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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been wanting to have a planted tank for quite a few years, and due to moving between apartments, wife being pregnant (x2), babies needing attention I wasn't able to do it. After moving to our new house in the burbs, I finally got approval to have a tank. This was only due to it being a "valuable learning tool" for our son. ;)

So I got line on a pretty cheap 75g tank 5 minutes away from the house. It is an old saltwater tank, and man did it need to be cleaned. Being the complete n00b that I am, I bought it anyway (next time I'd just buy new and pay the premium) and got to work cleaning it up. I'm almost done scrubbing, and it's time to start thinking about what to put it in it.

I'm thinking of going the low tech route, since there's no way I can get clearance to spend $$$ on co2, quality "dirt", fancy leds, etc. Plus I think low tech will be great for a first step into planted tanks. Someday I'd like to get a ADA rimless and go all out, but I'd rather make (and learn from) all my mistakes on this 75g.

Here's the equipment I got:
75g Glass Tank with Stand and Hood
Hamilton Technology T12 Fixture and Ballast with 2 T12 bulbs (1 actinic, both need replacing)
ProSeries 75 Wet/Dry Filter (sump) with Protein Skimmer, Bioballs, and a heater)
CoralLife UV Sterilizer

I know the protein skimmer is worthless (for FW) and the UV sterilizer is not needed (I prob will use it anyway), but what about the lights? I've heard T12's are not the greatest for planted tanks. I would love to not have to spend that much on lighting, and I'd really love it if I could at least reuse the fixture/ballast.

I keep going back and forth about Eco-Complete or Potting Soil. Convincing wifey to let me spend $150 on dirt is not going to be easy...
 

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T12's can work, but they consume more energy than the slightly costlier (but ultimately more efficient and worth the money) t8 bulbs. At Walmart, I've seen 2*32 watt bulb, 48" fixtures for about $10 or $11 dollars on their own, with a pack of two 6,500K bulbs (the best for plant growth) for about $8. I'm not sure if that would by itself produce enough light for your tank, but it's worth looking into.
 
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