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Old 06-21-2003, 01:03 PM   #1
Bert
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Umm hey there everybody, I really new to this planted tank thing and I could use some help. Okay here is my situation: For Easter my mother got me 3 bettas, well its been 2 months now and I figured they could use a new home. So yesterday I went down and got 2 10gallon tanks, will be getting another later. I just figured a few plastic plants here and there would do okay, but some of the planted tanks I've seen are just amazing and I figured I would like to try my hand at one, but I don't want to spend a lot. Okay here are my questions.

1. Lighting.
Okay, I know lighting is very important(suprise, suprise). I currently have 2 25w "blue" Incandecent light bulbs in each hood. I don't think there are what I need, so these can go if they need to. Just tell me what I need. Just for you information these are small bulbs and are the screw in type.

2. Substrate
Right now all I have is gravel, but I know I will need to add flourite. How much do I need? Do I need to put it under the gravel or mix it in?

3. Plant suggestions
Yep, this is a big one! I would like something that is easy to grow and dosent need a very hight ammounts of light. I would like something that will provide quite a bit of cover. I need something that won't break the bank. I need to set up 3 of thses tanks so cost is a big issue. Also, about how many plants should I put in it. I just need a nice round number, nothing has to be set in stone. I was thinking something like a Nana Anubias and Java Fern.

4. Fish
I would like to have some fish in the tank along with the Betta. I will probably get a small school of Tetras and 3-4 Cory Cats. Will thses be okay with the plants? Any other suggestions would be helpful.

5. Filtration
Last but certianly not least, filtration. For filtration I will be using a Penguin Mini Bio-Wheel power filter. Will this be alright for the plants? I hope it will cause I have already ordered 2 of them. lol.

Okay, I hope I have given everybody enough background information. If anybody needs anymore info, just let me know and I'll see if I can help you. Oh yeah, I would really like to avoide injecting CO2, but I have no problem using fertilizers. So long as they dont hurt my fish. Thanks

Bert
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Old 06-21-2003, 03:53 PM   #2
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Great decision not to use plastic plants :lol:

Lets see here...to be cost effective and still have some fun and success.
Lighting
Screw in flourescents can replace your bulbs but I use a 25W incandescent on my nano and the plants have been doing good.
Filters
The ones you ordered will be fine
Substrate
Its funny you should ask about this because in my 5 gallon Nano tank my plants are growing great with 75% Soil (free) mixed with 25% sand (50lb bag Playsand(HD)/3.00 a bag. I am considering redoing all my tanks with soil.
Or being small tanks just go 100% flourite if you dont mind spending. Whatever you use for substrate just be sure to have it 3" thick or so.
Plants
Low light choices would be best, Hygro polysperma,java moss,Java fern,Anubia's,some Crypts etc. even a small sword I have is doing good in the incandesscent nano tank. Here is the tank... http://www.buckmanshome.com/nano.html
Fish
Up to you, live plants allow you to stock a little heavier then conventional tanks and they actually help each other.

Half the fun is playing around with different combo's but I am really leaning towards the soil for growth as shown in the nano photos... I never touch this tank and the growth is steady and healthy

As you can see it does not have to cost a lot to grow a nice tank.

Good Luck To Ya Bert... I hope this helps ya get setup cheaply, if you want to upgrade someday just ask and we can help you spend some $$$ :lol:

Buck 8)
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Old 06-21-2003, 05:33 PM   #3
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I like that soil and sand mix idea, just one problem. Being that I live in texas we don't really have soil, we have black clay. Would it be alright if I just used some top soil from Lowes or Home Depot instead? How much does flourite cost per pound? If its not too exprnsive I might just go with that. Thanks for the reply Buck. And Buck your tanks look awsome! I'm more into cichlids, but I figured this would be a fun little side project. Any advice is always welcome.
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Old 06-21-2003, 06:57 PM   #4
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Stay away from potting soils and the such. They are bad news to people without experience. Flourite around here runs $18 for a bag. There are 15 lbs in a bag and one bag works great in a 10 gallon tank.

