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Starting a tank and how to avoid a cycle? and lighting question?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by tcmfish, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. tcmfish

    tcmfish Junior Poster

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    I believe somewhere on here I read that you can start a planted tank and avoid a cycle. Could someone explain this? Thanks

    As it stands now I just have the tank which is a 25 gallon tank.

    I plan to run CO2 and will use an eheim filter on the tank with the CO2 reactor plumbed inline. I am still reading more on ferts but I have some time. I would like to know what lighting would be good. Is a 70 watt metal halide enough or not and could I get away with something cheaper like say power compacts. What about T5's do they need individual reflectors or can I get away without them? I would like to keep it cheap but definately don't want to cut corners. I want to do it right the first time. I want to be able to keep pretty much any plant in this tank (not every plant but I just don't want to be restricted when buying plants).

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    -Tim.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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  3. tcmfish

    tcmfish Junior Poster

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    Hey thanks! Yeah I read that thread right after I posted. Whoops, but yeah I am still unsure about the lighting and after I read that thread. I got another question.

    Substrate?

    In that thread he used ADA AS which I'm pretty sure is ADA aqua soil but where is the best place to purchase such a substrate. I want a black substrate if possible.
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    In my opinion starting out with ADA aquasoil as your first substrate is not the best idea. To use that substrate successfully you have to be willing to do extra water changes for a few weeks to control the ammonia it leaches into the water. Of course it can be done, but with all of the other things you will be trying to learn and get used to, why complicate things.

    If you use 3M color quartz black as a substrate you will have an inert substrate, which means you will be relying on fertilizing the water for the plants to grow. That is a good way to learn fertilizing.

    Or, you could use AquariumPlants.com's own: Freshwater Plant Substrate, which is a dark gray material with a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), which helps make fertilizers available to plant roots. It is pretty cheap too.

    For lighting a 25 gallon tank, it depends on the length of the tank. If it is a 24 inch long tank or a 30 inch long tank or something else, that limits the length of bulbs you can use. Whatever you use should be about 55 watts or so, if it is PC bulbs, or perhaps 40 watts or so of T5 bulbs, with reflectors in both case. That would let you grow almost any plant you would want, but wouldn't be so bright that avoiding algae would be difficult.
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    75 watts of mh on a 25 gal tank is a LOT OF LIGHT.

    You may want to rethink your light choice based on how much growth you want.

    You will need c02 and additional ferts if you do this with MH.

    How about black flourite as a substrate?
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Blackk Flourite sand looks very good in the tank, is really black, and has a high CEC too. No extra precautiions or procedures are needed when you use it. I used one bag in a 10 gallon tank - about another 1/4 bag would have been better. So, 4 bags is probably enough for a 25 gallon tank.
     
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