Going from Saltwater to Freshwater Question 

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Shock

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With all my recent troubles with managing a saltwater tank, I've decided to convert my 72gallon bow front into a freshwater planted tank.

I'm going to see if I can get credit on the LR and damsel before proceeding. My question is, is there anything I should be aware of or careful about when changing from Saltwater to fresh?
 
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ryanr

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I would recommend a very thorough cleaning of the tank to remove any salt traces.

I would also highly recommend using a new filter, and anything else that has had salt water running through it, unless you wanted to go to a brackish tank

You want to make sure everything is thoroughly cleansed of any salt traces. And if you had actinic bulbs, you could, if you wanted to, replace them. But others like the blue effect, so that'd be personal choice, unless you wanted a heavily planted tank, in which case, you might need to look at the types of tubes used, but the fixture should be ok
 

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While you need to make sure you get rid of any traces of salt I don't think you need to entirely replace the filter, just some of the media. Replace any absorbent media but any sponges, bio-balls & stuff like that should be fine with a good wash & rinse. A good scrub of the filter body, heater, thermometers & any other equipment & then a good rinse should be enough to make them quite usable. You can always fill the tank with fresh water & run it for a few days to help dissolve any salt residues that have been left behind & then change all the water out again. Make sure the tank has been stripped of all the decor before you do that. Only leave equipment in the tank so that it gets a good rinse to.

Don't use protien skimmers or UV sterilisers if you have them. They just are not needed in freshwater tanks & UV sterilisers can actually lower freshwater fishes immune systems over time. Replace all the decor & substrate totally.
 

Nitro Junkie

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Nutter said:
UV sterilisers can actually lower freshwater fishes immune systems over time.
This is a myth. A UV will in no way,shape or form,lower a freshwater fishes immune system,anymore than it would a saltwater fish. Why would it?
If you have one,use it. If you don't,they are not necessary,but they will kill any free floating algae,and bacteria in the water column.They are worth the money IMO.

What kind of mechanical filter do you have?
What kind of lighting do you plan on using? What kind of plants do you plan on keeping?What kind of substrate and stocking are you think of? Are you going to use CO2?

I had a tank I switched from salt to fresh. I just rinsed everything very well,changed the substrate and filter media,and was good to go.
 

Nutter

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I'll agree to disagree with that. Whatever personal views are on that particular aspect of UV sterilizers they have no place in a freshwater aquarium. They are next to useless for most diseases as parasites etc usually live on or within the fish & won't be exposed to the UV light. They will kill some pathogens but not as many as people like to believe. The biggest problem with them on a freshwater tank is that they kill bacteria. Good & bad. We want more good bacteria, not less. The killing of these bacteria & pathogens is what leads to the lower immune system over time. If a fish is not exposed to anything bad, ever, when something does come in with a new fish or plant, the fish that were already in the tank have little or no immunity to what the new fish is carrying leading to more sever symptoms & longer times to be cured. I've seen it in practice to many times not to believe it. Like I said, I'll agree to disagree. (the OP has info on lights & filter in their aquarium info, just click the blue box below their name)

Well worth noting that UV sterilizers should not be used in any planted aquarium. All you will end up with is a buch of dead plants.
 

Nitro Junkie

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Nutter said:
I'll agree to disagree with that. Whatever personal views are on that particular aspect of UV sterilizers they have no place in a freshwater aquarium. They are next to useless for most diseases as parasites etc usually live on or within the fish & won't be exposed to the UV light. They will kill some pathogens but not as many as people like to believe. The biggest problem with them on a freshwater tank is that they kill bacteria. Good & bad. We want more good bacteria, not less. The killing of these bacteria & pathogens is what leads to the lower immune system over time. If a fish is not exposed to anything bad, ever, when something does come in with a new fish or plant, the fish that were already in the tank have little or no immunity to what the new fish is carrying leading to more sever symptoms & longer times to be cured. I've seen it in practice to many times not to believe it. Like I said, I'll agree to disagree. (the OP has info on lights & filter in their aquarium info, just click the blue box below their name)

Well worth noting that UV sterilizers should not be used in any planted aquarium. All you will end up with is a buch of dead plants.
Where are you getting your information? The benefical bacteria needed to keep the the ammonia and nitrite in check is in the filter,on the gravel,glass, decorations.... Not in the water column.

