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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Total Newb needs answers

I am trying to put together a small planted tank to help with high stress levels and give me something to do besides video games.

What I have:
5 gallon tank (16"x8" or so)
Bag of fluorite
Hagen Co2 reactor and ladder
Whisper mini filter
Bottle of Flourish excel

My questions pertain to lighting. The only lighting I have found the span my entire tank is a single bulb 16" T8 strip light. I think we are talking abou 11-14w of light. I have seen the coralife 12" hood which is much brighter but doesn't span the whole tank. Also I could fit two coralife aqualight minis over my tanks is I turned them sideways ( II II instead of ==) but that would also leave areas with no coverage. Should I just buck up and shell out the cash for a 5 gallon cube with the 12" light?

What lighting do you think is best? I would like to keep more than java moss/fern. Another option is creating an overflow in the tank with a piece of acrylic tanking the width down to 12". I just have a feeling that a blue ram is going to want the whole tank to swim around in.

Also I would love to hear opinions on which plants would be great for my tank 16" striplight vs. 12" Power compacts.

Thanks for the help, more questions to follow I am sure.

Tim
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 03:27 PM
 
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If your tank is the ususal 5 gallon AG size and shape, then I would highly suggest just upgrading to a 10 gallon. It would be like what, 10 bucks? Trust me, you'll be frustrated with theb 5 g's small space, and I'm sure your ram would appreciate the upgrade. All your old equipment would work fine, and it would justify shelling out the bucks for a *good* light.

That being said, I use only 1 of the CF mini aqualight minis on a 10 gallon, and it grows plants well. I just make sure to plant the hi-light plants directly under the light, like cabomba, some swords, etc.

In the margins, I put the lower-light plants: anubius, java fern, moss, and 3 types of crypts.

I've had the tank before with just normal strip lights, and the growth was nowhere near what it is now.


On your 5g, I would go ahead and use just one CF aqualight mini.

If you go with the strip light, you'll need to stick to lower light plants like the crypts, anubius and mosses.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 11:52 PM
 
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If you want to go cheap, get an incandescent hood, and then slap in a couple of All-Glass Screw in CF bulbs. You'll have 20 watts of light over the tank.

My 5 gallon did really well with this setup. Hygro grew too fast, was pruning it bi-weekly... and a sword that was sold to me as a compact sword actually turned out to be a ruffled sword and grew great in the tank until I had to remove it once it got too big. Dwarf sag had completely covered the substrate, and my Rotala was a nice red.

The Hagen ladder is probably overkill, save it for a bigger tank and just dose Flourish Excel for your carbon needs. In a tank that small, its a neglible cost.
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