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Hi Forum!

This is my first post aside from a quick intro post. This forum is great and I hope to get a lot of my questions answered.

So I just got a 75 gallon tank (48L x 20H x 19W) and am close to setting up my first planted aquarium. I'll have an automated co2 system as well. I'm shooting for a nature aquascape with rock hardscape...for the most part.

I'm crazy excited about this. Lol.

I just ordered the 48 inch Finnex Ray 2 because of the positive reviews and the fact that is seems to be a very descent bang for my buck.

I also have the stock 48 inch 40w flueresent I will use as well if you think it will help with growth at all???

Anyway, a PAR graph I found here on plantedtank states that the PAR levels of the ray 2 at 18 inches deep is 73 "straight down" at zero....but for every 3 inches toward the front and back of my 19 inch wide tank (if centered on top of the tank) it is 66, then 62, and finally 56.

Man, I have so many questions. Sorry, I'll try to keep it simple.

I plan on an average 3 inch substrate, but want the look of hills so I may go as high as 5 or 6 inches of substrate on the sides and/or toward the back of the tank....which will obviously raise those par values there.

1. I REALLY want to carpet my entire floor. (48L x 19w)....but a thicker carpet in the foreground is priority. Should I keep the light fixture more toward the front for the higher PAR....and how badly will that hurt the plants in the back getting much less PAR?


2. Should I use the 40w flurescent bulb as well?

3. If i were to create a couple large surface areas around 15 inches deep the par data suggests around 100. Would this be considered high light?

4. If I were to add a second ray 2, would the PAR values double....or how does that work exactly (at 17 inches deep overall for example.)


I really appreciate any insight. I want to be able to get some suggestions on plants but want a good idea as to what kind of light I'm really going to have....and most importantly what kinds of plants I can actually grow descently!!

Thanks to you all and I look forward to hearing from you.
 

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Ok, so I will start from the beginning of your post and work to the end. When you say automated, do you mean with a timer or ph controller? Alot of the people on this forum use timers and an airstone at night with no issues. Ph controllers are only for the people who take this SUPER seriously. A good regulator is a must, you really get what you pay for, co2Art is a good company, azoo and aquatech are a bit lower quality, and Green Leaf Aquariums has the best regulators, but they are expensive. A drop checker is very important to keep co2 from killing your fish. If you are going to have alot of rock, i reccomend putting eggcrate diffuser on the bottom glass panel to keep the stress off of it. The light depends on if it is T5 HO or T8. If you haven't decided on substrate, CaribSea Eco-Complete is good, you can get it for a much better price on Amazon than in stores, i used 4x20lb bags and have 2.5-3 inches of substrate in a 55g. It depends on what plant you want to carpet, if this is your first time, i recommend Staurogyne Repens, it carpets well and is fairly hardy, it grows quickly in high light/co2. I dont think you need to move the light forward for carpeting, but it depends on the plant, staurogyne will do fine in medium light even. If you did move the light forward, it would impact the plants in the back more than keeping the light in the middle would impact the front. Any extra light is better, no matter if it is t5 Ho or T8, you just need to be able to keep algae down. IMO 70+ is considered high light, you can grow almost anything with that lighting, 100 PAR may be a little crazy, but it shouldnt negatively impact plants. I am not sure if par would double with 2 Ray 2's it would definitely increase par though. Plant-wise, i am a bit of a noob to choosing plants,but i will try.

Carpeting- Staurogyne Repens, Glossostigma(Needs high light/co2, demanding), Dwarf Hair Grass (More of a "Lawn" look to the carpet, demanding) Dwarf baby Tears(Probably the most demanding carpet readily available)
Midground- anubias, crypts, Lobelia cardinalis-I have this in my tank
Background- Swords, vallisneria, other tall plants. If you are doing rock, you could put some moss on it. Mermaid Weed has a nice splash of color.
Try to find plants that have some reds or pinks, I personally find just green boring, you have alot of options with that lighting.

Just to quickly summarize, you have medium-high to high light depending on the location. Are you using a reactor, inline diffuser or ceramic disc diffuser, A reactor will not produce bubbles and keep the tank looking clean, the other 2 will fill your tank with bubbles. What kind of filtration? Canister or HOB filter? I wish you luck with your tank!!!
 

