Setting up a new 56g tank, have several questions


Junior Poster
Jun 22, 2007
I've recently gotten out of the saltwater reef hobby and will be starting up a freshwater planted tank soon. I've been reading a bunch about this stuff and have bought some of the equipment I'm going to need already. I've had a low tech planted tank for a couple years that does alright, but i'm going to be going with pressurized CO2 on this one.

I've read that the less light on the tank means the demand for CO2 will be lower. So, that being said, I've got a two bulb 30" T5NO fixture and a single 17w T8 fixture that I was planning on using. I've also got a 4 bulb (24w each) T5HO fixture with one reflector for all of the bulbs (not individual reflectors) that I could raise about 6-8 inches above the tank that I could use. I'm looking to not be in the really high light area but still have some moderate growth from my plants. The tank is 24" tall x 30" x 18", and i'm going to have 2-3 inches of eco-complete substrate. Also, the T5HO fixture would go in a canopy and I could put some metal window screen under it if need be to block some of the light. Any suggestions on which setup to use would be appreciated.

Next question. As I said, I'll be using eco-complete for my substrate and thought about putting some osmocote plus under it. Is there anything else I should add to the eco-complete? I know the earthworm castings and mineralized top soil is a good idea, but there is no way that I can DIY those things at this time.

Also, I'll be doing the dry start method as I'm going to be trying some hair grass, glosso, or something similar for a ground cover. Are there any particular plants or types of plants that I should not put in the tank until it's filled with water?

I'll get to the CO2 questions once the plants have grown in from the dry start method.

Thanks in advance.