The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 51 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just getting started...bought a 2.5 gallon tank and built a homemade stand and canopy out of plywood and moulding (will stain and finish this weekend). I'm trying to do as much research before getting too far along but already have come up with a few questions...

I bought a 10" flourescent light bulb fixture to mount in canopy (i wanted a smaller canopy and only something this thin/short seems likely to fit). The bulb is 9" long and is 6 watts. That is over 2 watts per gallon but have heard that rule doesn't apply to smaller tanks. Am I going to be able to grow anything other than algae with a 6 watt bulb?? Is there any better bulbs I can put in this fixture?? I can probably squeeze two of these fixtures into the canopy for 12 watts?? Would that be much better than just the one light??

Thanks in advance,
Mike







 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,490 Posts
Yes 6 watts of light is almost nothing in a 2.5 gallon tank. You'd probably be able to grow moss and java fern but that's about it. Even those plants my suffer. You should go with 3 if you want to grow anything. 18 watts would give you decent light to grow a lot of things.

Or you could ditch that little lamp, get yourself an incadescent fixture gut it out, put it in there and place one spiral compact flourescent light that could be 20 watts from one light.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
1. Great job with the canopy and stand. I'm sure it'll look gorgeous once you've put a finish on the wood.

2. The light fixture you show in your post is hopeless as far as growing plants goes. Don't even think about it.

3. Using two or three of those fixtures, or even a 20W spiral compact fluorescent, wouldn't be the way to go either, in my opinion: too much heat for an enclosure such as you've built. Without adding a fan, your 2.5 gallons of water would heat up to 90 degrees or more in no time.

4. My advice? Get thee to Aquarium Hobbyist Supply (aka AHS) as quick as your mouse will click you and buy their 13W compact fluorescent fixture, the "bright" kit that comes with the advanced AHS reflector design. That should fit in your enclosure, give you a good medium level of light, and not generate too much heat.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
990 Posts
If you dont want to spend too much walmart has full spectrum 10w power compacts with regular bulb screw end in their aquarium section for about $4 use two and paint the inside of the canopy white. Coralife make a similiar one but make sure its for fresh water colormax not the 50/50 actinic bulb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,880 Posts
I concur to the AHsupply 13w. it's like 16$ or something too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
Beautiful woodworking!! That is really nice. I can't wait to see it stained. What color will you use? It looks kind of top-heavey though. I was thinking of doing something similar one day, but thought I'd make the base as big or bigger than the top, adding in a space for storage in the bottom.

I'm still learning, but what I've read (and that's a lot) tends to agree with Sandiegoryu and Marimoball. Not only thinking of the watt-per-gallon rule breaking down, but six watts is less than three watts per gallon from the bulb AND you'll lose a good bit of those six watts by not having a great reflector. Paint the inside white and get more watts. That's what I'm doing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
Through my experiments I've found that even the AH supply 13w light isn't really sufficient for really good HC growth in a 2.5gal, I'm substituting a 20w spiral for now...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,880 Posts
so use 2 of them, you should get som ecrazy growth w/2. i've seen pico reefs done out of 2.5's and 2xahsupply.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the helpful replies. I'm going to stain the stand and canopy this weekend (its gonna be a dark walnut color...would consider a lighter color but want to make sure I cover the nails, wood putty, and other imperfections) and will post pics when done.

I think I'm going to go with the AH supply 1 x 13watt Deluxe Bright Kit..seems to be the way to go as most of the other options will NOT fit in my canopy. I measured the available space inside...i've got exactly 1.5" of headroom, maybe a hair more than that...so it looks like this kit will just barely fit. I can actually add a little more to the bottom of the blocks inside the canopy to get maybe another 1/5" to 1/4" of room inside....any more than that and the black plastic tank trim starts to show...not cool.

Because of height/width issues I think 2 of these kits won't exactly fit. I've seen the bulbs in this kit at home-depot and am game for making my own light kit....if someone has any suggestions or links on a little diy action, I'd consider going in that direction as a possible alternative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
Can you take the trim off the tank? The plastic I mean? I've read on here someone say that you can on a ten gallon without any problems because the plastic trim isn't actually holding anything. The silicon is doing all the holding. Maybe if that trim is gone you'd have more room for more/different lighting?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
awesome woodworking, looks much, MUCH better than mine (but i didn't have proper power tools!) but i agree that it looks top heavy. i would lift up the base to add some more bulk on the bottom, and you can leave it open on the back for storage.

for lighting, be really careful. i have a 5.5g and i put two 20 watt spiral compact flourecents over it. even with DIY CO2 and ferts, i had algae like you would not believe. the BGA formed ropes off the tips of my wood.

i had a piece of plexi over the tank, under the lights to keep water from getting on them, so i taped some aluminum foil to the top of the plexi to block out about half of the light and OD'd on Excel, and now its much, much better.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,638 Posts
I just upgraded my lighting system and have a 2X13 system from AHS. It is in a canopy that will fit a 16" long tank, but this might be too long for your tank.

