Time for an Upgrade, $400 Budget - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Time for an Upgrade, $400 Budget

Time for a plant and EQ upgrade, I'm typically very diligent in planning and research but for some reason every time I get into researching plants I get lost in the confusion of the types and variations of all the different plants. Normally, I connect quickly to scientific nomenclature, however I'm not connecting with the plants.

So I come to you all for assistance:

I am doing a decent ugprade to my 92 Gallon Corner. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...402&highlight=

Current Photo of the Tank:

Album of the Tank: http://imgur.com/a/7AOb0

Info on the tank:
  • 92 Gallon Corner (1/4 Circle with a 34" radius)
  • Has a roughly 250-300 gph Sump system (Tidepool 2)
  • Lots of Catfish, Barbs and Tetras (roughly 35) nothing that will get larger than about 4-6"
  • Front Light: 36" Aqueon Modular LED with 2 Daylight and 1 Colormax,
  • Back Light: 24" Corallife T5 Daylight and Colormax.
  • An extremely large piece of driftwood that I love.
  • about a 2" cover of EcoComplete

Weaknesses of the Tank:
  • The tank is 24" deep. Not many lights can provide high light to the substrate as well as I haven't had much luck finding plants that can survive in my low light settings and grow from the substrate to the top.
  • Lighting, I think this is an area I need to upgrade or enchance, haven't had much luck growing "high light" things in the past.
  • No CO2 at this time. I'm looking through the DIY section for solutions. However, since the tank is in the corner, there's very limited space around the edges for piping and tubing.

Goals and Wishes:
  • Maintain the "wood" look of the massive driftwood currently in the tank. I don't want to cover it with moss or tied plants. I really like the beauty of the wood. I'm looking to get plants to grow up and around it to compliment the driftwood.
  • I would also love to get some kind of carpet growing around the bottom, even if it is more anubias nana which I have 3 small pieces on driftwood in front of the large driftwood, they just aren't spreading.

Current Plans:
  • Upgrade both lights with a Finnex Ray 2 36" and 24" total cost, $250.
  • try and find a CO2 system I can put together for under $75
  • Low-Medium light plants from aquariumplants.com $50 + $25 Shipping

Following my current plans, I don't believe that I will have much left for a plant budget, but I think the CO2 is needed in order to do what I want in the future. And I can try and get more plants in the future. So I come to you all, seeking advice, links to products specifically plants that might fit my goals. I'm even considering doing the $20 plant layout thing through aquariumplants but figured there might be someone on here that gets joy out of planning out tanks and would like to help with a project using someone else's money.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 12:58 PM
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If u want more growth and especially a carpet, co2 and more light is almost a neccessity, there are a few out there that can get a carpet going without co2. Its not impossibl, but very improbable.
you can absolutely get lights to penetrate 24 inches. My light is 36 inches over my substrate and i sit anywhere from 105 - 120 in PAR or photosynthetically available radiation. Which is very very high lifght at the substrate
i would Invest in a decent light source with ur budget and put more towards a quality co2 system. Many plants can grow in low to medium light, but they grow better with a carbon source.

as far as lay outs. Dont pay for it! Start browsing tanks and try ur own. Plants can be more quite frequently. There for a while i moved plants every 3 to 4 days

regulator for co2... pm bettatail and oldpunk.. tell them ur budget and they should be able to plan a decent regulator for you

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 01:44 PM
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i would wager the ray2 led lamps could penetrate the 24" depth.

Pressurized CO2 would also benefit your plants in medium light scenarios as well... these are two areas where i would look towards improvement.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the thoughts, it looks like I have been right on target with the idea of the new lights and the CO2.

I've been looking at regulators and other threads in this forum and will be hitting up a local Paintball store tomorrow at lunch to see what they have.

Still looking for some plants ideas, I'm thinking so far:
Sagittaria subulata and Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis for a two height carpet in different areas

Blending Front to back with:
Anubias Congensis and some Lobelia cardinalis

In the background:
Telanthera Rosefolia
Anubias Lanceolota
Ludwigia Peruensis

I go these from just looking around here at what people are doing and some other online vendor descriptions of things.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 11:08 PM
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ludwigia peruensis is a demanding plant for 99% of hobbyists.... id advise otherwise

it likes lots of light otherwise it grows slow and gets covered with algae.. and with high light also comes with algae risks

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaerey View Post
I've been looking at regulators and other threads in this forum and will be hitting up a local Paintball store tomorrow at lunch to see what they have.
I strongly advise against a paintball system for a tank of that size, as a paintball tank will run out very quickly. It was already enough getting the tank refilled monthly when I used a paintball system on my 10 gallon tank.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Axelrodi202 View Post
I strongly advise against a paintball system for a tank of that size, as a paintball tank will run out very quickly. It was already enough getting the tank refilled monthly when I used a paintball system on my 10 gallon tank.
Would a Paintball store not have the 5# bottles? or just the smaller ones?
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 02:45 PM
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Finnex Ray 2, good CO2 setup, plants from the forums here. A single Ray 2 will provide 43+ PAR at the substrate. With good CO2, you have a lot of carpet options at that light level. My staurogyne carpets easily at a similar PAR.

