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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been a plant lover for as long as I can remember, and setting up a planted tank has been a life long dream. But now it seems to be getting scary.

Right now I'm in the process of buying a CO2 system (process being I'm waiting until I man up enough to spend the ~350$), and I remembered the good saying about having 3-6 watts per gallon in the tank. Well, I've got a cheap 2 bulb hood that came with the tank that I bought, and unless I stumble into Area 51 and steal some of their 150 watt bulbs I think I'm looking at another 300 for something like this: http://www.marinedepot.com/AquaticL...xtures-AquaticLife-AK01035-FILTFIT54U-vi.html (The 48 inch option if it's not on there)

I don't want to be cheap. I want an aquarium that will make me cry tears perfectly calibrated for aquarium use. But I'm 24 and in college (I'll be a professional student for a while, stupid degrees in medicine take forever) with a part time job. Sure, I live with my parents (I know, I know) and I don't have to pay for anything, but 600$ seems a bit... Much.

Anyway, to make a long post longer, I'm just interested in knowing my options. Even though I know you're all probably going to tell me that four bulbs on a 75 should be the standard, 8 if possible... So....... Yeah. I assume I'll be ~650$ in credit debt for a month or two for this.

Sheesh, I knew it was going to be pricey. But I didn't know that CO2 and lights would cost more than the tank itself + fish + plants + canister filter (need another one as well) + heater, then multiplied by three. >.<''
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh, and then there is the 10 gallon I want to deck out with plants too. Oh man, why couldn't I just be normal and have watching football as a hobby. Much cheaper.
 

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It can add up quickly.

First things first, the watts per gallon rule, throw it out the window!! It really does not apply anymore, do some reading in the lighting thread. You may not end up spending as much as you think also, hit up maknwar i think is his forum name a good co2 regulator and set up for less than 350!

Sent from a dark corner in my happy place
 

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It depends on the plants you want to keep and how fast you want them to grow. Most plants will grow without CO2, but they take longer and you don't need massive T5H0 light either. A tank with lots of light and CO2 will grow plants fast and let you keep a few more species, but as an example, here is a tank I started about 9 months ago with about 4 plants, 1 of each type and kept cutting them or letting them spread their runners. The tall ones in the back are called Val's and I had 1 3" val, and now look at them. There is no CO2 on this tank at all, and for lighting, I bought 3 light sockets and use 3 CFL curly bulbs and made my own hood from scrap wood, so total cost about $25 in lights, $0 because I don't use CO2 and some dollar store root tabs and a big bottle of liquid ferts. Nothing special.

 
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