Where have you seen the lowering of the fish immune system by using a UV filter? In what practice? You can agree to disagree all you want,but you have been fooled into believing in something that is not true.
 

Nutter

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You do realise there is more than one kind of good bacteria present in water, don't you? Not all bacteria within an aquarium are part of the nitrification process. You can claI'm I've been fooled all you like. When I say I have seen it in practice, that means actual aquarium set ups that I know the owners of personally. Not some so called study that I read from the internet. It would be worth while noting that no proper studies of the effects of UV light on freshwater aquariums have ever been carried out. The only 'studies' out there are based on assumptions made from real studies performed about UV light & it's effects on the human immune system. My information is from personal experience & from many other aquarists experience through the cichlid society I'm a member of. I think you will see it your way & I will see it mine, so rather than hijack the thread, we can simply agree that a UV sterilizer is not needed on any freshwater aquarium, regardless of whether some people believe there are positives or negatives to their use on such aquariums.
 

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Nutter said:
Well worth noting that UV sterilizers should not be used in any planted aquarium. All you will end up with is a buch of dead plants.
This is not true either.

You are contradicting yourself in your posts.

I have tanks that have UV on them,and some that don't. If I put a fish from one of the UV tanks into a tank that does not have one,nothing happens to the fish. I,and many people I know do this. What disease's do your fish get when you do this?And how do they catch these disease's from fish I am assuming are healthy in the non UV tanks?
 

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Ok mate. Whatever you say. See ya later.
 

Nitro Junkie

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Nutter said:
Ok mate. Whatever you say. See ya later.
I'm really interested in you answering my questions. I guess they don't have a PM in this forum,so why don't you start a thread on your bad experiences from transfering freshwater fish from a UV tank to a non UV tank. And please explain why Saltwater fish don't have the same bad effects as Freshwater fish.
 
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jdhef

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They do have a PM system in this forum, but you need to have 50 posts before it becomes active.

I'm not a moderator or anything so no one has to listen to me but...

I think that you two both have pretty strong beliefs on the use of UV sterilization in freshwater tanks. You both have stated your opinions, and now it is up to the viewers of this thread to decided what would be best for them.

This is a friendly, respectful forum, and I fear anymore debate on the subject could just start getting heated, and feelings might start getting hurt.
 

Nutter

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jdhef said:
They do have a PM system in this forum, but you need to have 50 posts before it becomes active.

I'm not a moderator or anything so no one has to listen to me but...

I think that you two both have pretty strong beliefs on the use of UV sterilization in freshwater tanks. You both have stated your opinions, and now it is up to the viewers of this thread to decided what would be best for them.

This is a friendly, respectful forum, and I fear anymore debate on the subject could just start getting heated, and feelings might start getting hurt.
Your opinion always counts Jdhef, just like everyone elses, so people will & should pay attention to your post. If you pay attention to the times though you will notice that the conversation is long over & when it started to go too far away from the original topic, I stopped posting in the thread. Nitro & myself continued the conversation elsewhere. There was no slanging & no disrespect to anyone. Just two people with different views discussing something that may well effect the OP's future plans.

Don't stress out mate, it's all good. Love & harmony around here.
 
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Shock

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In order to answer some questions, I won't be running a UV sterilizer in the tank since I don't own one.

Also, all my Saltwater gear switched back to my 45 since I made that my Saltwater tank again.
I bought a new HOB filter and other gear for the 72 Freshwater tank now. I'm running PFS for a substrate, and my lighting is 2 x 54w T5HO fixture. One bulb is actinic, the other daylight.

As for CO2, I plan on trying to do a homemade set up at some point. Not sure which plants to run yet, suggestions?
 
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PFS?
As for the lighting, depending on what plants you go with, it might be worth swapping the actinic for a different bulb

Do you know the kelvin rating for the daylight globe? I run a 6700K and an 18000K on my fresh planted.

The actinic will give you great effects, but I'm pretty sure it is no good for plant growth.

Depending on what plants you want, CO2 may not be necessary.

If you go for low light, light to moderate planting, you can probably get away without changing your lights and wouldn't have to add CO2.
Medium to high light plants would require more specific bulbs, and the more heavily planted you go, the more the requirement for CO2.

