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Old 01-09-2013, 07:48 PM   #1
stephenjr
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New to forum and planted tanks. Advise welcome


Im new to planted aquariums. I have done saltwater for years. I am starting with 150 gallon 48x24x30H. I have flourite mixed with filter sand 50/50 on the mix. will add more flourite as money allows. for lighting I have a single 250watt MH that I salvaged from a salty tank. It now has a 6700k bulb. I will also be installing a pressureized co2 system in the next few weeks. I have a sump with a filter sock and 5 gallons of bio balls. My questions are mainly on lighting. Will the one bulb be ok or should switch to a 4 foot T5 HO fixture? If so, how many bulbs? As for now I have no fish and two bundles of hornwort. Tank is still cycling. Any and all advice is much needed and welcomed. Will post a pic of setup at its current stage.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:58 PM   #2
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Here is a pic. I want to get rid of canopy. I have some mold growing in it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by stephenjr View Post
Im new to planted aquariums. I have done saltwater for years. I am starting with 150 gallon 48x24x30H. I have flourite mixed with filter sand 50/50 on the mix. will add more flourite as money allows. for lighting I have a single 250watt MH that I salvaged from a salty tank. It now has a 6700k bulb. I will also be installing a pressureized co2 system in the next few weeks. I have a sump with a filter sock and 5 gallons of bio balls. My questions are mainly on lighting. Will the one bulb be ok or should switch to a 4 foot T5 HO fixture? If so, how many bulbs? As for now I have no fish and two bundles of hornwort. Tank is still cycling. Any and all advice is much needed and welcomed. Will post a pic of setup at its current stage.
I have one or two things I can talk about. I don't have much experience with planted tanks - 9 months now, with other fw aquarium experience.

What is a 250-W MH, and how long is the bulb?

In other topics, you can put the hornwort in right now and it will help the cycle. Keep on putting in the plants you want, but stem plants and other fast-growing plants will really help a lot. Typically, low-light plants will not help as much.

In yet another subject, but related and only for Planted tanks, Bio-Balls produce CO2 and use up Oxygen. And you don't need them anyway. The same thing is going on all over your tank, and this is important - the plants consume ammonia, removing it from the Nitrogen Cycle where Bio-balls do their stuff.

I'm really into the plants, although I also have 7 Pristella Tetras.

I hope others can validate this post for you.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:49 AM   #4
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I have one or two things I can talk about. I don't have much experience with planted tanks - 9 months now, with other fw aquarium experience.

What is a 250-W MH, and how long is the bulb?

In other topics, you can put the hornwort in right now and it will help the cycle. Keep on putting in the plants you want, but stem plants and other fast-growing plants will really help a lot. Typically, low-light plants will not help as much.

In yet another subject, but related and only for Planted tanks, Bio-Balls produce CO2 and use up Oxygen. And you don't need them anyway. The same thing is going on all over your tank, and this is important - the plants consume ammonia, removing it from the Nitrogen Cycle where Bio-balls do their stuff.

I'm really into the plants, although I also have 7 Pristella Tetras.

I hope others can validate this post for you.
Sorry dude but you're making no sense. You're gonna end up confusing this guy even more.

Original poster:

You should plant your tank heavily from day one. Otherwise photosynthesis will happen by the means of algae.

You have a sump with bioballs and a sock.... Hmmm sounds like you have a lot of splashing there right? If yes then that will make co2 injection near to impossible. There is other filtration methods if you need to use co2.

If you need co2 is because your light determines a higher consumption of carbon due its intensity and the plant mass. Is this the case?

Otherwise, with low light you can grow almost all kinds of plants slower and with your current filtration system.

It's even easier if you are able to have livestock that will thrive under 75F. Colder water retain better dissolved gasses, so less hassle with co2/o2.

What fertilization method?
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:29 AM   #5
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seachem flourish twice a week. That makes since with the sump.

