just starting off, 55 gallon planted-low tec
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:00 PM   #1
Captgreg87
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just starting off, 55 gallon planted-low tec


Hey guys,

This is my first post to the site and hopefully the start to many more. I am just getting back into the hobby and starting off with my first planted tank.

I currently have a 55 gallon, with 2 54w T5 HO lighting, eco complete as my substrate, an aquaclear 70 filter, 200w standard heater. Pretty standard stuff from my research. I am planning on installing a DIY Co2 kit eventually, but for now plan on just adding Flourish Excel on a daily basis. I did about 3 weeks worth of research and ordered a variety of low level light plants, that should be arriving tomorrow.

My questions is first do I have the correct equipment, hopefully my lighting is adequate for the tank. Is there anything I need to add to the tank, as in supplements? I do plan on adding some flourish root tabs when I first set up the tank. I'm planning on doing a fish less cycle for about 2 weeks before I had a few hearty fish. Any more recommendations or information I would greatly appreciate it. If i'm doing something wrong please critique me, I am new at this and I know there is always a large learning curve starting off.

Thanks Guys!

Ill be sure to post some pictures after planting.

Greg
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:47 PM   #2
hoffmanjj19
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Hi Greg,

What bulbs will you be using? (5,000K, 6,500K, 10,000K)

Does your light have single reflectors for each bulb or does it have one reflector for the entire fixture?

What are your water parameters for your tap water? (if you'll be using your tap water for water changes)


Maybe someone else will be able to better address this, but excel might not be able to provide you the carbon you'll need for a tank that size. My experience is with 5-30 gallon planted tanks with high light and high ph, so I need lots of added carbon. Depending on your plants and water chemistry, this may be a costly source of carbon. Does anyone have experience with excel in a 55 or larger tank?

Everything seems to be pretty standard for your setup. Your 2x54w lighting may allow you to grow more light demanding plants too.

Good luck,

Julius
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:05 PM   #3
Captgreg87
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Hey julius,

Thanks for the reply, The bulbs are 6,500k with a full reflector on the one fixture for both bulbs. Do you know anyone who has good luck with the DIY Co2 kits? Im trying to save a little money I can. Do you also recommend and fertilizers or supplemnts to add as well?

Thanks,

Greg
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #4
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Hey Greg,

I'm in a similar boat as you, just a few months further down the road. I also have a 55 gallon, dual T5 HO 108W total. As far as filtration goes, I have the Aquatop CF500UV canister filter which I've had a pretty positive experience with so far.

I think a lot depends on what you want to do with your tank. I run DIY CO2 using the jello method, which I like because it is relatively cheap and is said to last a few months at a time as opposed to changing every few weeks with just sugar, water, and yeast. If you search "jello co2" or the like around the threads you should find easy directions.

Anyways, the biggest thing I would say I have found is that taking care of plants really isn't all that daunting if you do your routine water changes, don't run your lights too little or too much, and use some common sense. I'm convinced that I could try to kill many of my plants and have a rough time of it. I've also found myself leaning more towards the low tech plants anyways, because they can be very attractive and require little maintenane. I've had some plants that simply grow so fast I just get rid of them.

It sounds like you're on the right track, so keep on researching and don't try to do too much at once.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:21 PM   #5
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Greg,

Your bulbs should be fine. Most bulbs today cover the spectrums of light needed to grow aquarium plants, but touchy plants and odd aquarium sizes require attention to the bulbs. 6,500K is good, I think some on this forum would reccomend one 6,500k and one 10,000k, but 2x 6,500k should fit well with low light plants.

I have success with DIY CO2 using sugar. I have 2x 2 liter bottles for my 29gal. I use low amounts for yeast so it lasts long. Depending on your water ph and its buffering capability you may be able to use just DIY CO2.

The hardest part of using CO2 is making sure you're efficient at getting CO2 into the water. I started with an airstone into my filter intake but wasn't getting the results I hoped for. I switched to a glass diffuser and almost killed all my fish from too much CO2.

Determine your ph, GH, and KH and look at the CO2 table to see about how much CO2 is present in your water. My water is extremely hard and extremely basic. It's a struggle for me to get my CO2 levels to the recommended levels. If I had a 55gal with my water, it would take an investment in pressureized CO2 for me to grow moderate-high demanding plants. I know when my plants are being starved for carbon when I get a calcium buildup on my plants and tank from biogenic decalcification (plants break down calcium carbonate to get carbon).

Do you know what plants you'd like to grow?
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:38 PM   #6
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also waiting 2 weeks for a tank to settle in does nothing at all. you need to add a raw shrimp from the grocery store or add pure ammonia and test daily until you get ammo-0, nitrites-0, and a showing of nitrates.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:50 AM   #7
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Yes, adding fish two weeks into a fishless cycle is a death sentence. Complete the cycle, then add fish.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:21 AM   #8
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Default my plants are dieing

i have a standard 55 gallon tank with two 15 Watt aqua glow 18,000K bulbs on top of my tank is this enough light. my plants been in there for two weeks and they seem to be dieing. can you help
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:33 AM   #9
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Here's a great link.

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/People/opsomer.html
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gtdad2 View Post
Yes, adding fish two weeks into a fishless cycle is a death sentence. Complete the cycle, then add fish.
This is good advice for a fish only tank, but not for a planted tank. If you heavily plant the tank from the start, and wait just long enough for the plants to be actively growing, you can then add a few fish without any harm to them. It is absolutely not a death sentence for the fish. The growing plants consume the ammonia as food, so it never builds up enough to be harmful. I have done this when starting my tanks for several years now, with zero problems.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingleo1237 View Post
i have a standard 55 gallon tank with two 15 Watt aqua glow 18,000K bulbs on top of my tank is this enough light. my plants been in there for two weeks and they seem to be dieing. can you help
You need to swap the bulbs out for ones in the 5000k to 10000k to stop them from dying off. 18000k bulbs are used in saltwater setups because live corals use a higher kelvin rating for them to grow, but plants need closer to natural sunlight to grow. Best plant bulbs seem to be 6500k and 6700k bulbs
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:06 AM   #12
mikielh1984
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Hey Greg,

Good luck I am going through my first true planted tank with my 75 Gal. I can't wait to see what you come up with. I am not the most knowledgable here by any means but would be glad to help if I can!

If you want to check out what I have done so far you can check out my post here.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...g-planted.html


- Mike
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