just setting up a 48 long 26 inch wide 24 inch high with a wier and sump going to run 4 54 watt t5 for lights but would love some advise on what to do as i want a planted tank not got a clue co2 and gravel heating ? thanks for any help
What's that about 120 gallons or so? 216 watts of high output T5 light will put you into the high-light category, so you should know that it will be absolutely necessary to have pressurized CO2 on this aquarium. The questions you are asking are very broad, so it's difficult to answer you. Just know that you will need CO2, a couple of good canister filters (or 1 really good one, though I recommend a pair), and a LOT of plants.
You'll want to read up on having a sump on a planted aquarium, because generally they are considered to be counter-productive, in the way that they offgas all the CO2 you went to great lengths (and expense) adding to the tank in the first place. There are way around this, but you will have to read up on them.
By the way, what's a wier?
I recommend looking through the journals and seeing photos of tanks that you would like to duplicate or make similar. Then you can start to see the kinds of plants you will want to purchase. We all had to start somewhere, and just hanging out here reading journals is the best way to get started, in my opinion.
I can't answer those questions, my friend, because they boil down to personal preference. As to the heater question, I suppose it wouldn't hurt, especially if it tends to get real cold wherever you are, but it's probably not necessary. A good inline heater should do the trick just fine. As far as your substrate choice, once again, it's down to personal preference, and entire books could be written on the subject of what substrates to use in a planted aquarium. All I can do is list the most common ones: Eco-Complete, Fluorite, ADA Aquasoil, crushed quartz, pool filter sand, mineralized topsoil, etc.
It will mostly boil down to what is available where you live, and then of course what falls under your budget. Best of luck to you!
Undergravel heaters aren't designed to heat a tank as they don't put out enough wattage. They're only supposed to promote convection currents in a substrate bed, theoretically promoting plant growth. Lots of debate whether or not the theory actually does anything in real life, but I personally decided not to use them b/c of the difficulty keeping them in place if I went to move the plants around, and also a possibility of getting shocked if I accidentally poked the cord with my stainless steel tools. :eek5:
If you put 4x 54 watts of T5HO over your tank it will put you in the "high light" category and you'll need a pressurized CO2 system and good fert regimen to keep the tank in balance.
ok thanks for that co2 i have seen a jbl product that look good but a bit pricey 280 pound is there anything cheaper i know i should not look at money but i want to go slow so if i cant do co2 then i will just have fish is there other company doing co2 thanks
There are umpteen companies that deal with Co2 and its products. You'll need to look around for pricing. You're going to be up in the 100 or 200 quid mark anyways for a good Co2 system, that's sort of inevitable, unless you buy used from various sources.
As for under-gravel heating (which is only for the gravel- does not heat the whole tank), You can Jerry-rig a power-head with a good length of airline tubing. Place powerhead near heater, and run the airline tubing in zig-zags on the bottom of the tank, using suction cups to hold in place. Then, with the other end of the airline you can fix it to a spray bar, or any other source of dispersal. I have seen this set up before many times, and it's a lot more cheaper than getting the heating cables.
What this does: the powerhead draws warm water from the heater and shoots it through the airline tubing that is on the bottom of the tank, and out the other side, also helping in warm water circulation.