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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've grown up with fish, and have haphazardly thrown plants in to my tanks since I was in middle school, but I'm getting more serious about the whole planted tank thing.

But my tank looks pretty lame. Not to mention, I honestly have no idea what I'm doing.

I have a 33 gal flatback hex tank. I don't have any idea what I should get as far as lighting goes. I do however have a fluorite substrate, which the plants seem to like (well... if plants can like something, lol)

I have a large piece of driftwood with anubias attached to it, a medium sized amazon sword, and a small one too, a bunch of crypts, and a couple wisteria plants. I'll get a picture up.

I had a small anarchis, but it disappeared :( I really like anarchis though.

I have a fertilizer, its Tetra FloraPride. Is that good enough? and how often should I be adding it to my tank?

Oh, and in case its important my fish are:
2 bolivian rams
2 gold gouramis
1 angel fish
5 otocinclus
4 cory cats
6 neon tetras

and then my bf's little sister got guppies and put them in there, and they just over ran my tank :icon_sad::icon_sad::icon_sad: so if anyone has any ideas on what to do about a guppy infestaion, I'm all ears.


:help:

so basically it comes down to, what kind of fertilizer and lights. Also, what are attractive begginner plants? or anything else I forgot...

oh yea, and would I need to add CO2 if I have fish?
 

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Fish produce CO2, but in extremely small amounts. If you use more than minimum light you need CO2 to allow the plants to grow as fast as the light is making them grow. Otherwise, algae takes over.

I don't know the dimensions of that tank, so I can't guess what light is appropriate for it. To avoid CO2, something like 50-60 watts of T8 or T12 light would be best, in my opinion. You could look through Catalina Aquarium's listings to see what they provide that would be about equal to the tank length, and would have T8 bulbs giving about that much light. Or, look for their T5NO lights, again with 50 watts or so of bulbs.

With a low light tank, as this would be, fertilizing isn't very critical. You could probably get by with substrate tabs for fertilizer plus your Florapride liquid fertilizer.

Guppies are one of my favorite fish, but they do tend to reproduce like... guppies. Eventually the other fish eat the babies before they get too big, and that limits the fish population. Any other control method can be a lot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. :)

I have a question about the watts though...

Does it mean the watts of fluorescent lighting, or incandescent?

I ask because fluorescent bulbs take less wattage to equal the power of an incandescent, like 13 watts of fluorescent is equivalent to 60 watts incandescent, or does that all not apply?

If I needed to add CO2 I could do the DIY yeast way, is that method good enough?

I was hoping for a nicely planted tank on a budget.

yea, I love guppies, not my favorite anymore since I've discovered other fish, but still pretty high up there. They are so pretty. But they produce so much, and still, the other fish, including the adult guppies don't seem to be doing much population control.

My gouramis just hide behind the filter all day, and only come out when they think no one is in the room. They are butt heads, lol. But I trick them sometimes by hiding under a blanket, with just my face out, and stay real still, and they come out and I get to see them, rofl, my bf thinks i'm such a dork.
 

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Hahaha my gouramis are the same. The gold gourami beats up the opaline, and the opaline would not even come out for a while, until I got a dime sized angel that started trying to eat the gold's eyeballs. Now the gold gourami hides all day. Beautiful fish, but a lot of them are shy.

You might want to get your angelfish a friend; they are much happier in groups.

Guppy birth control...someone should invent it lol. They always get out of hand. If you don't want any breeding, you could get rid of the females. Or just limit your female population to a manageable size. Otherwise...some stores would take your extras and maybe pay you or give you store credit. (It seems they don't do that as much as they used to though...they'll take them for free, though.)

You could do DIY CO2 in your tank; it is mostly best in small tanks (you can't get enough of it or consistent enough in bigger ones) but yours should be ok. You may need to set up two bottles of it, one on either end of the tank, if you find that one is not enough.

Planted tanks can be done on a budget if you're willing to do some work making stuff yourself. I use shoplight fixtures for T12 bulbs that I buy at Home Depot, the 48 inch ones are about $20 each and they hold two bulbs. They also make smaller sizes. Unfortunately, with the hex tanks, those fixtures don't fit well, unless you maybe hung them from the ceiling or made some sort of hanger to put them on and suspend them above the top of the tank. I use GE T12 6500K 'Natural Daylight' bulbs, also from Home Depot. I buy them by the case of 10, and get a reasonable price on a couple years' worth of bulbs that way.

