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Old 07-19-2013, 03:08 PM   #1
Rway
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Help My New 55g Planted Tank!


Hello Everyone,

Just joined!!! I have been using these forums for a while but finally decided to get some direct advice! I have had a 20 gallon Low tech tank for about a year now. It has been a blast and I got everything perfectly balanced. I finally got a 55 Gallon tank on sale and just set it up a few days ago.

Tank Specs:

55 Gallon Tank
Odyssea Quad T5HO w/timer (stock bulbs-2x 10k 54w, 2x actenic blue 54w)
Penguin 350 (70g)
Tetra Whisper EX30 (30g)
Aqueon 150w heater (1 at the moment)
5 x 12 lb Caribsea Floramax Midnight Substrate
1 x 15 lb Seachem Flourite Black Sand Substrate
Driftwood, River Rocks added

Current Plants:
2x amazon swords
1x Melon sword
1x micro amazon sword
4x small potted babytears
4x italian/jungle val
3x lidwigia
2x anubis
*I'm going to add some more background plants as well as java-fern to the driftwood eventually

So after running the tank for a couple of days I took the Tetra EX30 off of my 20g and put it on the 55g, as well as swapping the Penguin 350 cartridge and biowheel with the penguin 200 on my 20g. I then added an Australian Rainbow fish a few hours later. I was told/read that by adding the existing cycled fiters/media that I could go ahead and add a few fish. I just got my lights and set them up last night. I plan on just running the 2 x 10k bulbs for 6-8 hours a day. I am Dosing Seachem's Flourish Complete(few times a week) and API CO2 Booster(daily). I basically am looking for any advice on Lighting, Dosing, livestock etc. I want to add a school of Rainbows, Harlequin Rasboras, Denison Barbs, SAE, Otos and maybe a bristle-nose pleco. I just spent a lot of money on the set up so it could be a while before I get all my fish. I'm trying to avoid CO2 for a while.(it seems confusing and expensive/risky) But I do love heavily planted tanks. Any advice is appreciated. I will post pictures when I get home from work!
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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Please do not double-post. Thank you.

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Old 07-19-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
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I didn't mean to. I didn't realize that this was in lighting when I posted it, so I copied it to the other topic. Sorry.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Hi Rway,

It sounds like you are off to a good start, are you monitoring your ammonia, nitrites, nitrates during your nitrogen cycle so as not to endanger the fish you have already added? After the nitrogen cycle is completed what are you planning on using for nutrients?

A 216 watt light on a 55 gallon aquarium without CO2 is very likely to become an algae farm. Although there is some debate as to whether the actinic lamps provide any benefit to freshwater plants those bulbs are still adding to the total PAR going into the tank; if it were me I would only run 1 - 10K lamp (or 2 maximum with a shorter photoperiod) in the fixture until CO2 was available and change out the actinic lamps for a couple 6700K (daylight) type bulbs.

Let us know how things go!
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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Tested water at LFS, need to buy another Freshwater Master Test Kit...$$money is just getting low after all the other stuff :S

Yes, I did find that my lights are overkill without a solid CO2 system. But I am using API liquid CO2 daily. Does liquid CO2 work? I do notice little bubbles floating up shortly after dosing. I planned on just using the 2 x 10k bulbs for 6-8 hrs a day with the liquid co2, and just not using the other to actenics at all. Not sure if I should replace one or both of the 10ks with different ones though. Also, what should I prioritize first? A CO2 system or Canister Filter?

Edit: the light settings are either 2 x 10ks, 2x actenics, all four, or Led mode...so to run one bulb, do i just remove the other and leave it empty?
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:14 PM   #6
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Hi Rway,

Just watch for signs of distress of your fish and do a water change if noted until you can pick up a test kit. Yes, liquid CO2 does work, the tank shown below did not have CO2 but I used Seachem Excel / glutaraldehyde with my fertilizer dosing and achieved good results.

I would use either one or two of the 10K until you can get a 6700K then maybe one of each. Some light fixtures will allow you to run just one bulb, some will not.....it depends upon how they are wired internally.

As for what to prioritize first I would start watching Craigslist for a regulator and a CO2 tank; a 10# tank should be more than adequate for your 55 gallon.

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Old 07-20-2013, 12:13 AM   #7
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seems like a lot of light. if you are noticing algae, consider running with only 2 bulbs. 6500k is the sweet spot for planted tanks so getting bulbs in this range would be extremely beneficial.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:10 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the responses! I'm going to the LFS tomorrow to get more plants and test kit...maybe bulbs. (6500 and one other, not sure yet) Any further advice would be greatly appreciated.

pictures/video coming.
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