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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be my first tank I've set up since I was a kid using colored gravel and plastic plants. I'm hoping to start off relatively low-tech with no CO2 to begin with, just dosing excel and anything else recommended but I don't want to buy an underpowered light and limit myself if I decide to add CO2 down the road.

I'm mostly looking for suggestions on lighting, substrate, and flora.

Tank- Mr. Aqua MA-720 or ADA 60-P

Filter- Eheim 2234

Lighting- T5NO xx?

Heating- Hydor ETH-200w

Substrate- AS Amazonia or Flourite Black

Flora- Leaning towards Crypt Parva and Blyxa Japonica for the foreground and midground, looking for suggestions for easy to grow rear plants and any better ground covers.

Fauna- Hengel's Rasbora x ~10-15, Pygmy Corydora x ~10, then either Amano Shrimp or a couple of Electric Blue Ram's.

So, a few questions...

Tank: does anyone have experience with the ADA mist tanks? Would it be worth trying to sandblast the back of a Mr. Aqua tank to achieve the same effect or should I just apply a black back to it and call it good?

Filter: will the Eheim 2234 provide enough water movement for this tank?

Lighting: Really need suggestions here, looking for something low-profile that will provide adequate light but not overkill since I won't have CO2 to start off with. I'd love something with moonlights but not a requirement.

Substrate: Any opinions on Amazonia vs. Flourite and any ferts or bacteria I should pick up to kickstart things?

Flora: opinions on good starter plants that will do alright with medium lighting and no CO2?

Fauna: If I get Ram's I shouldn't get shrimps correct? What're people's favorite snails for algae control?

Really appreciate any advice people can offer. I'll make sure to start a journal when I get everything together and document the process from a newbie's POV to try to help others out who might be starting from square one like I am.
 

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My 2 cents:

An Eheim 2234 should provide more than enough filtration and water movement. You're at more risk for a whirlpool effect.

Nerite snails are really good for algae and won't reproduce or eat plants. They can be a little sensitive to water conditions though.

Amazon swords are easy plants that will fill the background quite well, and they're usually not hard to find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My 2 cents:

An Eheim 2234 should provide more than enough filtration and water movement. You're at more risk for a whirlpool effect.

Nerite snails are really good for algae and won't reproduce or eat plants. They can be a little sensitive to water conditions though.

Amazon swords are easy plants that will fill the background quite well, and they're usually not hard to find.
awesome, thanks for the info... The main thing I liked about the 2234 is that the ECCO's are supposed to be really easy to prime right? Is there a way to ensure I don't have too much flow? I'm planning on getting some glass lily pipes to keep things clean but not sure if the trumpet-shaped output would help spread the water flow at all.

oh, forgot to add that I want to get an inline heater, wonder if that'd slow down the flow at all.
 

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if you want the frosted amano look i havent tried it yet but i have used the vinyl glass frosting and it goes on beautifully and easily and there is no reason for it not to give the same look on a tank. You can get different depths of frosting, a nice light on behind the tank. Bingo :) im sure someone must have done it before....

I love nerites but hate their eggs!! if you can weed out some males then they are great!!
 

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For the lighting, I would run 2 T5NO bulbs at most, assuming they don't have great reflectors. Although they don't have the most attractive housing, Coralife makes a 24 in that I am fond of (and I see something that looks identical from Aqueon so it's likely just repackaged). It is very slim for a 2 bulb unit. I know that may not make sense with a nice rimless to get a low buck fixture. They are only about 3in wide though. If you hang it, it will look very small.

The thing about light is, are you going to want to upgrade to CO2? That doesn't mean you have to up the light by any means. However, if you plan on upping the light, probably want to find a fixture where you can turn off, or take out a bulb until you get CO2. It will be much cheaper than buying a new light down the road, again, assuming you would up the light with CO2.


The filter will be fine. You may actually have to throttle it down. I have one on a 20 long and it has quite a bit of flow. These filters are incredibly easy to prime. I have a 2215 Classic on another tank and it takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days to get all the air out.


The heater will be fine, it's overkill but it's the smallest they have off the top of my head. I would go with a 150 watt if they have one, assuming you don't have to mess with hose adapters and all that.


