Getting back in the mix - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Getting back in the mix

ok so ive been out of the planted tank hobby for a while and im really missing it. I now own a 75g aquarium and i have most of the equipment. i have a 2 bulb t5 ho fixture. 2 aquaclear 70s (300gph). and 1 aquatop canister filter with uv light rated at 500gph. 2 powerheads and two 200watt heaters. all im missing is a good substrate.I have a few questions i need answered. i want to do a high tech set up this will be my dream community tank with a hopefully beautiful and well thought out scape. my concerns are

1. my lighting. is it enough? my bulbs arnt spaced far apart and are close together. light spead isnt great i feel this fixture is best for a 55gallon since its more narrow. im worried ill have a strong concentration into the center of the aquarium.

2. i know i need a c02 system. im looking for the best bang for buck. no idea where to start or what i need.

tank is already cycled it is currently housing a heavy load of african cichlids. any help or insight and opinions would be appreciated. Im stoked for this tank
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 07:37 PM
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I don't know anything about t5 lights, but LED is the way to go.


2. It seems that you get what you pay for with CO2 systems. The less you pay, the higher the probability of problems. The exception to this is that if one knows a lot about regulators, solenoids, and needle valves, one can put together a great system for less $$. So, spend time doing a lot of research and bargain hunting, or spend money. I went with a GLA system.

Some cichlids can be very hard on plants. You need to research which plants are safe with the fish you have.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argus View Post
I don't know anything about t5 lights, but LED is the way to go.


2. It seems that you get what you pay for with CO2 systems. The less you pay, the higher the probability of problems. The exception to this is that if one knows a lot about regulators, solenoids, and needle valves, one can put together a great system for less $$. So, spend time doing a lot of research and bargain hunting, or spend money. I went with a GLA system.

Some cichlids can be very hard on plants. You need to research which plants are safe with the fish you have.



Well not keeping my cichlids im actually selling them. African cichlids are not compatitable with anything actually not just plants. Theyre hard to even keep with there own. Takes trial and error. I definately dont want to buy a whole new light fixture if what i have can work. And the c02 thing i keep researching but all the info is so vague. People reccomend a certain product but gove no reasons. And as far as valves and all these other fancy terms im lost haha. I guess ill have to really break down what a good c02 system is comprised of. I just want something i can set and forget aside from changing out cartridges
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delgado4604 View Post
I definately dont want to buy a whole new light fixture if what i have can work.
There is lots of talk about t5 lights in the lighting forum. You should be able to find info there to tell you whether you need to choose plants that require low, medium, or bright light.

Quote:
And the c02 thing i keep researching but all the info is so vague. People reccomend a certain product but gove no reasons. And as far as valves and all these other fancy terms im lost haha. I guess ill have to really break down what a good c02 system is comprised of. I just want something i can set and forget aside from changing out cartridges
For proper plant growth you need to balance light, CO2, and nutrients. You will be limited by the weakest link. Nutrients are easy to adjust. CO2 should be adjusted to match the light levels. If your t5 lamps provide low light levels there may be no point in going with pressurized CO2. You could use a liquid carbon source such as http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EUE6SC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00. Liquid is a less efficient carbon source than pressurized CO2, but good enough for low light levels.

If you want a CO2 system to set and forget, figure on spending $400-500 on a GLA system. That is what I ended up doing. Read the reviews for various different brands and models. Low-end brands had about 50% of reviews that had some complaint. CO2Art only had a few complaints, and some might have been user error. I found nothing but raves for GLA.

This site has some useful articles:

How to build a CO2 regulator

CO2 Primer

The main components of a CO2 system are:
  • Tank - the larger the tank, the less hassle. 10 lb. is a good size.
  • Regulator - the heart of the system. Controls pressure.
  • Solenoid - will turn CO2 off and on. For use with a timer or pH regulator.
  • Needle Valve - controls bubble rate.
  • pH Regulator (optional) - I didn't think it necessary. A timer works well.
  • Check Valve - prevents aquarium water from getting into the regulator.
  • Tubing - needs to hold pressure well and hold CO2.
  • Diffuser - in-tank or inline with canister filter. http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HH5AWVI?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_act_title_2&smid=A22Q0QY5OHFW08. So far so good. Seems very effective.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 12:10 AM
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Whether to change out lights is more personal decision than one of what is " required". while LED is great and the new thing, it is also true that many plants have been kept for years before there were LED. So how far you want to go is your choice.

Sounds like you are not fond of the African cichlids and that is also a personal choice. They can be kept with plants but they are more trouble than many want. Just as you find they have their wants and desires in their normal activity, they also will have their input on plantings.
For CO2, the hardest part is often making the decisions on what is needed. It can tanke months of sweating to figure it out or there is now a more or less one-stop shop for several of the important parts.

http://www.diyco2regulator.com/

Take a look around what this site sells and it can lead you through some of the tough decisions as well as give you a source if you don't want to search them out piece by piece. The post body kit is almost what I use. I don't like the 24V solenoid as I find 12V easier to find but that's in the details. The basic solenoid is great. Combine the post body kit with a $50-60 beer reg from a home brew supply and you are getting close. The Fluval bubble counter is also my fav as I do not want my equipment as a solid state item but one I can move and change out single parts as I see needed. You can find the parts cheaper but then it may bend your mind finding which is good enough to choose. Using this as a start solves one of the major headaches for many.
They were not in business when I built up my first CO2 for tanks but do -overs might lead me to go with what they offer.
Not selling for them and don't know them but it looks right from here.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argus View Post
For proper plant growth you need to balance light, CO2, and nutrients. You will be limited by the weakest link. Nutrients are easy to adjust. CO2 should be adjusted to match the light levels. If your t5 lamps provide low light levels there may be no point in going with pressurized CO2. You could use a liquid carbon source such as Excel. Liquid is a less efficient carbon source than pressurized CO2, but good enough for low light levels.

If you want a CO2 system to set and forget, figure on spending $400-500 on a GLA system. That is what I ended up doing. Read the reviews for various different brands and models. Low-end brands had about 50% of reviews that had some complaint. CO2Art only had a few complaints, and some might have been user error. I found nothing but raves for GLA.

This site has some useful articles:

How to build a CO2 regulator

CO2 Primer

The main components of a CO2 system are:
  • Tank - the larger the tank, the less hassle. 10 lb. is a good size.
  • Regulator - the heart of the system. Controls pressure.
  • Solenoid - will turn CO2 off and on. For use with a timer or pH regulator.
  • Needle Valve - controls bubble rate.
  • pH Regulator (optional) - I didn't think it necessary. A timer works well.
  • Check Valve - prevents aquarium water from getting into the regulator.
  • Tubing - needs to hold pressure well and hold CO2.
  • Diffuser - in-tank or inline with canister filter. I use this one. So far so good. Seems very effective.

This was very helpfull. Im starting to see its easier to just spend the money on a system but you can find parta to make one at a lower cost but with the added headache of doing it. Something to consider. And thank you for the definitions makes my life much easier lol

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Whether to change out lights is more personal decision than one of what is " required". while LED is great and the new thing, it is also true that many plants have been kept for years before there were LED. So how far you want to go is your choice.

Sounds like you are not fond of the African cichlids and that is also a personal choice. They can be kept with plants but they are more trouble than many want.
I love my cichlids and ive grown them to large sizes over 6 inches which is rare for my species. But ive always prefered the planted community tank with more variety. Now is my chance to finally do so. My main priority right now is finding an excellent home for my babies that i have had for a long time. Oh and im checking out the site you put up spunds interesting thank you!
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