Nutter will probably have better advice around specific plant arrangements.
 

Nitro Junkie

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I would switch your actinic bulb,there is no need for them in a Freshwater set up unless you like the color,and because you are going planted,I would use something more plant friendly. I would use one 6500 to 6700k and one 8000 to 10,000k.

With 72 gallons,DIY CO2 would need a lot of bottles. Save yourself the trouble,and invest in a pressurized CO2 system. They can be a bit pricey for the initial cost,but well worth it. You could get a descent set up for around $200.

Wisteria,crypts,java ferns,swords,rotala,anubias,wendtii,lugwidia,would be some good beginner plants to look into.
 

Nutter

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PFS is Pool Filter Sand Ryan. Not my choice of substrates for a planted tank. Sand needs too much extra maintenance & has a few other draw backs that I don't like. It can be used quite successfully though so long as the user is prepared to put in the extra work. If the sand has been in the Saltwater set up previously, throw it away it is no good for use with plants unless you clean it really really well. There would be too much salt residue left for most plants to tolerate.

With 2 x 54w T5HO tubes I would consider this a high light set up. Throw the actinic tube away as they are useless for planted aquariums. Kelvin ratings are mostly meaningless when it comes to which tubes to use. 6,700k & 10,000k are the tubes that people tend to pick because they like the way the light looks, not because it is the best light for the plants. Spectral output is what is important when it comes to plant growth. Rather than go into detailed explanations of why, I will just say that green plants use red & blue light most efficiently & it is good to provide plenty of light from those areas of the spectrum. Most 18,000k tubes will contain lots of both red & blue light which is ideal for photosynthisis. Seeing as the high Kelvin rated tubes emit a purple sort of light it is a good idea to balance them out with a whiter light such as a 10,000k (white light) or 6,700k (slightly yellow). Choosing tubes by the spectral output rather than the kelvin rating will yield far better results. You can still get excellent results using kelvin rating as a guide to which tubes to use, but the results will be better if you let spectrum be your guide.

Given the amount of light you have, co2 is going to be mandatory. While I agree that a commercial injection system would be the best option for you, it is possilbe to run diy co2 & still achieve 25ppm co2 without any great problem (I do it so others can to). If money is not a concern though, buy or build a pressurised injection system as you will have much more control, better results, more consistancy & in the long run, it will actually be cheaper. HOB filters do not lend themselves well to co2 injection though as they create lots of surface disturbance. Surface disturbance in a co2 enriched tank will severely limit the effect that the co2 has on the plants. The more surface disturbance there is the more co2 escapes the water back into the atmosphere. The idea with co2 addition is to minimise the amount of surface disturbance there is so that the water retains the co2 more effectively while still maintaining good axygen levels for the fish.

Best that you plant the tank fully in one go if that is possible. If it is not then adding a few plants at a time is ok as well. Start out with some fast growing easy to maintain species. Here's a small list of plants that would be good for you to start with: Ruffled Sword Plant (Aponogeton Crispus), Jungle Val (Vallisneria Spiralis), Hygro (Hygrophila Corymbosa), Water Wisteria (Hygrophila Difformis), Sunset Hygro (Hygrophila Polysperma 'Sunset'), Dwarf Bacopa (Bacopa Monnieri), Giant Bacopa (Bacopa Caroliniana), Green Cabomba (Cabamba Caroliniana), Dwar Sag (Sagittaria Subulata), Green Rotala (Rotala sp. 'Green'), DownoI (Pogostemon Helferi), Anacharis/Elodea (Elodea Densa). There are also many varieties of Cryptocoryne, Anubius & Echinodorus that would work well & are easy to care for. Those are just a few of the choices that are good for a beginner with a high light tank. Those plants are everything from low to high lighting & from foreground to tall background plants. Anything that you are interested in & want to know the specific requirements of, let me know & I'll be happy to post details for you.
 
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Thanks Nutter, I actually understand most of the chemistry (I was a chem major for two years before switching). I understand the extra work involved with PFS, but I wanted something a bit more realistic looking than the turquoise gravel in my 29 gallon. The 72g was BB anyways when it was Saltwater. Also, it's low cost was pretty attractive to me. It's about a 2.5" ~ 3" bed right now.

