new to planted tanks need help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-06-2004, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 16
new to planted tanks need help

I am new to planted tanks but have been keeping fish for 15 years. I have a 70G tank that I'm converting to a planted community. CurrentlyI have 6 bloodfins, 4 gouramis, 2 spotted cats, 2 SAG and am going to be ordering the 60 or 80 plant assortment in the next day or so.

My question is lighting. I am going to order PC fixture but can't decide btw a corallife 48 in 2 x 65 W PC or going for the finished enclosure plus some combo of kits from AH Supply. Do I really need to spend twice as much for the AH Supply setup or will the corallife work.

Sould I invest in some sort of CO2 system or can I live w/o it.

My set up includes about an 1 1/2 in. of flourite, 1 1/2 in. of regular acquarium gravel, a fluval 404 w/ 1 1/2 baskets of bio cylindars, 1/2 basket of peat pellets, 1 basket of charcoal. My water tends to be hard w/ ph in the 8.0 range. I'm considering removing the charcoal and replacing it w/ peat pellets to soften and maybe lower ph. Does this sound like a good plan.

Thanks for the guidance
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-06-2004, 04:58 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
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Hi Sharker, welcome to the Planted Tank!

What are the dimensions of your tank? If it is 18" deep, placing one row of PC lights over it will lead to some uneven lighting!

Using two rows of 55W lights you get into that high-light, high-maintenance thing, where you need CO2 and regular fertilizer dosing.

If that isn't your thing, you might look into regular 4 feet fluorescents. They are cool and cheap, and provide a more evenly distributed light. On the downside, it is hard to get good reflectors for them.

My personal favorite solution? For a low light tank, put three T5 bulbs with individual reflectors over it. For a high light tank, three HO T5 bulbs with individual reflectors. This isn't cheap, but bright and very energy efficient, if you are concerned about that.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-06-2004, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 16
Thanks for the reply and advice.

Now can you point me somewhere that will explain what a T5 bulb is. I keep seeing T5, T8 and someother thing but I can not for the life of me find any info regarding what they are, what fixtures are needed, where to find them, etc

the dimensions are 48 w x 18 d x 18 h

thanks again I very much appreciate your help.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-06-2004, 05:35 PM
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Location: Monterey, CA
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T5, T8 etc is just the diameter of the bulbs, T5's being the newer, narrower bulbs like PC bulbs. Here is some info:

There is a bit of different configurations possible... I use a Workhorse 7 ballast and 54W bulbs (from and reflectors (purchased at

The bulb selection is sparse here in the US, I wasn't able to find regular 28W T5's. Hopefully they will catch on some day.
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