Newbie Looking for Set-Up/ Equiptment Advice. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-05-2011, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Looking for Set-Up/ Equiptment Advice.

I recently was given a 20 gal tall all glass tank and thought this was my chance to try my hand at a freshwater planted tank. I'm currently running a saltwater tank but really want to try learn the freshwater side.

From the little research I've done I figure what I'm going to need it a filter, heater, lighting, some sort of C02 system, and substrate. What I'm looking to invest is about $300 so any advice would be great!

What I'm leaning towards right now is a Ehiem 2213 Canister Filter ($90), 24" 96W 6500K T5 Aquarium Light Hood Freshwater Plant Lunar LED German Reflector (This I found new on ebay for $68 but doesn't have a brand name that I could find), Sera Flora Active CO2 Reactor 500 ($50), then either a mix or flourite and eco complete of just all one or the other ($60ish).

That's what I've come up with thus far so I just wanted to get some advice on what you though. Most likely going to have pretty basic plants, nothing super exotic, and hopefully some dwarf cichlids. I just want to make sure I set this up properly the first time as not to waste what little money I have for this project.

I sincerely appreciate any feedback or thoughts!!

Kevin
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-05-2011, 11:38 PM
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What are the dimensions of the tank? Is it a 20 high or 20 tall? If it is a standard 20 high, 24" x 12" x 16", I would go with a 2 bulb T5 NO fixture (28 watts). A 96 watt light may be to much unless you can raise it up pretty high above the tank.

Read this thread about the CO2 reactor you mentioned.

CLICK -----> New Sera CO2 Reactor
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 12:57 AM
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A few thoughts for you:
On a 20 gal tank, you really don't need a more expensive canister filter - an Aquaclear 50 HOB, or even a AC 70, will be ample to do the job, for quite a bit less $.
As Dog said, the lighting you mentioned is way too much light, even for a 20 tall. His suggestion of 28 watts would be ok, although you could do with somewhat higher intensity lighting - up to 40 watts NO, or less with HO.
No need for a CO 2 system for a 20 gal tank. You can still get excellent results with a more low-tech set-up. Seachem Excel & good ferts, either dry or liquid, can do a good job for you.
Save yourself some $, so you can complete all your equipment needs within your budget, e.g. test kit, some hardscape, plants, substrate, vac, bucket, fishnet, thermometer, livestock, etc., etc.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 02:06 AM
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Obviously you want to go fullbore on this, so I won't try to talk you out of anything like the other guys. I will recommend the Eco-Complete substrate. I have it in my tank, and it really helps the plants grow. Plus, the black color makes the plants and fish pop out visually.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 02:10 AM
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ive got a full paintball co2 setup for sale if your looking.. i have a post in the sale thread.
$60 shipped
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinmichael77 View Post
I recently was given a 20 gal tall all glass tank and thought this was my chance to try my hand at a freshwater planted tank. I'm currently running a saltwater tank but really want to try learn the freshwater side.

From the little research I've done I figure what I'm going to need it a filter, heater, lighting, some sort of C02 system, and substrate. What I'm looking to invest is about $300 so any advice would be great!

What I'm leaning towards right now is a Ehiem 2213 Canister Filter ($90), 24" 96W 6500K T5 Aquarium Light Hood Freshwater Plant Lunar LED German Reflector (This I found new on ebay for $68 but doesn't have a brand name that I could find), Sera Flora Active CO2 Reactor 500 ($50), then either a mix or flourite and eco complete of just all one or the other ($60ish).

That's what I've come up with thus far so I just wanted to get some advice on what you though. Most likely going to have pretty basic plants, nothing super exotic, and hopefully some dwarf cichlids. I just want to make sure I set this up properly the first time as not to waste what little money I have for this project.

I sincerely appreciate any feedback or thoughts!!

Kevin
For a 20 gallon, you should be fine with Flourish Excel rather than CO2. However, if you do go the CO2 route, I would advise you to avoid the non-regulator (ASA on/off valve only) paintball CO2 setup. This is very dangerous. Save up and get a regulated setup.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 02:24 AM
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With your budget your should be able to set up a killer tank. For a 20g a canister filter may be overkill; you probably want to look at HOB filters instead. For a lot less money you can get an AquaClear or Marineland HOB that would work just as well for your needs, plus you don't have to find a place to put your canister. A good lighting choice would by a dual T5, but to add to versatility you want to look for one that has independent switching so you can add high-light plants later on without having to buy a new fixture. There are a ton of different substrates on the market that would work, and only a bit of research into them will give you good answers. Whenever I set up a new tank, I usually make a list of plants/fish/inverts I want to keep and then build the tank with that in mind. That was your lights, substrate, filters, etc. are all matched to the species you want to keep. The best advice I can give you is to do some research beforehand and make educated purchases. The budget you have will go far. For example, six months ago I set up two 40g breeder tanks up with HOB filters, dual T5 lights and a stand, substrate, heaters, and other basic start-up items for less than $300. Welcome to TPT and good luck with your new tank!

PS- Depending on the plants you want, you may be able to avoid using pressurized CO2, so try to choose your plants first!

I even have duckweed in my water bong!
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 09:38 AM
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Thumbs up

I just set up 20 tall tank. I went with Nova Extreme T5HO 2x 24 watt fixture 4 inches above the tank. This was too much light. In the end I put piece of window screen over the splash guard to reduce the Par by around 40%. Raising the light would have also worked. (google "hoppy light chart" for excellent lighting info).

