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FAQs on Tanks and Stands for Planted Tanks

Related Articles: Stands and Aquariums for Freshwater Planted Aquariums

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Real craftspersonship can be had in tanks, stands, canopies.

Hi Crew,
I have an established 550 gallon tropical tank which is 44 inches wide by 30 high and 26 deep.
<Wow, an aquascaping "canvas" of size, proportion!>
I currently have a nice selection of fish with plastic plants but I would like to change to real plants. I have read the articles on your site saying that I need 2 watts per gallon of water.
<Mmm, this... is a very general... and olde... "rule of thumb"... not applicable in all cases...>
I knew that with the tank being 30 inches high I may need a lot of light to get to the bottom of the tank but would I really need 1,100 watts of light??
<Mmm, not unattainable, but not likely desirable here either... I'd likely, very likely look into 2 250 watt Metal Halides/HQI's here of near natural sunlight CRI...>
This seems unattainable. Would it be possible to successfully keep live plants in a tank this height or would I be better just sticking with plastic ones??
<Is possible to have live... and worthwhile in my estimation... Will add dimensionality to your aquarium experience for sure... Do search, read on WWM (likely on the marine/root web as this is more elaborated there) re the above lighting.>
Many thanks
<Welcome, and please do share your further observations. Bob Fenner>

Sorry Bob. In my haste I put 550 gallon when my tank is actually 550 litre!! This works out to about 125 gallons so my calculations for total wattage were way out too. What would be your recommendation with the lesser gallon size??
<The same... 2 250 watters... unfortunately there are not "in-between" sizes... the next lower is too low, the next higher will not cast a "wide enough" light swath... IF you have/had "big bongo bucks" you might look into "mixed format" lighting possibilities... T-5's and MH... these are covered on WWM... but t'were it me...>
I'll have a look on the marine threads too. Again, apologies for miscalculating. A 550 gallon tank would be awesome but sadly nowhere near enough room at home!! ;o)
<Cheers, BobF>

biOrb Aquarium - Planted Tank   5/16/09
Hello Bob,
I'm hoping you might be able to assist me by writing an article about creating a stunning freshwater biotope in a biOrb Life aquarium?
<In what way/s?>
I'm not sure if you know much about the biOrb range of aquariums (see www.reef-one.com)
<Mmm, am quite familiar... saw the line last year at Interzoo again... in CASCO's booth>
but we have developed an aquarium which makes keeping fish extremely easy for novice fishkeepers. All our aquariums (16 Gallons is the largest) have biological, chemical and mechanical filtration which is pretty unique for this size of aquarium. In a recent review by Practical Fish Keeping magazine they said "The filtration is commonly mistaken for Undergravel - which is isn't" and "Contrary to popular belief, the filter is actually pretty good and works well. In fact the amount of ceramic media supplied would be enough to biologically support a much larger density of fish. As a result it gets full marks for biological filtration".
Our aquariums are designed to look attractive and bring more people into the hobby of fishkeeping (which as you may know the numbers of fish keepers is declining around the world), but we haven't sacrificed good fishkeeping practices to make the aquarium attractive.
One of the elements of the fishkeeping hobby which we have not explored in great detail is planted aquariums. Due to the ceramic media, which provides the huge biological filtration, it does make keeping some live plants more tricky. However as the images attached show it is very possible to create a planted aquarium but I would like an expert like yourself who has a great eye for designing amazing planted aquariums to look at designing one. Is this something you would be interested in doing?
<Thank you for the offer, but no>
As you can see these images are ones which were taken with a simple camera before thinning out the plants etc. However, this does show how nice the planted biOrb Life looks.
Please let me know if you are interested in working with me on this.
Kind Regards,
<Am out of the country too much of the rest of the year really to do such a project justice... and by and large not a "big fan" of such small volumes with limited surface area, inherent troubles in heating, maintenance. But I wish you and your business well. Bob Fenner>

Missing the visuals... Ghost in the FP, DP machine?   8/31/06 Good afternoon! I was browsing through your FW FAQs and was particularly intrigued by http://wetwebmedia.com/plantedtkssubwebindex/plttksstds.htm. The captions look so interesting! I really want to see the pictures but they don't appear, except for the one next to the heading (the "real" freshwater tank)... I've tried right clicking and using View Image, but when it opens in a new window, it says the page can't be displayed. If you still have these pics on your server, is there any way I can look at them? If they're gone, don't worry...I'm sorry to bother you, ladies and gentlemen, I know you are so busy answering *real* e-mails, but I am just so curious to see those pics! :) Thank you always for your invaluable assistance. Nicole <Thank you for this note... I don't know what happens at times with the graphics on either Frontpage or our ISP... will have to find, replace these... from my hard drive, scans, or make new. Sigh, Bob Fenner>

Question about Planted Aquarium Cover 7/30/05 I have a 55 gallon planted aquarium with a 130 watt compact fluorescent light. I need a cover for the tank and I was wondering which material you would recommend. I was debating between acrylic or glass, but I'm also open to other suggestions that may be better options. My main concern was to find a material that would filter out or block the least amount of light that should be getting to my plants.  Thanks. Thomas <Actually... the best cover is none at all... that is to have nothing twixt the light source/s and the water's surface... all materials have differential photonic absorption and reflection... Bob Fenner>

