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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I have discovered the beauty of planted tanks. I would love to get into this hobby but I have no idea where to start, in terms of lighting equipment etc. I have a 20 gal tall now and from what I gather that is a good starting place. I was just wondering if you guys can help me put together the stuff I would need to start a top notch planted tank. My wife gave me a limit of about 300-400...would this be sufficient? Thanks in advanced.
 

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It depends what you already have. And what do you mean by top notch? Do you mean best tank, or state of the art equipment. The better the equipment, the easier it will be to have a nicer tank. That would be high light, high tech. The cheaper side would be low light, low tech. The downside is, your plant choice is limited, and you have have to be more careful.

One important thing: start a comprehensive fertilizing regime. Look up "EI dosing." or if you are not good with diy, then try using Seachem's Flourish fertilizers. Fertlizing is necessary, and too much won't hurt, so it is rather easy, and cheap.

Also, get a good substrate.

Another important thing: The more light you have, the more potential your plants have to grow faster. The faster your plants grow, the less algae you will suffer from. HOWEVER, if you have not enough co2 or ferts and too much light, your plants will not grow fast enough, and the high light will let algae take over.

So basically, pressurized co2 lets you have higher light with less problems, but if you want to save the money from co2 and expensive lights, then you can go low light, and still have great looking plants, it will just be harder.

What all do you have already? Filter, heater, tank? What lights?
 

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Linkcity, btimmer is right on. 300-400 isn't a lot if you want to go high tech/turn-key equipment. Some light fixtures alone will cost you around between one and two bills.

Fortunately- there is a lot of DIY equipment- all it takes is a little time and effort. Thankfully, you're on the right website for DIY. All the info is here- lights, reactors, Co2... etc...

I guess it depends on your patience for research and creating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What I have is the Marine Land 20 gal tall setup. My filter is the one that comes with it so it's a penguin 3filter. From what I gather from all the reading though is that canister works best, so that I get. I have a 150 watt adjustable heater. The lighting on the hood is LED so I don't know how effective that would be. I did read up on ei dosing so I get that. I guess the only thing that really confuses me at this point is the c02 system and as far as lighting goes if needed what setup would be ideal.
 

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How big of a tank were you looking at?

Lets piece together a nano tank for you first and see what you think.

Fluval Ebi (can house nano fish, the flora comes with co2, but is more expensive, and the co2 kit that comes with it is junk.) 84.99
http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/252655/product.web

Now, this kit will support low and some mid light plants. this could be a good way to go for someone getting started. once you get a bit more experience, or are feeling a bit adventurous you would need more light, and a co2 system that would work on a small tank.

A second of the mini compact light would work.
24.73
http://www.amazon.com/Fluval-Mini-Power-Compact-Lamp/dp/tech-data/B004QSV8XK

and the co2 kit (this one is solenoid controlled, refills are cheap 3.50 on a 20oz paintball tank) 89.99
http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/group/4531/product.web

and the tank. 18.41
http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Energy-2...2WAW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313649395&sr=8-1

you would need a heater that works with the tank, I personally like the new fluval line
23.99

Fertilzers to make your plants grow healthy. (Read the EI dosing guide on the forum for up to 10 gal)
19.99

This brings your total to 262.10 not including hardscape, plants or livestock.

I would do a ton of research before starting, that way you are entering the hobby with some knowledge of what can and cannot work. Never take the advice of local fish stores or big box stores without backing it up with some research.


never mind, just re read and saw you already have a 20 tall.
 

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Thanks Noah would that co2 system still work for a 20gal?
it would. The problem I had with it being on my 36 gal. was having to refill the co2 every month. if you go with a pressurized system, you will need to get a good diffuser and drop checker.
 

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Linkcity...word of advice, on this budget START out small and "LowTech"

Maybe 29gal. Craigslist
Go the DIRTED route (saves lots of money)
Decent T5NO system
Use Excel for Carbon Source.

Buy used on Ebay as far as Filter, or the Perfect SunSun system. Do all this first, THEN if you are still really interested and find it enjoyable and LEARN from your mistakes on the 29 (BECAUSE you WILL make mistakes) then start saving for a little more Advanced system.
Wish I started out small.
 