For CO2, I was going to try and rig up some 20oz CO2 tanks from paintball to run off of a check valve to release the gas. I'm on a sponsored paintball team (whole other story) but anyways I can get these tanks refilled for probably a $1, maybe free if I ask nicely.

Other random question: Do I add the fish first or the plants first?
With my 29 gallon I added plants to an established aquarium.
 

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You can do it either way but I think it is always best to have the plants in & established for a few weeks before introducing any fish. Plants are fantastic ammonia absorbers & they will have a huge effect on how you go about cycling the tank. Here's a couple of links about cycling with plants & plants & ammonia uptake:



I can confirm from my own experience that healthy well growing plants will remove most of the ammonia before it ever reaches your filter. That does not mean you should skimp on biological filtration though. Just that the plants will have an impact on the bacteria colony.

You won't have much success with co2 bottles controlled by a check valve. There is no way for you to regulate the pressure coming from the bottle. For that you need to have a regulator & usually a fine control needle valve. Paintball canisters won't last very long on a 72gal tank either. You would be refilling them every week or so. best to get at least a 5lb bottle & a 20lb will serve you much better. For a cheap co2 bottle, try to get your hands on a co2 fire extinguiser. They are very popular with people that build their own pressurized co2 systems.

With most of the substrate rooted plants you will choose you are going to need to have some form of substrate fertilization. Very little water flows through the sand & that means very little nutrients to the roots of the plants. Substrate fertilizer tablets will be the way to go. Flourish & API both make good tabs but I think you would be best served using the Flourish tabs. They contain the macro & micro nutrients the plants need & only need replacing approx every 3 months. API tablets do not contain all of the nutrients needed by the plants & need to be replace every month. There are other brands that may serve you well but I have not personally used them so wouldn't feel comfortable recommending for or against them.

EDIT: I don't know why the first link is not working. I've typed it right & the page still exists so perhaps try that link again later. There is enough info in the second link for you to understand what is going on with plants & ammonia anyway.
 

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Nutter said:
I'll agree to disagree with that. Whatever personal views are on that particular aspect of UV sterilizers they have no place in a freshwater aquarium. They are next to useless for most diseases as parasites etc usually live on or within the fish & won't be exposed to the UV light. They will kill some pathogens but not as many as people like to believe. The biggest problem with them on a freshwater tank is that they kill bacteria. Good & bad. We want more good bacteria, not less. The killing of these bacteria & pathogens is what leads to the lower immune system over time. If a fish is not exposed to anything bad, ever, when something does come in with a new fish or plant, the fish that were already in the tank have little or no immunity to what the new fish is carrying leading to more sever symptoms & longer times to be cured. I've seen it in practice to many times not to believe it. Like I said, I'll agree to disagree. (the OP has info on lights & filter in their aquarium info, just click the blue box below their name)

Well worth noting that UV sterilizers should not be used in any planted aquarium. All you will end up with is a buch of dead plants.
I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I do feel the need to point out when advice has been given that is incorrect. I'm not sure what your personal experience is with UV sterilizers, but I run one in my freshwater tank and I have experienced none of the things you mention. Have you ever actually owned one? To say they are useless in freshwater is inaccurate. In my case, mine is the only thing keeping my tank from looking like pea soup from free-floating algae. Blackouts, daily water changes, and drasticaly reduced feeding did not help. The UV cleared it up within 48 hours of activation.

I'm not sure what science is behind the claI'm that UV reduces fish immunity. You don't really mean to argue that it's better for fish to be constatnly exposed to things that will harm them do you? UV will not harm beneficial bacteria if it is installed after the filter. Most bacteria is not free floating in the water. Any that gets stirred up in the water during gravel vacuuming should be caught by the filter before going through the UV. You are correct that UV does nothing against bacteria or parasites already attached to a fish, but it will elimate these things when they are free-floating. One can debate the effect of UV sterilizers on parasites, but there is no debating that they always win the war against green water. Thus they very much have a use in freshwater tanks.
 

Nutter

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That's your opinion & your entitled to it. Just as I am mine. Have fun with it on your planted tank. Your green water should be solved by correcting what ever imbalance is causeing it, not by introducing a piece of hardware that is going to be damaging to your plants. You need to find what your doing wrong inthe first place.
 
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