Complete Beginner, need help! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2007, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Complete Beginner, need help!

Hi guys, sorry to be another beginner asking questions but....

im looking into buying a 2ft-3ft tank to start with, prob nearer 2ft and what i want to know is what i will need to get fully functional with estimated prices in 's. Everything like heaters and filtration etc...

I want some colourful (dare i say beautiful) tropicals, what would be best to start with? and can you show me pictures and how many i should get etc...

Thanks in advance!

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2007, 11:33 AM
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What kind of plants do you want to grow?
What's your budget? We can price you tank setups that cost well over a few thousand dollars, or setups that cost only a few hundred. Give us an estimate.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2007, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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i dont know what i want to grow, iv only just become interested

probably 200 to 300 max! that ok?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2007, 12:58 PM
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That would be about 600 US, so I think that is more than enough to get a good setup.

As far as a good start up set, I would say a 29 gallon is a good place to start for the size your looking at. It would be 30" in width, so its within you 2ft to 3 ft range.

I reccomend going to your local fish store and buying a "starter set". Most stores will carry something like this that comes with everything you need to get going.

If you want real plants, I would reccomend starting off slowly...get some really hardy plants that are easy to Anubias or Java Fern (Basically plants that have low demands for lighting, CO2 and fertilization).

Have you ever had an aquarium before??? What kind of fish are you looking to maintain???

Have you ever heard of "cycling" before and the basic parameters behind maintaining an aquarium???

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2007, 03:30 PM
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Hi, I'm new too. Here is a good place to start reading and gathering info:

I also search these forums regularly for answers, there are a lot of good threads that cover things I had not even considered!

EDIT: bah I forget my manners Welcome to the forums!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys, been away doing some research, would something like this surfice my needs? and what else would i need to buy to get a really nice starter tank on the go? Link

Does this seem like a nice piece of kit?

Cheers all.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 08:38 PM
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I started my first tank about 1 1/2 years ago. I started with a 29 gal starter kit from WalMart. Not a bad price. After finding The Planted Tank (this site) I learned a lot and then learned what it was that I wanted to do with my tank. In my opinion, I wasted a lot of money. I got rid of all my Plastic plants, tank decoration, and plain gravel. I had to get a better light fixture. The heater that came with the kit didn't last long, It kept getting hotter. The filter had to also be replaced with a canister filter.

The point I guess I'm trying to make is, study here for a while and learn what it is that you want to do with your tank. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just bought a nice plain tank the size that I wanted. Then I would start looking for the Light fixture which is probably the most important item and probably the most costly item. You don't need extravagance, just the right type and amount of light to do what it is you want to do with your type of tank. Then substrate, filter, decorations (drift wood etc), plants and fish.
This might take you a little longer to get it all set up but will save you a lot of money and from having a lot of extra items laying around that you don't need or want.

I hope this helps.

Anybody else wish to add their 2 cents?


10 gallon hospital tank.
29 & 50 gallon - High Tech C02 enriched.
50 gallon Pond - Natural.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 09:09 PM
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If I were you that would not be the way I would go. I like having the versatility of using the filter you specfically want and lighting you want etc. I would also with your price range maube do a little larger aquarium. That if my math is right comes out to about 21 U.S gallons. The light that is included wont be enough if you really want to grow plants as it is only 20 watts... so you wouldnt even have 1w per gallon and eve nin a low tech set up I think you want to shoot for about 2 w/gal.

Also don't be intimated by a larger aquarium. I used to work in a fish store and a lot of people really diddnt want to get into the larger tanks right away because they were intimated that they would nto be able to maintain it and it is harder or something. This however really is not true. Yes it is ture that you have more physical space to maintain and clean and more filter media etc. But as far as maintaing it biologically (keeping your enviroment in check, ph, kh, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, etc) it is easier with a larger envirometn once you get it established. A example I always like to use with is is say you have a 10 gallon (37 L) aquarium and a 75 gallon (284 L) aquarium and a fish dies. In the 10 gallon aquarium you need to get that fish out of there as soon as possible as it will start to decay and start to mess up your enviromet and possibly start killing off other fish. Where in the 75 gallon allthough it is still important that you get it out you have a little more time because it takes longer for things to react in the larger enviroment.

Also I'd like to add on that 29 gallons would probally be a pretty good start for you, or maybe even like a 45 or so. With the ammount of money listed to be able to spend you could make a really nice 29 gallon planted set up. I would say get a nice cabinet stand, a canister filter, a good brand heater (I personally like Jager) and then some really good power compact lights and try to aim for about 2-3 watts/gal. Also by this time you shouldnt have spent near 600.00 so I would say get some good substrate (Flourite or Eco-Complete if it is available in your area) and also go with a pressurized co2 system right from the start. I say all of this if you want to really do a planted aquarium.

