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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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5 gallon hex

I also posted in the low-tech forum, but I thought I'd see if someone in this forum could help as well. I've got a 5 gallon hex, and I'm interested in trying live plants. I've had success w/ amazon swords and banana plants, but that's about it. I was wondering if someone could give me some quick pointers about lighting and substrate. Am considering ecocomplete substrate and desklamp for light (14w or so). Not planning on using co2 if I can get away with it. If anyone has any pointers for me, I would appreciate it. As I said earlier, all previous attempts to keep live plants was a waist of money (not enough wattage, I think). Thanks.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 07:26 PM
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Well, Hex tanks don't usually allow as much light penetration on the bottom; anything you're planting down there shouldn't need as much light (Java moss/ferns). Your tank is what, about 15" tall? A 14w fluoro is definitely not gonna penetrate fully to the bottom, but the swords & banana plants might be OK. If you can ratchet up the wattage without having heat issues it might not be a bad idea.

You can also supplement that 14w with natural lighting (indirect bright sun a few hours a day) but that's obviously harder to control and might invite algae issues galore.

I'll let someone else discuss the substrate though; I use ADA aquasoil, have never dosed co2 or fertilized - and all my plants are super-healthy.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 07:39 PM
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14 w spiral works for me, in the 5 hex. i have flame, taiwan moss,java ferns, and lim aromatica. im gonna try some hygro balsmica now to see how it does. the 5g about 12"tall.at night it is as bright as 29 with 350w on it.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 07:47 PM
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Just make sure your light is a daylight bulb...
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 07:53 PM
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Just make sure your light is a daylight bulb...

right!
i forgot about that, but the only 6500k light in this whole town is ge brand and daylight lol.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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Walmart carries a 10 Watt Compact Flash bulb in the Aquarium Supplies section that I currently use on my 5 gallon Hex tank. It costs about $5 and works great. As for a substrate, I like to use a 1.5-2 inch layer of vermiculite at the bottom with another 1.5 inches of natural gravel on top. You can pick up the vermiculite at walmart or other garden stores for like $6. This stuff is cheap and works great with most basic minerals and nutrients that plants need. Others may disagree, but I've had great results at an economy price with various sized tanks. It also blends in really nicely with the natural gravel.

Last edited by omega1alpha; 05-21-2008 at 12:58 AM.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 08:26 PM
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ive seen that bulb before and wondered if it worked good or not, what kinda plants you growing with it and do you use a heater? i just got a 2g hex and thought of that bulb as the 14w spiral is to much for a 2g.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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The 10 watt compact flash bulb seems to produce a ton of extra light compared to the 15 watt regular bulb that came with my 5 gallon hex. I've been growing pretty much just low light plants like amazons, java fern, and some lily bulbs. I did place some red ludwigia (sp?) directly under the light and it seemed to grow fine and I later transplanted that into a larger tank. So, I've been happy with the light.

As for a heater, I originally purchased the Walmart Junior 7.5 watt submer for my 5 gallon and it was horrible. Temps fluctuated by 10+ degress during cold spells. My fish started to get stressed. I returned it and purchased the 15 watt submer heater and that one is great. The Junior 7.5 watt might be fine for the 2 gallon, but it's underpowered for anything greater than a 2 gallon. The labeling is definitely misleading.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 01:04 AM
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those walmart willy wonka brand heaters are crap! i know peps who bought them and hated them.

i bought the 10w spirals 2 for 6.00 today and gona try them, i put a 14w in the 2.5g to see how hot it would get. and will try the 10w tommorow, i want to have to have a heater in such a small tank, barley any room now, lol
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aquaman73177 View Post
I also posted in the low-tech forum, but I thought I'd see if someone in this forum could help as well. I've got a 5 gallon hex, and I'm interested in trying live plants. I've had success w/ amazon swords and banana plants, but that's about it. I was wondering if someone could give me some quick pointers about lighting and substrate. Am considering ecocomplete substrate and desklamp for light (14w or so). Not planning on using co2 if I can get away with it. If anyone has any pointers for me, I would appreciate it. As I said earlier, all previous attempts to keep live plants was a waist of money (not enough wattage, I think). Thanks.
You might find the information in this post interesing/useful. The only issue I have with this tank is keeping the temperature from reaching 30+, lol and it isn't even summer yet
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...allon-hex.html
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the help.

The only bulb I could find was a 15 watt 6500k daylight bulb. I don't know if that extra watt makes much difference...
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 06:45 PM
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yes the 14w is wrong lol, they are 15w spiral bulbs.

i have the 10 watt bulbs to but find the 15 to be better for plants.

my 5g's stay around 74-76, dont know what summer has do with it other than not having airconditioning in the house, i could see the tank getting really hot if its 80 inside where the tanks.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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thanks

Thanks for the help, everyone.

So far I went to my lfs and bought some java fern. Thought that might help cycle the tank, and they're supposedly easy to keep. I have about 1.5-2" vermiculite with gravel over top. Slanted back to front for depth. I also have some hornwort(I think it's called) as a foreground plant. We'll see how it does. Thanks again for the suggestions!

Last edited by aquaman73177; 05-22-2008 at 06:52 PM. Reason: wrong name of plant
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