I've never used or even seen that fertilizer, so I can't comment on that. You should be able to keep anacharis pretty well, it's an easy plant. However, I have found that some fish have a taste for it, and will make a nice salad out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Really? I should get another angel fish? I did want one, because I thought my angel might be lonely, but someone told me not to, because they could become a breeding pair and go psycho and attak my other fish and kill them, and it would be all bloody gore, fight to the death, and yadda yadda. And I was like "Oh. Darn."
But you think that would be okay? I love my little angel fish, it comes to the front of the tank when it sees me and like, watches me, I think sometimes its begging for food. Personable little fish, :) I would really really love another <3

as for the drilling and the hanging, I can't do that, I rent :(
no holes, no cats, no over night house guests, no large dogs.... blah blah blah... lol, no fun

The top to my tank has the opening for feeding them, and a hole in the back for the filter, and on top, theres like, a clear rectangle to place the light fixture on top, and the light fixture fits into like, this groove thing... yea, I'm bad at explaining, lol, anywho... the light fixture fits one of those long fluorescent bulb/tubes, I dont know how old it is... (i got the tank, stand, top, fixture, and light bulb/tube used for $50 about 9 months ago) but the light bulb/tube says RADIONIC F20T10AQ 20 WATT, and nothing else, I have no idea how big it is... it appears to be 30 inches... which is weird, because the tank is longer than that, so the light doesn't really get to the sides of the tank so well...

yea, thats what I have...

but in my fish supply box I have these two compact fluorescent bulbs in the hood to my old 10 gal, they were the kinds you screw in, and they were Marineland 5100K 10W I rather liked them on my 10 gal... but I have no fixture to put them in on my new larger tank... are they even good bulbs? I just liked them because my fish looked prettier, and the plants looks greener.
 

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Does it mean the watts of fluorescent lighting, or incandescent?
The watts per gallon rule of thumb, 2 to 4 watts per gallon, is using flourescent, not incadescent. Flourescents are about 4 or 5 times brighter per watt, so to equal the same light intensity with incadescents, instead of 2 watts per gallon you would need 8 to 10 watts per gallon. The amount of heat that would generate would not be feesable, plus most incadescents are very yellow in color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yea, I wouldn't use incandescent... I was just wondering if it applied to the incandescent equivalent. Wow, so I would need like... 60 watts of florescent lights! How could I do that with the hood I have, it only has enough room for one 30" bulb/tube lol, whatever its called
 

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Children Boogie
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can you take a picture of the inside of your hood? Do you know if it's a T12, or T8 bulb?
you probably will need to get rid of your hood entirely and get yourself a new hood. Or if you're handy, add a new ballast to the old hood for another bulb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

The hood thing all together


The light


the hood thing without light


The fixture holds one, I guess... 30 in. light? its not quite 36 in. and its more than 24 in., so i guess its 30 in. The light says "F20T10AQ" and its a 20 watt light. maybe its a T10? if that exists...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was going to do the DIY yeast method for the CO2, I bake breads all the time and usually have a jar of yeast, also, I'm on a budget. Would that be sufficient? Also, I have FloraPride fertilizer by Tetra, it says to dose once a month... is that sufficient?

Wow, that light is expensive, its nice though, I'll have to save up if I'm going that route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay, thank you so much!

I can't order online though, I don't have a card or anything. So hopefully I can find what I need at a store.

Hehe, I loving baking. :D Cakes, pies, bread, I made pumpkin pie a few days ago, yay for fall time and pumpkin baked goods!

Is my tank small enough for DIY, I'm guessing my tank is 33 gal... I got it second hand, so I don't know for sure, but its 30-35 gal, and 33 is the only size I know of for a flatback hex in that size range. Unless they make a 29 gal flatback? I've never seen one though...
 

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A very big problem with that hood - opaque top of the tank - is that it has a very small opening for the light to go through. No matter how much wattage of bulbs you can squeeze into the fixture, that small opening will limit how much gets into the tank. If you can afford it, take it to a glass shop and buy a piece of glass cut to the same shape and size. Use that on the tank, and you can get a lot more light in there. Then you can probably find a very, very cheap or even free light fixture much like what you have or longer, and you will then have two light fixtures, which will be enough.

The problem then will be how to feed the fish. So, if you get that piece of glass cut lengthwise down the middle you will be able to remove or lift that half and feed the fish through that.
 

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A very big problem with that hood - opaque top of the tank - is that it has a very small opening for the light to go through. No matter how much wattage of bulbs you can squeeze into the fixture, that small opening will limit how much gets into the tank. If you can afford it, take it to a glass shop and buy a piece of glass cut to the same shape and size. Use that on the tank, and you can get a lot more light in there. Then you can probably find a very, very cheap or even free light fixture much like what you have or longer, and you will then have two light fixtures, which will be enough.

The problem then will be how to feed the fish. So, if you get that piece of glass cut rectangular, so the ends are open, you can feed the fish through those openings.
 

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Children Boogie
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I currently have fluorite gravel, is that good enough? Would it last long?
flourite is good. But you need to buy ferts to add to the tank.

With mineralized soil, you don't have to add ferts. Nutrients are supplied by the soil.

But it's up to you. These are options.

+1 on hoppy's suggestion. You might want to remove that glass out of the hood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
How much does cutting the glass typically cost? It sounds pricey...

Also, I was looking at fluorescent light fixtures on Home Depot's and Lowe's websites, and it seems like they mostly have 4' or 2' fixtures... where can I find one the size I have now?
If I found one, and if I hung it up over the tank, should I get a 36" or 30". My tank is 36" long, if I remember correctly...
 
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