totall noob lighting and co2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
 
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totall noob lighting and co2

im trying to start a planted tank in my 33g, i kinda just jumped into it with not much knowlege iv got some plants planted and i bought a 24" aqua glo 20w light which later i found out isnt enough WPG. so then i got some info from my local fish store when i was trying to get my lighting sorted out. instead of buying a 119.00 fixture to house 2 30w bulbs? which i need cuz my tank is a starter kit tank with only room for 1 bulb.they said to just buy CO2 because it made their plants grow like crazy(so much they had to throw them out) with no light but the store light. so i bought the CO2 for half the price and now have the 20W aqua glo light and the CO2 thats rated for a 20G tank set up. will this setup work at all? or will my plants all die? i plan on buying a new fixture in a month or so that will hold 2 lights,whats the cheapest route to go? where can i buy the stuff i need i mean do i need to go to my LFS or can i go to homedepot? thanks allot i need help BAD!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 03:47 AM
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Sounds like you have a bit of reading to do about planted tanks. Here's a good place to start rexgrigg.com

Basically, for plants to grow, they need a few things. Light drives the growth. Thus, more light=more drive for the plant to grow. This drives the plant's need for nutrients, both macro (N, P, and K) and micronutrients/trace nutrients. So, the more light, the more nutrients are needed for the plants. Light also drives the plant's need for co2. Again, more light, more need for co2.

You can go a couple ways. High tech=high light, ferts and co2/ Low tech=lower light, little or no co2/ferts.

What plants are you looking to grow? What do you plan to stock the tank with (fauna)?

With that light, which is just a regular fluorescent light, you aren't gonna have much light getting into the tank. This will result in slow growth and little need for ferts or co2. I'm not sure how much growth you will really get with that light. Most folks try to use compact fluorescent or T5 lights, as they are more powerful and more effective at growing plants.

What are the dimensions of your tank? What is the co2 system that you bought? This info can help us to give better advice. Good luck!

Mike


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
 
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the actual light is a 24" 20W aqua glo T-8 18,000k says it intencifies fish color and promotes plant groth. my tank size is 36x12x19 the plants i have are -Wisteria-Moneywort-Bacopa and one mystery plant that i dont know the the box the CO2 came in just says CO2 natural plant system for up to 20us gallons. would the fluorescent light that came with my fishtank work better? i mean this aqua glo one is allot darker then the one that came with my tank.im gonna buy a fixture from total pet that houses 2 fluorescent bulbs in about a month which bulbs should i use and where can i buy them. i just want live plants in my fishtank nothing too crazy thanks.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:10 AM
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A bit of advice: don't believe the stuff you find on product boxes, at least claims made as to their effectiveness for doing _____. About the only thing believable on most boxes now is the product specs and/or dosing instructions.

Tell us more about this CO2 setup you've got...
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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its a Nutrafin it has a CO2 buble counter/diffuser that sucks to the inside of the tank with a airline that runs up the the fermentation canister thats hanging on the back. inside the canister i filled it up with white table sugar 1 activator packet and 1 stableizer packet and water like it said to. is this thing a POS or what? will my plants dies the way i have it now?
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:39 AM
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You will need to upgrade your lighting. It sounds like you have appropriate plants for a low-light tank, but you do need to get your lighting up to about 2 watts per gallon (around 60 watts would be fine IMO) for your CO2 to be much use. www.BigAlsOnline.com usually has good prices on tank lighting. Or check out Ebay or the S&S here on the forum?





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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
 
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gotta buy local...will my plants live for the time being? should i use the light that came with my tank for now or keep this one in? and what kinda lights should i get? sorry for all the questions lolol
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:45 AM
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that all depends on the type of plants you have.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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that all depends on the type of plants you have.
plants are listed above.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:56 AM
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Put both on the tank for now. Unless it's not too late to take the fixture back?

I kind of doubt the 18000k bulb will support plant life but it depends on the manufacturer; some are OK for FW plants. In the future I'd search for a fixture with bulbs between 5000-10000k, though.

You have lots of options as far as fixtures. The Glo fixture you have now wouldn't be bad with 2 bulbs instead of just the one, and if that bulb is the one with red peaks in the spectrum (I recently learned that there's 2 18k bulbs- one is just for SW corals but the other is OK for FW plants)

Shoot for something that gives you between 60-90 watts, total- then you'll make more use from your CO2. You'll also need to use ferts at that level of lighting. Seachem makes good liquid ferts, or you could buy dry ferts (much cheaper in the long run) from www.RexGrigg.com There's tons of good info on that site as well- you might want to spend some time there reading up?





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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
 
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my fixture is the one that came with my fish tank it only has a space for one bulb. the aqua glo i just bought says for planted tanks and it has blue,green,yellow,orange peaks at orange on the spectrum im gonna buy the fixture but where do i get the bulbs from? any specific name brand? and special kind???????
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 05:17 AM
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Yep those peaks make it sound like a SW bulb, especially the blue...

You will have to buy an entirely new fixture. There are many different kinds of fixtures for different kinds of bulbs- you buy the bulbs that fit your fixture. (I'd look for a fixture that includes FW bulbs- Coralife is a pretty common brand fixture that has a special FW setup.) As long as the kelvin rating is between 5000-10000 k the bulbs are generally good for FW plant growth.

You could use a Compact Fluorescent fixture, a T5 fixture, a T8 fixture- IMO with your size tank any of those fixtures should be fine as long as the total wattage is around 60-90 wpg (if you go over that you may need to upgrade past a DIY CO2 setup...)

If your any good at DIY you can even build yourself a light fixture with shop lights- there's all kinds of examples in the DIY forum?





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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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ok thanks lauraleellbp, but what do u mean by "(if you go over that you may need to upgrade past a DIY CO2 setup...)" its bought from the store but rated for a 20 gallon i dont need a crazy setup i just like the look of live plants in my SA tank co2's all new to me aswell iv never used it till today lol
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N0Ob View Post
ok thanks lauraleellbp, but what do u mean by "(if you go over that you may need to upgrade past a DIY CO2 setup...)" its bought from the store but rated for a 20 gallon i dont need a crazy setup i just like the look of live plants in my SA tank co2's all new to me aswell iv never used it till today lol
If you're using the Hagen Natural Plant system you may want to check the dates stamped on your activator and stabilizer packets. When we bought ours a few months ago, the packets were dated 2005. They were very out of date and produced little to no actual co2. I emailed Hagen with the dates and they sent me replacement packets dated 2007 but I still haven't used them. We used the canister that came with the system for a couple months, but we did our own sugar/yeast mixture and it produced co2 much more efficiently than when we tried to use the packets that came with the system.

We've now "upgraded" to 2x 2L bottles, lol. Works a lot better on the 20g than the little hagen canister.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 04:04 PM
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ok thanks lauraleellbp, but what do u mean by "(if you go over that you may need to upgrade past a DIY CO2 setup...)" its bought from the store but rated for a 20 gallon i dont need a crazy setup i just like the look of live plants in my SA tank co2's all new to me aswell iv never used it till today lol
I mean if you get very high lighting over this tank you may need to go with a pressurized CO2 setup to avoid algae problems ($200 is a good price for a decent pressurized setup); I personally wouldn't put more than 90watts of lighting over your tank unless you want to upgrade the CO2. 60-90watts would be high enough lighting for the plants to need to CO2 but not so high that you'd absolutely need the pressurized, as long as you get the DIY thing down and stable...





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