Help for a newbie?
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Planted Tank Forums > Low Tech Forum


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-23-2013, 05:43 PM   #1
harli36
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NEPA
Posts: 6
Default

Help for a newbie?


Hi,

I heard good reviews about the forum and decided to join. I'm hoping you all can help with my (probably) ridiculously stupid newbie questions.

I'm a Biology teacher and would like to get a planted tank with fish set up for my classroom. There are so many great things a planted tank could help teach. I'm fairly experienced with fish keeping but have never ventured into the realm of a planted tank. I would like to get my tank set up with plants at home first so I know what I'm doing before I set up my tank at school in the next year or two. I would like to keep a low tech, low light tank to keep things a little easier.

I currently have a 30 gal tank, with flora max substrate and a few guppies and mollies. The tank is already cycled. I don't have any great LFS I could go to for plant stuff and I'm not that great at landscaping so I would like to purchase a package that is already put together. Are there any in particular you recommend?

I'm having a very hard time finding a new light for my tank. It currently has a T8 17 watt bulb and is 24" long. What wattage should I be looking for with a low light tank? I need to keep cost down as far as possible so I don't really want to replace my hood. Are plants even an option for me?

Also any recommendations for fertilizers?

I really would appreciate any and all help. I have already sent out emails and have gone to all the LFS's in my area and so far no luck with any sort of help. TIA!!!!
harli36 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-23-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
mosspearl
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
mosspearl's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Oregon
Posts: 673
Default

You can get some great plants here on the forum in the For Sale area from members. I've gotten very healthy plants there.

Good low light plants include anubias, cryptocorynes (there's a lot of varieties here), floaters like frogbit, dwarf water lettuce, and mosses.

Look at the top of your screen here on TPT and click on Plant Profiles. You can learn a lot about different plants and their needs there as well as what they look like. Look through the forum and you'll learn a lot just reading threads. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you're not finding the answers you need.

I always wanted a planted tank, but it always seemed so difficult and expensive. It's a lot easier to do now with all the lighting options. I started my tanks in Feb of this year and the plants are growing very well. I'm beyond pleased. Good luck with your tank!
__________________
~Toni
Jars | Bowl | Shrimp |
BBRR Club! | Evolve-lution |
OOO Order of Ornamentaria
Member in good standing

mosspearl is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-23-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
harli36
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NEPA
Posts: 6
Default

Ugh! It's the lighting stuff that has me so confused. Would the current light that I have be sufficient for those low light plants without CO2?
harli36 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-23-2013, 06:41 PM   #4
STS_1OO
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 284
Default

Lighting can be confusing. Fortunately, many TPT members have already been there, done that AND made notes! If you go to the lighting section of the forum and look at the sticky posts, a bit of a reading there will go a long ways.

For a summary, you need to determine the PAR levels that the plants will see at substrate level. This is a function of the type of light, the light's output, and the distance between the substrate and the light. LED fixtures are now fairly affordable and I'm confident that you can find one for your tank for roughly $100. The LED sticky thread in the lighting section has PAR levels for many, if not most, of the major/common LED fixtures. Simply figure out which fixture can fit over your tank (based on how long your tank is), look for that fixture on the thread and it'll give you corresponding PAR levels at various heights. For LEDs, low light is anything below 30 PAR (at substrate). Medium is roughly 30-80 PAR and anything over that is high light. You may find that you need a fixture with lower output, or, you may simply raise the fixture to increase the height between it and substrate level.

CO2 is not necessary at low light and even many points within medium light but it will help nearly any tank. Medium light is iffy without CO2 as you can find yourself with an algae explosion quickly - especially if you're not heavily planted.

Hope this helps you get started!
STS_1OO is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-23-2013, 08:04 PM   #5
MamaFish
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 192
Default

Maybe the chart from this post will help? It doesn't have LED, but it has the other lighting options. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=267770. For example, I have a 20 in high tank and I wanted low light, so I bought a 2 bulb T5-NO fixture and it sits on the glass lid of my tank.

