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So i got this kit for xmas and i already have mixed feelings about it. I like the tank and background but the light is insufficient to grow plants. The filter is alittle awkward and thery kinda skimped on the substrate. Since i already have it i would like to make it work. Ive decided to go with excel rather than jump ahead with a new pressurized system and it is cheaper then replacing the co2 canisters that fluval system requires. My fisrt question is should i buy a replacement light and run two of the 13W fixtures or is there another option to increase the light on this system. any advice, opinions, or previous experiences with this setup would be appreciated.
 

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My advice. Get a new filter, since my stop working after a year or two. Light: the one that came with it is sufficient for low light. If you want something better, I recommend the finnex fugeray-R or fugeray, since they are about at the same price of 40 dollars. Also, the co2 that came with it is not cost effective in the long term. It's hard to adjust the bubble per second with the fluval kit, and the replacement is expensive. It's better to go with a paintball setup now, even though it costs more in the beginning. It's cheaper in the long term.
 

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From what I can tell the Flora is basically the same as the EBI.
I didn't want an external filter so I modified my EBI to have a built-in filter. See this thread
Its been running for a little over 2 months and working great.

As for the light. I wanted lots light and since I like DIY, I built mine for about $50-$60 using parts from Ebay and LEDSupply.

I used the BuckBlock - 2100mA from LED Supply for my driver powered by a 12v-4A AC-DC power supply that I had laying around.
Two CREE XM-L U2 LEDs wired in series. Each CREE XM-L U2 is rated at 3A. So 2.1A will be underdriving it. And a nice LED heatsink from EBAY (search for item # 181226451758).

I heat bent a 90 degree curve in a 2" wide, 0.25" thick, 18" long piece of acrylic to make a mounting arm. The arm is attached to the back of the tank with super lock velcro. This could also be done with wood and steam bending.


For CO2 I ended up going with a Paintball setup. I think my total cost was around $120 for regulator, tank, drop checker, diffuser, etc. I placed the diffuser under the pump intake and get excellent CO2 absorption. I have CO2 set to about 1 bubble per second and it seems to be working great.
 
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