Lights and CO2 curiousity - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Lights and CO2 curiousity

So here's what I've got. I'm still pretty new to the hobby and jumped right into planted tanks immediately upon getting my first(32g) tank, still have it, still ultimately have very little idea what I'm doing as far as hardware goes.

For my lighting I'm currently using the 24" T8 light that came with the tank originally, combined with a dual T5 24" fixture. The T8 is an 18" Coralife 10k, if I'm remembering correctly. The T5 is... I don't even remember. I know one of the bulbs is from the original combination, at least.

I want to try doing dwarf hair grass again-- last time I had only the T8 fixture, got some runners, and then they promptly browned and died. What would you guys recommend I stick in the T5 that isn't going to kill my wallet and will promote good plant growth? I've got some swords in there that would benefit from higher light, too.

Now, about CO2 kits. I was considering getting the Fluval 20g kit; I've read elsewhere that some people have used 16g CO2 cartridges from bike pumps that fit perfectly. Will the 88g cartridges fluval sells fit the same way? $90 for the 88g kit is a bit much for me all at once.

If there are any other CO2 suggestions that are relatively cheap, toss them my way! I've tried home-done things and it didn't really work out(but maybe I was doing it wrong).

Last edited by Synchronized; 02-08-2013 at 05:53 PM. Reason: fixing the "censored" bits, oops.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 04:28 AM
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Have you replaced the bulb in the T8 with a new bulb? Bulbs should be replaced at least annually. Are the T5HO (High Output) or T5NO (Normal Output)? If they are the Coralife T5NO you could run those with your T8 and be fine, or just run the T5NO by itself and stick to low-tech/low-light plants. If your Dual T5 is HO, then that will be all the lighting you really need, and Co2 will be needed to keep algae in check. As far as CO2, you may not be completely satisfied with the Fluval CO2. Read a lot of bad reviews, not to mention the CO2 doesn't last long and you need to constantly buy new CO2 cylinders, thus costing more to maintain it in the long run. If you don't want to dive into a more high tech CO2 system with a 5 or 10 lb cylinder and a decent dual stage regulator, I would suggest at least upgrading to a paintball CO2 system. It will last longer than the fluval and cost less over time.

Here is a link to a paintball style Co2 regulator. Of course you would still need the cylinders, which can be purchased at Walmart or, and then have it filled at a local paintball supply store.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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The T8 fixture was only used sporadically-- overall it's probably been in use ~10 months or so. I picked up the t5 fixture a couple of months after the tank was started up. It'll be getting replaced in the coming months.

The T5 fixture is NO, from what I'm reading, so I guess the one 24 watt bulb I stuck in there is basically useless. Which Coralife bulbs should I get for it instead? Plain daylight, plant, etc?

Ahh, there's no paintball supply store around here I can get to without a car, and I can't drive, so that's kind of a bust for me. It's a bit out of my price range too, but I'll keep it in mind for later.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2013, 06:32 PM
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Is that tank about 24"Lx 12" W x 24" H? A 32 gallon tank isn't a standard size, so I am largely guessing. If that is the tank size, the T8 light is probably barely giving you low light, but with the 2 bulb T5NO light added, you should have good low light.

If you start using DIY CO2 you will be amazed at how much better the plants will grow. Here is how I set up my CO2 system - DIY CO2 System - How to do it This worked very well, but would have worked even better if I had used the bottle caps shown here - Ultimate diy co2 cap?

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