Best (Affordable) Nano Setup with Stock Lighting? - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
MissOddi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 55
Best (Affordable) Nano Setup with Stock Lighting?

Hey everyone! I'm jumping back into the hobby after a two year hiatus. I'd like to begin with a 5-ish gallon, low-tech planted betta tank. I want to try my hand at a dirted substrate as well as a Hamburg Matten Filter. I've got both of those mostly figured out, but what is hanging me up (what ALWAYS hangs me up) is the lighting.

Are there any decently-priced nano setups that have good stock lights (please don't laugh -- I know I'm a dreamer)? If not, could you recommend (or point me to the right thread) relatively simple lighting alternatives that will look nice without breaking my bank?

It's taken me two years to convince my husband I won't go crazy and spend all my money on fish again, so I really am trying to stick to a somewhat sane budget. It kills him that the money I spent on my old tanks could have bought me an OK car instead lol.
MissOddi is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 04:20 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 87
For what is essentially a turn-key package the Fluval Spec V might be a good option. You can find them on sale at various places almost constantly.
I've just started a Spec III for my work tank, and I've been very happy with it thus far.
HokieFish is offline  
post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 06:52 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
kman's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,350
I was going to recommend the Fluval Spec series as well. Excellent tanks. Great for Bettas. Just add a heater and you're good to go with a low tech setup.

Note that the stock lights are only suitable for low light plants, however. If you want to get serious, dose co2, etc., you'll want to upgrade the stock light. There are a number of Finnex LED lights that work well as reasonably-priced replacements that work well, however. Examples abound.

It's VERY difficult to find stock LED lighting that can actually support medium to high lighting. Since that usually requires co2, tank companies don't want to sell lights for the tanks that will just turn things into algae farms, since most people don't want to get into co2.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

---------------------------------

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
kman is offline  
 
post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 07:24 PM
dru
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
dru's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Earth
Posts: 669
Eheim Aquastyle 6 gallon
dru is offline  
post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 07:49 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
RWaters's Avatar
 
PTrader: (29/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: On an Island
Posts: 1,978
I like my Spec III as a low tech low light setup.
RWaters is offline  
post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-13-2015, 08:58 PM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 236
If you get a spec just use the stock filter. Low light plants like anubias and java fern will be fine.

If you are thinking of a 10 gallon a HM filter with a Finnex Stingray would be about the same price as a Spec III.
MoreyFan is offline  
post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
MissOddi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 55
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I've been really drawn to the Marineland Contour 5. Does anyone have any thoughts on this tank?

"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship." - William Blake

... and I'll take a tank or two.
MissOddi is offline  
post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 05:31 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
kman's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,350
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissOddi View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I've been really drawn to the Marineland Contour 5. Does anyone have any thoughts on this tank?
While it looks nice, the LED is especially pathetically underpowered, especially considering how tall the tank is, and I'm also extremely underwhelmed with the filtration setup. The massive block of foam in the Spec tanks seems a lot more robust than flimsy cartridges that need regular replacement.

Between the two, I'd go with the Spec V, personally.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

---------------------------------

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
kman is offline  
post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 06:42 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: washington, dc
Posts: 52
I have a Marineland Contour 5 and I love it.
The glass is really heavy and the glass sliding top is better than most other similar kits I looked at.

Kman is right about the light being tiny, especially considering the height, so I replaced mine with a Finnex Stingray Clip which has been perfect.

Kman is wrong about the stock filter though, the cartridge is only the charcoal, there is a giant foam block underneath it. The filter section slides out and is modular, so you can customize it. I took the charcoal cartridge out of mine and put Purigen in its place, I left the foam block for mechanical filtration, and I filled the extra section with bio media.

The pump flow is adjustable which was important to me because I have a betta. Unlike most filters with adjustable flow, I was able to turn down the flow enough to make the betta comfortable without having to modify the filter, which is a problem most spec V owners with bettas have to deal with.

I was deciding between this and the spec V, the real reason I went with the contour is that I liked the clean look of the rounded edges, and I didn't like the silver trim on the spec V. Also, I liked the unique shape, taller than it is wide, it gave me cool ideas for scaping.

I think the bottom line is this: if you want to use the stock light, go with spec V. if you want to replace the light, go with contour.

I'll post some pics

Bump: oh, and as Dru mentioned, the Eheim Aquastyle is great! It's similar in some ways to the contour (Has a similar shape and rounded corners), but has internal filter instead of overflow. But, people are saying GREAT things about its stock light


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
sharko is offline  
post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 06:47 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreyFan View Post
If you are thinking of a 10 gallon a HM filter with a Finnex Stingray would be about the same price as a Spec III.
I personally have a glass top on my 5.5 gallon and added the Finnex Stingray 16" light strip for $40. Plants are growing just fine. Anubius Nana, Anacharis, Pennywort, Water Sprite. Probably close to $110 total with Aquaclear HOB 20, Hydor 50W heater.
tommy d is offline  
post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 07:20 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
kman's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,350
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharko View Post
I have a Marineland Contour 5 and I love it.
The glass is really heavy and the glass sliding top is better than most other similar kits I looked at.