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The co2 will be set up with a timer...as well as the light of course. I found a great deal from a guy locally who had the co2 system set up on his 90 gallon. He's leaving the state and needs to sell it asap. His loss. Lol. Unfortunately he was out of town when we spoke and didn't know what brand of regulator he had. Hopefully that's not a bad sign, but I'm going to be receiving pictures tomorrow, so I will post what he has. If all goes well I'll be buying his setup.

I was leaning toward 80 lbs Eco-complete, possibly topped with 40 lbs of tahitian moon sand....but I'm not positive yet. It's really hard to make a decision. I really don't want to drop 125.00 just in substrate. I'd really like to find something cheap to cover the first 2 inches and then use 60 lbs Eco-complete and another 20 lb of the moon sand. If you have any suggestions on that I'm all ears....maybe a pm because this is a lighting thread. Not sure on "proper protocol" on all this cuz I'm new. Lol.

As far as the lighting goes your response is great news!!!! I was just playing around in this forum and came across this thread by Hoppy..

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10-lighting/184368-lighting-aquarium-par-instead-watts.html

His values show par for the finnex ray 2 close to 60 at a depth of 20 inches. Obviously that will be considerably lower toward the far front and back of the tank, but I think with a 3 inch substrate base I should be in pretty good shape throughout most of the tank....but I'd really like to build up my base an inch or so with something before laying my 3 in. substrate just to be safe. Any suggestions? I want something light weight. Tupperware filled with water is the first dumb thing I'm thinking of.

As far as filtration goes I have a Marineland Emperor 400 (HOB), but I have an incomplete diy cannister project from a few years ago that you just reminded me of. I may have to work on that once I'm all set up. One thing at a time for now. :)

I'm uncertain as to whether I should use a co2 reactor or the inline diffuser. I still need to do some research on that. Suggestions?

And I appreciate the feedback you've left me.
 

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I have heard that Black Diamond Blasting sand is a good cap. I have heard that you can build up hills by using the eggcrate diffuser then pile substrate on top. reactors are the best way to go, the easiest reactors are Rex Grigg style reactors, water flows in the top, out the bottom, and co2 in injected in the middle, the flow mashes the bubbles of co2 until they dissolve, then the co2 enriched water flows out the bottom. I believe that Seachem Flourite is cheaper, but i know that it is a PITA to rinse and stop from clouding water. You want Co2 to come on and hour before lights to build up the co2, then turn off an hour before lights turn off to make sure it gets used up, also use an airstone at night to combat possible gassing your fish to death. Just a reccomendation, i would pick up a couple Sun Sun powerheads to help circulate the tank, they are probably more prone to failure than a Hydor, but they are $5 on amazon, i use them with no issues so far. A fish that i would recommend would definitely be denison barbs, they also go by roseline sharks, redline sharks and denison sharks, they get about 6 inches and they are very peaceful, i would put 8 of them in your tank, they are a bit pricey though, a good price for a 2 incher is probably 10-15 dollars.
 

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I wouldn't add a second ray 2. I have a 75 gallon and have tried combinations of the Ray 2, Planted Plus and Monster Ray. The Ray 2 is enough light. I ran a Ray2 with the monster ray for a while but changed to the planted Plus and Monster Ray in order to run the lights longer. The ray 2 and monster ray was given me some algae running 10 hours a day with EI and co2.
 

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I have heard that Black Diamond Blasting sand is a good cap. I have heard that you can build up hills by using the eggcrate diffuser then pile substrate on top. reactors are the best way to go, the easiest reactors are Rex Grigg style reactors, water flows in the top, out the bottom, and co2 in injected in the middle, the flow mashes the bubbles of co2 until they dissolve, then the co2 enriched water flows out the bottom. I believe that Seachem Flourite is cheaper, but i know that it is a PITA to rinse and stop from clouding water. You want Co2 to come on and hour before lights to build up the co2, then turn off an hour before lights turn off to make sure it gets used up, also use an airstone at night to combat possible gassing your fish to death. Just a reccomendation, i would pick up a couple Sun Sun powerheads to help circulate the tank, they are probably more prone to failure than a Hydor, but they are $5 on amazon, i use them with no issues so far. A fish that i would recommend would definitely be denison barbs, they also go by roseline sharks, redline sharks and denison sharks, they get about 6 inches and they are very peaceful, i would put 8 of them in your tank, they are a bit pricey though, a good price for a 2 incher is probably 10-15 dollars.

