I got caught up in the Amazon feeding frenzy... now looking for suggestions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-10-2014, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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I got caught up in the Amazon feeding frenzy... now looking for suggestions

The last planted tank I did was >10 years ago: double NO bulbs in a 36" fixture on a 30g.

Then I got caught up in the Amazon feeding frenzy aka Black Friday and bought a Finnex FugeRay Planted+ light.

Okay, yah, quite possibly not a good move since I didn't research it at all , but it's done now so I'm wondering about it. Did I pick something good, or am I going to have to try to make lemonade? Should I be contacting Amazon for a return? What can grow under this thing?

I picked up the 48" model because I've got a 55g with nothing in it except some dead rock and a few inches of water from my last attempt at a reef tank, which failed miserably due to algae that came in on some live rock.

The water here is pH 7.6-7.8 and hard as a rock, since Illinois sits on a big bed of limestone. Infrastructure is old so phosphates are high.

I have some decade-old Seachem phosphate remover. I've also got a six?-year-old but never used Kati-Ani system somewhere -- yay, MACNA raffle.

I should still have the Fluorite from the old tank. I have a 5g bucket of strawberry rock from when the tank had brackish puffers. And a fair number of pieces of resin rock-like stuff. I'm still searching for a nice *tall* decoration for that 55g. But first I have to figure out what to get for substrate, and whether I want to get more Fluorite or something else. I do rather like the red color.

Filtration's kinda up in the air. I am finding lots of parts for power filters, with and without biowheels, but I don't know what works. Then there's a Fluval 104?, used but not by me, and a new-but-old big giant canisterish filter also from a MACNA raffle.

I had 15 tanks at one point, so I have a ton of old hardware. The other thing to work through is the pile of heaters, to find out which ones work.

From the last foray into fishkeeping, I've got an API test kit with a bunch of stuff and am wondering how long the reagents are good for.

Thanks for reading my ramble, and I'd appreciate any thoughts y'all have.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-10-2014, 09:09 AM
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I run a 30" planted+ on a 36 bowfront and like it quite a lot. I run it without CO2 and have some algae issues if I let anything get too tall and close to the light, but otherwise works well. It certainly is a great bang-for-the-buck fixture in the LED realm.

On a 21" high 55 gallon tank, it should give you solid low light, pushing into medium light levels directly under it in the middle. Expect rather high light at shallow depths near the top of the tank.

This particular fixture doesn't have a lot of published PAR data, as there's some difficulties accurately measuring it with common Apogee PAR meters (which don't respond at 660nm, but this light has a lot of 660nm output). Regardless, the above is advice based on my own experience, and the limited data found over at:


As for the API reagents, they should have date stamps on them. Mine seem to be dated about 2-4 years post purchase, depending on the bottle and where I got it.


Oh, and one more thing... trying to reduce phosphates is very out-of-style for planted tanks. Current philosophies tend more towards heavier fertilization and letting the plant growth drive out algae. I dose at least 1 ppm of phosphate weekly, aiming for sustained levels around 2 ppm.

Last edited by mattinmd; 12-10-2014 at 09:38 AM. Reason: added phosphate notes
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-10-2014, 02:10 PM
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That's not a ton of light so even if you don't do a true planted tank it should be a good fit for your tank... obviously (regardless of if you do plants or not) just make sure your photo period is not too long. For ex if you do more hardscape than real plants, just find the time period that works for your set up to avoid algae. For example maybe during the week while you're at work you only run the lights for 6 or so hours per day and then on weekends 8 hours (for viewing purposes while you're home).
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-10-2014, 02:28 PM
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Generally speaking you want to work within what you have on both plants and fish.
That's a comment about the PH. But...most chain pet stores hardly ever change the PH of the water they have their fish/plants in from the regular tap water so likely they are already accustomed to it provided you are on the same tap water as they are. Never hurts to ask though.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-10-2014, 02:55 PM
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While there is a lot of talk about the PH and hardness, I tend to ignore the worries and try things if it is cheap and easy. And I do find it lots easier to try than to read through all the worry!!
With that said, I have really hard alkaline water (7.8 and off the scale) and never really find plants or fish that won't work. When plants fail, I assume it is not the water as I have lots of ways to kill things? I don't try to do the delicate stuff, though. I like big hardy fish and plants that can take the beating. If I set up my mind to use what works rather than fighting nature, I find I come out better.
Stick with the mainstream plants and fish and the water is not a problem. Save the tiny, delicate stuff for when you got the handle on things. Keep in mind that the normal "community" fish is normally just born as food for larger fish and they die easy.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-10-2014, 03:28 PM
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Looks like you are nearly ready to go. I think you chose a good fixture for a low tech planted tank and things are going to go well.

