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HC 'Cuba' Guru
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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The perfect amount of light depends on what you want and how much care you are willing to give to the tank. I used 2 55 watt PC bulbs over that size tank for several months, and I thought it was too much light for the amount of maintenance I wanted to do. Now I have 2 36 watt PC bulbs over a 45 gallon tank, and the plants still grow well, but slower, which makes this more nearly the perfect amount of light for me. The consensus seems to be that actinic bulbs are not helpful for a planted tank, so unless you just like the esthetic effect of blue light, that is a bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry, I posted the wrong T5's, the ones I'm looking at have no actinic...
http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsU...5/cl0/coralifefwt5aqualightdoublestriplight30

Spypet, does the 130 watt VS the 101 watt make a large difference, and does the T5 make up for that difference? (IDK) And 130 watts may be a little too much maintenance for me, Bigstick had great success with the Powercompact-T5 combo. I'm really leaning towards the 1x65 and the 36w T5 for two reasons, cost and maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cost, thats the biggest reason... :icon_twis
 

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Cm, a 30x12" tank gives you very little room for a fixture.
you really need to INVEST in the most power you can get
with what little space you have above your tank. Most
who get anything less live to regret it in the long run.
there is a BIG difference between 1x65+2x18 and 2x65.

To save money, I purchased a USED fixture that already
had two white bulbs, so I did not have to waste a blue.
I also got a 24" instead of 30" fixture which is basically
the same fixture for about 15% less. I didn't use the
legs but instead opted to hang it from a shelf above.

Also keep in mind that as bulbs dim over their first year.
they lose nearly 33% of their original brightness, which
means the 4wpg you think is too expensive, will actually
be the 3wpg you know you need over the bulbs lifetime.

a 29gal tank will do fine on DIY Co2, so just delay your
compressed Co2 investment for now, and spend on the
lighting, then save up for a compressed setup when you
get more confident from your plant growing experience.
While the majority of high tech plants require high light,
only a small minority of them require compressed Co2.
many actually get compressed Co2 not for plant growth,
but to help keep algae away and to observe o2 pearling.
 

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HC 'Cuba' Guru
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Today I stumbled upon a solution to this whole ordeal. My great friends heard about my situation from my close friend and they decided to buy me the light as an early birthday present. 5 of my friends are are pitching in $30... so I'm happy.

You guys may think I'm trying to make a tank on a zero dollar budget... it should appear that way, but it far from the truth lol:hihi:
I have a job and I don't have to spend any of it on anything, I'm 14 years old, no income tax or any other crap like holding down a house or anything. So it all just sits in the bank. Here is the problem, my parents are CRAZY about instilling good financial judgment in me, so they really don't let me spend any of my money... It's piling up!!

But, on the bright side, my friends are going to pay for the light and about two weeks ago I made a bet with my dad ($100) that I could finish a rubik's cube in 20 minutes, easy $100, and very foolish judgment on his part lmao :hihi: :icon_lol: :icon_wink . So $100 should be just enough for a basic pressurized CO2 system (I HATE ALGAE!! :angryfire ) and money I win I can spend because I didn't "earn it"

So within the next month or so I'll have everything set-up and maybe I'll make a journal of the process. I just finished the rough copy of my planned aquascape, I think it turned out nice on paper at least, nothing too fancy. I'm kinda going for the clean and polished look, with a decent amount of colour (Rosaefolia, Limnophila Aromatica, HC, Pogo. Stellatus, Cyperus Helferi, Eriocaulon cinereum, some Java fern from my current low tech, and Ludwiga Glandulosa "Cuba", to name some). you could almost say it is the opposite of a natural set-up, but I like it. I wish I new how to upload it onto my comp, but I don't have a scanner. Thanks for the advice spypet, Im going with the 2x65.
 

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So $100 should be more than enough for a decent pressurized CO2 system... Im going with the 2x65.
I'm glad you are investing in proper lighting.
you are not realistic about compressed Co2 Costs.
you should save up $300 before attempting it.
focus on light, nutrient rich substrate, ferts,
and learning good tank and water keeping skills
before buying compressed Co2. I don't have it,
and have not had any algae problems all year.
 

