equipment choice input - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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equipment choice input

Not new to aquariums by any means but rather new to the planted scene. Had tanks from 20-150g custom or basic. Going to be making a custom sized tank around 30g. 20"L, 17"W, 20"H. Been doing some research but need a few confirmations...

1. Will be building a custom hood with venting fans and pondering the route of a 4 bulb T8 setup or a few screw in spiral CF bulbs? Thinking about 3wpg mixture of daylight and grow bulbs.

2. Either going to do an intank corner overflow unit with a powerhead at the bottom accepting water from the top of the system dispersing it through an output hole in the bottom. Or the corner overflow unit with a HOB with the intake tube in the overflow and powerhead? Is a simple HOB with a sponge inside enough?

3. Should I just buy some of the overpriced fert substrate and call it a day?

Heater will be whatever I find sufficient, a paintball Co2 system will be used. My main questions are to do with filtration and light schedule/output. Will be using easy to maintain plants not sure of what yet but the point of the Co2 and high lighting is because I have the tools and skills to build a custom hood with ballasts and a Co2 system as I'm a carpenter.

Any tips would be great.

Here's a picture of the overflow I built in my cycling 20H salt tank way back.
(powerhead connected to top output, sponge, bio material, heater and HOB filter intake tube all got hidden in there the whole concept worked out nice)

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 11:48 AM
feh
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Personally if you're going to do an overflow I'd use a wet/dry sump. You can put your heater there and in the return diffuse your CO2. Depending on the flow you get from the return you might not need a powerhead. All you need is enough flow for all the plants to gently sway in the current.

Substrate you may want to try mineralized soil capped with whatever you want for a cheaper solution or maybe osmocote plus under the substrate. I'm sure if you look around the forum you will find some threads on both.

Lighting I would suggest no more than medium lighting if you want an easy to maintain tank. High light creates a rat race with trying to keep up with ferts / co2 to keep plants healthy and algae issues minimal. There is a chart under lighting section you can use if you don't own a PAR meter. Watts per gallon doesn't really matter. The link below will take you to the lighting chart Hoppy created.

Also if you plan to use CO2 I'd highly recommend using EI along with one of the substrate suggestions.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...ml#post1038305
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 02:13 PM
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Skip the CFLs and "grow" bulbs. Visit AHsupply.com and pick up a couple of their lighting kits.

I know almost nothing about overflows, but a wet/dry will outgas a lot of CO2. Not a huge deal if you don't mind spending the extra to keep the levels where you want them, but something to keep in mind.

I've been most satisfied with a substrate composed of 50/50 Eco-Complete and mineralized soil (Not capped, mixed throughout). Straight Eco-Complete is also pretty good. Flourite was OK, but not as good for plants with delicate, shallow roots. Quartz was marginal even with root tabs.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 06:41 PM
feh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cggorman View Post
Skip the CFLs and "grow" bulbs. Visit AHsupply.com and pick up a couple of their lighting kits.

I know almost nothing about overflows, but a wet/dry will outgas a lot of CO2. Not a huge deal if you don't mind spending the extra to keep the levels where you want them, but something to keep in mind.

I've been most satisfied with a substrate composed of 50/50 Eco-Complete and mineralized soil (Not capped, mixed throughout). Straight Eco-Complete is also pretty good. Flourite was OK, but not as good for plants with delicate, shallow roots. Quartz was marginal even with root tabs.
Outgassing is minimal...
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 11:18 PM
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Yea I'd skip the wet dry/overflow. You will loose a decent amount of co2 that way. Since you are using a paintball cylinder you want to be as efficient as possible in regards to co2 absorption or else you will be spending more cash and time getting refills which will get very old very quick.

Also +1 on the ah supply kits. They are really good especially since you are handy enough to make a nice canopy.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 12:08 AM
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I agree with everybody else. Get one of the single bulb 24 watt T5HO kits. That will be plenty of light for your tank. It comes with the Ballast you just have to buy the bulbs, reflector and install it in your homemade hood.
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