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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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I have been on the board a couple days now and love it.

I have a couple of questions. I am not new to keeping an aquarium but I am new to a planted aquarium. I have a 200g tank that I am setting back up after a move and want to make it a planted tank.

I know that Co2 is important but can someone give me some info on a system that will work for me. I am on a tight budget.

I will be using Java fern, Java Moss, Elodea, Hornwort, Amazon sword, Hygrophila and Green Cabomba. I have read that these are good plants for the beginner. How will these plants do in low light?

My limited budget is keeping me from going out and getting a PC setup at the moment. I have read the FAQ on budget lights and think I will give that a try.

I am going to use a Flora Substrate with sand on top and then gravel. Is this a good choice? Suggestions please.

Thanks for any info you give. Hope to be around the board alot now since I found it.



I
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 04:31 AM
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Welcome to the board. To start with you might want to take a minute or two and read my FAQ. If I read your message correctly you have a 200 gallon tank! Wow!

What do you consider low light?
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 04:37 AM Thread Starter
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Just two strip lights. It is in a wall cut out and has three recesed lights above that I was thinking of putting a grow bulb in. I know this sounds so amateure to you guys but I have never done the plant thing.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 12:29 PM
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Do you know what wattage the strip lights are?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 12:48 PM
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The plants you've selected will tolerate fairly low light levels and are indeed good plants to start out with. Even with sturdy plants such as those, you'll need at least 200 watts to start out with, and aim for 300-400 watts in the long run.
If your two strip lights are standard double bulb 40w shop lights, that makes 160 watts right now which will make things a bit frustrating. Let us know just what they are, though, and we'll help try and steer you in the right direction.
Without bright lighting, CO2 isn't a major necessity right now. Once you step up the lighting, your only real choice with a tank this big is a pressurized CO2 setup. If you're on a budget, this is going to be your best bet...
http://www.aquatic-store.com/en-us/dept_249.html

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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I looked at the lights today they are 30w triton bulbs. There is two one on each side of the tank. Also there is three recessed lights about 10 in above the tank they are 75w. Can I use them for anything?

Thanks for the info on Co2. I am slowing getting the hang of plants as I read.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 09:05 PM
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The recessed incandescent lights are kinda worthless. Incandescent lighting is crumby for plants. If you changed them out to 10,000k All-Glass power compacts, they could be useful...but only if they're fairly close to the top of the tank (which I'm betting they are not).

FYI, planted tanks are like a whole new realm of aquarium keeping. Once you get 400watts, and CO2, you're looking at maintenance 3 times a week for fertilizing (and testing for a while until you know how your tank uses its nutrients)...plus weekly or bi-weekly water changes, and 1-2 times a week you'll probably have to prune plants....I've not had a marine tank ever, but I think a true planted freshwater tank is more work than any other kind of tank.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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I am looking forward to the adventure. I was bored with just a fish only tank.

What counts as low light? Im sure mine is considered real low light. What I'm asking is what is the minimum lighting I need for the plants that I mentioned earlier just to get me started?
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 09:30 PM
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I dunno, Gregg, I think even a Fish Only Marine tank was a heck of a lot more work than a planted tank. Once you understand the basics of fertilization and nutrients, it's pretty automatic. The intial cost of lighting and CO2 isn't anywhere near the 5wpg needs of a reef with a protein skimmer, etc.
Clownknife, you're definitely going to have a hard time with just 120watts of light right now. If you plant your low-light plants higher up in the tank (on a piece of driftwood, for example), you'll have a better chance right now. But I would definitely look into some good lighting for that tank to get the plants looking really good.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 09:35 PM
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60 Watts for 200 gallons? Wow, that hardly illuminates the fish!

For a high-light setup, with CO2 and all the good stuff, I would suggest 4 of the 96W PC kits, like AHsupply sells them.

For a low-light, low maintenance support, you could add more 30W fluorescents, 4 on each side, for a total of 8.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
60 Watts for 200 gallons? Wow, that hardly illuminates the fish!
:hehe:

The tank is 84" long I have noticed only 48, 72 and 36" lights. With the 96w PC how will I set this up?

Can I get the addy to the company you suggested for the PC lights.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 09:52 PM
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IMO for those plants you are going to want at least 200-250 watts. The more the better. Trust me the biggest mistake most of us have made is not doing it right the first time. I understand money is an issue, but you will save your self the frustration by at least getting to the minimums need to grow aquatic plants with some success.

Jason

120g, Flourite & Sand. DIY Stand and Canopy. CF lighting 3wpg, Pressurized C02, DIY reactor. 2-XP3's, 500watt heater.
Heavily planted
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 10:02 PM
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http://www.ahsupply.com/96watt.htm

They are about 35 inches long, so you would kinda space them evenly, two in the front, two in the back.

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Well that's what I would do.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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When you say two per side do you mean two one bulb units or two four bulb units per side?
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-13-2004, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ah never mind I looked at the pic and it would be four bulbs per side.


Thanks

Duane
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