I would go with the AS Amazonia. I forget which version people prefer. I haven't used it but I know many who have. I rarely hear complaints on this board. Florite is fine though. I use it a lot and like it. The only reason I haven't switched to AS Amazonia is it leaches ammonia at first. Fine for a new tank, not good if you need to put your fish back in ASAP. But you do have to wait for it to cycle.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For the lighting, I would run 2 T5NO bulbs at most, assuming they don't have great reflectors. Although they don't have the most attractive housing, Coralife makes a 24 in that I am fond of (and I see something that looks identical from Aqueon so it's likely just repackaged). It is very slim for a 2 bulb unit. I know that may not make sense with a nice rimless to get a low buck fixture. They are only about 3in wide though. If you hang it, it will look very small.

The thing about light is, are you going to want to upgrade to CO2? That doesn't mean you have to up the light by any means. However, if you plan on upping the light, probably want to find a fixture where you can turn off, or take out a bulb until you get CO2. It will be much cheaper than buying a new light down the road, again, assuming you would up the light with CO2.


The filter will be fine. You may actually have to throttle it down. I have one on a 20 long and it has quite a bit of flow. These filters are incredibly easy to prime. I have a 2215 Classic on another tank and it takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days to get all the air out.


The heater will be fine, it's overkill but it's the smallest they have off the top of my head. I would go with a 150 watt if they have one, assuming you don't have to mess with hose adapters and all that.


I would go with the AS Amazonia. I forget which version people prefer. I haven't used it but I know many who have. I rarely hear complaints on this board. Florite is fine though. I use it a lot and like it. The only reason I haven't switched to AS Amazonia is it leaches ammonia at first. Fine for a new tank, not good if you need to put your fish back in ASAP. But you do have to wait for it to cycle.

awesome info, really appreciate it! I have looked at the Coralife's and they certainly seem to fit the bill for low-profile. I assumed they were sit on tank only though, is there a mount on top for hanging them by cable?

I like the housing for the light IcePotato89 has mounted over his 60cm tank here but I can't tell what brand it is


Are there specific types of fixtures that are alright for removing bulbs from? Will it damage the ballast or something?

I'm also wondering about the feasibility of adding moonlights down the road to whichever housing or fixture I get. Should this be fairly easy to do? I really wish Coralife's T5HO Lunar was offered in a 2 bulb option rather than 4 bulb.
 

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awesome info, really appreciate it! I have looked at the Coralife's and they certainly seem to fit the bill for low-profile. I assumed they were sit on tank only though, is there a mount on top for hanging them by cable?

I like the housing for the light IcePotato89 has mounted over his 60cm tank here but I can't tell what brand it is


Are there specific types of fixtures that are alright for removing bulbs from? Will it damage the ballast or something?

I'm also wondering about the feasibility of adding moonlights down the road to whichever housing or fixture I get. Should this be fairly easy to do? I really wish Coralife's T5HO Lunar was offered in a 2 bulb option rather than 4 bulb.
There is no mount for hanging a cable. However, you can hang them still. There are 2 screws on the side, you can use these to secure a cable on each one, the attach a long cable to hang it. You also can probably take it apart and drill 2 holes on top but it may be hard to get it to balance and sit level.


Some fixtures are wired so that if you take out a bulb, it breaks the circuit so that the other bulb goes off. These fixtures are not like that. I am not sure why some companies even do that but I think that is not so common any more.


Moonlights will be almost impossible to fit inside the housing of these lights. There just is not much room. You do have room behind the bulbs to mount something but it will not be enclosed in the plexiglass. You could use an LED strip commonly used for automotive applications and it would fit perfectly (common in the DIY section). It just wouldn't be under the plexiglass. So you could retrofit something, you have about 3/4in-1in of flat real estate on the lights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is the first T5HO 2x24w I've been able to find that has switches for each bulb... I'm thinking this should do the trick until I'm able to hang the light and raise it up a foot or so.

Can anyone tell me if for some reason I should avoid Zoo Med lights? Seems considerably cheaper than a lot of the other brands and it also comes with a cable suspension kit.

http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-AquaS...IRAU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313043204&sr=8-1
 
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