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There is someone in eatontown selling a 25gal for 25$
Substrate (miracle grow 1 bag) + 1 50lbs black sand for the cap 13.00$
Look up TopDogSellers on Ebay, he is selling a 24" T5HO (2 6500K) for 41.95$ (i think you ought to go with 2 T5NO or 1 T5HO) this lighting system would need to be raised atleast 6" above the tank.
There is a Rena XP1 on Ebay for 50$, I would actually get yourself an AC HOB.
Right now sitting at 129.95, this is the BASIC equip. Tank, Filter, lighting and substrate.

Now all you need is a Thermostat and water testing equip along with plants and decor.

Just thought i'd help for those on a tight budget like myself. YOU dont have to empty the bank to have a nice, beautiful tank.
 

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No prob.

With the Miracle grow (make sure its ORGANIC) you're going to want to soak it for several days so that it absords as much water as possible to prevent as many air bubbles once the tank is full of water.

Second- you need to put a decent cap ontop of the miracle grow. 1 1/2in to 2in. And you're going to want to push on the substrate from time to time to ENCOURGE these air bubbles before they build up to a BIG bubble and blow your substrate out. (my mistake)

Let that sit a couple of Weeks, while you're cycling and testing and once everything is in safe parameters YOU'RE good to go.
 

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Well dry is the best option, BUT I use Seachem and I know its over priced but it is convienant.

hard water soft, I think all you do is add a buffer like Baking Soda...I would look in the Parameter section for that answer.
 

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No prob.

With the Miracle grow (make sure its ORGANIC) you're going to want to soak it for several days so that it absords as much water as possible to prevent as many air bubbles once the tank is full of water.

Second- you need to put a decent cap ontop of the miracle grow. 1 1/2in to 2in. And you're going to want to push on the substrate from time to time to ENCOURGE these air bubbles before they build up to a BIG bubble and blow your substrate out. (my mistake)

Let that sit a couple of Weeks, while you're cycling and testing and once everything is in safe parameters YOU'RE good to go.
I can vouch for most things in this post. I rinsed mine in a bucket and patted it dry with paper towels once I had a good layer in the tank (if you leave too much water in it, whatever you cap it with with go straight through the soil unless you're EXTREMELY careful with it...i.e. sprinkling it on) and then capped it with a layer of PFS. I did the stupid of accidentally pouring the water in too hard and had a soil explosion and now my sand has been mulch-ridden since setup. Make sure to use a plate or bowl when adding the water and when initially adding it do so very carefully. My crypts and hairgrass LOVE the stuff though. I do see the occasional bubble from the soil but not the substrate blowout that was mentioned.
 

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I can vouch for most things in this post. I rinsed mine in a bucket and patted it dry with paper towels once I had a good layer in the tank (if you leave too much water in it, whatever you cap it with with go straight through the soil unless you're EXTREMELY careful with it...i.e. sprinkling it on) and then capped it with a layer of PFS. I did the stupid of accidentally pouring the water in too hard and had a soil explosion and now my sand has been mulch-ridden since setup. Make sure to use a plate or bowl when adding the water and when initially adding it do so very carefully. My crypts and hairgrass LOVE the stuff though. I do see the occasional bubble from the soil but not the substrate blowout that was mentioned.
Totally agree, my first "real" mistake was putting in the Miracle Grow (organic) in straight out of the bag. and the second mistake was not adding enough for the cap. I had 1 blowout, but it was easily fixed by smoothing it back over and adding more sand. I haven't experianced any of the sand going through the dirt.
Another thing to know, if you're going to add crypts there in an inital dying phase called crypt melt but once they re-establish they will grow beautifully.

Here are some easy plants to start out with for the beginner.
1. Water-Sprite (one of my most loved plants) they eat up excess nutients.
2. Tiger Lotus
3. Italian Vals
4. Crypts (most)
5. Nana Anubias
6. Java Moss & Fern
7. Lugwida (sp) for Stem plants or even Camboa (sp)
 

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Would flourite be good to use instead of sand?

I'm sorry I don't use that expensive planted substrate. If you aren't going the Miracle Grow route (dirted tank) then yes a lot of people use it along with Eco Complete. For smaller tanks this 20$ a bag stuff works but if you were use it in a 75 or larger 5+ bags adds up A LOT.
 

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I didn't experience crypt melt...maybe I was just lucky. My wendtiis are doing very well. I've even got a few roots poking into the very bottom of the soil...crazy healthy root system on those things. A+ to the plant suggestions btw. Moneywort is a nice starter plant too...looks cool and easy to grow but I'm starting to lose my fondness of it....it grows so nicely but the stems and leaves have a tendency to melt in the randomest places.
 
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