Wanting to plant my 55g - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2013, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Wanting to plant my 55g

Hello all! I haven't been on here since I signed up, as at the time I wanted to make a planted tank, but it didn't turn out well and I gave it up (temporarily). But now I'd like to get back into it and go all out on my 55 gallon. Currently all I have in it is 7 mollies, 3 platies, and 6 cory cats to keep it somewhat cycled. I plan to redo the stock once I can figure out what I want...

Anyways, I'd really like to do a high-light set up but I want to clarify a few things so I know what I'll be getting into. I plan to use eco-complete (or some sort of plant-specific substrate, just trying to find whatever is most available to me. Price is not a problem. I do not want to dirt my tank though I tried unsuccessfully on a 10 gallon... what a mess) with at least 3-4 inches, probably more like 2-3 inches in the front and 3-5 inches in the back. I know I will need a CO2 system, but do I need fertilizers or anything like that? Basically what I planned on was substrate, CO2, T5HO lighting, and plants. But I didn't know if that was feasible for high light. Any thoughts?

And just as a side question, is it generally much harder to maintain a high light planted tank (once it's up and running that is) than it is to do low light? I figure it's been asked before but all I could find on google was "high tech vs low tech" and such telling me differences between the two...
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2013, 04:58 AM
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Few things.

I STRONGLY recommend doing a dirt substrate. It just seems worth it, I've done it on two 10's and a 5.5. It only sucks if you are trying to breed shrimp though, as the TDS will be high.

If you really are against dirt, maybe do amazonia or some other super fertile substrate. Eco isn't a bad substrate, but it has no nutrients, so you would need to add root tabs and the like.

High light and co2 are fine, you just need to invest in a qualty regulator and quality lighting system to make it worth while.

You will need ferts if doing high tech. Look into EI (what I'm doing on my 75) and PPS-Pro (what I'm about to start on my 10 and 5.5). I'd recommend EI though if you can do the water changes, and especially if you aren't doing dirt or a super nutritious substrate. Even then, I like EI because it is everything you need and then some.

I don't think high tech is any harder to maintain than low tech....its more costly sure, but I think its a matter of pros and cons.

High tech=high growth rates....which means more trimming and more fert dosing and more equipment around.

Low tech=lower growth rates....which means less trimming, less fert dosing, and less equipment around

However, High tech=easier to grow plants, as you are providing everything plants need to thrive and then some, where as low tech=harder to grow certain plants, as some plants need the extra co2, and many plants will do better with all that extra stuff going on. It might be harder for some plants to do well, meaning there will be amounts of adjusting and tweaking to get a low tech tank going the way you want it.

If you have the money, I'd go high tech, as it is easy to grow plants, and save low tech for when you get to really understand how plants grow, so that you can then know how to put in the minimum amount of effort to get your tank looking amazing with the specific species that you desire to keep.

As far as your fish....you could keep what you have, but I would't keep platies and mollies in the same tank in case of awkward hybridization....unless thats something you'd want (personally, I'm not sure I'd want that specific hybrid, and even if I did, I'd only keep the hybrids in the tank and have a separate tank for a pair of fish that will make hybrids....just cause I like the look of that a bit better...but that's up to you really).

You have a lot of options with a 55.

My 75 gallon High Tech Tank:
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My 10 gallon High Tech Tank:
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My 5.5 gallon nano College Dorm Tank:
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Mom's Spec V:
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2013, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the information! And bearing with me as I'm still new to the plant scene.

The fish are probably going to be rehomed (I may keep the cories, they've been with me for a while now and they're growing on me lol) and I'd really like a community with celebes rainbowfish, a pair of GBRs, maybe the corys, and some other school(s) of fish (glass catfish maybe?). The livebearers just aren't my thing I've come to find out.

I'll do some research on what light fixture to get. Is there any brand of light/fixture that you recommend?
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