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I spent jsut over $300 on my CO2 system. (included all quality clippard parts from you know who ;) , plus extra tubing, and extra valves/fittings so I can run multiple tanks of one quality CO2 system.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I really thought a CO2 system could be done with under $100, there are many guides to buying and setting up a CO2 system that cost around $80 in total. The tank would be about $30, tubing about $5, Pressure guage $30, and needle valve would be about $10-$20... and Finally a Rhinox 2000 would be about $15 from aquatic magic.

I pretty much have water control and management under my belt... I've had a low tech 29 gallon (about 7 months) with some java fern, moneywort, cabomba, melon sword, micro sword, dwarf hairgrass and some other miscellaneous low light plants. I'm actually getting growth with the stock lighting and flourish excel. I've never had even a speck of algae, and my water has always been crystal, so I know the basics. If I go pressurized, it will be pretty basic, and basic is all you need for a single 29 gallon...

I would use a Rhinox 2000 instead of their diffuser
http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/diy_co2rig.htm
 

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You can spend 300 on a CO2 system, but you certainly don't have to, you will do fine with your 100 dollar budget if you research quality parts at a good price, which you seem to already be doing.

So I say if you don't want to DIY then go for it.
 

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A basic manual CO2 system runs about $150 ready to go. Not sure where CmLaracy is getting a cylinder for $30. A filled refurbished 5 lb here runs about $55.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm going to use a 20 oz paintball cylinder, I might get two for $15 a piece and switch them when one runs out.
Or I might just go with one cylinder and refill it twice as often (every 4 months)
But that doesn't matter too much because I have a paintball shop within 10 miles of my house...

I'm going to use the Red Sea pressure regulator with independent needle valve
It usually runs at about $90, but I found one for $65

I'll use a Rhinox 2000 for a diffuser

I know, it's a basic system, but it is all I need... in my opinion,
as long as I get that target 30ppm, I don't mind doing a little extra work
because I didn't buy a fully automated system. A little bit of work saves
me a lot of money, sounds good to me...:hihi: once again, I AM CHEAP :icon_evil hahaha :)

Rex, I'm probably going to be needing one of the check valves you have for sale, and some CO2 tubing...lol I'll email you when I want to buy the stuff

Thanks guys
 

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I would read up on the paintball option first. I've heard of success with them, but also alot of complaints.

If you were trying to stick to a budget I was thinking more along the lines of a Keg regulator from one of the beer supply places. They are usually around 30 dollars. Maybe Rex can point you in the right direction.

By skipping on the solenoid you can save some bucks. Skipping on convenience features is fine, just make sure you get quality gear though.
 

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I really thought a CO2 system could be done with under $100, there are many guides to buying and setting up a CO2 system that cost around $80 in total. The tank would be about $30, tubing about $5, Pressure guage $30, and needle valve would be about $10-$20... and Finally a Rhinox 2000 would be about $15 from aquatic magic.

I pretty much have water control and management under my belt... I've had a low tech 29 gallon (about 7 months) with some java fern, moneywort, cabomba, melon sword, micro sword, dwarf hairgrass and some other miscellaneous low light plants. I'm actually getting growth with the stock lighting and flourish excel. I've never had even a speck of algae, and my water has always been crystal, so I know the basics. If I go pressurized, it will be pretty basic, and basic is all you need for a single 29 gallon...

I would use a Rhinox 2000 instead of their diffuser
http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/diy_co2rig.htm
Absolutely possible. Be smart about how you buy your gear, use eBay and local craigslist often and you're bound to come across something soon.

I have two pressurized systems, one on my 10G and one on my 15G (sounds like I waste, I know) but it's an absolutely necessity with the lighting I'm running.

For my 15G, I have a 20lb tank + milwaukee reg and sms122 ph controller all for $150.

For my 10G, I have a 2.5lb tank + milwaukee reg for $75.

Definitely doable if you shop smart.
 
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