I have a 25 gallon tank also with Floramax (I capped mine with gravel though, because I have cories and I worried the Floramax was too sharp). I planted wisteria, Ludwigia, anacharis (elodea), crypts and anubias. I dose a liquid plant food (aqueon brand) once a week and I put root tabs under the root feeders (mainly the crypts, though I also did some under the wisteria and Ludwigia). Everything is growing well, my water parameters look great and I have virtually no algea. Fish are happy too

I'm no expert, but I hope this was helpful
MamaFish is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-23-2013, 11:18 PM   #6
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (74/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,372
Default

What are the dimensions of that 30 gallon tank? It looks like there are several different shapes for that size tank.
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 12:23 AM   #7
harli36
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NEPA
Posts: 6
Default

The dimensions are 30" long 12" wide 18" deep
harli36 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 12:00 PM   #8
harli36
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NEPA
Posts: 6
Default

Ok. I finally feel like I'm starting to understand this stuff a little bit more. It looks like the PAR levels for a T8 bulb would be just barely
'technically' enough.

I think I have 3 options...

Would I be able to use the fixture I have and just keep it turned on for longer parts of the day?

Or, is it possible to find a double light fixture that will fit with a full hood?

Or, maybe I should get a hood that will hold a T5 fixture (can you get a hood with a T5 double fixture?- Maybe I have four options lol).


While I love the look of a tank with no hood. I feel like my options are limited to using a full hood for two reasons. One, I have incredibly hard water and the tank is in my living room. Any tiny bits of water splashing about will leave a residue on my furniture and walls that is next to impossible to get off. Two, I have small children (6 yo, 3 yo, and 12 months old plus my 2.5 yo niece). I'm afraid of one of the little ones falling in. I realize the hood isn't a fail safe for this but it will help at least a little bit. Plus I will need a hood once I get the tank in my classroom.
harli36 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 04:16 PM   #9
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (74/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,372
Default

You probably have good low light with that T8 bulb, although the ends of the tank may be a little short of light. The next step up would be a Coralife or FishNeedIt 2 bulb T5HO light, which would be the most light you could use without CO2 becoming essential for avoiding major algae problems. If you use one of those two lights, and dose Excel as a substitute for CO2, you should have very good setup. You would also need to do light dosing of the water with NPK and trace elements - see http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=21944 - to keep the plants supplied with adequate nutrients to grow at the rate the light drives them to.
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-24-2013, 06:57 PM   #10
Ashnic05
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Ashnic05's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 497
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by harli36 View Post
While I love the look of a tank with no hood. I feel like my options are limited to using a full hood for two reasons. One, I have incredibly hard water and the tank is in my living room. Any tiny bits of water splashing about will leave a residue on my furniture and walls that is next to impossible to get off. Two, I have small children (6 yo, 3 yo, and 12 months old plus my 2.5 yo niece). I'm afraid of one of the little ones falling in. I realize the hood isn't a fail safe for this but it will help at least a little bit. Plus I will need a hood once I get the tank in my classroom.
While it is a possibility that your kids would fall in, it is much more likely that they would decide to "feed the perty fishies" and dump half or the entire bottle of fish food in your tank. I work at an LFS and hear about this occurrence very often. I recommend keeping fish food out of reach of small, curious hands

You can buy a glass top for your aquarium which are much more attractive than the crappy, plastic hoods. They also reduce the amount of evaporation you will experience with an open top or pastic hood.
__________________
“Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

FINNEX CLUB MEMBER!
Ashnic05 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-25-2013, 11:07 AM   #11
harli36
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NEPA
Posts: 6
Default

^Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. The fish food is kept on top of the fridge. Lol.
harli36 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-26-2013, 05:50 PM   #12
harli36
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NEPA
Posts: 6
Default

Ok, I was looking at the fishneedit T5HO lights.

http://fishneedit.com/30quot-2bulbs-fixtu302.html

I'm not understanding the bulbs it comes with. These are the options you can order the light with...

all blue actinic
one blue, one white
all white
one white, one pink
all pink

Which option would be best for me? They don't give any information on the K rating. Would I need to order separate bulbs?
harli36 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-26-2013, 09:58 PM   #13
Nubster
Planted Tank Guru
 
Nubster's Avatar
 
PTrader: (16/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Romney, West Virginia
Posts: 3,434
Default

Likely the all white option but you want to see if you can find out the k rating.

As far as kids dumping whole containers of fish food into a tank...many many years ago, my parents used to clean some offices as a side job and they would take me with. I still remember one time I was at this office that had a pretty big tank in the lobby. I'd guess it was like a 55g or something. Anyways, my mom would let me feed the fish with her help. Well, one time, I decided to feed them myself and yup, you guessed it, the whole container got dumped. That was 30+ year ago and I still remember doing it...lol
__________________
EVIL Camera Pimp member #1
NIKON Pimp Club member #012
SunSun Pimp Club member #069

20L OEBT/Super Tiger/PFR Tank 20L Yellow Neo tank

Nubster is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012