You can gut it out and make it fit in your canopy most likely.

I know I have a thread somewhere here showing me retrofitting this canopy. I'll search and post a link to it if I find it.

AquaPhish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Very nice looking work!

GWAPA is doing a 2.5 nanoscape contest for members, and a few of us got together to build bases for them.

We were going to do canopies, but got nervous about the heat from 2x13 fixtures from more experienced members telling us about them...

You may want to move the blocks down and get as much height as you can in the canopy. Now that I have it running, this thing is hot to the touch, and you don't want to be grabbing it after it has been on all day.

We used fixtures from catalina aquarium, keeps the lights 3-4" off the water.

ingg

PS You ought to look into GWAPA, great place to learn, teach, exchange ideas, and the auctions are getting simply huge!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Finished staining and sealing the stand and canopy!!! See pics below (I included one pic with my 55 gallon to give a sense of scale...and to show off my other tank, naturally)

Ordered the 1x13W bright kit from AHSupply...it shipped today. Hope it fits...based on what I've been reading, it seems like this would be sufficient light to grow quite a few but not all plant varieties...good enough for me.

I think the next items on the agenda will be substrate and filtration.

For filtration, I'm thinking about going the Azoo Palm filter route. I know it's not the best filter but I'm not planning on heavily stocking the tank and for $5.99 at DrFoster its tough to beat. If anyone has this filter...do you have to use their filter pads or can you easily customize with floss, bio-media in a bag, etc.????

For substrate I'm pretty much open to all ideas. I'm looking for recommendations in three categories (not sure which path I'm gonna take):

1. Best quality substrate available online
2. Best value/cheapest substrate available online
3. Cheap substrates available at stores (pet,hardware,landscaping, etc.)

Thanks for all the great replies so far,
Mike







 

·
Registered
Joined
·
644 Posts
Very nice job! :)

Substrates:
  1. Aquasoil
  2. Aquasoil
  3. Eco-complete but you'll probably spend as much on gas driving to the store as you would on shipping for the Aquasoil ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
i think the 13w AH supply should be pretty damn good, i grew hc and hairgrass and some other stuff in a 1 gal with 7w also with a 18w over a 5 gal. Make sure you have enough plants in the beginning so algae don't break out, maybe add some fast growing plants first.

go with aquasoil for your substract and you won't be disappointed but definitely read up on the substract before you order it so you know what you're dealing with, or you'll have a disastrous tank for you first month

good luck, very fancy looking tank
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
The finished base and enclosure look great. And I think you'll be pleased with the 13W AHS light.

One caveat: There is a chance that you'll find you still have some heat buildup within that enclosure, even with just the 13W lamp. You may find you need to create some ventilation holes through the top. For instance, if you look at the DIY enclosures featured on the AHS website, you'll see they used an open gap the full width of the enclosures to let heat out. In your case, with an already finished enclosure, one approach might be to drill several 1" holes (in a nice symmetrical arrangement) and fit in the 1" vents that AHS sells on their website. AHS sells (for a pittance) round, black plastic vents that are usually mounted in the sides of retrofitted light strips and hoods.

Ventilation holes in the top of your light enclosure may not be necessary. This is just information to keep in your back pocket, so to speak, if you find heat's a problem.

I'm pretty much a newbie to nano tanks, but from my own experience, I've found that one basic challenge of a planted nano is that (a) you need more light than you expect and (b), since it's a small volume of water, it can be hard to prevent that 2.5 gallons (or whatever amount) from heating up from said light.

In going with the Azoo Palm/Red Sea Nano filter, you've made a good choice, as that filter imparts very little heat to the water. When I first set my 2.5G nano up, I used an internal filter that heated the water up a good 4 degrees. I switched over to the Red Sea Nano filter and have had no heat problems ever since.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Scott
 
1 - 20 of 51 Posts
Top