First High Tech Setup thoughts - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-27-2020, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Hi! Just looking for some feedback as I make the initial purchases for a first high tech setup. I've dabbled in planted tanks for years with a small 10g and low to medium tech setups. Had more failures than successes but I love how they look when they are good. Ultimately I really like nature aquariums and would love an ADA look with a carpet. But I'm a realist as well.. I work full time, travel 4 days a week and have small kids.. devoting hours and hours to the hobby just won't happen. So I want to do the best I can and have something to enjoy looking at.


After lots of reading on here I've got the main options down to these basics. Just looking for any feedback.. specifically anything on the list that I should steer away from(or towards)...or if I am mostly down to all fine choices.. just go with it.


Tank. The shelf I will use(part of a built in) is 16" deep, so that is my limiting dimension.


ADA 60P- 190 shipped
UNS 60U -200 shipped(if you can find it)
Landen 60P - 150 shipped.
UNS - 90L. Not sure how I feel about this form factor.. kind of intriguing.. but I worry about being too shallow... too much light.. etc..




I'm leaning Landen because it is easy.


Lights. Man.. this category has exploded of late.


Finnex Planted+2 24/7
Fluval 3.0
Twinstar 600
Current Satelite Pro LED.


The Finnex jumps out because it is SO much cheaper.. 68 bucks compared to 150 for the other 3.


CO2. I have a 5 gallon tank and a Chudnow regulator from my brewing days. Plan to repurpose the Chudnow with a post body kit from diyco2regulator.com


Heater.. I'd like to go inline but not sure what.


Filter Eheim 2211 that is on my 10g.


So.. that is where I'm at. trying to make some final decisions so I can get started. I would love any thoughts or feedback people have or anything else I'm missing.


Thanks!!!

Doing some more browsing this morning I found Petco clearing out their Waterbox tanks.. the Clear 16.. same dimensions as a 60P is on sale for 87 bucks with free delivery. Is this as great a deal as it seems?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-29-2020 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cale42 View Post
Doing some more browsing this morning I found Petco clearing out their Waterbox tanks.. the Clear 16.. same dimensions as a 60P is on sale for 87 bucks with free delivery. Is this as great a deal as it seems?
Go for it. There have been a few people buying them lately and so long as the UPS guy doesn't drop it you should be happy.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 01:40 AM
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Much depends upon where you want to go in terms of plant varieties. The higher the light, the more demanding varieties you can get and you can dim at any point. I've had many different LED's and currently have the Twinstar S 600. It blows the others in your list off the map in PAR (at least double the intensity) and PUR. The colr temperature is the best I've had, even the fish have much better coloration. You can find my Twinstar S 600 PAR/PUR readings here, for comparison purposes: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11275737. So, I'd advise spending the extra on a superior light so that your ceiling isn't limited. Try to avoid having anything between the light and the water, e.g.; a glass cover will reduce light by 13%.

My additional standard recommendation is to add a level one UVS. These kill most parasites, bacteria, viruses and many algal spores (but won't stop algae formation - just help dampen it) and can help with redox. Fish disease has dropped to near zero in the 15 years I've owned it. It's another ~$150 (you want level one sterilization, not the cheap green-water killers). Additionally, I need no heater, as this keeps my 29 gal tank at a steady 74-78 degrees F area when room temp varies between 60-80.

Filter: whatever filter you buy, you need to decide what you are going to connect to it, the length of tubing involved and the type of output (lily pipe, spraybar, etc) so that you can be sure that you have enough flow in GPH. Decide how you are going to deliver the CO2 from the regulator. Many of us prefer a reactor, such as a Griggs, this will slow flow down. Adding a UVS will slow it further. Long tubing also slows it as does a spray bar vs. an open-ended output. With these things attached, you'd be lucky to get half the rated flow of a filter.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Much depends upon where you want to go in terms of plant varieties. The higher the light, the more demanding varieties you can get and you can dim at any point. I've had many different LED's and currently have the Twinstar S 600. It blows the others in your list off the map in PAR (at least double the intensity) and PUR. The colr temperature is the best I've had, even the fish have much better coloration. You can find my Twinstar S 600 PAR/PUR readings here, for comparison purposes: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11275737. So, I'd advise spending the extra on a superior light so that your ceiling isn't limited. Try to avoid having anything between the light and the water, e.g.; a glass cover will reduce light by 13%.