Kman is right about the light being tiny, especially considering the height, so I replaced mine with a Finnex Stingray Clip which has been perfect.

Kman is wrong about the stock filter though, the cartridge is only the charcoal, there is a giant foam block underneath it. The filter section slides out and is modular, so you can customize it. I took the charcoal cartridge out of mine and put Purigen in its place, I left the foam block for mechanical filtration, and I filled the extra section with bio media.

The pump flow is adjustable which was important to me because I have a betta. Unlike most filters with adjustable flow, I was able to turn down the flow enough to make the betta comfortable without having to modify the filter, which is a problem most spec V owners with bettas have to deal with.

I was deciding between this and the spec V, the real reason I went with the contour is that I liked the clean look of the rounded edges, and I didn't like the silver trim on the spec V. Also, I liked the unique shape, taller than it is wide, it gave me cool ideas for scaping.

I think the bottom line is this: if you want to use the stock light, go with spec V. if you want to replace the light, go with contour.

I'll post some pics

Bump: oh, and as Dru mentioned, the Eheim Aquastyle is great! It's similar in some ways to the contour (Has a similar shape and rounded corners), but has internal filter instead of overflow. But, people are saying GREAT things about its stock light
Ah, good to know about the filter, as that wasn't clear from any of the photos I found. If you read the Amazon reviews, however, they are rife with people being unhappy about the lowest flow setting on those tanks. Same complaint as the Spec tanks, but as it happens, since the designs are similar, the same fixes used on the Spec tanks apply to the Contour as well. It probably depends on the Betta, in the end. Some of them like some flow to play in, others get bitchy about nearly any water movement. Lovely little critters.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

---------------------------------

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
kman is offline  
post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-14-2015, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
MissOddi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharko View Post
I have a Marineland Contour 5 and I love it.
The glass is really heavy and the glass sliding top is better than most other similar kits I looked at.

Kman is right about the light being tiny, especially considering the height, so I replaced mine with a Finnex Stingray Clip which has been perfect.

Kman is wrong about the stock filter though, the cartridge is only the charcoal, there is a giant foam block underneath it. The filter section slides out and is modular, so you can customize it. I took the charcoal cartridge out of mine and put Purigen in its place, I left the foam block for mechanical filtration, and I filled the extra section with bio media.

The pump flow is adjustable which was important to me because I have a betta. Unlike most filters with adjustable flow, I was able to turn down the flow enough to make the betta comfortable without having to modify the filter, which is a problem most spec V owners with bettas have to deal with.

I was deciding between this and the spec V, the real reason I went with the contour is that I liked the clean look of the rounded edges, and I didn't like the silver trim on the spec V. Also, I liked the unique shape, taller than it is wide, it gave me cool ideas for scaping.

I think the bottom line is this: if you want to use the stock light, go with spec V. if you want to replace the light, go with contour.

I'll post some pics

Bump: oh, and as Dru mentioned, the Eheim Aquastyle is great! It's similar in some ways to the contour (Has a similar shape and rounded corners), but has internal filter instead of overflow. But, people are saying GREAT things about its stock light
I just checked out your tank journal and I love it. Could you please post a full-tank pic that shows the whole thing from a distance? I'd really like to see how it looks with the clip-on light.
As for the filter, that is great to hear. The pics on Amazon aren't all that helpful. I imagine I'd at least add some filter media to the space behind the tank/modify the filter a bit.

I really appreciate the suggestions, everyone. Keep them coming!

"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship." - William Blake

... and I'll take a tank or two.
MissOddi is offline  
post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2015, 03:08 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: washington, dc
Posts: 52
Here it is with the light, though I think I said the wrong name before. It's a Finnex Planted + Clip:





only cruddy phone pics. I'll have to borrow my wife's camera and take some good pics.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
sharko is offline  
post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-15-2015, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
MissOddi's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 55
I love it!

"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship." - William Blake

... and I'll take a tank or two.
MissOddi is offline  
post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2015, 05:30 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
MARIMOBALL's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 990
I love the eheim aquastyle 6 gallon it will be enough light for medium to high light plants. If you want high light get the aquastyle 4 gallon. I have all three 9 , 6 and 4. ill try to post my high light 4 gallon. The glass is real good quality. Super silent filter that you never have to buy replacement filters for. The light was designed specifically for plants & 7watts of 7000K spectrum. Lid included. Total power useage for light and filter is 11watts. It worth the extra money.

ADA 120P x2 Iwagumi ADA 75P, 60Px3, 30Cx3 ADA Mini S solar (LED) Mini M solar Do!aqua Mini M


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MARIMOBALL is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome