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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seriously looking into converting my 55 gallon african cichlid tank into a planted tank with a large school of tiger barbs or silver tipped tetra's.

Plants would be: anubias, flame moss, java fern, vals (if I can), micro chain sword (I think, if not something similar) Searching for a large piece of drift wood for the tank as we speak.

I dont want to do CO2 or any real heaving dosing and I was thinking of buying a type sand substrate or using my existing basic finer gravel (cant decide if lighter or darker substrate would be better)

Lighting options
: a 48 inch AquaticLife Dual-Lamp T5 Light Fixture 108W, or 4 T8 shop lights or 4 to 6, 23W screw type CFL's all hanging over top an open tank.

Filtration: I have a 305 fluval with a spray bar, might just look for a HOB type and maybe even a powerhead to help keep the substrate clean.

Currently running a 10 gallon tank planted tank with all the above plants and then some, but dosing excel and ferts. I dont know if some of my other plants would work in the 55 gallon like the amazon swords without excel and ferts. Either way I have some experience with a planted tank already just looking for some pointers from people who may have tried something similar.
 

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I would be extremely careful if you use the AquaticLife dual lamp fixture. If you're just going to put it on top of your tank with the leg mounts that it comes with, you will have very high light, with necessary CO2 injection and a fertilizer regimen, or I hope you'll be happy growing algae instead of plants. Even if you just ran one bulb on the fixture, you would likely be at the border of whether you need CO2 or not in terms of lighting.
 

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You don't need more than 1 54 watt T5HO bulb on a tank that size... especially with your plant choice. I'd also limit the light to 8hrs or so per day.

I wouldn't dose too heavily without CO2. I dose 1/2 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4 one day a week and the following day I add 1/8 tsp of micros in a 55 gal without using Excel and fairly good results.

Filtration I usually like to go with 5 or more times the tank volume for turn over. If you need more flow I'd consider a powerhead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You don't need more than 1 54 watt T5HO bulb on a tank that size... especially with your plant choice. I'd also limit the light to 8hrs or so per day.

I wouldn't dose too heavily without CO2. I dose 1/2 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4 one day a week and the following day I add 1/8 tsp of micros in a 55 gal without using Excel and fairly good results.

Filtration I usually like to go with 5 or more times the tank volume for turn over. If you need more flow I'd consider a powerhead.

So how many watts would I need if I was going with the screw type CFL or the T8 shop light routes?

Could I just suspend the T5 lights a foot over the tank?

I also have been looking into power heads, didn't know if I should buy two smaller ones for each end of the tank or one larger one
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I want to add a Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro, but what size should I add? one big or two smaller ones? I already have a fluval 305 spray bar

they are on sale this week for a great price.

is this a good idea?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Alright well I ended up with the T5 lights, and will be slowly transferring plants from my ten gallon to the 55 gallon over the next few weeks, I will start a new thread once its completed
 
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