My additional standard recommendation is to add a level one UVS. These kill most parasites, bacteria, viruses and many algal spores (but won't stop algae formation - just help dampen it) and can help with redox. Fish disease has dropped to near zero in the 15 years I've owned it. It's another ~$150 (you want level one sterilization, not the cheap green-water killers). Additionally, I need no heater, as this keeps my 29 gal tank at a steady 74-78 degrees F area when room temp varies between 60-80.

Filter: whatever filter you buy, you need to decide what you are going to connect to it, the length of tubing involved and the type of output (lily pipe, spraybar, etc) so that you can be sure that you have enough flow in GPH. Decide how you are going to deliver the CO2 from the regulator. Many of us prefer a reactor, such as a Griggs, this will slow flow down. Adding a UVS will slow it further. Long tubing also slows it as does a spray bar vs. an open-ended output. With these things attached, you'd be lucky to get half the rated flow of a filter.
What is most interesting in the twinstar vs beamswork data is the par/lux drops to less then half that of the twinstar, the twinstar 600 S starts out at 44 watts vs 30 watts with the beamswork so it's understandable where the par/lux differences come from. However in less then 2 years it dropped a little over 700 lux, that's crazy and it really goes to show why fixtures such as the twinstar are going for the big bucks because they keep on going where the cheap fixtures drop in light output.

I definitely recommend investing some more $$$ on a high quality fixture after looking at that data. You think everything is going good with the lower quality fixtures, but your plants are slowly getting less and less light intensity which leaves the user scratching their head on why their plants are no longer growing as well after 2 years.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2020, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Quesenek View Post
What is most interesting in the twinstar vs beamswork data is the par/lux drops to less then half that of the twinstar, the twinstar 600 S starts out at 44 watts vs 30 watts with the beamswork so it's understandable where the par/lux differences come from. However in less then 2 years it dropped a little over 700 lux, that's crazy and it really goes to show why fixtures such as the twinstar are going for the big bucks because they keep on going where the cheap fixtures drop in light output.

I definitely recommend investing some more $$$ on a high quality fixture after looking at that data. You think everything is going good with the lower quality fixtures, but your plants are slowly getting less and less light intensity which leaves the user scratching their head on why their plants are no longer growing as well after 2 years.
That was my experience. Some others were surprised and believed that most Beamswork lights should/would last longer. My guess is that my Beamswork did have unusual flaws in it, but it did convince me that quality is questionable. Who knows, maybe the Twinstar will drop more precipitously than expected in the future. However, the experience taught me that periodic monitoring, against a control (my initial readings), is necessary (for any type of light - T5 included) and points to the value of a PAR/PUR meter.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys!

I did order the Waterbox Clear 16.. first of many steps complete.

I appreciate all the honest feedback on lights. Twinstar was more than I wanted to spend, but I'm giving it some real thoughts now. I've always wanted to have a real carpeted tank.. I would hate the lack of light to be the issue.

I have to admit though.. BeamsWork is a new name for me... I was caught off guard by HOW CHEAP they are. I mean 45 bucks for a fixture. I hate to be crass about it.. but that is roughly the equivalent of 4 of them to one Twinstar S. If you replace the BeamsWork every 20 months would you actually come out ahead? I guess it's hard to know.. Twinstar doesn't have enough history yet. And obviously it is still lower PAR. I didn't realize how high light some of the LED's had gotten. The Twinstar at 130 PAR or so at 18" really does blow the rest away. I have struggled to find PAR data on the E series however.. is it significantly weaker than the S series?

Thanks!
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