I am new to planted aquariums and need serious guidance

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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Hi i currently have a 55 gallon aquarium with 3 bala sharks,2 angelfish,2 glo fish,1 pleco and 1 swordtail. Anyway I want to add plants to this aquarium, but I don't even know where to begin and was looking for a list on what i need, I currently have gravel as my substrate and plan on replacing it with whatever I need to. I was actually looking at ECO-Complete substrate to replace it with. Basically I need guidance on what kind of lights to use and what kind of substrate and pretty much everything. Thanks in advance to anyone who looks this over and helps out. :)
 

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
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Jul 6, 2009
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Hi,

Welcome to the BarrReport. I'm sure you can find a lot of information here to get you started with a planted tank. I suggest you do some serious reading first, so you can define your goals. After that you can make a decision on what you need. You could do that by reading these articles:

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2889-Step-1-Define-your-goals
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2890-Step-2-chose-a-method-and-learn-it-well
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2819-EI-light-for-those-less-techy-folks
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2817-Non-CO2-methods

And of course, there's more.

regards,
dutchy
 

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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Thanks a lot. I will give that info a good reading lol. Thank you for taking the time to look this over and help me out it is greatly appreciated.
 

chad320

Prolific Poster
Jun 1, 2010
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I second the reading and research part. It will help define exactly what you want, what it takes to get you there, and save you a fortune in $$ by avoiding mistakes. On the plus side this is a great start joining this forum. start your research here...
 

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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Ok I've decided on a low light tank with co2, but only with a little bit of c02. I'm having a little trouble finding out what kind of lights I need to use though can you guys help me out with that. I'm pretty sure that I know about the rest of the equipment.
 

Gerryd

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Sep 23, 2007
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Hi,

I think that 1 or 2x30 watt of T5 is more than enough for what you want.

If you can mount the lights so they are easily adjustable that is ideal.

If the fixture is going to simply rest on the tank, I would use no more than 1 T5 bulb..

This will provide the lower light you are looking for.

Honestly, I use T12 bulbs for my low light tank. 2x30 watts on a 45 gal. Works very well and I use NO c02. So you using it should work even better.

Remember that LIGHT is what drives nutrient demand. Supplying the c02 to MEET that demand is the tricky part..

I would suggest a small rio 180 pump and do a DIY needle wheel mod on it. That will add some extra flow and provide a nice way to provide c02 to the plants....
 

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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Gerryd;53055 said:
Hi,

I think that 1 or 2x30 watt of T5 is more than enough for what you want.

If you can mount the lights so they are easily adjustable that is ideal.

If the fixture is going to simply rest on the tank, I would use no more than 1 T5 bulb..

This will provide the lower light you are looking for.

Honestly, I use T12 bulbs for my low light tank. 2x30 watts on a 45 gal. Works very well and I use NO c02. So you using it should work even better.

Remember that LIGHT is what drives nutrient demand. Supplying the c02 to MEET that demand is the tricky part..

I would suggest a small rio 180 pump and do a DIY needle wheel mod on it. That will add some extra flow and provide a nice way to provide c02 to the plants....

Thank but is there a particular brand of light I should use ?
 

Gerryd

Plant Guru Team
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Sep 23, 2007
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Hi,

No. That is the beauty of it. You could use a shop light fixture for all the plants care. As long as the bulb is decent and YOU like it.

Any 6500k bulb or so will work fine.

The nice fixtures are for US not the plants...

Up to you on how much you spend and what you want...
 

shoggoth43

Lifetime Charter Member
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Jan 15, 2009
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For low light, a simple shoplight mounted onto some shelf brackets above the tank is suitable. This lets you move the light up or down to adjust the amount of light coming out of it. Simple T8 or T12 bulbs will suffice for that size tank and I would look for a fixture with dual lamps. The lamps should have a spread of 4-6 inches between them. Many of the dual lamp fixtures will do this but you should avoid the ones where the lamps are right next to each other. This will give you a better spread of light over the tank which is generally much more beneficial than too much light. You shouldn't need to spend much more than 20-30$ for the light and maybe another 10$ if you splurge on the daylight bulbs.

