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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am switching over my 75 gallon (48"x18"x21") to a planted tank. This is what I have so far:

Filters/Powerheads:
- Emperor 400 HOB
- Magnum 350 Canister
- Hydor Koralia 4

Substrate:
- Pool Filter Sand

Lighting:
- Coralife 48" dual T5 with Coralife 6700k bulbs (2 x 28 watts)
- Currently set on timer from 10:30am to 10:30pm

Parameters:
- Temperature: 80-82° F
- PH: 6.6
- Ammonia: 0
- Nitrite: 0
- Nitrate: 15-20ppm

Fauna:
- 1 8" Black Piranha
- 6 nerite snails


I want a really low-tech setup. Basically, I don't want to have to dose any ferts with the exception of root tabs. The plant list I am looking at are anubias, amazon swords, java moss, jungle vals and maybe a crypt wendtii or balansae. If I could get away with some dwarf sag, that would be great too. The last time I tried crypts, I don't think I was successful with them. I think they melted and never grew back, so I am cautious about trying them again. Anyway, do you think this will work? Are my lights too low-tech? Will my snails eat any of my plants? The emp400 currently has carbon media in it, is that OK? The tank has been running for almost 2 months now, but the canister came from another tank that it had been running on for years.
 

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I have almost the same set up. The light seems too powerful I'm getting black beard algae on all my Anubias. The Emperors suck they oxigenate the water too much and rob it of co2.

I would leave any biowheels out of the equasion. And try the light but keep an eye out for black brush algae . If it starts to appear find a way to defuse the light.

Also when you first plant fill the tank with as many plants as possible to fight algae in the beggining.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. Do you think I should just use one bulb? I thought low tech should be at 1-1.5 wpg, but at 56 watts over a 75, I'm only at .75 wpg. I also like Java Fern and was thinking about that too. I just want my plants to stay alive and don't want algae.
 

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I tried running it with just one bulb but the fixture wouldn't work without 2. My nova fixture would do it but my coralife woudln't.

I'm going to home depot today to look in the lighting section for something I can defuse it with. If that don't work I might just get a reg. twin tube fixture. The standard WPG rule don't apply with t5's. T5's are tricky to figure out wattage per gallon. I think I read somewhere that one t5 bulb is equil to 2or 3 regular flouresent tubes. T5's might be the same wattage but thier intensity can be more.

I say give the light a try what works for one person might not work for another. Alot about learning low tech for me has been by trial and error. Just keep an eye out for BBA. If it starts to show up find a way to lower the amount of light.
 

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The easiest way to diffuse the light would be to raise the entire fixtures height, do you have any way of doing that? You could adjust height as needed pretty easy...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I could jerry rig something up to raise the lights, but I would rather dim them with paper/tint or just use one (which is possible with my light). The 12 hours is more for my viewing pleasure than anything else, but I might get some white moonlights to run in the off time.
 

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Algae Grower
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i just started a fifty gallon low tech tank and i am using a t5 fixture similar the coralife you have. i can't tell for sure yet, but it looks way too bright to have just sitting on top of the tank. i have mine about eight inches above the water now. that seems to be just about right. i would also suggest you start off with a more modest light period. like 7-8 hours a day to start off with. then you could increase you period by maybe a half hour a week until you start noticing algae and then back it off a little.

oh ya, i almost forgot... forget what you know about the wpg rule of thumb. that really only applies to t-8/12 and pc to an extent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My bulbs came in today, so I just ordered my plants. This is what I got:

5 x Anubias Barteri Var. Coffeefolia (3")
21 x Sagittaria Subulata (Dwarf) (3")
2 x Amazon Sword (12")
3 x Cryptocoryne Wendtii Bronze (6")
2 x Cryptocoryne Wendtii Red (6")
6 x Vallisneria Spiralis 'Leopard' (12")
2 x Narrow Leaf Java Fern

Grand total was about $60 shipped to my door. Does that seem like a reasonable price? Does it sound like I got enough to get the tank going and hopefully ward of algae?

Attached is my tank with the fake plants and hardscape. I will keep the hardscape but the fakies have got to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think I got a good amount of plants to get the tank where I want it to be. I want to keep the tank semi-open to give the fish room to swim around. I will mostly plant around the back and the rocks which I plan on moving all to the right side, maybe leave a small/medium one on the left side. I like the openness of the sand, but we will see how long that lasts once the plants come in. This is my second attempt at a planted 75g, I hope it works better than the first time.
 

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my goodness. is your k4 not over kill on your 75g? Just asking since my brother bought one for his 125 and everything gets swooshed around.
 

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That is the filter I run on my 75 gallon and I plan to get a second one first of next year. Even with my Oscar was 2 inches he still did just fine with that filter. I just love them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
my goodness. is your k4 not over kill on your 75g? Just asking since my brother bought one for his 125 and everything gets swooshed around.
I've found the Koralia line's output is more widespread than some other model powerheads. It seems like it's a lot of current, but it's really not all that much. My fish loves to get in the mainstream of the current and swim off a big meal :hihi:
 

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I second the person that said 12 hours is too much light. I run 7 hours on my low tech with the t5's from coralife and I have had people send me plants that had hair algae on them and it is slowly dying away. I am on the lower end of the spectrum but 8-9 hours tops for low tech in my opinion. If its for your viewing pleasure, just start them later and run longer or vice versa. Much easier than toning down/ shielding your light. That just seems silly.
 

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The Emperors suck they oxigenate the water too much and rob it of co2.
If you're not using supplemental CO2, I don't see how they do that. Without supplemental CO2, the CO2 concentration in the water will be less that normal equilibrium with the air, since the plants take up some of it. In that case, aeration will help increase the CO2 level (by bringing it up to normal equilibrium).

The situation's much different if you are using supplemental CO2, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I second the person that said 12 hours is too much light. I run 7 hours on my low tech with the t5's from coralife and I have had people send me plants that had hair algae on them and it is slowly dying away. I am on the lower end of the spectrum but 8-9 hours tops for low tech in my opinion. If its for your viewing pleasure, just start them later and run longer or vice versa. Much easier than toning down/ shielding your light. That just seems silly.
I've been running the tank with the T5 (one 10k, on actinic bulb) for 14 hours for the past 6 weeks, 2 weeks ago, I cut it back down to 12. I haven't seen algae yet, but I do have some brown diatoms that have appeared in the tank. The snails are making short work of them though. I plan on switching to the 6700k bulbs once I get my plants (today or tomorrow, yay!). I will probably drop it to 10 hours then (currently 10:30am to 10:30pm, so I will start at 12:30pm), which will hopefully keep the algae at bay. If I start to see algae, I will cut back to 7, but I like the lights on my tank, so I want to keep them on as much as possible.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Keep in mind that the Coralife T5 fixtures are not high light. The bulbs aren't well reflected, plus there's a huge difference between T5 and T5HO.

There's also a large difference between lighting a 55gal versus 75gal tank, in terms of tank depth.

I think your current fixture should work just fine, perhaps with minor tweaking of photoperiod and/or height above the tank.
 
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