55 Gallon Planted setup questions.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:28 PM   #1
Gplus
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55 Gallon Planted setup questions.


Hi all, I'm somewhat new to the planted tank world and completely new to a planted forum! I gave it a crack a few years back and failed terribly . I know the importance of asking questions now. So I decided id give it another shot since I'm a few years older (21 now) and I feel like I can wrap my head around things a bit better. I'd like to share with all of you exactly what I'm doing so anything that doesn't seem right can be pointed out so I can adjust things. I'll list my tank and equipment below in as much detail as possible. Thanks again in advance guys and gals!

Tank Size: 55 gallon
*Water temp:77*, Ph(from tap) 7.6.....no ammonia,nitrate,nitrite problem.
*Rena xp2 with inline Coralife Turbotwist 9w UV and Hydor inline heater.
*Marineland Maxijet 600 powerhead
*48" Current Nova extreme 2x54w T5HO fixture (sits directly on top of tank)
*20lb co2 tank, Milwaukee regulator(with bubble counter) To a Red Sea 500 Co2 Venturi type reactor.
*Eco complete gravel (30lb) mixed with regular rock.

The tank has had plants in it now for a week. Everything loks like its going well. I dose twice a week with Florish excel. I run my lights from 8am to 4pm (8hours). My co2 is running at about 2 Bps and I have it set to turn on 90minutes before the lights and have it [censored][censored][censored][censored] off 30minutes before the lights. My filter output is set vertically (spray bar) on the left back corner right above the powerhead output. The "wall of jets" seems to make plenty of current.. My filter input is on the back wall towards the left corner. I have the co2 reactor mounted in the left corner blowing out right next to the filter input. Also I've already done a 30% water change and I plan to do the 30% weekly. My plants were pearling slightly by 1pm today AND MY Co2 ppm was between 18.7 and 30 according to the KH/PH chart so I'm assuming thats a good sign! I have a grassy plant (dont know the name) some moneywort, and anacharis in the tank to start.

Please anything that looks wrong or out of place let me know(I take criticism very well haha). The tank has been running for over 2 years so its not in any type of cycle process. Please let me know if anymore info is needed! Thanks again!
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good start.

I don't know anything first hand about T5 lighting but gather from reading threads here that many 2 T5HO bulb fixtures are very bright and sometimes 1 full length bulb does the job just fine especially if you can raise it higher for better light spread. 55 gallons is right on the cusp from what I have been reading.

More plants? Usually packing plants in from the start helps them out compete algae from the start. If your stems are 8" long or so you can cut them in half and double the substrate coverage. Plant each stem about leaf's length apart so all leaves get light.

What about your clean up crew? Snails, shrimp, otos, small plecos, guppies/platies pick at and scrub the tank surfaces helping clean up debris and knocking algae off surfaces near as I can tell. I doubt I am that good at growing clean plants, strongly suspect my crew is doing a whole lot of the work.

Fertilizer? Running a lot of light and CO2, usually a full span of nutrients really helps out.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:23 PM   #3
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Welcome back to the planted tank world

There's no reason to use Flourish Excel since you have a pressurized Co2 system going. I would turn the Co2 system on 2 hours ahead of the lighting, this will help with sustaining a good amount of Co2 in the tank, and when the lighting comes on the plants will benefit from it.


What types of bulbs are you using in your Nova lighting system? I would recommend trying to get the light fixture off the top of the tank, either with "legs" or a hanging kit. You want a space between the top of the tank, and the lighting fixture.

Are you using any fertilizers in the tank whether premixed liquid or dry ferts? On my 55 gallon acrylic tank I use dry ferts, and dose them 3 times a week schedule, alternating what fertilizers I put into the tank and on what days. I also use DIY root tabs using the dry ferts and empty -000- capsules to help keep the substrate enriched.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:30 AM   #4
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Default Thanks guys!

First off thanks for the quick reply's, also thanks for the welcome back! My mistake, I actually use Florish "Complete supplement for the planted aquarium" I read the bottle wrong ha! I forget the spectrum of the bulbs , I'll be checking that in the morning. I actually had a bit of an algae problem before I got all my planted equipment back in the tank. It seems to be clearing up. Tonight I went to a LFS and bought a Hygrophila Angustifolia and some micro sword to build it up a bit. I was already getting bored with just the stem plants ha! I do have a cory cat and thats it for clean up besides my 4 sword tails (they love the algae tats left on the driftwood) Should I have a bigger clean up crew?. About the light, I have a wood canopy that sits about 5 1/2 inches up around the top lip of the tank. I could somehow get brackets and screw it to the bottom side of the canopy. Not sure how else to get around it. I've herd window screen under the light fixture? Again thanks for the help I'm calling a night. I'll check the lights in the a.m and check back with ya'll!
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:52 AM   #5
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Here is my 55g, seem to have it on a good track. Rena xp3, Odyssea 3x54w (only use two bulbs, one 6500k for 6 hours, then a pink flora bulb with it for the last two hours). Plants were growing but not how I wanted it so I took out the Floramax and put dirt under it. Been about two weeks or so but have seen new growth everywhere.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-z...401_022047.jpg
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:49 AM   #6
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Wow... Looks good to me. I started about six months ago with my planted 55 gallon... You got me beat! I have about 20 fish, getting very slow plant growth and lots of algae. I have no co2, maybe that's the problem. I'll look into it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCR View Post
Wow... Looks good to me. I started about six months ago with my planted 55 gallon... You got me beat! I have about 20 fish, getting very slow plant growth and lots of algae. I have no co2, maybe that's the problem. I'll look into it.

I remember back when I first decided to "live plant" my tank I got the co2 stuff pretty confused. I thought the abbreviation for Co2 was BPM (minute) not BPS. So I was running only about 30 bpm! I had a bad algae outbreak that caused me to throw in the towel. So far running 2 BPS im seeing great plant growth and the plants have only been in the substrate for about a week!I would defiantly try some type of co2 system. I've herd of people using paintball equipment, its a lot cheaper to setup.... Also I took my canopy off today and checked the Bulbs in my CurrentUSA fixture. There are two "Life GLO" 6700k bulbs in place now. That doesn't seem right to me. Shouldn't I have a 10k or something in place of one 6700k? I slack on lighting spectrum knowledge ha! Hopefully someone can chime in! I also raised he light up around 2 inches from the top of the tank! Thats about all I can do with the canopy! I cut a wide ruler in half to use as the legs haha, innovation is king!

Last edited by Gplus; 04-03-2012 at 04:46 PM.. Reason: Added info about light repositioning
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:56 PM   #8
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Just tested my water. KH:4 and PH:6.6 which equals out to 30ppm of CO2! The test was about 5 minutes ago my co2 regulator had just shut off as i have the lights to go off at 4 and co2 off at 3:30. Tomorrow I'll be doing a water check an hour or 2 after the lights come on to see how quick I'm reaching optimum co2 levels! Look like my crappy "Dead Sea reactor is doing the trick surprise, surprise! I didnt think it would be able to handle the 55 even though I've herd its rated to 125 gallons! Also thanks for the lighting advice. The spread of light looks MUCH better now that the fixture is around 4 1/2 inches above the water and about 20 inches from the substrate. I think this will still be enough for the micro sword to carpet out?
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