

Are you planning on doing low or high tech? That's going to be the determining factor on whether you should do co2, use fertilizer, and what lights you should get. You also don't need special substrate for low tech.
 

kody929

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That was a worry of mine with dune sand. What would be the risks besides ammonia and PH spike?
I have access to multiple sieve screens so I can pick and choose what sand I want. Is there a size of sand that is harmful to fish?
I will start low tech and go up from there. Multiple plant species with liquid and/or dry fertilizer, decent light system and liquid C02 at first. I will monitor and adjust from there.
What would be the difference and why is soil not an issue?
 

Angelphish

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I'm not sure how it would chemically alter the water, which is why I was concerned about it. The size really shouldn't matter, just sift it to your liking.

It sounds like you're trying to start off mid-tech. I typically consider low tech to be plants that really just need light and maybe a special substrate The reason I said substrate isn't important in low tech is because most low tech plants can grow in basically any soil, and plants like java fern happily grow on driftwood.

Mid-tech is when you start introducing dedicated plant substrates, co2, fertilizer, and moderate lighting, with high tech just being the extreme end of that scale. Moderate - high co2 usage, liquid ferts, dry ferts, special substrate, expensive lighting, etc...

As I mentioned, the difference is that low tech generally just needs light, whereas high tech needs pretty intense, typically timed, lighting. And high tech absolutely requires soil wheres low tech doesn't.

What is your end goal? Do you plan to keep any high tech plants, or do you plan to stick to mid tech? The jump from mid to high doesn't typically require you to buy anything new, just increase what you have. Higher co2 dosing, more intense lighting, more ferts, etc...
 

Fat Homer

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As Angelphish Angelphish stated, the type of plants and your end goal should be the deciding factor on what you’ll need and how you should go about it...

For me personally, i prefer not to mix sand and dirt substrate because eventually it gets mixed together especially if you keep re-arranging or moving plants around the tank... this will probably start happening as the tank becomes more established...

So unless you are laying a path down one section with no plants (as if to make a road so to speak) then i may consider the sand for that section but even then the fish may still mess it up if they like digging or they are just large enough fish who want to be a PITA...

Finally, because your tank is pretty big for a planted tank and if you end up doing a mid to high tech setup, i would recommend looking into dry ferts as you will save a lot of money in the long run compared to dosing liquid ferts...
 

Angelphish

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As Angelphish Angelphish stated, the type of plants and your end goal should be the deciding factor on what you’ll need and how you should go about it...

For me personally, i prefer not to mix sand and dirt substrate because eventually it gets mixed together especially if you keep re-arranging or moving plants around the tank... this will probably start happening as the tank becomes more established...

So unless you are laying a path down one section with no plants (as if to make a road so to speak) then i may consider the sand for that section but even then the fish may still mess it up if they like digging or they are just large enough fish who want to be a PITA...

Finally, because your tank is pretty big for a planted tank and if you end up doing a mid to high tech setup, i would recommend looking into dry ferts as you will save a lot of money in the long run compared to dosing liquid ferts...
I don't even see any way to run a high tech 210 on a budget.
 

Fat Homer

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I don't even see any way to run a high tech 210 on a budget.
While i agree its never cheap running any high tech planted tank, but the costs of liquid ferts would add up so much more quickly on 210 compared to using dry ferts is all...

Coz with liquid i can imagine you’d be running through a lot of bottles per week...
 
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kody929

Candiru
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Angelphish I believe to start I will, buy 8-9 bags of ADA Amazonia Light soil and cap it with a sand. Fat Homer I will likely have a “road” or roughly 1/3 sectioned off area in the front where sand will be high. I know the substrate will mix eventually but having more sand than soil should allow sand sifters to thrive.
I just want a dense plant set up. Not too much where it limits fish movement. Any advice on plants that grow like weeds and around 12-18”? I just visited a green leaf aquarium.com for Dry ferts. Once the initial cost of 2xbulbs, new LED, soil, ferts and plants, it should be fairly cheapish. C02 would be an expensive addition as needed I suppose.
I will test water regularly as I establish the tank and have a couple Guinea pig convicts the whole time.
 

Fat Homer

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Water sprite if im not mistaken can grow quite tall and grows like a weed... Amazon swords should be another reasonably tall plant that can grow well without much effort..

If you are lucky, you maybe able to also find some larger anubias plants close to 12” high for mid-ground plants, although may not be easy depending on whats available to you locally...

larger Cryptocoryne would also fit the bill but are a lot more sensitive to changes and will almost definitely go through a stage of melting before bouncing back...
 
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