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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm relatively new to this whole planted tank thing, but I have some experience with aquariums in general. I've been doing a lot of research in the process of preparing to setup my new 55 gallon aquarium. Over the course of that research I've stumbled across Catalina products and recommendations for them as well the PAR system recommended here.

So, at this point, I am bowing to experience and having you all check my research and plan.

My tank is a standard 55 gallon (21" tall) with a planned two inches of sand. I intend for the fixture to sit on the glass, and I'm figuring 20" or so to the substrate floor. Probably will get another inch, but I'm going with the higher value for now.

The fixture I have in mind is this one. That's a Catalina 48in 1 bulb (54 watt) T5 HO aquarium hood and bulb. Using Hoppy's PAR guide and assuming I have the right bulb that puts me at right about 44 micromols of PAR. Just over the line into "medium light."

I'd like to avoid CO2, but I know friends who have had luck with Seachem Excel and root tabbing the root feeders. I'm definitely on board with doing that and dosing the water column if necessary.

The plants I'm planning all fall into the "easy" category. Stuff like Java Fern, Anubias, Java Moss, etc. The most challenging plant I want to try is an amazon sword or two as a show piece. Nothing high light or particularly demanding.

Anyways, thanks in advance guys!
 

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I noticed you said sand. Most of the plants u have there grow on rocks or driftwood. But the sword would be buried.the root tabs would help I guess, but why not put some soil under the sand. I reccomend using some kind of substrate with nutrients. In the future you may want more plants that will need it.
 

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I'm running the same light on my 55g and I was having a few algae problems for the first few weeks. I solved it the best way I know... more plants! If you does excel you might be alright with fewer plants but I have a ton of jungle val so excel wasn't really an option for me. I've tried different light durations over the past few months too, and I noticed a 7 hour photoperiod works best for me.

Just make sure you keep an eye on your tank while you dial in the photoperiod. I run my lights from 12-3 then 9-12 and have just enough algae to keep my snails happy. With a lower plant load, I would start at 5 hours and work your way up from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm actually planning on concentrating away from root feeders simply because I don't want to play with substrates. I also really like the look of floating plants and those that grow on rocks and driftwood. It's a preference thing. :-D

Sergeant, if you're using the same light do you have any experience with the optional feet? After reading more here (55 gallons seem to be common questions!) I'm thinking using those feet to raise it a bit more might be a good idea. I'd also like to invest in some glass tops, and I'm curious as to whether the feet will prevent me from using them.

As far as algae, I'm hoping I can diffuse the light -- at least initially -- with floating pennywort and riccia (assuming riccia will grow for me). If not riccia than hornwort. I really like the floating roots of the pennywort!

And thanks for the photoperiod advice. That was going to be in my next round of questions. Hehe. One of the things I got going for me is this is going in my finished basement. There are no windows in the room I'll be setting up in. I'm actually considering keeping a lamp on across the room. It's pitch black down there, and I'm kinda wondering if that'll be a concern for the fish.
 

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Yes leave a light on. Normally any open window provides enough light for them.
So the plants are what the light is for and viewing.
You will get much from reading this. Flourish tabs are incomplete as most other tabs are and floater can't get near enough ferts from them anyway.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=107303
8000 Post speaks credibility to me.
 

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If you are talking about the little flip-up legs, then yes I do have them. Unfortunately the way they mount doesn't allow me to use my glass tops. I plan on shaving 1/2" off of each top so they will fit though
 
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