You can buy a nice dual stage regulator on this forum, used, for $200 or less. Very nice, new dual stage regulators are $250 on the forum. 36" Ray 2 is $150 shipped. That leaves 50 bucks for a diffuser, 5 or 10# CO2 bottle filled and plants which is a little on the low side but will improve if you can get a better deal on a used regulator. I would definitely not skimp on the CO2 as that is the most critical component you are upgrading.


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 02:52 PM
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If they have a 5 lbs. tank it would be for refilling. Typically they don't carry those and if they do it most likely will be overpriced. The largest they had when I bought tanks was 24oz. I have two PB systems. I would trade both for 1 CHEAP CO2 system. With your budget I wouldn't even consider them.
  • The needle valves typically used are impossible to adjust and the output will fluctuate.
  • You have to manually turn it on and off each day.
  • The tanks won't last long at all.
  • 1 bubble every 3 seconds for nanos...forget it.
You can add a needle valve to help with the adjustment. Add a solenoid to turn it on and off. The cost of all that plus the PB system and you could have had an entry CO2 regulator with all the parts you need.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:16 PM
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Don't bother with a 5lbs even. Go for a 10 -20 lbs. Check out your nearest gas/welding co.


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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:16 PM
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Don't bother with a 5lbs even. Go for a 10 -20 lbs. Check out your nearest gas/welding co.
Good point it is 92 gallons.


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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Don't bother with a 5lbs even. Go for a 10 -20 lbs. Check out your nearest gas/welding co.
Will do! thanks.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TexasCichlid View Post
Finnex Ray 2, good CO2 setup, plants from the forums here. A single Ray 2 will provide 43+ PAR at the substrate. With good CO2, you have a lot of carpet options at that light level. My staurogyne carpets easily at a similar PAR.

You can buy a nice dual stage regulator on this forum, used, for $200 or less. Very nice, new dual stage regulators are $250 on the forum. 36" Ray 2 is $150 shipped. That leaves 50 bucks for a diffuser, 5 or 10# CO2 bottle filled and plants which is a little on the low side but will improve if you can get a better deal on a used regulator. I would definitely not skimp on the CO2 as that is the most critical component you are upgrading.
The way the tank is shaped, the front 36" light doesn't provide any light to the back corner, so I'm going to need some kind of 24" light in the back as well. The Melon Sword I started off (can be seen in the album pics) with back there has died out and rotted even with the 24" T5 light above it. So I think I need to eventually get the shorter Ray 2 for back there.

The two Ray 2s would set me back $250, then I'm looking for a CO2 system with the rest of the buget for now and then maybe in a month or so I will get the new plants. Hopefully the new lights and CO2 will rejuvenate the plants I already have.

We also have a LFS here that does a buy 2 get one free deal every Tuesday, but they don't usually have a good selection of low light plants. Mostly all medium to strong light.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Kaerey View Post
The way the tank is shaped, the front 36" light doesn't provide any light to the back corner, so I'm going to need some kind of 24" light in the back as well. The Melon Sword I started off (can be seen in the album pics) with back there has died out and rotted even with the 24" T5 light above it. So I think I need to eventually get the shorter Ray 2 for back there.

The two Ray 2s would set me back $250, then I'm looking for a CO2 system with the rest of the buget for now and then maybe in a month or so I will get the new plants. Hopefully the new lights and CO2 will rejuvenate the plants I already have.

We also have a LFS here that does a buy 2 get one free deal every Tuesday, but they don't usually have a good selection of low light plants. Mostly all medium to strong light.
You could always use rhizome feeders tied to your driftwood to take advantage of the lower light in the back of the tank, and focus on carpet and higher light plants in the foreground and midground. Would save you from having to buy a second fixture, and would be a nice contrast. I think that stump and the rock in the back would look fantastic with some fissidens, some of the cooler ferns and some anubias. Ultimately your vision needs to come through, just trying to come up with some ideas that fits your budget.


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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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... just trying to come up with some ideas that fits your budget.
Which is exactly why I came here! I don't know what I don't know.
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