If you find the lighting too powerful you can then use the shelf brackets to raise the fixture up higher over the tank or use shade cloth or floating plants or just some stem plants tossed in to float around and cut down on the available light. This should get you started. The needlewheel powerhead CO2 delivery system is an ideal method for this size tank. Getting decent flow in a 55 is rather tough due to the 12x48" footprint. The narrow/tall configuration makes it hard to get even flow through the tank so the extra powerhead in there really helps to move the CO2 down and around the tank.

-
S
 

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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Well I'm going to get a timer for the light 12 hours on,12 hours off and I'm kind of worried about the fish they are used to having it on 24/7 but anyway, and I'm going to stick with the fixture that I have for now. I do plan on getting a nice fixture but I just want to stick with what I have for now, but as for the lights your saying I can use what i have in there now ?
 

Gerryd

Plant Guru Team
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Sep 23, 2007
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Hi,

Most likely you can use what you have.. what DO you have?

I would advise against 12 hours of daylight... the fish don't need it and the plants will do fine with 8-9...

IMO you are stressing your fish by giving them no dark period. Fish sleep as well they just don't/can't close their eyes....
 

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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Gerryd;53114 said:
Hi,

Most likely you can use what you have.. what DO you have?

I would advise against 12 hours of daylight... the fish don't need it and the plants will do fine with 8-9...

IMO you are stressing your fish by giving them no dark period. Fish sleep as well they just don't/can't close their eyes....

I don't really remember the bulb types but, I have on that has a bluish tint and the other ones just a regular white one and also whenever I do try to turn the lights off my swordtail goes crazy. That's why I'm kind of worried about turning the lights off.
 

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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I've been searching for over an hour on this forum and can not find what types of nutrients I'm supposed to use. Can someone help me out with that.
 

Tug

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tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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Tug;53129 said:
C, O, N, P, K, S, Ca and Mg (Macro Nutrients)
Micro Nutrients (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, B, Ni, Cl and Mo)
The link to Aquarium lighting, http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/Aquarium_Lighting.html will explain the blueish light. Dutchy pointed out threads about EI dosing on post #3. Here are a few more that might help.
http://www.barrreport.com/showthrea...om-1996-1997-of-list-of-levels-and-parameters
http://www.barrreport.com/showthrea...Dosing-or-No-Need-for-Test-Kits?p=217#post217

I don't know any of those abbrevations for the nutrients that you listed and does that mean I can use what I have as far as lights ?
 

Tug

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Sorry tbsusedO,
those abbreviations can be found on the periodic table, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodic_table

Unfortunately it is a little hard to know more about your lights then you do in this case. I would follow the advice people have been giving you. Reduce the number of hours you have the lights on as advised. Turn on a house lamp near the tank before the lights go out if you are worried about the sudden change in light.
tbsused0327;53123 said:
I don't really remember the bulb types but, I have one that has a bluish tint and the other ones just a regular white one and also whenever I do try to turn the lights off my swordtail goes crazy. That's why I'm kind of worried about turning the lights off.
I have seen that behavior in fish when I would use just an actinic (blue) bulb before the lights were turned off. But, a sudden change in lighting can stress the fish a little. :confused:

It is hard to know what is helpful until you find out what lights you have and tell gerryd. What's the diameter and length of the bulb? The article I listed should help you find out what you have with that information. Please read the links we provided - they are very helpful.
 

tbsused0327

Junior Poster
Jul 15, 2010
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OK thanks I took it to my LFS and they said the blue light would be extremely good for plants and the white light will work but just not as good as the blue one. I forgot what type he said it was though lol. And I'll check on those nutrients to see what I need to get. Thanks a lot guys for all your help.