Thanks for the advice. Still unsure on the substrate.....but I'm definitely considering the rex grigg reactor. I checked out the roseline sharks and that was an excellent suggestion. I'm loving them. The egg crate diffuser is crazy expensive, but surprisingly my tupperware idea seems to be a thing as far as building levels and hills. Just fill with gravel or water and set 'em in place.

I did get pictures on the co2 system. I'm getting it on friday. I'll post pictures then, but he has 2 tanks....the smaller of the 2 is 21 inches tall....the other looks to be about 48 inches tall. I'm going to leave them in my basement and run the lines up to my tank on the first floor. His regulator has 4 brass bubble counters for separate lines and of course the solenoid for timer. It looks nice....hopefully it is but the cost of the tanks alone has to be 250.00 or more. I couldn't find a 5 pounder for under 60.00 on amazon. And I'm getting EVERYTHING for 150.00. It's a steal.

Oh, and my Finnex Ray 2 came today. :) Things are starting to come together. I'm going on a rock hunt this weekend for some hardscape.

Bump:
I wouldn't add a second ray 2. I have a 75 gallon and have tried combinations of the Ray 2, Planted Plus and Monster Ray. The Ray 2 is enough light. I ran a Ray2 with the monster ray for a while but changed to the planted Plus and Monster Ray in order to run the lights longer. The ray 2 and monster ray was given me some algae running 10 hours a day with EI and co2.
Great to hear. Thank you.

Bump:
Another completely undemanding carpeting plant is monte carlo or micranthemum tweediei
I found this great pic of Monte Carlo.
Its definitely in the running. Thanks for advice. :)
 

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just a note on substrate, you will end up spending $150 on it, I used 80 lbs on a 55g, and the floor of a 75 is 50% larger, so you will need 120 pounds, or 6 bags of Eco complete. Those tanks are a steal, i had to get mine for 100 dollars, its only 5 pounds. What fert regime are you going to use? PPS or EI? I regret Glosso, it is just a pain
 

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just a note on substrate, you will end up spending $150 on it, I used 80 lbs on a 55g, and the floor of a 75 is 50% larger, so you will need 120 pounds, or 6 bags of Eco complete. Those tanks are a steal, i had to get mine for 100 dollars, its only 5 pounds. What fert regime are you going to use? PPS or EI? I regret Glosso, it is just a pain
Thanks. I have a thread in the substrate forum to try and decide on the substrate. I may actually go with an MGO product topped with sand.

I'll post a couple pictures of the tanks once I get them tomorrow. I'm new, but it looks like a pretty impressive setup....and his 2nd co2 tank is a monster. It was almost a deal breaker until I realized I could leave it in my basement and run the lines up. It really is an amazing deal.

I'll stay away from the glosso. Thanks for the PITA headsup.
 

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If you are trying to carpet your tank you definately need the planted version of the Ray2. I have had problems with a similar tank depth and the standard Ray2
 

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If you are trying to carpet your tank you definately need the planted version of the Ray2. I have had problems with a similar tank depth and the standard Ray2
There is no planted version of the ray2, the day is the most powerful light finnex makes I believe.

Bump:
Thanks. I have a thread in the substrate forum to try and decide on the substrate. I may actually go with an MGO product topped with sand.

I'll post a couple pictures of the tanks once I get them tomorrow. I'm new, but it looks like a pretty impressive setup....and his 2nd co2 tank is a monster. It was almost a deal breaker until I realized I could leave it in my basement and run the lines up. It really is an amazing deal.


I'll stay away from the glosso. Thanks for the PITA headsup.
In terms of substrate, I just decided a month ago, I would use eco complete because i think it looks good, it's easy to plant in, had good cec, and doesn't need rinsing. I can post a pic of my tank with eco complete if you want.
 

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There is no planted version of the ray2, the day is the most powerful light finnex makes I believe.

Bump:

In terms of substrate, I just decided a month ago, I would use eco complete because i think it looks good, it's easy to plant in, had good cec, and doesn't need rinsing. I can post a pic of my tank with eco complete if you want.
The ray 2 is definitely their most powerful....par related anyway. I did check out some tanks with the eco substrate, but thanks. So many choices.....ehhhhhhhh. Lol.
 
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