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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!
I'd like to call for a wide range of expertise to advise me on my current goal. Planted aquariums have entailed a long and expensive learning curve for me and I’m still not and will never be omniscient on the topic. Notwithstanding, collaborations of minds tend to provide the best answers to any predicament. I'll be heading off to college next fall and I need to take strides to make my tank sustainable for weeks at a time because I certainly can't count on my father for maintenance. I'm a little over a year into the hobby and I’m much greener than my plants:confused1:. I intend to do what I can to transform my tank from a novice's trial and error to something I can be proud of with little work after initial setup.


I’ve been running a coralife dual t5ho fixture with a 6400k and a colormax bulb in my 36 gallon bowfront tank. I’ve got a mixture of floramax substrate and super naturals black sand. There’s even some plain petsmart black dyed gravel mixed in. The inhabitants are simple, just neon tetras and cherry shrimp. I’m a plant guy. My ph is quite basic at 7.9 and my ammonia levels, nitrates, nitrites all are near 0. I haven’t delved into anymore aquarium chemistry than that. Some plants are doing fine and others are hanging on but here’s a flora list:
Jungle Val
Crpyt W.
Glosso
Anubias nana golden
Java moss
Amazon swords
A light hindering shield of duckweed.
I’ve been putting thought toward what I would include in my new setup and I’ve decided that I’d like to have a nice glosso carpet, manzanita with mini pellia and weeping moss, some stem plants for background, and blyxxa Japonica blending the driftwood in in the midground. My aspirations might be high but that’s partly why I’m asking for advice. I’ve taken our beloved light Guru, Hoppy’s advice and purchased a catalina t5ho with a 6700k bulb which according to hoppy will put me at a nice medium light range (higher than my dual coralife t5ho). I’d also like to get some MGOPS as a simple, cheap substrate and cap it with black sand.
I’d like any advice this wise community has to offer and please bear in mind that I’m on a strict budget seeing as though I’m an unemployed high school senior.
CURRENT TANK and manzanita i'll incorporate into the new setup included in pictures
 

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sounds like u got a pretty nice plan going for ur self, once you start the rescape more people will probably give advice. i do like ur choice of plants for the rescape tho some of my favs, glosso mats are always beautiful combo with blyxa
 

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Black diamond blasting sand is by far the cheapest sand cap (black) I have found if you have access to a Tractor Supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
im working with the same size tank, and am in a bit of a lighting conundrum. what intensity would you say your light is at, and how is growth of your plants?
As I said I've been using a 24inch coralife t5ho with a total of 48 watts and I'm finding that that's actually pretty low output. I've only had my Catalina light for a day and I can visually see that it is much brighter than the coralife.. It only has one bulb and cost me 30$ less . I'm guessing the 30 inch Catalina will be medium light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My glosso has almost zero horizontal growth which means its below medium light ( this has been with my coralife)
 
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