Last edited by stephenjr; 01-10-2013 at 06:47 AM.. Reason: misinformation
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:31 AM   #6
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Would my current light be considered high intensity? 250watt metal halide about 46 inches off of substrate
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:37 AM   #7
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A 250W MH would be considered very high intensity, especially right under the bulb. For awhile I used two 150W HQI bulbs on my 90 gal planted tank, and that was way too much.

I also found a couple of other things with MH on planted thanks. They are point light sources, so you do get that real nice shimmer, but you also get dark shadows. Sometimes it's hard to get light way down into dense plants because of the shadows.

Also, most SW people are using bulbs in the higher color temp range, about 15000K to 20000K. While great for a SW reef, bulbs like this tend to make a FW planted tank look very unnatural. If your going to go with MHs, consider getting a bulb in the range of 6500K to about 10000K. I found 6500K bulbs looked very yellow. This might be good if you wanted the look of that sunlit pool in the woods, but I liked the ones around 10000K.

All that being said, you might want to consider getting T5 lighting. It's not that expensive, and will be a lot more even across the tank. You could start with a 2 bulb fixture, and for most applications that would be plenty. It would also be a lot less expensive to run, and throw off a lot less heat compared to MH. If you later wanted to go very high tech, you could then add another 2 bulb T5 fixture over the tank.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:45 AM   #8
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So if I was to go with a two bulb fixture, would I even need to use a co2 system? Would this be considered low medium or high lighting?
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:10 PM   #9
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Would my current light be considered high intensity? 250watt metal halide about 46 inches off of substrate
Dunno bro, I start tanks with co2 anyways from day one and then back up. If I see any algae building up, I shorten photoperiod and or raise lights and keep trying to unhook the co2. If there is still need for gas at 5hrs of light then the co2 stays.

I used to borrow my friend's par meter to gauge the use of co2 but I found myself using the technique described above anyways. So... I've set ups about 3 tanks for friends this way an they have almost no algae problems.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:22 PM   #10
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So if I was to go with a two bulb fixture, would I even need to use a co2 system? Would this be considered low medium or high lighting?
As a VERY rough guide, assuming the bulbs close to the top of your tank and with good quality reflectors:

2x T8: Low lighting, CO2 optional
2x T5NO (Normal Output): Medium lighting, CO2 optional but recommended
2x T5HO (High Output): High lighting, CO2 required

Even high lighting in a planted tank is much less than in a reef tank, a detail which throws many that migrate from saltwater to freshwater planted for a big loop.

A better estimate of light intensity requires some additional details. The distance between bulbs and substrate. The make and model of the fixture you're considering, to determine reflector quality. Whether you will have a tank cover that cuts down on the amount of light.

You haven't yet described your goals, and what plants you wish to keep in the long run. Those will determine the required light intensity, and everything else depends on that.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:38 PM   #11
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I'm looking at 3 fixtures. Coralife,sun blaze, aquatic life. As far as plants. Various swords, tiger lotus, dwarf babies tears, and some different mosses.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:39 PM   #12
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Distance to substrate will be about 30".
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:44 PM   #13
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No tank cover. I want a thick jungle type with carpet effect on the substrate. As far as fish go. A school of angels with other community fish such as Cory cats, tetras, rainbow fish, and maybe a smaller pleco of two.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:39 PM   #14
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Distance to substrate will be about 30".
I would stick with the MH, 6700 or 10000k, 8 to 9 hours a day to start. You'll love the PAR and so will the carpet of dwarf babies tears. Plan on pressurized CO2 with probably a reactor of some sort for a tank that size. You'll probably need to mount the MH a bit above the tank top unless you get some floating plants and/or long stems going to float around the top to diffuse the light a bit until your plant load gets filled in and robust..

...and of course you will need to fertilize appropriately and often for a high-light tank.

I'm a long time reefer focusing on a planted discus tank at the moment.

Last edited by Paxx; 01-10-2013 at 05:51 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:33 PM   #15
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I have decided to drop the the sump and add a canister filter so co2 injection will be easeir to accomplish. should I do a diy reactor, buy one, one use a large diffuser?
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