Newbie to planted aquarium--lots of questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Question Newbie to planted aquarium--lots of questions

Hello all. I'm a newbie to planted tanks, but have had many freshwater tanks for 16 years, and have bred Kribs, livebearers, and had Rams lay eggs (too hard/alkaline of water for them to hatch though). I've decided to do something different, and try a planted tank.

The aquarium is a 29 gallon, and my light is going to be a 24"-30" adjustable T5 HO 4X24 watts (96 total watts) with 6500K light.

So here are my questions...answer one or all, either way I would be super grateful. I need as many opinions as possible. Just as an FYI, I have hard, alkaline water (not sure on the exact parameters yet as I haven't checked them in awhile, but usually around 8.0 pH and very hard).

1) Filter is an Rena XP2 canister--is that ok?

2) Substrate: I'd like to get 2 bags of EcoComplete and then put a layer of gravel on top (like the natural looking rocks you can get at Walmart...I think they're 10 lb. bags). Is this going to work? And would getting extra latrite make it any more beneficial to the plants?

3) Plants: I'm looking at a bunch, but I'd like opinions on what worked best for you and any hints that you used to get them to grow the best for you. Also, which ones are the most "bang for your buck"? How many of each plant would you recommend buying if this was your tank?
Crypt wendtii
Corkscrew Val/regular Val
Dwarf hairgrass
Baby tears
Anubias barteri
Java fern
Java moss
Water wisteria
Giant hygro
Hygrophilia polysperma
Crypt spiralis
Anubias congensis

4) For the ferts, I am looking at the Ultimate Fert Package from RootMedic for $90 (package explained below). What are the best ferts in your opinion?
1 x 500 ml bottle of Liquid Macro Fertilizer
1 x 500 ml bottle of Liquid Micro Fertilizer
1 x 2 liter Refill bottle of Liquid Macro Fertilizer
1 x 2 liter Refill bottle of Liquid Micro Fertilizer
50 x RootMedic Complete Capsules

5) Fish: I'm looking at using the 6 lamp eye tetras I already have, 5 bloodfin tetras I already have (but would like to push that number closer to 10), an otto, a siamese algae eater, some kuhli loaches, and if possible at all (after the tank is established), some white clouds. Thoughts? Also, what do I need to worry about as far as the otto, SAE, and kuhlis? I've never had them before.

6) CO2: Planning on doing a DIY one. Should I get any special equipment for it, or am I going to be with just a ring of two 2L bottles?

Thanks so much, and sorry for all the questions. I just hate not knowing as much about this as I do about my other freshwater aquarium stuff. I've done a lot of reading and whatnot, but peoples' experience tends to be the most important.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 06:02 PM
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Someone else can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that 96w of T5HO is a LOT of light for a 29g tank and you're probably either going to need to raise the lights above the tank a bit or go with pressurized CO2.

Otherwise, your specs look pretty good!

Oh, as for your fish, I would skip the SAE and get like 3-5 Otos, most SAEs in the stores are not actually algae eaters, they are fish that get HUGE, on top of that, Otos do best in groups and in my experience, are excellent little algae eaters. Amano shrimp are great algae eaters too if you wanted more than one kind of algae eater.

I don't know anything about Kuhli loaches so I'll let someone else chime in on that.

Good luck and welcome to TPT!


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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 07:28 PM
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That is a crap-ton of light. You can cut that in half and still have a relatively high light aquarium that will do best with CO2 (preferably pressurized).
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks--I have parts of this question posted on another forum as well, and they mentioned that I should only have one SAE, and then about 4 Ottos...would that be ok? I'll see if we even have true SAE's around here. I'm also going to be skipping the White Clouds probably, to make room for the Ottos.

So, with the light...I have always read that 2-3 watts per gallon is what medium light plants need, so I would barely be above that with 3.3 watts per gallon. A DIY CO2 thing wouldn't be enough for that much wpg? That light is one of the only ones on ebay that would work for my tank, and it's cheap ($75 and free shipping), so...is their anything cheaper for a wattage that would better for my tank? What is the "idea" wpg?

I'm so new to these planted tanks--thanks so much for the help!
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 11:54 PM
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wpg is for like t-12 lights or something like that. t-5 dives off more light per watt i have 2 t-5no on my 30 and i do not think i would want more light. and the co2 i am using 3 2 l bottles and to keep the c02 up i have to change them every week when they start to fade
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 12:01 AM
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this should help you out...its from hoppy's post in the lighting section its a sticky check it out
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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So when it says like T5HO 2 bulbs, what is the wattage per bulb for that? I'll see if I can find the sticky. Thanks so much!
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dart27 View Post
Yes, that is a much better lighting choice, but it will probably give you high light, where you have to use CO2, and keep a high concentration of it in the water, something DIY CO2 isn't very good at. Don't concern yourself about how much wattage is involved. That is just what it costs you to run the lights. It is the type of lighting that determines how brightly lit the tank is.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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So even with that light, I wouldn't be able to have DIY CO2? I don't have money for a pressurized CO2, so I'm looking for a light that will let me grow plants like dwarf hairgrass, anubias barteri, val, and baby tears without needing a big system for CO2.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 03:33 PM
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Try a dual bulb T5NO fixture then. I like the Coralife T5NO.





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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Try a dual bulb T5NO fixture then. I like the Coralife T5NO.
I thought that's the light I was talking about? It's 2 x 18 T5 HO I believe. It's the last link I posted.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 05:38 PM
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HO and NO are not the same thing. HO = High Output, NO = Normal Output. Lauralee is suggesting you look into getting a T5 normal output light. Not sure which you posted. But 36w of T5 Normal Output should put you right in the lighting category you are looking for


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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Oh haha...I didn't even notice she had said NO instead of HO..sorry--my fault! How do I know if the one in my link is HO or NO?
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 08:26 PM
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If it's 18w bulbs than it's NO, 24 inch HO Bulbs are 24w, coralife also makes a 30 inch fixture with their own ~28" bulbs that are 31w HO's.

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