I dont know what this equipment cost in pounds but I will try and give you a rough sketch of what it is in USD so you can get a rough idea...

29 Gallon aquarium with cabinet stand (you dont need/want the light that comes with some set-ups)

I would say around 150-200 for a new stand aquarium... correct me if I'm wrong here people as I ahvent bought a 29 in a long time

Power Compact Light

You are going to want 58W - 87W of light roughly. So if you are a handy-man guy I would say go with and get their 2 x 36 watt Bright Kit which runs $62.99 + the cost of two bulbs and the price varies on those but I would say about $30.00 for both of them. Then for this also figure in the cost of building a hood or something along the lines for them. (they do have international kits so no worry there)
If you would rather just get a light that is all ready to go... then get whatever brand you like the best but some good ones are Coralife and JBJ. I would say a good one will cost ya around 100-150.00 for the size you need.
The other option is T5 lights (I have jsut gotten back into the hobby and have not read up to much on these so I will let someone else chime in hopefully about them.


for the plante aquarium you want t ostick with something small as this will provide better growth for the plants (makes sense) For this reason there are numerous substrates available on the market. I have used with sucuess before flourite and would say for and aquarium your size you wouldnt really even need that much. It runs kinda spendy for little rock at anywhere from 15.00/bag - 29.00/bag at some local fish stores. Seachem is the company that makes it.


I highly reccomend injecting co2 for the plants. You can do a really nice fancy pressurized system or a DIY system using plastic bottles and yeast mixture (there are numerous posts here about it) I would say if you can afford it to jsut go pressurized right away as it is a lot easier to maintain your co2 levels and you dont have the messy bottles to deal with.

Depending on what method you coose to do you can spend as little as $10.00 (DIY) or up to $300.00+ for a fancy Pressurized system. But I would say for a good decent pressurized system you can do it for about $225.00 or so...


I highly reccomend you go canister as they are easy to maintain and very versatile. You don't need carbon as much as someone may tell you that you do. It will only strip out all the good stuff that you want to keep in a planted aquarium. I will try to skip details here and let you read and find out whats best to use as media. I reccomend the Fluval line of canisters as this is what I have owned before and never had any problems. A canister line that came out right after I bought my first canister filter was the RENA XP line. IMO they are awesome as well and wouldnt hesitate to buy one. Anthnor good but spendy line is Ehiem but I can't speak as I really have no experience with them, but the people that do have them love them... but then again they better for the price they pay for them. I would say yuo would need a fLUVAL 205 and those run about 100.00.

You are also going to want to get nutrients but that is a whole differnt thread in itself as well. Then you will need other little things like a water conditioner/de-chlorinator, food, test kit, etc

So in all I would say with a little work on finding all the equipment you need you could get a REALLY nice 29 gallon planted aquarium going for around $600.00 or so. Remember alot of this is rough pricing and you may be able to get stuff cheaper if you put the work into it. Even finding a nice used aquarium (my recent purchase got me a wood cabinet stand and a 92 gallon corner bowfront for only $150.00!!!!!) You can also find used equipment pretty resonable... Oh and I forgot to add in you need a heater. Get a good one... that should cost maybe $20.00...

And my last but best advice is to just keep researching this and reading and reading and reading. A good place to read some on the planted aquarium is

Hope this book I just wrote is somewhat help-ful!!!!

and welcome to the forums!

EDIT: What I just wrote is a pretty advanced set-up FYI... it is just an idea if you want to get serious about this.. There are many options and I suggust you explore them all.. Also if you have never kept fish before I think an advanced set-up like this may be a bit overwhelming... But really its up to you and what you want to do. I just know if I had no experience keeping fish I'm not sure if this is the route to go really... espically when you would be spending close to or over $600.00. But like the previous poster just keep on learning and reading!!!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2007, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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y84k - your an absolute legend for all that information. I bet that took you ages to type out. Like you said, it does seem a bit daunting alt first but im just going to have do my research and see what is best for me. A starter kit would be the most trouble free but the points u made make it seem not worth while. Thanks everyone i will keep you updated!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2007, 09:55 AM
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I've kept aquariums for 3 years or so. I decided to do my first planted tank 3 or 4 months ago. I've wasted sooooooooooo much money buying and replacing stuff, I wish I had just started out with the stuff y84k was talking about because that's what I've ended up with in the long run and replacing stuff is a pain in the butt! Just my 2 cents and that's exactly what it's worth! Good luck!
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Last edited by Tdon1md; 08-22-2011 at 11:36 AM.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-25-2007, 02:56 PM
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Yeah, it took some time to type it but I was at work at the hospital yesterday at the time and wasn't doing anything else (it was a really really slow Sunday) so it gave me something to do.
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