Newbie converting 5 year old 65 gallon tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie converting 5 year old 65 gallon tank

Here's my situation. I welcome all advice and comments because I have very little experience with keeping live plants in my aquarium.

I currently have a 65 gallon(36 inches wide but 24 inches tall) that has been running as a fish only tank for 5 years. The tank has a regular gravel substrate and currently has only the standard flourescent bulb at 38 watts. I would like to begin to add live plants to my aquarium.

My goal is to keep low light plants without having to add CO2. I do not want to drain the tank and start from scratch.

Here are my questions/issues:

Lighting: Will anything grow(or stay alive) in this tank with just 38 watts? If not, I was considering upgrading my light with 1 36" Coralife T5 fixture/bulb. I believe the wattage would be in the 40's but I'm told the T5 bulbs are intense and would likely give off double what I'm currently at with my standard 38 watts. Secondly, if I added Coralife T5 would I still have low enough light where I wouldn't have to add CO2?

Substrate: Am I ok with the regular gravel? I was considering mixing in flourite with my current gravel but I read I might have a huge mess on my hands trying to add the messy flourite to a tank that already had water in it. Keep in mind, I"m ok with just growing the easy stuff(Java Fern, Amazon Swords, Anubias, etc). Would my existing substrate work ok with the "easy plants"?

That's my situation.

What would you do in terms of altering or not altering my lighting and substrate? Thanks.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 05:30 PM
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Since you want to keep it low tech, I would just use root tabs in your current gravel. Add your plants and root tabs when you do a water change and your water is lower. I just run a single 32 watt bulb over my 55 gal. The only thing that might cause you to need to upgrade the lights, is the depth of your tank. If it was me, I would try some of the plants and see how they do before I upgraded the lights.

Tim
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 06:45 PM
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Actually, a five year old regular gravel is sufficient in itself.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 08:17 PM
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yep my swords grow just fine in regular gravel. It just grows alot slower but I just add plant food to the substrate in my 10 gallon.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Regarding the lighting. If I decided to buy a T-5 light fixture can that go on top of the glass canopy? It's probably a stupid question, but the reason I ask is the box was showing it mounted over an open tank.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 09:51 PM
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You're getting one of those Go lights, aren't you? Yes, you need a cover.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I didn't want to have to mount with an open tank because I'm afraid the fish I have in my tank would jump out. Actually I'm leaning towards getting the Coralife F/W T-5 Aqualight from Big Al's. 2 X 21 Watts $44.99

That would upgrade me from a standard 30 Watt bulb(it's 30 not 38 as I said in my original post) to 42 watts of T-5 lighting. My thoughts are I would still be low light(no CO2) but I've have a much better chance of growing my plants.

It's only a 12 watt increase but everything I've read says 42 watts of T-5 actually is much more effective than 42 watts of a standard bulb?

How is my logic? Does this upgrade make sense?
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