5.5 gallon? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Benton,IL
Posts: 16
5.5 gallon?

I am new to this forum and I am looking for some help to set up my first nano planted tank. I have a 5.5 with an incadesent hood that has a screw in compact flouresent. right now all it has is alittle peice of wood with some java ferns attached to it. so my question is i want more lighting and Co2 injection. how could I get more light for cheap? I heard somewhere has a 25 watt screw in compact? also what would I use for a diffuser that wont take up to much room in the tank? i will be using a DIY co2 system. lastley what plant would be good for a small tank? any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 03:52 PM
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Welcome to the Planted Tank!

A little planted tank can be very rewarding, but is also very challenging to achieve a balance, especially if you are planning for high light, CO2 and fertilizers.

What wattage is the current screw-in fluorescent bulb? Using a higher wattage bulb might be a cheap solution, but you should try to find one that has a "Daylight" color (~6500K) rather than the usual warm-whites (~3200K).

Is there some kind of filter on the tank? Some of the little HOB filters like AC Mini are actually pretty convenient reactors, you just bubble the CO2 into the inlet.

I suggest to not add any fish until you have reached stable pH levels.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 04:41 PM
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Welcome aboard Amp. One great suggestion that Wasserpest, and one I didn't follow myself, is to wait before adding fish. This is especially if your using a do it your self Co2 system. If your not careful with and diligent in changing your Co2 mixtures it can cause some really big Ph changes. My poor little Otto didn't like that, may he RIP. Same goes with ferts. I wouldn't use them for the first month or unless your plants tell you they need 'em. Again this was a tough lesson for me to learn and I'm still battle algea to this day. And the best advise of all is get real familar with the search fiture of this board and read and read and then read some more.

Good Luck
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 05:22 PM
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I agree with both them, but to answer your question! I have used bulbs from HD with GREAT sucess! They are daylight color and are 19w! They run about $8! Well best of Luck with your tank!


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-12-2004, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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thanks for the replies. It does have hob filter but tommorow I am going to buy a new aqua clear mini because right now it has a cheap one. I an going to look at home depot for a bulb for the tank. what palnts would be good for the smaller tank? thanks again.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-13-2004, 04:15 AM
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For an alternate suggestion...

Personally, for cheap lighting on a 5.5g (rectangle AGA tank, I'm guessing), I'd do a DIY 15" 14w NO flourescent job. One bulb would be good for low to mid light plants, 2 would be great for higher light plants. Lowe's carries a 2x20w electronic ballast that would work, then you would just need some end sockets and bulbs. I'd do GE Plant & Aquarium bulb, or if using 2x, one of those combined with another bulb if the coloration isn't good for ya.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-13-2004, 05:44 AM
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My first "real" attempt at a planted tank was a 5.5-gallon All-Glass Aquarium. I bought a 16" fluorescent strip light (All-Glass) which came fitted with some awesome 15" bulb whose brand I never managed to check. I was able to grow virtually *any* plant with the 14 watts. As far as lighting goes, I'm a strong believer that "more" is NOT necessarily "better."

A few months ago, I was having problems growing *anything* in my 2.5-gallon tank with the 12" 8W fluorescent strip light, but that was not the case when I first bought the light. Anyway, thinking I needed *more* light (but not wanting TOO much), I got an incandescent strip light so I could use a 10-watt screw-in PC bulb. Big mistake. The lighting didn't get distributed at all so that one side of the tank was way brighter than the other side. I started getting algae problems, my crypts melted from shock, and it was just a mess. So I asked around for some advice, and I ended up going back to my 8W fluorescent, replacing the old bulb with a Power-Glo, and I saw my tank do a 180. Actually, the crypts continued to do strange things for a few weeks afterwards, but I saw an immediate change in how my Hottonia palustris, Bacopa monnieri, and R. indica were growing. It was nothing short of amazing.

The other thing I couldn't stand about that 10W PC bulb was that it made everything look yellow and washed-out, even though it was 6500K. The spectrum wasn't very good at all.

So basically, I'm agreeing with Daemonfly, and I'd even go as far as to say that a _single_ 14W bulb (if chosen correctly) would be good enough to grow *almost* any plant. It might not be enough for a Riccia lawn, but I wouldn't put it past a good bulb to grow beautiful chain sword or glosso (provided you've got good substrate, CO2 and fertilization).

You can get a 16" normal-output fluorescent strip light for under $25 from Drs. Fosters and Smith (of course that's not including shipping) and it includes a really good 14W bulb. Coralife makes a 20W screw-in PC bulb, but this will probably cost you almost as much as the regular fluorescent strip light.

Sorry for the long post. If you want really fast growth, go with the higher intensity and make sure you keep things balanced at all times. But for good, steady growth, the 14W will do just fine.

For good plants for a 5.5-gallon tank, I could write a whole 'nother book ! You should decide on what level of light you're going with, first.

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