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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I'm very new to planted tanks and I would love to start one. I would appreciate any tips and advice.

So recently one of my neighbors moved and gave me a fish tank including the equipment and a stand. I have cleaned the tank with water and aquarium salt, refurnished the stand and cleaned all the equipment. The tank is clean and ready. For a while now I been thinking of ideas on what to do with the tank, then I thought why not a planted tank. During my search of planted tanks I came a cross this lovely forum :icon_bigg . After a bit of researching I finally came out with a layout on how to set up the planted tank, though I haven't really thought on what plants to use at all, but this is my idea.

For the substrate I'm thinking of using CaribSea Floramax; enough to make 2" and to top it of with about 1" of pea gravel. For decorations I'm going to use a tree stump decor, driftwood, and maybe some slate if I can find any. I have done some research on how to cure the driftwood and the vinegar test on the slates. For co2 I'm thinking of doing a DIY co2 reactor and buying the co2 diffuser and co2 drop checker from [Ebay Link Removed] Though the thing that really is bugging me is the lighting, the light strip that came with the aquarium is a screw-in type. I can't really find a screw-in fluorescent light bulb specially made for an aquarium and I'm wondering if I could use a regular U shaped fluorescent bulb instead. I heard you could use the spiral one but they aren't much good. As for plants I'm not sure what to use, I'll have to check and see what my LFS have. The inhabits that are going to be in the tank are some of my male guppies and maybe some neon or cardinal tetras, been thinking of add one angelfish but not sure. As for cycling I read that if you can use some of your already established aquarium gravel in a panty hoes and put in the filter to start the cycle.

Aquarium and stand
http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Vivi_galvan/media/DSC03531.jpg.html?sort=3&o=3

Light strip, has a hole for some strange reason.

http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Vivi_galvan/media/DSC03537.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1
 

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Checked out your pics, and have a few questions. How many gallons is that tank? The one bulb looks like it may not be enough light for anything more than maybe low light plants, in which case you won't really need CO2. The light fixture looks old, and the hole in the reflector, looks like it is where the previous light bulb melted a whole. If I were you, I would save money and not get the co2 setup, and buy a new fixture. Being a hex aquarium may be difficult to find a perfect hood for it. You maybe could go topless and get a clip on light fixture that would be better for you, with a better reflector. Even one of those clip on work lights from Home Depot would be better, and you could put a brighter cfl bulb on it, and the large reflector dome would help get light down to the bottom. I use spiral bulbs and they work great, as I suggested in your post in lighting forum.

As for plants, your LFS is not the place to buy plants, imo. You will get better plants, in better condition, and cheaper prices from someone here on the forum in the swap and shop sub-forum. Here is a link to low-light plants that would be good to start with, as I think you will have problems getting a high amount of light down to the bottom of that tall tank....
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=56042
You can check a few of them out, and use Plant Profiles button at the top of the plantedtank forums. These profiles will tell you specifics needed, difficulty, and others experiences with the plant as well with having some pics. Do a little research and your tank will thank you later for it. Good luck, once you narrow it down to some more specifics, get us some more info about your tank, and we can help out more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The tank is a 27 gallon tank and for the lighting I'm thinking of getting this light strip:

But until I can get the new light strip I was thing of using CFL temporarily.
 

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from your picture, it looks like most CFL are too "fat" to fit into unless you remove the white reflector. Are you familiar or someone can help you if this involve some electrical rewiring? (always safety first)

Using CFL bulb is a good option, many people on this forum do the same. You might need to make a simple reflector using aluminum foil or tin cooking pan
 

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Here is an excellent article on lighting that will tell you exactly how much light you'll be getting at different heights for various bulbs:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184368

It really helped me in selecting a light, and explains really well how light is measured for planted tanks.

You should be able to put an angelfish in there without a problem, it is a nice tall tank which is good for angels. I'd check out http://www.aqadvisor.com/ to give you a rough idea of what you can stock your tank with.
 
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