As for light you want around 20-30 watts based on fluorescent lights. One place to look would be www.ahsupply.com. They have the 2x13 watt bright light kit that it not all that expensive and they are great lights.
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Old 06-21-2003, 08:28 PM   #5
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Thanks Rex. I'll take a look at a few places and see if I cant get some flourite at a good price, but $18 a bag dosent sound too bad. I took a look at that site and it seems a little expensive considering the fact that I have to set up 3 of these tanks. Don't get me wrong thats a great site and I'd love to have a nice lighting set up, but I just don't have that kind of cash right now. Thanks. As always any advice is always welcome.

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Old 06-21-2003, 08:37 PM   #6
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Bert,
If you are strapped for cash, as far as lighting is concerned, I would suggest staying with incandescents and replacing them with maybe (2) 15w or (2) 25w, clear bulbs, instead of the blue. Replacement incandescents are like $1.79 each here at walmart. Or you could go with screw in flourescents that are like 3 something bucks
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Old 06-21-2003, 08:49 PM   #7
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I should have been more specific...
As Rex said "Potting Soils" are a no-no, many have additives that will create problems in a tank.
The soil I am using is real dark soil dug from a pond bottom and is working out great. The root systems of these plants in the soil are much different then that of same species with flourite and eco-complete. They seem to exhibit much more of the "fine" roots...
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Old 06-21-2003, 10:15 PM   #8
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Thanks everybody for your help. I think I have it figured out, but I'll keep researching plants and equipment. I doubte my planted tanks will become larger them thses little 10gallon tanks, but I think setting them up is going to be a lot of fun! I just have one little question: I keep seeing "photoperiod" pop up every now and then. What does this term mean? Thanks. As always any advice is always welcome.
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Old 06-21-2003, 10:46 PM   #9
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Your photoperiod is the length of time you have your lights on... minimum 10 hours is good but I never go over 12... some people do but its not necessary and algae likes the lights on longer. :evil:

This is where "timers" come in handy. I use them on all my tanks.
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Old 06-22-2003, 12:55 AM   #10
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Oooohh, I suppose that makes sense. Thanks Buck, you have been most helpful.
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Old 06-22-2003, 03:43 PM   #11
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For lighting I'd recommend you get the AH Supply 2 x 13 watt compact flourescent retrofit kit. It's a very inexpensive way to get the light you need for a 10 gallon.
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Old 06-25-2003, 05:32 PM   #12
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Okay I think I have decided on my lighting. I am going to have 2 of these 10gallons go in my room and my mother wants a little "show" tank in the living room. For the "show" tank I will probably get the 2 x 13watt conversion kit, but for the tanks in my room I will probably stay with the incandecent 25watt(or I could go 15watt, which would be better?). My question is: Should I inject CO2 because I will have so many watts per gallon? I found some screw in flourecents at Lowes. Should I get the 15 or 13watt?
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Old 06-25-2003, 05:47 PM   #13
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If you don't mind the extra maintenence of co2, you should do it. Your plants will look nicer.
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Old 06-25-2003, 10:05 PM   #14
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If you are talking about the "show tank" with the AH Supply kits you should inject CO2. If you are talking about the tank with the incandescent light then no. When we talk about watts here we are talking about florescent watts. For the non-florescent tank you will want as many watts as you can get over it. And even then you will have a bit of a time growing plants in it.

Incandescent lights don't normally have either the power or spectrum to grow plants. You have too know that the average light that comes with any kit aquarium is just enough light to let you see the fish and not normally enough light to grow algae. The manufacturers figure that the average person is going to over feed the fish, put too many fish in the tank, not do enough water changes or vacuum the gravel like they should. So to limit the algae growth the severely limit the light.
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Old 06-25-2003, 11:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Incandescent lights don't normally have either the power or spectrum to grow plants.
Not entirely true Rex from what I have seen.
Although they are very limited to depth of tank and plant types I agree, I have found that my little 5gallon grows very well with a 25W incandescent bulb and very little else.
They are not even close to proper lights and I am in no way suggesting the use but they will indeed grow a limited amount of plants very slowly and nicely, I am shocked by this tank.
I am also embarrassed to admit that I rarely put even a little flourish in, it gets 3ml a week, and thats if I remember. All my tanks are in a state of disarray right now with my schedule the last month or so ops: (selling my house and preparing for the move).

Here are photos of its growth under incandescents, with a little effort I could really make this tank work with that lighting... http://www.plantedtank.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1726
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