I'm a believer in the value of filtration and flow. I'm using an Eheim Ecco 60, 2234. (got a screaming deal on it). I'm very happy with it but I may still add a nano powerhead for more distribution of the CO2 and for surface agitation.

We went with a high quality regulator from Green leaf Aquarium. $$$ but worth it for long-term use. Little ceramic diffuser and a drop checker. A $50 reactor seems like a poor use of limited funds.

I really wish that I'd used ADA aquasoil substrate instead of floramax (basically the same as ecoComplete). It's primo stuff and the price is reasonable for a small tank. Mineralized topsoil would be my second choice and fluorite/ecoComplete/floramax would be my third choice. If Santa brings me aquasoil for Christmas, I will switch. In the end, all substrates work very well.

Cheap little in tank heater. Air stone at night.

If you get high quality equipment you will be good to go when you fall in love with the hobby and decide you can't live without a bigger tank.


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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 02:04 PM
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I'm currently in the process of switching over my freshwater fish tank to a planted tank. I've added diy co2 and the plants seem to love it. My lights are a little crazy right now but I want to end up with two coralife t5 Normal Output fixtures. With each fixture having 2 bulbs. That would end up giving me 4 14w bulbs for a total of 56 watts. That's pretty close to 3 watts per gallon.

I'm definitely curious in this thread. I'll put a link to my thread below.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...-guidance.html

Good Luck!
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Update

Did a little shopping today and decided to go with the Eco-complete substrate since all the threads I read on here about it were pretty positive. Just went with a 20lb bag so I'm not sure if I'll need more or not for a 20 gallon tank.

Think I've also decided on the aquaclear 70 filter since the reviews on that were pretty good as well and I don't need to worry about where to put the canister filter or it leaking anywhere.

I'm still undecided on the light fixture at this point but I'm leaning towards a dual HO T5 set up but I'm not sure what brand to go with yet. Coralife has one I like but it comes with bulbs for a saltwater tank and buying new bulbs for it will bring up the cost quite a bit. Zoo Med also has a T5 HO fixture with dual on/off switches and without the bulbs so I could choose the correct bulbs for my tank.

Any recommondations on the light fixture would really help.

As for the CO2 I think just to get started I'm just going to use the ol DIY yeast method until I feel the need to upgrade.

Thanks Again
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 10:32 PM
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That Zoo Med T5 HO fixture sounds pretty good. Can't recall the bulb wattage that will fit that length of fixture for your 20 gal, but it may be 19 w each, for total of 38 w dual.
That would give under 2 wpg, which should be ok for your tank using DIY CO2.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Zoo Med

The Zoo Med is also a dual 24w HO fixture just as the Coralife is. The more I read the more I get confused. I seriously just want to set up a nice planted tank, possibly with both high/low intensity plants. Im just afraid of buying the wrong lighting as this is most the cost. Don't want to get to little light or obviously not enough light.

I've also been noticing some GLO fixtures with the same specs. Is dual T5HO 48w just too much then I take it? A lot of fixtures have those specs and the are 24" so I would just assume they are made for 20g tanks.

Ugh!!!!
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:40 AM
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One thing to keep in mind with the ZooMed fixture is that you can't use a glass canopy with it if you use the legs. It has to be on an open top tank.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinmichael77 View Post
The Zoo Med is also a dual 24w HO fixture just as the Coralife is. The more I read the more I get confused. I seriously just want to set up a nice planted tank, possibly with both high/low intensity plants. Im just afraid of buying the wrong lighting as this is most the cost. Don't want to get to little light or obviously not enough light.

I've also been noticing some GLO fixtures with the same specs. Is dual T5HO 48w just too much then I take it? A lot of fixtures have those specs and the are 24" so I would just assume they are made for 20g tanks.

Ugh!!!!
I can appreciate what you're saying.
Yes, you don't want too little light, but then again, too much light would be worse on a 20 gal imo, specially if you're thinking of T5 HO. Unless you're running a regulated CO2 system, I believe you should keep any T5 HO wattage down to 1 or 1.5 wpg.

So dual T5HO 48w would be too much light ime, and I think you'd be inviting significant algae problems, even using DIY yeast CO2.
Perhaps you should consider T5 NO.
Maybe some lighting gurus can chime in here to dispel any confusion over your lighting for you.
I have a 75 gal low-tech planted discus tank (24" deep), and run 2 X 39w T5 HO on it,( 4" above the water surface) and that's plenty of light to grow plants very well & maintain algae at a minimum.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 04:25 AM
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An aquaclear 70 might be overkill for your tank. I would go with a 50 or 30. If you're injecting CO2, a canister can have the option of less surface disturbance whereas the aquaclear is pretty good for oxygen exchange.

Don't bother with pressurized CO2 until you get a feel for planted aquariums....DIY yeast should be fine.

A 2x24W system is about the highest I would go on that tank, but you may still run into issues without CO2. T5NO or 1x24W T5HO would be a pretty decent light and allow you to still grow quite a bit.

And sorry to say, but I'm almost positive you're going to want more than the 20lbs of eco-complete. Plants like substrate to be able to root in and yours may be just a little too shallow.
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