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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I am New to the Planted Tank world and I love it. I have a $500 Budget for Christmas this year from my girlfriend :drool: !

I know what to get if I was doing a reg FW tank with no plants, but when it comes to a planted tank I am clueless as to what I should buy. I have a tendancy to just buy crap I feel I will "one day" need, and there goes the budget! So I was hoping to get some feedback so to speak from you experts.

$500.00 Budget, I would like to grow a carpet of HC with a few rocks and a school of either Neons, Rummies or Cardinals. I am not sure yet which species of fish I want but the Fish are NOT part of the budget. I would also like Shrimps, but I am unsure if an HC only tank is ok for shrimp. I was thinking of starting it the way "PlantBrain" had wrote about here:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/g...ion/52332-new-method-start-up-algae-free.html

Any Recommendation on not so expensive companies for equipment so I can began my search?

Lighting?

Substrate?

Ferts?

C02?

Filtration Systems?

What size tank do you recommend for a beginner and a small budget?

Any type of directional pointers would be appreciated!
:help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help:
 

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Hello Welcome to the fourms and to planted tanks :). Lets start off with tank size its really up to you do you have room for a big tank like say 40-60gallons? Walmart always has cheap 55gal kit for under $200. For substrate I like eco complete or Seachem Flourite check petco or petsmart cost around $20 a bag on sale. Co2 I have the Milwaukee CO2 Regulator w/Solenoid Diaphragm Valve & Bubble Counter MA957 got from aquacave cost $90 then you are going to need a co2 tank I like the 10 lb. Aluminum Co2 Tank nice and small and last a good year for me got mine at beveragefactor.com $100 shipped but you can get any size you want. Filtration I like the Rena xp3 cost around $100 you will get media and has everything you need for your tank. As for lighting you want a least 2.5watt per gallon with that watt you can grow almost everything. Good Luck on your pick. BTW I started off with a 55gallon and 10gallon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Heineken357, thanks for that response! As far as the light is concerned what brand do you recommend and what type of Light?

Thanks again.
 

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Np I run Power Compact Fluorescent but now a lot of people are going with the t5 bulbs check out this place click me also coralife lights are also good. What size tank are you going for small or big?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Medium lol I have a 45 Tall but I hate tall tanks ... I wanted a nice long tank, something that seems endless but obviously in a small NYC Apartment a 55 would be pushing it ... but do-able ..... oh how I would love to surprise my girl with a nice 100G lol.
 

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100g is pushing it hehe. Ya I don't like tall tanks any more I have a 7g tall that I am goin to donate after xmas when I setup my 6g edge. How about a 20-30 long and are you handy with to make a diy stand? Btw what part of Astoria are you from I used to work in the feasts out there.
 

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I'd start looking on Craigslist and see what you can find.

Keep in mind that the tank itself is usually the cheapest part of any setup, and that it's most likely that you'll need to replace the lighting and possibly also the filter/upgrade the filter on any package deal you may find.
 

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Craigs-list for sure. You should be able to find everything you need. I bought CO2 tanks aquariums filters lights pretty much everything. If you check three or four times a day you can catch stuff before anyone else does. Someone was selling an XP3 here in the Seattle area for $50.00 so they are out there just be patient.
 

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I would go with a 40 breeder. If you can't find one used, you can get a new one for $100.
I built my stand for $60,
then you can get this light http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/product_info.php?cPath=71_136&products_id=1416 for a medium- high-ish light tank for $125 plus about $20 for shipping.
XP3 for $111 shipped here because they are doing $5.99 shipping and they have $5 coupon codes that you can find online http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3602&prodid=6139&catid=113
That leaves you over $100 for substrate of your choice, hardscape and plants/fish. You can find plants cheap in the s&s here on the forum. :thumbsup: Good luck
 

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I'd also check craigslist. Don't be hasty, you have plenty of time to find a good tank. Make sure the seals are good.

For substrate I'd get mineralized top soil with either turface pro league or 3M (if you can find it) as a cap.

Lighting I'd either build my own canopy with T5HO and an icecap ballast + reflectors, or look for a catalina fixture.

Save money wherever you can because 500.00 may seem like a lot now, but with this hobby it goes fast!
 

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Well that sucks, I just had my dad buy me an XP3 for Christmas and he paid ~$150 for it because that was the best I could find. I had even checked DrsFosterSmith.com too, and the only one I could find has it listed at $185. In fact, even doing a search and checking on their site I can't find the $110 version except via the provided links.
 

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A 75 gallon is a great size, 4'x18"x20"
You can probably find one on craigslist for a good price, with the stand and filtration included.

If that is too big, a 3'x18" tank, like a 40 breeder or 58 gallon be good. Wider tanks give you a lot more space for decorations.

Lighting - T5HO is best. If you want to save money, these are a good choice. http://www.fishneedit.com/t5ho-ligh.html
A nicer option is http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/product_info.php?cPath=71_136&products_id=1638

Substrate - pool filter sand with some fertilizer tabs is pretty much the cheapest you can get. ~$8 per bag (although it may be hard to find, not many pool stores in NY).

Ferts - dry fertilizer, ~$25 for N, P, K, and trace elements
http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/ferts.html
http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/aquarium-fertilizer.html

C02 - this will probably be the biggest single expense
A tank is about $60 for a 5 lb
A regulator is about the same
solenoid = ~$30
needle valve = ~$25
check valve = ~$10
PVC diffuser = $15, make it your self http://www.rexgrigg.com/diy-reactor.htm
DIY bubble counter = $0
tubing = $5 if you don't have some already; you only need about a foot

that's about $200 total

Filtration Systems
The XP3 is a great choice, or get something used



Well that sucks, I just had my dad buy me an XP3 for Christmas and he paid ~$150 for it because that was the best I could find. I had even checked DrsFosterSmith.com too, and the only one I could find has it listed at $185. In fact, even doing a search and checking on their site I can't find the $110 version except via the provided links.
the $109 price is probably only available because drsfosterandsmith don't know about it. Filters used to be a lot cheaper; prices have really risen significantly. An AC110 was available for $33 for a while, and then ~$45, but those are gone now.
 

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Unless you are going larger than say a 55 gallon, you can do it new for, or close to your budget.

Not knowing what size tank, this is all approximate:

Tank-$100
Stand-$100 (minimum)
CO2-$150
Light-$100 (could be $50-150)
Filter-$50-100

That doesn't include plants, substrate, or heater, these could be cheap or expensive, depending on your choice. I am sure you could spend accouple bucks of your own. This would be for a good setup, you could get a low tech setup for alot less to start out with (no need for a fancy light, co2 or canister filter).
 
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