50 gallon planted tank setup - new to planted tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2012, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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50 gallon planted tank setup - new to planted tanks

Hello all,

My name is Josh and I'm new to planted aquariums and would like some advise on a low tech 50 gallon setup. I have just started out planning it so here's what I have so far:

50 gallon 36x18x19

Substrate: Miracle Grow Organic Potting soil, Peat Moss, Red clay and Gravel cap

Lighting: Double Bright Fluorescent Strip Light - Black - 36" with Zoo Med Ultra Sun Trichromatic Fluorescent Bulb and Zoo Med Flora Sun Fluorescent Bulb

I will prob be using a glass top and change it out later once I get a canopy. My main concern right now and substrate and lighting. I do not want to use CO2 but will dose with flourish excel. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2012, 08:48 PM
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how are you going to use your substrate? I am just about to start up a 72 bowfront that I just bought and was trying to figure out what kind of substrate would be best to grow plants the biggest.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2012, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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From the information I have been reading, it should last a while as long as I build up a 1.5-2 inch dirt layer and add somethings like red clay. I have not see any specific amounts of time a substrate will last. I believe that's cause of the many factors there are that effect the life of the substrate.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Will I have enough PAR or should I look at going T5 over T8? I'm not going to try doing a carpet with this tank.

Also, with the substrate, does anyone have any suggestions on why or why not to use dirt?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 05:26 PM
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The T5 normal output will be fairly close to the T8 intensity which is low. If you went with T5 HO then you get med light by suspending it.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-31-2012, 06:22 PM
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I've got a tank with the same dimensions, and I found that just one lower-light fixture centrally mounted didn't give good coverage at the front and rear edges of the tank. I wound up going with 2 2-bulb T5NO lights spaced evenly across the top. This lead to some algae problems, so I started injecting co2 and everything went smoothly after that. If you don't want to go co2, I'd suggest either suspending a single T5HO light high above the tank, or two NO lights a bit lower. If you are planning on going with Excel, you'll want to figure how much it's going to cost you per month as opposed with just going with gas injection. Injection does have the convenience of practically running itself, and you never have to worry about missing a dose or killing off some more sensitive plants that don't like the Excel.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Thanks for the advise. Think I will go with T5 NO for now.
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