Triangular plywood and glass DIY tank Hello, <Hi there> Thanks for such a wonderful resource. <Welcome> I would like to build a biotope/paludarium to fit in a corner in my house.  I hesitate to buy a new (or used) corner aquarium because I need to make many modifications to it so it seems to me that a DIY approach is better. <Yes>   Since I've never taken on a project like this before, I would hate to "ruin" a perfectly good tank in case things don't go as planned.  I've read as much as I can find regarding DIY tanks, especially plywood and glass tanks.  Since my idea is to make a triangular tank and two sides will be against the walls, I'd like to try the plywood approach for the sides and bottom with a glass front.  My question is this:  all of the websites stress the importance of making a perfect right angle in order to maintain the integrity of the tank.  My faceplate will not be at a right angle but at a 45 degree angle.  Will a mitered wood frame with the faceplate attached with silicone be the way to go? <Likely this will be fine... need to know specifics... the height of water in the paludarium, the thickness of the ply...> Otherwise, is it possible to find some kind of metal strip bent at less than a 90 degree angle to brace the corners?    Thanks very much for your input. Regards, Eileen <Unless this tank has high water depth, thin ply... you can very likely get away with what you plan/state... adding wood screws every four inches below water level, six above... possibly use fiberglass strip (3-4") in the corners, with resin... you should be fine. Bob Fenner> <Oh... and for clarity's sake... I would make a "frame" with a cut-out for the front... out of the plywood, and set the glass inside this (i.e. silicone the glass to the inside of this frame. Bob F>

Re: thanks to B.Fenner (triangle tank) Wow! Speedy response.  Thanks so much (and on a holiday weekend too!) <To you and yours as well> I have many wood/glass construction websites bookmarked so I think I can figure out the thickness of the materials without too much trouble. However I may run the proposed thicknesses by you before starting. <Real good> Really just wanted an opinion on the feasibility of the project.  I'm planning on making the sides about 30 inches, which makes the front about 42 inches or so.  The tank will be about half full (or half empty if you're having a bad day ;) <Hee!> I'm enclosing a diagram that I made of the project.  I hope you are able to open the file. Many thanks for the response and have a happy new year. Regards, Eileen <Yes... I would go with quarter inch (aka triple strength) plate here... adequate strength and low cost. Bob Fenner>

Re: Wet/Dry "Aquasystem" for freshwater planted aquarium Hello again!  For several months now I have enjoyed your site and sincerely appreciate all your efforts to assist, educate and share with the folks enthralled with the aquarium experience.  Thank you! <Thank you much for the kind words!> You answered a question for me on November 12th '02, and I'd like to query your expertise once more. With your help I started a planted freshwater aquarium which is doing wonderfully (see attached email below)! As mentioned below, the tank is a "TruVu AquaSystem", 40x16x20" tall with a built in wet/dry trickle filtration system. The tank was originally created to support a reef, so the filter is appropriately sized - much larger than the planted aquarium requires. I am now considering removing (cutting out) the internal filter as this will add significant volume to the tank and increase it's depth a good 6 inches or so, and hanging a wet/dry trickle filter off of the back (externally) in it's place. BUT, from what I've read, it seems the wet/dry trickle may not be the best thing for such a tank. My question to you is what sort of filter would you suggest as the best for a planted tank? What would YOU do?  I can go any route, and will use you opinion as a guide for further research. I intend to keep only a few small fish (no discus as mentioned below), primarily plants. <I really think it's personal preference here. I have a planted tank with small fish and I use a wet/dry trickle on it with no problems. I really like it myself. Mine is the over the top style, not a hang on but they should be pretty much the same.> I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to address not only my, but all of your readers inquiries.  Perhaps I'll be able to contribute one day.  Thanks again! Richard <You're welcome! Ronni> Incidentally, I do have a small Eheim canister that I'm not using.  Any suggestions? <You could successfully use this one too if it's what you prefer.>

- Equipment Selection - <Hello, JasonC here...> I am considering purchasing a Oceanic Bow 72 or 90 with stand and cap which are plastic (stand has wood reinforcement).  These are 48" long tanks that are either 22" or 28" high for a freshwater planted aquarium. The dealer suggested a JBJ Formosa Deluxe 1200 (4-65 watt compact florescent) light although I have read that this brand may be unreliable. <I've not had any experience with JBJ lights, so it's hard for me to either confirm or deny this.> Your suggestions for an alternative. <I would post this question on our forum where there is certain to be at least one person who has experience with these lights or can recommend something else. http://wetwebfotos.com/talk > The cap is 9 1/2 " tall and  open at the back but I am still concerned about heat build up. The aesthetics are important to me thus the cap. Your opinion? <Put a fan on it.> The dealer also suggested an Eheim Model 2028 filter which is rated for tanks up to 158 gallons.  They make a smaller model for up to 92 gallons. Any problems with using the larger model? <None at all. I'm a big fan of having more filtration than you need. Cheers, J -- >

Pedestal stands for 100 gallon tank What do you think about the tank stands built like pedestals (you know. . .two pedestals on either end of the tank and nothing under the middle part of the tank)? <They're fine for most geographic locations, types of tanks, settings... as long as they're strong, level and planar... and not set upon by small systems, with children, animals about to rock them...> The salesman says that this type of stand is better than one that supports the whole tank because the stand will not detect the lack of leveling in the floor.  <Wotta salesman! Back to geometry with this person. Read over the Tank Stand section of the www.WetWebMedia.com site...> I kind of like the looks of a tank that has a full stand but he says pedestals provide less stress on the acrylic. <No... the broader the support the better... spreads out the force, capability of making level... Important questions here... why aren't skyscrapers skinny on the bottom? Read over the above citation.> <Bob Fenner>

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