Sort out that big filter or Fluval and maybe see if there is a working powerhead for more water movement, find a working heater and clean everything up. HOBs are aggravating in a planted tank as the water is pushed down, but canisters return water horizontally and a spraybar can be used for more even and gentler water movement.

Read the low tech forum, check all the journals for ideas as well. There is a long standing thread about lush low tech tanks that should help with choosing appropriate plants and what they look like. Read about all the interesting types of substrate used these days and decide if you are going to go with the Flourite or capped dirt, simply a little Osmocote+ under the Flourite or have a really good time and go all the way to mineralizing the dirt+cap. Rarely does great tall hardscape come through here but do check the sale forum down near the bottom of the list of forums, your new hardscape could be right there now if you look. Then send out a SOS for low light easy plants in the RAOK forum and there you are!

My GH test went bad, just wouldn't change color and I am pretty sure my GH isn't 99. A cheap pH fluid didn't work either. I'd try them out to see if they are working or not, some may and some may not.

Your water has phosphate covered. It won't cause algae, really! In fact it just might help with green spot algae, I dose a lot of phosphate in my bright, CO2 enriched tank to keep GSA away but the same may or may not be so without the CO2. At the very least read up on root tabs and liquid fertilizers that contain potasssium. Another thing to look into is Seachem Excel. It is supposed to serve as a carbon source for low tech tanks and it is also an algicide. Some plants do very well, some need to be introduced gently to the stuff and you don't have to use it at all if you so choose.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 02:31 PM
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RO water would help I have the same water as you. Comes out at 8.2 and with 24 hours down 7.8. I have been blending hard and RO. It's not so much the PH but how hard are water is that gives us a lot of problems. If money a crunch how about using peat moss to lower your hardness and PH.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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I've done planted tanks in similar water conditions. pH and hardness are the least of my worries; I want mollies again, and they *love* these water conditions.

I had an ultra-low-tech 15g tall. Clamp-on spiral CFLs, small gravel. No filter. I threw the crypt rhizomes in there to "rest" when I had a recovering patient in there, and then added some vals I was giving away, and next thing I know I got green all over the place. It also became the "You Need a Time-Out" tank for particularly bothersome male mollies. There was enough turnover that they provided some fertilizer and nitrogen for the plants without overwhelming the plants' filtration capability.

I'm figuring between fish and source water, I've got the N and P of NPK covered. It's the potassium that's got me scratching my head at the moment.

Plantwise, I want crypts again, and may just go with vals for vertical interest if I don't luck out on some hardscape. Maybe some java ferns again, too. I'm not rushing it this time.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 01:46 PM
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Potassium is a pretty common nutrient to need to add, even in low tech tanks..

you have a few options:

Premixes like API leaf zone and tetra florapride are common and dose potassium and iron. The iron forms won't last long at higher KH/pH levels, so that part may be a waste. Seachem makes a straight potassium premix.

DIY using K2SO4 (potassium sulfate) is cheaper in the long run. You'd get it dry and most folks pre-mix it with water to create their own liquid solutions. Takes a bit of math/measuring but there are calculators out there to help such as rota.la...

A pound of K2SO4 would last you almost 2 years if you dose 10ppm of potassium (4.64g K2SO4) once a week in a 55 gallon tank (This is EI low-light dosing schedule).

New to planted tanks, avid gardener/tinkerer.

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